Nicole's Gravel Review

We put our entire line of gravel wheels to the test this past weekend at the Dirty 50 Fun Ride this past weekend in Sumter National Forest. Gravel is King! I’m not sure if that is true, but I had a lot of fun on Saturday.

Nicole’s First Gravel Creek Crossing

Boyd told me before we left the house (we are married, in case you don’t know this) that I didn’t need to worry about ever unclipping, it will be dead flat, and to wear my winter tights because it was going to be cold. None of these things were true!

Nicole’s first ‘real’ gravel ride. Note the many layers of winter gear and Pinnacle Hookless wheels.

We started off at a pretty good clip and I thought, Oh wow, I’m not sure I want to go this fast on gravel. I have limited experience in this type of riding. I always focused on crit racing when I was fit. I mountain bike ever so often, but always get off and walk a lot. As a roadie I perfected going fast in one direction.

The rolling terrain kept most of the pack together, which also kicked the pace up a few notches.

We had a pack of about 50 riders and the route consisted of dirt, broken pavement, more dirt, packed dirt, chunky gravel, fine gravel, loose gravel, old wooden one lane bridges, a river crossing and even a bit of trail / single track through the woods. Now I see why most people run spd pedals on their gravel rigs (Boyd prefers SPD-SL for his gravel bike).

The flooded underpass was extremely slippery. Thankfully no one wiped out.

There was a turn off point at 35 miles and I thought about it many times, but my no quit attitude kicked in and I couldn’t turn back. At the end of the ride, I had stripped all the clothes I could take off. I still had my winter tights, but it wasn’t more than 45 degrees. I was hungry and my arms and legs hurt a lot.

Pacelines on gravel = a new trust in your fellow rider.

Gravel grinding may not of been what Boyd said it’d be like, but all I can say is I plan to do this again and encourage anyone who is curious at all about gravel to find a dirt road and just ride it. You won’t regret it!

Hope to see you out there! Check out this route on strava: Dirty 50

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