When was your first Gravel Worlds?
August 2016. I was new to gravel riding and had less than 5 gravel rides in me. My longest ride had been a century. I really didn’t know what to expect other than what I saw from photos and videos. It looked like a crazy enough adventure for me to sign up for. To visit my home state was also a plus.
What was the biggest hurdle/most difficult challenge?
For my first Gravel Worlds we started out at guns blazing speed or so it felt. It was a rookie mistake on my part to be in the red the first several miles trying to stay up and play chase with the front groups. Once we hit the first series of rollers, I was going backwards and pedaling squares. It wasn’t until around mile 80 I had spun the lactic acid out to where my legs didn’t feel like bricks. It was an ugly long start for me, but I’m happy to have recovered and finished the last half feeling good. Navigating with 2 in. by 3 in. crumpled cue sheets was also a challenge, but I still keep them to this day as a reminder of my adventure. I learned a lot in my first year.
What was your highest Gravel Worlds moment?
Well both literally and figuratively lol, after a series of climbs near Valparaiso, I was at the top of one of the climbs and had this beautiful 360 degree view. It was the most serene landscape surrounded by rolling hills and the wind blowing through the glistening prairie grass and cornfields. For that moment I forgot about suffering and being out of breath. I just enjoyed the view. I could see the Capitol building off in the distance and I got this jolt of energy knowing that I was getting closer to the finish.
What is your favorite Gravel Worlds story?
I’d have to say my entire first Gravel Worlds experience. It’s where I got the gravel bug and started to explore my own area for gravel riding. I enjoyed the atmosphere and meeting people along the ride. The whole event kind of opened my eyes up to this other world of riding different than the racing scene I was used to. To challenge yourself, to compete against the course, the changing elements of weather and terrain, and to be around others who enjoy the same, that’s what I love most about gravel.
How did you feel when you finished?
Exhausted and accomplished. My legs felt like noodles and I laid face down in the nice grass and shade for a little while before coming to terms on what I just did and snap back to reality. I was extremely happy to see my husband who had finished as well and ready to eat.
In one phrase, what is Gravel Worlds to you?
A rollercoaster adventure through the Nebraska countryside.
Venny Alub
Nickname:  Otter, Killer V
City:  New Waverly, Texas
Hometown:  Cozad, Nebraska
Day Job:  Cantu Cycling Wheels Marketing / Photographer
Team:  Cantu Cycling Wheels
GW Bike:  Yellow Steel Frame Hans Schneider aka Bumblebee