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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