If you have ever thought about racing your bike or just challenging yourself now is the ideal time to follow through.
In one week there is a rather unique racing event just west of us happening in Farmville. On Sunday July 23rd riders of all levels have the chance to race against the clock under a rather unusual set of circumstances. Typically when one thinks about a time-trial images of professional riders on state of the art bikes that can cost ten thousand dollars, or at least that’s what I usually think of. This race is different. This race is shorter, open to anyone and most importantly, not on pavement.
Stretching 31 miles across south central Virginia, the High Bridge Trail State Park is a re-purposed rail bed that is covered in hard packed fine gravel. If you’re not familiar, it’s worth checking out no matter what. But on this day it’s especially interesting. An 8 mile section of the trail just east of Farmville will be closed off for this race.
What is special about this race is that riders of any level and on any bike can compete. Want to do it on your super fancy racing bike with lots of aerodynamic accoutrements? The surface isn’t too rough that you can’t roll that way. But you may not have the equipment advantage. A little bit wider tire may just prove to be quite a bit faster.
Without go too far off topic, I should say that amateur bike racing is not without problems. For anyone that has tried to jump into a race for the first time it can be a pretty demoralizing experience and often isn’t for the faint of heart. I suppose it takes someone with at least a small masochistic streak to participate in a sport that is often starkly pass/fail. There is a reason that bike racing is a bit of a niche compared to Gran Fondos, Triathlons, or other two wheeled sports that can reward riders with a sense of accomplishment regardless of who finished first.
To put it bluntly, traditional bike racing needs more non-traditional events like this one.
I took the season off bike racing to just focus on having fun but I’ll be kitting up and pedaling hard next weekend.
You should too. Seriously. You have nothing to lose but the entry fee.
Want to try it? Follow the link HERE to sign up.
Want to get a little nerdy with your bike to try and cheat the wind (and the surface) a bit? Me too. Come by the shop this week, I’m always happy to geek out over tires and other neat stuff.
Or, if you're busy or just say "meh" to stuff like this, you should REALLY go check out the park no matter what. It's really nice, safe, and family friendly.
And now here’s a picture of my unorthodox gravel “racing” bike. Freshly converted from commuting duty.