First and foremost, a huge congrats to Gravel Guru on their upcoming 100th episode! Matthew Fowler, Neil Taylor, LeLan Dains, and Bobby Thompson have dedicated countless hours and have spread knowledge and happiness across the Gravel Community and gravel cycling would not be the same without their show.
In addition, thank you specifically for your support of Gravel Worlds since the very beginning. Letting us on your show for interviews, promoting our event, coming to our event and making highlight videos, sharing your amazing pictures of our event to our riders, and so much more. We’re truly so thankful for everything you’ve done for us. We too would not be where we are without your love and support, so thank you!
Now a more personal note from Promoter Jason
I saw Bobby (Casual Cyclist) recently posted about this milestone and, in the post, Bobby stated he was selfconscious about talking about his involvement with Gravel Guru and doesn’t talk about it much. Now knowing Bobby, I know most of this comes from humility, but it honestly made me a little bit sad because of how much Gravel Guru has meant to me personally over the last 5 year period. So here is my personal letter to the entire Gravel Guru team.
I hope you truly understand the power of what you have done and are doing. Here’s my story about how you’ve affected me.
I got back into riding more consistently in 2015. In 2016 I bought a fat bike and started riding gravel around Lincoln, Ne and was hooked on gravel instantly. I bought my first gravel bike at the end of 2016 from Clint Gibbs (ironically another YouTuber) and shortly after I found Gravel Guru, a newer youtube channel with Leland and Bobby just talking about gravel biking. I watched every episode. I hardly knew anything about biking techniques and the world of gravel was completely new to me, but I was already hooked and I wanted to learn as much as I could. Gravel Guru taught me differences in tires, how to prepare for long rides/races, how to train, what to do in muddy races, techniques, lingo, tips and all kinds of tricks.
With Gravel Guru being based in Emporia, I obviously learned about DK and I decided that my first real gravel race was going to be Dirty Kanza 200 (Go Big or Go Home, right?). I woke up super early on registration day and was one of the lucky few that didn’t have BikeReg.com crash on me the last year before DK went to the lottery format. I was so pumped to have gotten in and so excited for my early June trip to Emporia. I continued to watch every episode of Gravel Guru to try to learn all the small tricks and tips I could to be sure to complete what would be one of the hardest physical feats of my life.
I remember showing up to Emporia Friday morning and being in awe of the entire spectacle. I distinctly remember rolling up to the Friday shakedown ride and seeing Bobby Thompson in his green polka dot jersey and I was honestly a bit star-struck. On the ride was also Amanda Panda, Rebekah Rusch, Nico, Ted King, Jay Petervary and others. To me, these were all celebrities and my wife can testify I was so excited to be seeing all these people I thought were so cool! On the ride, I asked to take a picture with Bobby and he graciously said yes. To him, I’m sure it meant little more than a picture, but to me, I was getting a pic of someone I learned from and looked up to.
Very long story short, I was able to finish DK200 the following day and gravel was now officially a part of my soul. There was no turning back. I continued to watch Gravel Guru every episode and continued to ride and race. I became more involved in the amazing gravel scene around Lincoln, made some amazing friends, and somehow am now a Race Coordinator for Gravel Worlds which I am so proud to be. And through all of that, I’m so thankful that I now call many of the Gravel Guru team friends.
Gravel Guru has literally helped shape my life to where it is now and I know for a fact there are many more like me. I may have never built up the knowledge to develop the courage to try big gravel events, I may not have found my gravel friends I hold so dear, and maybe my path wouldn’t have led me to Corey and Craig who let me be a part of the Gravel Worlds team.
So to Matt, Neil, Bobby, and all of the Gravel Guru team. Thank you for changing my life. I genuinely thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for our Gravel Family.