reubenc
VeloNews has decided that they're qualified to declare 5 "gravel" races as "Monuments". They're announcing one per day this week. So far, they've announced DK (the only unanimous item on their list) and Belgian Waffle Ride.

I firmly disagree with their inclusion of BWR (despite its prestige, age, and quality of attendance) because I think that 36% of the route being gravel (50 of 138 miles) is far far too low of a percentage to be on the Monuments of Gravel list.

I'm curious if they chose SBT GRVL over Gravel Worlds as part of that ride's press and calendar assault. I don't think they should, but it won't surprise me.
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Gunny
I must have misread the article, I read that they reached out to the gravel community and asked the elite riders their opinions on what they considered the 5  "Monuments". They came up with a tie and now the readers will decide between 2 of them. Sounds like they reported what some in that community feel are the Gravel Monuments. 
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bnystrom
This is a "Controversy"? You need to ride more and think less. 🙄
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reubenc
bnystrom wrote:
This is a "Controversy"? You need to ride more and think less. 🙄


Well that's a given! 🙂
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sincos
Reading the article made me realize ...
"We love pro road cycling’s five Monuments: Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, Milano-Sanremo, Il Lombardia, and Liége-Bastogne-Liége."

All of those races started out as gravel races, possibly with sections of pave thrown in. The early Tours were full length gravel races every few days for 2-3 weeks. What goes round comes round.
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ljsmith
I think it comes down to what you think “gravel” riding is.  Not too long ago there was discussion on what to call this (supposedly) new kind of riding: adventure, allroad, gravel and there were probably other names.  I personally think gravel encompasses more than strictly gravel riding.  To me it means hopping on your bike and riding on whatever surface you find, exploring unknown routes.  So I personally have no issue with the inclusion of BWR, even though almost everyone is on a road bike with 28c tires.  
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tsafur
reubenc wrote:
VeloNews has decided that they're qualified to declare 5 "gravel" races as "Monuments". They're announcing one per day this week. So far, they've announced DK (the only unanimous item on their list) and Belgian Waffle Ride.

I firmly disagree with their inclusion of BWR (despite its prestige, age, and quality of attendance) because I think that 36% of the route being gravel (50 of 138 miles) is far far too low of a percentage to be on the Monuments of Gravel list.

I'm curious if they chose SBT GRVL over Gravel Worlds as part of that ride's press and calendar assault. I don't think they should, but it won't surprise me.


Have you raced the top 5 "MONUMENTS"? Or any of the one's listed on the list?

If not, you are not qualified to do any write up to disagree with VeloNews.

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Talabardio
My understanding is that SBT has only been around for one iteration - to my mind this makes it an odd choice to proclaim a monument. Part of the monument status in cycling relates to the longevity of the event, an argument in not instantly making the well-received Strade Bianche race a monument. If we disregard longevity completely, why not make the new ‘Big Sugar’ gravel race in Arkansas a monument, even though the first edition has not happened yet?
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Shaun McNally
There shouldn't be any question for the two races that are tied. The tie breaker should be which race has been around longer? 
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advcyclist
Consider the source... VeloNews is and has always been predominately a roadie mag, thusly; they are more likely to consider BWR as a "gravel" race when, really; it's just another overpriced GF with a gravel secteur.

They, like so many others in my area, are jumping on the gravel bandwagon that many of us have been riding and racing for years... nearly a decade now. What used to be "the roads that shall never be tread by bicycle" are now en vogue and all the salivating marketing departments at the bike manufacturers are flush with cash to rake in thousands and thousands of dollars on slightly modified CX platforms.

Me... I'm still riding and racing a 23 year old Moots Psychlo-X with canti brakes and maximum tire width of 700 x 38...

With so many ex-GT pros claiming gravel as their new sport; gravel racing for the common rider has jumped the shark...
Correlation does not necessarily imply causation
@advcyclist
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bnystrom
Honestly, why does anyone care about this? Go ride your bikes, whatever they are and wherever you want!
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Zurichman
ljsmith wrote:
  So I personally have no issue with the inclusion of BWR, even though almost everyone is on a road bike with 28c tires.  



I have only been riding gravel for about 2 years now. Coming from the roadie end, anybody that can ride a gravel ride/race with 28c tires IMHO isn't riding a gravel ride/race. A true gravel ride/race IMHO is probably going to require a 700 x 36 or larger tire. I am on the quest to ride a 50 miler in all 50 States I had the BWR on  my short list but with all that macadam that is a no. I have too many rides on the East Coast here I can do that has too much macadam in them.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Zurichman
There shouldn't be any question for the two races that are tied. The tie breaker should be which race has been around longer? 


