Maybe racers from this past weekend's inaugural SBTS (Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship) gravel ride/race didn't find that lovin' feel n'. Yup, the Righteous Brothers were onto something. It could have also had something to do with being subjected to 100 miles long 7,000 feet of climbing at elevation that occurred late in the mileage on hot day with real deal dust. Regardless of speculation, the Lost & Found happened.
Nano 40 country. Big, open, real, and desolate aside from the 160 people alone that signed up for the 100 miler - how can you not sign up for the longest? Doh.
The thing about gravel is... not everybody quite gets it yet. Or maybe that's just west coast graveling, not to be confused with west coast groveling. The race started with the speed and intensity of a furious short track XC event. The problem was, it lasted umm... a wee longer than a furious short track XC race. It lasted 100 miles.
What's that German word that means taking pleasure in the pain of others? Schadenfreude? Yep, that's it - of course Weir (second from right) showed up at the final, mile 84 aid station aboard a moto, beer in hand. Was he there to aid? No. Heckle? Yes. Kind of strangely like cyclocross I guess.
And indeed, WTB was a sponsor and even congregated at an aid station, feeding the oh so weary at a very parched mile 84. Kenny Burt came through and matter-of-factly marveled that he hadn't had water for over 50 minutes. That sucks. Jared Kessler, congrats to your sir, later equated his win to the Coca Cola handed to him at the WTB tent. Don't worry, WTB handed Coca Cola to all who wanted it until it ran out. It definitely ran out.
Jared Kessler (Nano 40 front, Cross Wolf rear, Silverado) of Strava Cycling, Brent Penzlow of Celo Pacific and Focus bikes, and Kenny Burt (Nano 40s, Valcon Carbon) WTB employee and Ibis-Retro Cellars rider all hustled their way to 1, 2, 3.
Paul Components, smarty pants that they are, served bacon at their aid station. Genius. Simply genius. The report was, they couldn't cook bacon fast enough for those wanting to eat it - worry not, we've got ideas for next year. Jason Moeschler didn't have time for bacon, he was movin':
A furious pace for a nice, not normally furious man. You can see the motos, I can only assume Weir's encouragement (heckling) assisted that look of sheer determination. Jason grabbed 7th - way to go Jason.
And at the end of it - yes, yes, somehow it did end, who did we have to blame? This kind, smiling man. Worry not, this is at the start, not the finish. Chris battled his way triumphantly to 4th place along with doing a lot of route planning and organizing. Plus, Chris is rad. And, Chris owns Real Wheels, an excellent shop in Nevada City that knows gravel, dirt, cyclocross, and real riding... not to mention wheels. Practice what you preach, right? Chris is living proof of this.
Chris McGovern - owner of stellar Real Wheels, shredder extraordinaire, nice guy, route planner, fellow sufferer of the racers... real. Chris also reportedly was jesting aloud asking who was to blame for this horrendously difficult route at WTB's mile 84 aid station - and he, Chris, was to blame, ha.
Yet aside from blaming, there was definitely a sense of relief. Relief that it was over, relief that people were accounted for, and relief that it was such a great event during it's first year. So mark your calendar's now - next year can only be even more fun. Plus, there's always 30 and 60 mile options too, so don't worry, you don't have to be nuts, even if everyone for some reason is...