Gravel riding and racing is an outdoor sport and like any outdoor sport the weather is a major factor for the fun. If the goal is to make it a great day in the saddle, as cyclists we have to have contingency plans for when the weather in Iowa turns ugly… and, it can certainly turn ugly. Iowa is home to record heat (110℉ plus humidity) and cold (it was -15℉ last week) and tornados, derechos, and a bunch of other stuff.
So, what is the plan if the weather just doesn’t cooperate on race day? Well, here’s what we do…
Wet & Windy
This is the most likely thing to put a damper on a gravel race… or, can we reframe that negative mindset and agree that weather can make a race EPIC? See, gravel is about the challenge. If it was easy, everyone would do it and we’d be complaining about all the bikes on the roads. No, gravel riding means taking the challenges that you’re given and making the best of a bit of wind and weather.
That being said, we do take some precautions on wet or recently wet days, because Iowa mud is no joke. It will gladly take your precious derailleur and spokes and do this to it…
So, for every race we plan a route that has tons of character and crazy roads and call it the “dirty” route; the dirty routes are really what we hope the ride will be. But, if the weather hasn’t been kind to us, we’ll send everyone on the “clean” route. Now, (to be clear) this is a gravel race, so you’re going to get dirty on the “clean” route. There’s dirty everywhere! But, we’ll stick to well maintained gravel roads with solid limestone laid down for the route so you don’t have to hike a bike for miles on end.
If we do pick the “clean” route, we’ll make the “dirty” route available to you after the race. We send the other route after so you don’t have two routes to manage and accidently end up on the wrong route on race day. Our hope is if you’re ever back in the area you take the chance to ride the route we intended; even if you have to self-support.
Too crazy for real life
Some days just aren’t meant to be ridden. This could be a day with high winds, overwhelming rain fall, or excessive and dangerous heat. These days, we will switch the race to a virtual event through BikeReg’s system. We will mail you the goodie bag we made for you and we will give you a time frame to ride the course. We’ll also let you sign up for one of the other races in the season or even next season. We want you to get out and ride with us and we figure the best we can do is keep our promise of helping you have a great day in the saddle.
COVID-20 Godzilla Edition
Alright, what if the unspeakable happens? We, of course, don’t know what that might be, but if 2020 taught us anything it was that crazy $#!@ happens. In that case, we’ll take it one day at a time, but in the worse case scenarios, we’ll likely switch to a virtual race and a mailed goodie bag.