The Gravel Metric took place this weekend in DeKalb, IL. If you are unfamiliar with the event, it’s a ride that takes place largely on the gravel roads around DeKalb that is roughly 100 kilometers in length, this year’s length being just over 110 kilometers or 68.5 miles. It is organized and put on by the great folks at Axletree and North Central Cyclery.
I drove up to DeKalb the day before the Gravel Metric to take advantage of the Moots demo that was scheduled as one of their titanium bikes is probably in my future.
I’ve been looking at the Moots Frosti for a bit as an eventual replacement for my Salsa ti Mukluk. The Moots truck had the new Frosthammer which is basically a Frosti that is capable of clearing five-inch tires or running 29+ tires. It felt very agile, especially for a five-inch fat bike.
After getting my fix of Moots awesomeness, I was offered some pizza and a cold beer. I hung out for a bit and watched some people ride a Penny-Farthing and some people try to ride a Penny-Farthing. Smiles were had!
The next morning after getting ready I joined the other 360 riders at the staging area before setting off behind a police escort out-of-town.
The pace was very lax as we rode out-of-town but things quickly got crazy as we turned onto the first gravel road with the speed jumping to over 25 mph. That doesn’t seem too crazy until you factor in riding on gravel that moves under your tires and the leaders were pulling even faster.
I decided after a few miles that I didn’t belong in the first or second group and settled into a groove riding with different groups averaging between 17 mph and 22 mph depending on who was pulling. At one point I was part of a pace line of more than 30 riders that was traveling at 20 mph, pretty neat!
The ride is titled as a gravel metric and we spent the majority of the ride on gravel but it also included awesome dirt roads, double track, and pavement.
We crossed different obstacles including railroad tracks and a shallow creek crossing.
About three and a half hours in, right around the 60 mile mark, I started to lose some steam and had to slow down. It was a little tough to fall off a bit so close to the end, but I had to listen to my body. I rolled back into North Central Cyclery with a time of 4 hours and 11 minutes.
The Axletree and North Central Cyclery folks know how to organize and run great cycling events! Everything from the simple and fast registration, great event products, organizing the police escort out-of-town, to the food and drinks organized for after the ride. It was all great! I had a bast overall and plan on going back next year with a goal of breaking the 4 hour mark with even more smiles along the way!