For the last 10 months, I have been racing professionally in CA, AZ, OK, CO, NE, KS, and AR. My TrailDonkey tells the story of long, dusty miles and many lessons learned. This is the first year I have raced full-time and it has been an enlightening experience. More than a tool for fitness, a bicycle is a teacher. The lessons are usually tough and sometimes take more than one confrontation with challenges. I entered the season wanting to dive deeper into the sport than ever. Over the season, I’ve grown as an athlete physically, mentally, and professionally. I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned so far in 2023. I can’t wait to see what new lessons the next season will teach me.Continue reading
Editor’s note: We’re thrilled to welcome Edyn Teitge, a young (14 years) endurance racer and gravel rider hailing from Colorado. Edyn is rolling on a purpose built Rodeo Labs TD4 for the remainder of the 2023 and the 2024 season, and we’re excited to see where he takes it, including a planned ride in the 2024 Tour Divide.
Rebecca’s Private Idaho or RPI is a multi-day gravel bike event in Southern Idaho. I decided to race the Queens Stage Race (QSR), which goes 186 miles through three timed stages and one rest day/social ride. The first day is one of the most beautiful and technical stages as it winds up the Harriman, a non-motorized double-track trail at the foot of the Boulder Mountains.Continue reading
How I tried making it to the World Championships gravel racing.
So, my buddy Jan, who used to be a world champ on the track, asked me back in May to join a gravel race in Drenthe, The Netherlands. He said, “Hey, it’s a chance to qualify for the World Championships gravel.” He had already qualified a few months earlier at another event in Limburg. To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting into, but I thought, “Why not?” So, I coughed up 60 bucks and waited for more info. It came a bit later. The Gravel One Fifty is a 150-kilometer race, and let me tell you, it wasn’t a walk in the park. I scouted the course two weeks before the race and quickly realized that 45mm tires would’ve been a good idea.Continue reading
2023 has been a great year of bike racing at Rodeo Labs. We’ve scooped up quite a few podiums and victories between Donkeys and Flaanimals, and beyond race results it’s been great watching owners and community members line up and ride for reasons other than trying to win. As for myself, for a number of reasons this has been the year of ditching geared drivetrains and instead racing singlespeed. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.Continue reading
I experienced a wide range of emotions after standing on the podium at Unbound. Climbing up there and fulfilling a long journey of hard work and sacrifice filled me with elation. However, it also left me with a lingering question of “what’s next?” The following four days were mostly filled with snacking and sleeping as I basked in achieving my biggest goal of the year, only touching the bike to clean it.
The 354 mile race itself left me with strange numbness and muscle tightness, which I resolved through a couple of dry needling sessions. After Unbound, I had about 3 weeks to prepare for another goal: winning at Robidoux Rendezvous in Gering, Nebraska. This would be my third time participating in this race, which aligns well with my strengths. In my first year, I came in second to Grant Koontz, and I emerged victorious last year. However, this year’s Robidoux would be different due to a new $23,000 prize purse, attracting a lot of talent in both the men’s and women’s fields. Additionally, the race would serve as recon for the first-ever USAC gravel national championship, also taking place in Gering this year.
Robidoux Rendezvous – Gering, Nebraska
Unfortunately, the Rendezvous was canceled this year due to the town being hit by four tornadoes the night before the race. While I understand the challenges faced by the locals affected by the storm, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when I learned about the cancellation. The race represented a personal setback for me, as I had dedicated considerable time, effort, and financial resources to compete at this level. The $5,000 first-place prize would have provided much-needed support for my racing aspirations. Furthermore, I was eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to compete against incredibly talented individuals, an experience that is often hard to come by in smaller fields. Engaging in head-to-head competition fosters growth and development, allowing me to refine my racing skills and strategy.
Ready to rip in ole Gering, Nebraska. The sandy ditch roads are actually a blast.
Additionally, I had conflicting thoughts about attending two other events that weekend: The Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder and the Highlands Gravel Classic. In 2021, I participated in the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder, a 5-day point-to-point stage race that felt like adult bike camp. One of the coolest racing experiences I’ve ever had. The Highlands Gravel Classic was a UCI qualifier in Arkansas for the UCI Gravel World Championships. However, achieving a top 3 position at Gravel Nationals in September would also qualify me for the World Championships.
Nevertheless, maintaining perspective and balance is crucial. I fully comprehend the gravity of the situation faced by the Scottsbluff/Gering community and hold space for their experiences. While my disappointment is real, it is essential to acknowledge the bigger picture and extend empathy to those who have been significantly impacted.
The whole night was filled with tornado sirens and warnings blaring on our phones.
