#GravelFamily: Carolyn Collier

#GravelFamily is the reason I keep showing up to play bikes! It’s…

• What’s your favorite GW experience?

Finishing the 150 in 2018 was pretty special – but nothing compares to 2019 when I got to ride the Privateer event with my mom. It was her longest gravel race/ride at that time and she absolutely crushed it! She’s a former Marathon runner who has started getting more and more into Gravel and it’s been really fun to watch and be part of her cross-over journey. It’s so incredibly cool to have blood #GravelFamily and get to do events with her – I keep waiting for an event to include a mother/daughter team category event so I can ride her strength to a podium finish (hint hint GW!).

• What’s your funniest Gravel event story (ie never trust a fart)

At mile 80 of the Bohemian Sto Mil race in 2018, I went to flip my cue card and found out I didn’t have the last card…so I was missing 20+ miles of directions. I didn’t have a GPS computer at the time and there were no other riders around so I had to stop, pull out my cell phone, and search my emails for the race cue cards. I proceeded to try and hold my phone while riding – something I am terrible at doing – until I reached the final aid station. No one at the aid station had spare cue cards, so I ended up writing the final directions on a napkin. The race team got a good laugh out of my napkin cue card at the finish line and I ordered a GPS computer the next day.

• How long have you been riding? Has gravel changed your perspective on riding, and if so, how?

I started riding about 2.5 years ago when I was rehabbing from a running injury. I had had hip surgery and wasn’t allowed to run for quite some time, but I was allowed to ride so I started riding my bike more. I started going out with some friends on Gravel rides and after one too many beers got talked into signing up for Gravel Worlds. Riding gravel really changed my perspective of the cycling community. As a runner, I had always thought of cyclists as gear junkies with aero helmets, zooming down highway shoulders. But the gravel community is so relaxed, fun, and out to have a great time. The camaraderie and stoke is contagious and I love how positive people are. Even if someone had a tough day on the bike, or didn’t race the way they expected to, they still find and focus on the good parts of the day.

• Has gravel brought you closer to your community and if so, how?

Absolutely – the #GravelFamily in Lincoln really focused on giving back. Almost all of the rides/races/bike-related events support the community in Lincoln, whether that’s by raising funds to support youth sports/DEVO programs, donating funds to build new city park/trail infrastructure, serving as bike support for road/trail races, I could go on and on. In addition to giving back to the Lincoln community as a whole, the Gravel community in Lincoln embraces the goal of getting more people on bikes! Local race directors support and champion other events and bike shops/more experienced riders host beginners clinics/rides. It’s inclusive and always growing.

• What does #GravelFamily mean to you?

#GravelFamily is the reason I keep showing up to play bikes! It’s the people you want to spend your Saturday and Sunday with. There’s a special bond you develop through shared suffering, and gravel events certainly dish up their share of suffering with hills, heat, rocks, mud, or wind.

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