I was in deep, so deep I didn’t even see the landscape bouncing by. Not deep in sand or washboard. Sure, there were plenty of patches to jar your brains out. No: I was in deep inside a dark place. A dark place where your inner critic tells you how much you suck, how you’ll never be good enough, and how you won’t make it. That little hateful voice gives you every reason to quit while obsessing about the detail of things you could have done differently.
Lost in Time
After the second day of our 7-day adventure of cycling the C&O Canal through the GAP (Great Alleghany Passage) from of Washington DC to Pittsburg – I had found that time had become a meaningless blur of green foliage and the endless crunch of tires on gravel. I was lost in time and I felt as if we had been on this gravel path for months.
Perhaps it was the rich history of the C&O Canal pulling me away from reality or perhaps it was the strong and steady pace we maintained through the continuous tunnel of forest. Time moves differently here. To the green tunnel, it was just another summer on planet Earth without a particular year. It could have been 1817 or 2017. However: in 1817 we may have terrified the mules on the C&O Canal towpath.
The allure of gritty adventurous fun awaits those intrepid enough to eschew asphalt and pedal down roads less traveled. Less traveled by motor vehicles (to be specific) and, until recently, self-powered 2-wheeled steeds of freedom. Being relatively new to the fine art of gravel grinding I am learning something from every expedition and I would like to share some notes to gravel grinding newbies!
Gravel racers that are successful can usually thank the trifecta of gravel rides: Preparation, Skill and Luck. Typically, most of us hope for at least two out of three in order to come in ahead of most of the gritty and dusty pack. I would have to say that my first gravel race was awesome because I got two of the three right … and one of those wasn’t Skill.