KowTown Gravel – Kremmling, Colorado
As soon as I returned home, I promptly registered for the inaugural Kowtown Gravel in Kremmling, Colorado, just south of Steamboat Springs. I didn’t want to let my hard-earned fitness go to waste. Unfortunately, three miles into the race, my computer informed me that my shifter battery had died. It felt like I was living in the Truman Show. At the first aid station, I took a chance and asked for a 2032 button battery, and luckily someone had one in their toolbox. Swapping that battery felt like an eternity, taking four and a half minutes. Over the next hour, I fought my way back to the front of the race, eventually joining a group of three riders, with one solo rider up the road at an unknown distance. Our group had good dynamics, with fair pulls and consideration for everyone, but it eventually splintered, leaving me chasing solo. I struggled to gauge the distance to the next rider ahead, so I imagined every blurry figure in front of me (since our course overlapped with the shorter courses) until it actually became true. In the final blocks coming into town, I came incredibly close to the winner. It was truly one of the most challenging efforts I’ve ever exerted. If you have the chance, I highly recommend checking out Kowtown next year. The route was thrilling, and the people in Kremmling were ecstatic to have cyclists take an interest in the event.
Makeshift podium at KowTown Gravel. We had to find a “teammate stand in” for 3rd place.
The remainder of the season includes the following races:
- FoCo Fondo in Fort Collins, CO on July 21
- SBT GRVL in Steamboat Springs, CO on August 20
- Gravel Nationals in Gering, NE on September 9
- The Rad in Trinidad, CO on September 30
- Big Sugar in Bentonville, AR on October 21
If you’re reading this and planning to attend any of these events, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram. I would love to meet up for a ride, grab a beer, or discuss all things bikes and racing!
Rowdy rain ruts out Red Feathers north of Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo Triple Dog Dare course.
Welcome to the Rodeo Labs Race Director Round Up! Over the next few weeks, as the gravel race “season” gets underway, we have decided to take on a mini-series focusing on gravel racing through the collective eyes of gravel race directors from across the country. Race directors are both the tastemakers and the police of the nucleus concept of “the spirit of gravel.” While race directors have a fantastic platform to voice their perspective for their own races, that voice is often limited to those narrow confines. The goal here is to use our podcast, as a small journalistically minded outlet with no skin in the game, to give them a collective platform to share their interpretations of the state of the sport.
In part one, Logan introduces the series through a field dispatch from the Gravel Worlds gravel race in Nebraska last summer and the dialogue that followed. The first conversation was with Andy Jones-Wilkins, who is not only Logan’s father, but also an accomplished ultra-runner and pundit. Using the conversation with Andy as a framework, Logan sat down with Jason Strohbehn, the race director of Gravel Worlds and the co-host of the Gravel Family Podcast, to learn more about the race and start at the question that is guiding the whole series: what is the state of gravel bike racing?Continue reading
The Atlas Mountain Race sets off for its third edition next week. In anticipation of the bike packing race, we brought in Ashley Carelock to look back at her Moroccan experiences in last year’s October edition of the race, while Stephen Fitzgerald dropped into the chat to add his own perspective from his outing to Africa in 2020.
If you are interested in following along to the 2023 Atlas Mountain Race, be sure to check out the race website, here. Additionally, back in the depth of the pandemic, Stephen penned this expansive write up about what that race was like. You can find that here. Lastly, Ashley eloquently wrote more about her race on her blog, which you can access here.
and Drew at Rodeo Labs talks about launching the Show Pony
Part one of the podcast picks up with Logan Jones-Wilkins rambling through the middle of America. After leaving the muddy grass field at the Rule of Three in Bentonville, Arkansas, Logan was on his way to Emporia, Kansas to race Unbound Gravel. With time to spare and capitalizing on his proximity to Stillwater, Oklahoma, an idea was born– a Rodeo Labs Podcast field recording. The first field recording is a ride in Bobby Wintle’s 4-Runner. Logan experiences some of Bobby’s favorite roads, which didn’t even make this years course!Continue reading
When Daniel graduated from UC Santa Barbara, the Tour Divide was not on his radar. However, shortly after Daniel discovered a new passion– bicycle touring. His first bicycle tour was to Columbia, it was a crash course on touring and how to maintain a bike over a six month trip. Daniel has not stopped touring. When Daniel discovered the Tour Divide, he was hooked. The first foray was touring the divide, but the the following two years he has raced it. Now Daniel is patiently waiting for next year. On the podcast, Daniel recounts his experiences from the event. Rain was persistent throughout, start to finish. In between, there were awed moments with wildlife, mishaps with bear spray and quickly fostered friendships on the trail.Continue reading
The more I go to events in the gravel world, the more I realize how serpentine the paths are to the start lines. Nowhere is that more the case than the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder. Or at least, nowhere is it more apparent, since you have five days of mingling to share your life with former and future strangers.
On the Trail, there were olympians, world champions, graphic designers, architecture students, chefs, and wind energy executives. There were tech bros, soccer moms, emergency room doctors, and inflatable hot tub owners. There were snowboarders, triathletes, moto drivers, photographers and vloggers. All waking up in tents every morning – or in the middle of the night to drops of wayward sprinklers – to drag their tired, half cleaned bodies across one of the most spectacular ranges in the country. It is glorious, it’s weird, it is Oregon.Continue reading