Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge 2022


June 5, 2022

The Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge--
Alberta's bugliest gravel event.

Come join us for a day of classic Alberta gravel riding that includes a stretch along the scenic Victoria Trail, exquisite gas-station cuisine, and copious amounts of dust. 

No registration fee. All are welcome: gravel lovers, the gravel-curious, and anyone up for a dusty adventure.

We have two route options:

The Classic Dusty 100-km Route. Bugle call at 9 am. 

And the Li'l Dusty Half Hundred. Bugle call at 11 am.

These routes will be confirmed a week ahead of time, after the Dusty crew recons the situation on the local roads.

Park at the small lot beside the flag poles, one kilometre east of Metis Crossing campground. There's a rustic toilet there (the kind that will do the trick but isn't a place you'd want to linger). But there's no water; bring yer own. 

A few things to know:

This is not a race, though some participants will ride it fast. We usually end up with some fast, medium, and slow groups. 

But know that this is NOT a no-drop ride; in fact, people will almost certainly be dropped, some might get lost, and others will get half way through, wonder why they ever agreed to try this, and seek out a short-cut back to the parking lot.  


No real prizes will be awarded, though we tend to give out a Surprise Bag to the Dustiest Rider. 

Riders will be given a GPX file and, if you want it, an old-school cue sheet--that's all.

There is a lovely Petro Can at Waskatenau at about the 60-km mark. It's got a surprisingly tasty selection of baked goods. That's the only supply point. Most riders stop there for a break.

Ride whatever kind of bike you like but be prepared for a range of gravel conditions, from hardpack to softloam. 


Heed the bugle!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Nice Road

“Nice road,” said Val, with approval, as we–Val, Penn, and I, the Dusty triumvirate–headed up Range Road 20, just north of Township Road 512, southwest of Edmonton. It was an unusually warm winter day, and the roads were nicely packed snow-over-ice. Perfect winter gravel-riding conditions.

I nodded. It was a nice road, at least at that particular spot, and I half-remembered picking it for a reason when I put together this route the night before on RWGPS.

A few seconds later, Val and I laughed as we both realized precisely what made this bit of road so “nice.” It wasn’t straight. That was it! A little slough on some farmer’s property encroached on the perfect grid of roads pushing out a modest bump in the route. The non-straight portion of the road couldn’t have lasted more than a few hundred metres. But that tiny variation, that ever-so-slight bulge in the roadway, qualified as an exotic topographical feature. That’s prairie gravel for you. I have lived here too long.

(I even composed an ironic breathless Alberta Gravel Cycling facebook post I would pen about my discovery: “Man, I found the most amazing gravel road! At first it feels like a regular road but then it, suddenly, like, curves to the left! But that’s not all. Then it swoops back to the right! Awesome!”)

I imagine there are cyclists somewhere–residents of the Alps, maybe?--for whom a ram-rod straight road that runs in a bead to the horizon is an exotic marvel, something to get really fired up about. 

Do Matterhornists dream of grid roads and straight shots the way that I do about switchbacks and squiggles?