Gravel Riding 101: From Gravel Bike Basics to Dirty Kanza

Gravel riding, aka gravel grinding or adventure riding, is an increasingly popular form of cycling that combines elements of road- and mountain-biking, and consisting mostly of distance riding over unpaved roads. Whether dirt roads or gravel roads, trails must consist of non-technical and unsurfaced roads to qualify as gravel riding. Since cities mostly have paved roads for commuters, gravel riding trails are usually located in rural areas. This tends to afford opportunity to discover some incredibly scenic sites that one can only witness during an adventure off the beaten path.

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RACE REPORT: NATION'S TRIATHLON 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014 11:20 AM

This season has been a whirlwind, and we got to wrap up our season on a high note by participating in the Nation's Triathlon in Washington DC.  

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RACE REPORT: TRIROCK PHILADELPHIA TRIATHLON 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014 11:39 AM

Last weekend, Stephen and Scott participated in the 2014 TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon, which is a great sprint and olympic distance triathlon that happens right in our back yard.

Expo

Our weekend started on Friday at the Expo. We're always thrilled to get a chance to demonstrate the Switch Aero System in person and we were pleasantly surprised by the continuous stream of people stopping by (special thanks to everyone that brought their rides along to show us their setups!).

After two days of standing in place, we were eager to jump in the water and get racing.

Pre-Race

The weather was perfect - mostly sunny and about 68 degrees at the start with the water in the low 70's.

All set in transition, ready to hop on the bus to the swim start.

We were so content enjoying the weather and watching the first age group waves, we nearly missed our start. Note for next year: sometimes they're running ahead of schedule! 

Suddenly realizing our wave was about to start.

The Swim

This year's swim course was mostly a straight shot down Schuylkill river with a U-turn at the last 100m mark. The waves are broken into groups of 6, which makes the start feel more like your training and less like an open water martial arts class.

After some initial zig-zagging and tangling with each other, Scott and Stephen managed find their line and had a relatively smooth swim leg. Conveniently, each age group has its own color swim cap, so you know when you're getting passed by someone from two waves behind you. Note for next year: train for the swim.

Lining up for the start. Scott opts out of wearing a wet suit so he has an excuse for his swim time.

The Bike

The bike offers a nice mix of straightaways, short climbs, and winding downhills. In short, it's a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the dual-position seatpost.

Stephen leading the pack into the turn.

For some of the steeper climbs, Stephen found it more comfortable to switch to the road position during the climb, and then flip forward back into aero once he had crested the hill. Also of note: the aero position is a nice break for the arms that have turned to jelly after the swim. 

Stephen in full aero mode.

We managed to avoid the haybales on the sharp curve at the end of Black road (there's always a few unlucky riders) and finished with a smooth dismount into transition.

The Run

This year's run course was shifted a bit towards the shadier section of West River Drive so the first half is a nice jog beneath the cover of trees. The legs felt great coming off the bike and it seemed like it would be smooth sailing to the end.

Stephen & Scott crossing paths near the last turnaround.

After Mile 3, the run really tests your limits as the shade gets scarce and the sun turns up the heat. Your race plan quickly becomes focused on wondering, "When is that turnaround going to show up?" and, "Why did they make the last 3 miles so much longer than the first 3?".

In the end it was all smiles for the final sprint through the chute.

A strong finish means no pictures with your feet on the ground.

Overall it was a great race. Both Scott & Stephen finished with PR's and would have gladly given half their life savings for a cold towel. Luckily they're free at the finish!

That post race feeling.

Neither of us found the podium this year, but stay tuned for a story from another rider who had a fantastic debut on the Switch Aero System...

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UPCOMING EVENTS - TRI-MANIA DC (3/22) & BOSTON (3/29)

Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:57 AM

Over the next two weekends we'll be exhibiting at the TRI-MANIA Expos in DC (3/22) and Boston (3/29).

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