When was your first Gravel Worlds? My first Gravel Worlds was in 2012. I had only been riding a bike for about a year. I gutted my way through my first Dirty Kanza 200 that year. Barely. Magically. I I took the summer mostly off and came to Lincoln, Nebraska completely unprepared. I rode 87 miles at like 10-12 mph in the soft sand and was mentally drained. I pulled into a gas station, grabbed some chicken and a beer and was picked up by my friend RobG. I had a great trip though with friends and had caught the gravel bug. I’d be back some day. I needed to some more miles under my belt. I needed to strengthen myself mentally.
What was your biggest hurdle/most difficult challenge? Everything that year. The temps started off chilly. There had been rain overnight I believe. The temps rose quickly and I was unprepared. My Speed was a mental challenge for me. I knew my friends were much faster and I didn’t want them waiting forever for me. I felt like I was disappointing them. My hydration and nutrition were horrible. I had a pop tart at one point…it was horrible on my gut. The beautiful Nebraska countryside seemed like a roller coaster of death to my new cycling legs. Even the flats were sandy and offered resistance. Hahaha…it was all beautifully awful.
What was your highest Gravel Worlds moment? 2015 was the first year I returned to Lincoln for Gravel Worlds since my 2012 attempt. Totally different experience. I simply understood Gravel cycling better. I was still slow but I was now riding for me. I was riding for my love of Gravel. I wasn’t riding just because friends were riding. I understood my limitations and I understood you have to enjoy the little things. Honestly the randomness of the Oasis and Checkpoints are always my highlights. The friendships I make along the way are highlights. Crossing that Finish Line is a highlight. Staying and eating in downtown Lincoln is a highlight. Finishing in the rain in 2015. Finishing with my friend Corey Smith in 2016. Finishing out of my mind mentally in 2017. Good times.
What is your favorite Gravel Worlds story? Wow. So many. Best single Moment? Craig finding me at the 2017 finish and giving me a hug. I had been working on getting that hug for a year. Hinting at it through social media. Craig doesn’t just dish out hugs to every rider. That was special. Craig and Corey have an amazing thing going for sure.
How did you feel when you finished? 2015. Proud. Accomplished. Relieved. 2016. Excited. Exhausted. 2017…mentally blown. Determined. I could barely think. Poor nutrition and hydration had me on fumes the final 50 miles.
15-30 minutes after EVERY Finish…I’m on top of the world. I’m the king and my castle is made of Zebra Cakes.
In one phrase, what is Gravel Worlds to you? You’re lucky. I had a paragraph typed then I saw the question again…one phrase. Easy.
Gravel Worlds to me is about friendships.