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The Iowa Gravel Series started in 2020 with a little ride that I was determined to put on in my home town during COVID. The first Glenwood Gravel was the spark that has ignited over 16 races in 3 years with over 1500 racers in attendance, dozens of volunteers, and helped me put over 40,000 miles on my Subaru Outback. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. It’s more than just some salesy cliche when I say it’s been a passion project and labor of love.
2024 Season top 10 list
For the 2024 season, our senior year, we’re going big. Here’s the top 10 list of exciting developments with more details below and even more to follow.
- We’re adding 2 new races; a brand new race, the Kalona Horseshoe, and we’re excited to have the Fairfield Harvest Rush join the series!
- For 2024, we’re hosting the Glenwood Superbloom; a womens gravel race with multiple distances! Julie Borer, founder of the Prairie Bloom cycling club and team, is the race director for this super event
- We’re adding a 10 kilometer running race on Friday nights before the gravel bike races for all your endurance sport friends
- Points! We’re awarding retro-active points and a complete point system for racing and fun to the series
- New exciting sponsors! Big thanks to BikeRags Apparel for all their support
- Pop-up events; both virtual and IRL
- Full Season, Race Pace, and Grassroots packages are here to stay
- Get your shirt on race day or have it shipped to you at the end of the season
- Meet our new board of directors
- Merch, both classic and new!
There’s a great story behind each of these races getting added to the series, but for now let’s focus on what they are and why we added them. Both the Kalona Horseshoe and Fairfield Harvest Rush are in Southeastern Iowa; the place of legendary gravel. Trans Iowa, Jingle GX and an overwhelming number of group rides have used this area to race and train.
This is the first year of the Kalona Horseshoe, thanks to Caleb Wilson. Caleb and his family have worked hard to bring more people, especially youth into cycling. It’s possible you’ve seen him at races all over Iowa and stand on a good number of podiums. Just don’t ask him to go for a “zone 2” chill ride; he has no idea what that means (I learned from person al experience 😎).
The Fairfield Harvest Rush is going into its 3rd year and we couldn’t be more excited to have this fantastic community joining the Iowa Gravel Series family. The Harvest Rush is the last race in the series calendar because it will be our new Championship race! We’re looking to have a podium purse as well as sponsor prizes, so it’s definitely one you want to have on the calendar and be ready for. Registration opens Nov. 1st for these races. More details to come…
Maybe this should be the number 1 announcement, because we believe this will be big for Iowa, certainly the midwest, and hopefully for the nation. We’re partnering with Prairie Bloom, the largest cycling club in Omaha, to present a Women’s Gravel Race on the Glenwood date and course. We know we can support 100 racers, but with your support maybe we can open that up a little bit. We hope to make this the biggest women’s gravel race in the country and we already have amazing sponsors supporting that goal. Be sure to follow Prairie Bloom to keep up to date on the details. Registration will open Nov. 1st for this race.
Yup, we’re adding a running race to the series. Why? Well, part of us just wants to be with the cool kids… but, actually we want to help you prepare to be at those for-the-cool-kids races! Have you toyed around with the idea of these ultra endurance two-day events, but needed a place to dip your toe in the water? We’re here for you. Got a friend/partner/family member that loves to run and just hasn’t yet got the gravel spirit yet? This is a great race to invite them to. Also, thousands of youth are running cross country distances across Iowa and we figure this is a great way to support them in their distance goals and training throughout the summer. So, sign up! There will be prizes and medals and timing chips and all the things you could want from a great running race.
What’s the point? To get more points!
When we first started the series, we considered having points. But, with so little data and experience, we were unsure of how or where to anchor those points in a meaningful way. Well, we have two years of historical data under our belts now and we know which races are hard. We know which athletes are consistently exceptional. We also know who has grown over that time and we know who gives back to the community the most. We want to recognize all of those things and points give us a fun way to do it. As with everything else on this list more details will come out through the year.
Sponsorship keeps the ship afloat
We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes to work with new sponsors and provide a great and valuable partnership. If you know of a brand you think is the right fit for the series or you are part of a business or organization that would like to be aligned and visible to the Iowa gravel community, please reach out! You can start here: https://iowagravelseries.com/sponsor/
We are planning some extra-special events for those that are registered for a race or those that just want to hangout and are open to everyone. These will range from online to outdoors. We’ll be launching our event calendar in late fall with all the details.
Full Season, Race Pace, and Grassroots packages
We’re continuing with our pricing structure we used last year and have made some adjustments, including dropping the price of the Race Pace package. Being able to schedule a whole season of races in one easy step has been incredibly popular. And, the Grassroots package makes it easy to add a race to your calendar when your fitness is peaking and you’re itching to get out and ride. All packages qualify you for a podium; no difference there. It’s really about supporting you and supporting the communities where we hold these races that distinguishes the features in each package. And, we’ll be adding the running races to packages as well. So many options!
Shirts and jerseys, cause you need to look the part
We’ll be posting clear dates and expectations on how to get a shirt or jersey on race day or how to have it shipped to your home. More on that as we get close to opening registration, but the short version is this:
- If you register early, you get a shirt on race day
- If you register later, you gotta pay for shipping your shirt later at the end of the season
We think this makes it easy for you to sport the amazing shirts we design and doesn’t have us making guesstimates on the number of shirts we need for everyone. A wise man once said, “racing is easy, supply chain is hard” ~Tim Cook, CEO of Apple (… probably… sounds like something he would say)
The board is ready
We know we introduced the new IGS Board of Directors last year, but we can’t overstate how important this team is to the success of the gravel series. You’ll be seeing more and more of these folks, so please follow them on “the socials”, send them emails, tell them what you love and what you want out of the Iowa Gravel Series and we’ll do our best to make it a great day in the saddle for everyone!
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt
Last, but not least, we’re planning on making some fun merch available on the IGS shop page. We have some of our older designs up there, but we plan to fill that out and add some new stuff too. This is an easy way to support the IGS and get the word out. They make fantastic stocking stuffers, birthday gifts, anniversary presents, employee recognition awards… the list goes on
Wrap it up already
So, that’s the list for now. We got work to do and so do you! Please share this post. Please train hard. Please invite all your friends to ride gravel. And, please be safe out there.
We’ll see you soon!