By Kerry Werner
My last, in person, race was this past CX season. The local promoters threw two weekends of CX racing in mid- late November. Since then it’s been nose to the grind stone with only hopes and dreams of getting back between the tape in 2021. This past weekend those hopes and dreams came alive!
Being in Roanoke for 8 months now I have grown accustomed to “good gravel”. So my expectations were high entering my first gravel race and having to drive 2hrs north to do it!
We loaded up the RV with a plethora of bikes and headed to Stokesville, VA, about 30min west of Harrisonburg, nestled into the ridges of the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah Mountains.
Chris Scott, the race promoter for this 3 race gravel series, which I did race #2 of 3 on this weekend, has a pretty sweet operation going over in Stokesville. He’s got the Stokesville Campground, which we booked a site with on top of our registration for the race, and he’s got a bunch of really nice trails that are on the property as well. This is all aside from the awesome riding around the campground, trails that are part of the NUE Wilderness 101, Shenandoah 100, and Stoopid 50 MTB races. Then there is the road/gravel… It’s actually a little overwhelming the opportunity for riding options.
Lucky for me, we had a set 100k route with 6400ft of climbing so I didn’t have to pick the gems out of the rock pile. I just had to show up at 11am on Saturday and be ready for what may lay ahead. No problem while straddling my ever so capable Kona Major Jake outfitted with Shimano GRX and Maxxis Ramblers. This setup essentially makes the world your oyster!
Not only am I stoked I got the win but I was stoked to see racing come back, alive and well with ample amount of stoke from other participants. Whether we are racers who are trying to be fit as a fiddle so we can do this for a living, people out to finish something they may not do on their own, or just out for a new adventure on new terrain we all had one thing in common. We all love riding bikes. I think 2020, if it did anything good, really emphasized the fact that riding bikes is awesome but doing it with a bunch of other people who are stoked and into it just as much as you makes it even more enjoyable.