I came to Colorado a road rider. A pavement junkie. Rim brakes and all carbon everything.
Florida isn’t exactly a mountain biking or off-road riding mecca. The few trails I explored were by foot and mostly in my D2 collegiate running days. They were fairly short, very sandy, completely flat, and crowded with runners. Mountain bikers would occasionally pass by, their bike tires squishing over exposed tree roots and fallen palms. Not quite the landscape for shredding or sending.
Even when I did transition from mostly running to mostly cycling in Florida, I’d never considered trails. Honestly, when I went out for a long weekend ride, I didn’t even like bumps in the road, when the pavement was uneven, cracked or weathered. I cringed when my tires hit stray rocks and ricocheted off my rims in the bike lanes.
So when I came to Colorado and learned about these things called gravel bikes, and met these people who picked dirt roads and rocky trails over flat and fast pavement…I had to see what it was all about. Everyone said I’d love it.
And after my first dirt ride on my road bike…I definitely didn’t love it. And I was definitely sore the next morning. My hands and arms vibrated over the loose gravel; I felt like my brain was rattling around in my skull. I had a headache for a couple hours and my forearms ached from white-knuckling the bars and brakes.
But I kept on in the name of making and keeping cycling friends.
Slowly, each ride got better—as good as it could get on a road bike with 25mm tires. I joined group rides that took me off road, away from traffic, and into the mountains—and I started enjoying it. So much so that I got my own gravel bike—an actual machine MADE for shredding the gnar.
The Ibis Hakka.
It’s set up 1×11 and great for exploring the less-traveled and even racing CX in the Fall if I muster up enough courage and somehow get in touch with my coordinated side.
This bike makes me feel like a kid again. Like when I’d meet up with my neighborhood friends and rip down a hill on my busted Huffy.
That kind of carefree fun.
I’ve taken it out a handful of times, and every time I head for the trails, I’m more focused on fun rather than time or distance. It’s a refreshing change from treating every ride like a workout—something I got used to doing on a road bike.
I wish I’d gotten into gravel riding earlier, but I’m thankful it’s come into my life.
Do you follow me on Instagram? I’ve been pretty good about posting photos and videos of all my rad rides lately 🙂
Push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>