I would think it would be the one with the most gravel in it or the most difficult.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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reubenc
Zurichman wrote:



I have only been riding gravel for about 2 years now. Coming from the roadie end, anybody that can ride a gravel ride/race with 28c tires IMHO isn't riding a gravel ride/race. A true gravel ride/race IMHO is probably going to require a 700 x 36 or larger tire. I am on the quest to ride a 50 miler in all 50 States I had the BWR on  my short list but with all that macadam that is a no. I have too many rides on the East Coast here I can do that has too much macadam in them.

Zman


I think my main problem with BWR is that they describe it as having gravel sectors, implying that "gravel" is not the default for the race. If that's the case, then it's a Strade Bianche style road race, not a gravel race.
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Mackdhagen
sorry just found this thread but yea, I enjoyed the article series a lot but do disagree with their picks. First they reached out to pro's to compile the list and of and not all riders. The pro's are gonna place the top races that give them the top 2 things that they care about, exposure and prize or appearance money. Thats why BWR and STBT GRVL are on there. I think the rest of the list is ok but yea for BWR...its not really a gravel ride and steamboat , yea never ridden it and i'm sure its a great course (i used to live there and know parts of the course) but whats better than the course and its significance is the promoter whom is a great marketeer in getting the word out, gaining big sponsorship and rallying the community about the FIRST year race. Both races have good promoters that know how to market, which is important but to call a race a monument pretty much just based on that and not it's course, participation or general fun factor merits is a very one sided approach to calling it a monument. 
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Pipeliner

It’s a celebration of elite riders who are mostly former world tour roadies. That’s OK, I enjoy seeing what world class athletes can do and even more so when they lose to a mountain biker. But an event like SBT is hardly my idea of a gravel race. It’s a road race on some very fast, groomed gravel roads with massive commercial support. Most of the riders are on 32c slicks. No problem with that but these road race style events are evolving into the exclusive (and boring) shows that are just a mini World Tour.

To me, gravel riding is defined by challenging road surfaces, rutted or fluffy dry or deep fresh gravel. Steep, nasty climbs and descents. You know, the real world. That’s what appeals to average Joe. Fight your way through crappy conditions and toast with a cold one at the end. That is still the appeal of Kanza, which will always be a true gravel event in my mind. I can identify with the suffering, I can not identify with a 50 rider peloton cracking along at 25 mph avg, no concern at all over busting your ass on a rut left by a tandem farm truck.

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Mackdhagen
Hi Pipeliner...i tend to agree on the SBT GRVL race. I've ridden on parts of the course years ago and can say that all the pic's that i saw of the race, looked just like i remembered.. perfectly groomed WIDE gravel roads. To give ya an idea i use to ride them on my road bike with 23c's. The roads are key access points (I think you could take them all the way up to WY!) for many ranchers, farmers, and you have to think fracking/oil as well which means that Route County and others groom those things with a fine tooth comb to assure access and speed. 
Its been a while since i read the race report but i think in the end it did finish in an individual effort at least for the men (i think the top woman finished with other fast guys in a bunch...not sure) but i know the first 2/3'rd was almost like a road race/group ride...hardly a Kanza, red river riot or many others where the right line can mean a good day or a bad day and drafting is iffy at best. Maybe some rain would give it some "character" (although that soil and gravel is no sticky red clay..sheds well). No to dis on SBT, given the opportunity i'd do it in a heart beat and hope to one day (but just because of my connection to The Boat!). 
Back to the premise of the article, Is it a Monument?  Based on the course, meh (epic scenery, long course yes). Personally i think Its WAY to new of a race to call it one. Velo News needs to look at the other 95% of participants and take out the pro/Colorado connection of the equation next time. They know her well, the promoter, and given the amount of VN attention you could tell. VN how about a little journalistic objectivity instead of pandering to good PR!
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Groadie
I am kinda new to gravel so I dont know the proper etiquette of what a proper gravel ride is and isn't.  It does seem to mean a lot of different things to a lot of people though.  I kinda think it means it all.  Gravel, like road, is different everywhere you go.  Where I live there isn't a lot of places where I can do straight gravel all day.  I have to find segments and jump between them via paved roads.  Heck, some of the roads I ride around me are worse than gravel roads.  There is a national forest near me where I could drive to and ride gravel all day long.  So ... I kinda come to the self professed ignorant conclusion that I have just as much fun riding in both places.  I guess the point is ... every bike is a gravel bike if you try hard enough so I guess every bike could be a road bike if you try hard enough.  I kinda picked my username on that point ... some days I love riding a lot of gravel, some days I love riding a lot of roads and some days I love riding both.  
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bnystrom
Well what do you know, someone finally posted something sensible in this otherwise ridiculous thread.Groadie, I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly.
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Rando
reubenc wrote:


I firmly disagree with their inclusion of BWR (despite its prestige, age, and quality of attendance) because I think that 36% of the route being gravel (50 of 138 miles) is far far too low of a percentage to be on the Monuments of Gravel list.


PR and RVV are the biggest of the 'Cobbled Classics' races. PR is normally between 50km - 60km of cobbles, which is less than 25% of the race course distance. RVV is no more.
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