Tuesday, June 19, 2018

East Elk 50/50



I’m a believer in the 50/50 ride—that is, 50% gravel and 50% pavement. As every gravel rider knows, exploring dirt roads is terrific fun but also hard work. Hours of bumping along washboard, searching for a line in the beach sand can take their toll. So why not mix in some pavement stretches on your gravel route and give yourself a bit of a break? Especially when that strategy allows you to experience the best of both worlds.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dusty IV Wrap


Gravel riding doesn’t get much better than what the Dusty 100 had to offer on Sunday out on the back roads of Smoky Lake county. The weather was perfect (21 degrees and sunny, with a tailwind for the home stretch), the gravel roads were in excellent shape (recent rains made for hard-packed lines on about 90% of the route), and the company was first rate (a corps of shiny, happy cyclists reveling in quiet roads and lovely scenery).

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dusty Details


For those who haven't been to the Dusty 100 before, the meeting/starting point is the small parking lot beside the monument with three flags, about one km east of the Metis Crossing campground. (Where, incidentally, there's a music festival happening this weekend.) There's plenty of parking by the flags, a picnic table, and a rustic outhouse but no water, so bring your own water. (Only water refill on the route is at 60 km.)

Bugle call is 9 am.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Dusty 100 Preview

The big day is next Sunday, June 3, at Metis Crossing. All are welcome. This year's event features . . .

MORE RIDERS!



MORE PLAQUES!


                                   
                                                             A SURPRISE BAG!



Saturday, April 28, 2018

Lezyne Love


Its shape is phallic. Its name is Sapphic. And it always gets my tires hard.

I pay tribute today to my Lezyne Tech Drive HP aluminum mini hand pump.

I bought my Lezyne about five years ago. At the time, I thought it was expensive, as far as hand pumps go. But it’s been worth every penny, and over the years it’s become something more than just a tool to me. I carry it with me on every ride, tucked snugly in my back pocket or stuffed into my gas-tank bag. I rarely have to use it, but I know that when the time comes, it will work. Mostly, though, I just like having it around.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Woodbend Postcard

Photo credit: Strava Jeff.

The fields may still be covered with snow and the air cold as crud, but the roads, they are clear. It’s April, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it. That means it’s time to bust out the road bikes with Strava Jeff and head out of town, away from the snow-and-ice-and-crap-cluttered shoulders of city streets and onto clear country pavement just west of Edmonton.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sugar Ride



I’ve got to be pretty much the perfect reader for Yvonne Blomer’s literary travel memoir Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur (Palimpsest, 2017). Not only am I a touring cyclist and type-one diabetic like Blomer; I’m also an English professor who’s fond of poetry and literary travel writing. No wonder no less than five different friends offered me copies of the book. And no wonder I like it so much.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Farewell to the Tour of Alberta

At the Tour of Alberta Prologue, 2013.
When the news came down last week that, after a five-year run, the Tour of Alberta professional bike race was kaput—a victim of Alberta’s economic downturn was the official reason cited—I don’t think anyone who follows the world of bike racing was surprised. Disappointed, sure; sad, maybe. But probably not surprised.


This has been coming—in fact, has seemed inevitable—for a while. Government funding for the event has been dwindling the last couple of years, and Alberta’s struggling economy has meant that other sources of funding—corporate sponsorships, community host fees—have been getting scarcer and scarcer. When the size of the event shrank in 2016 and again in 2017, it was starting to look like the beginning of the end.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge 2018


Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying . . . 
                                                  --Tennyson

The fourth annual Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge happens Sunday, June 3, 2018.

The start/finish is, once again, Metis Crossing, AB (1.5 hour drive northeast of Edmonton); park one km east of the campground entrance, by the monument.

9 am bugle call and roll out.

The route is a 107-km loop on quiet, picturesque GRAVEL roads that include the scenic Victoria Trail, the oldest continuously used road in Alberta, and the option to ride a rustic section of the Iron Horse Trail.

Everyone is welcome: gravel lovers, the gravel-curious, and anyone up for a dusty adventure.

See our event page on facebook.

A few things to know:

This is not a race (though times will be recorded); no real prizes will be awarded, though we tend to give out a Surprise Bag to the Dustiest Rider. 

RIDERS MUST BE COMPLETELY SELF-SUPPORTED.

Riders will be given a GPX file and cue sheet--that's all.

There is a lovely Petro Can and a restaurant in Waskatenau at the midway point. That's the only supply point.

Almost any kind of bike will work (cyclo-cross, touring, mountain, fat) but tires 33 mm or wider are strongly recommended.

WHILE NOT A RACE, THE DUSTY 100 IS HARD. THAT'S WHY WE CALL IT A CHALLENGE.

And did we mention that it's dusty?