Chris Hammond
Chris Hammond Founder of, an avid computer geek, photographer, and amateur bicycle rider

2019 The Year of Gravel, in Review

2019 The Year of Gravel, in Review

Not sure we’ll get this posted before the end of 2019, but we’ve at least started writing it before then! So a quick review of all things ‘19, look for another post for what’s coming in ‘20! 2019 was our first real Gravel year, and hopefully the first of many.

The year started with a plan, and that plan was to get registered for the Dirty Kanza, we really didn’t have a backup plan. This occurred by registering for the Dirty Kanza lottery in January, two of us registered as a team from our local CrossFit gym, and another buddy signed up as an individual. I know a few other folks who registered as individual riders and they did not get in. Steve and myself got in with the team registration selection, and Chris L. got in with his individual lottery entry. More on DK itself later.

So I got registered in January, but it wasn’t until the beginning of April before I took my first real ride. I put in 270 miles in April, my second highest total for the year.

We started May off with a big event, the Tour of Hermann gravel challenge. A two day ride, with the option for 1 to 5 loops. I ended up doing 2 of 3 loops on Saturday and 1 loop on Sunday, for a total of 108 hilly gravelly miles. If you haven’t tried out some Missouri Gravel, get registered for the Tour of Hermann 2020, registration opened up recently, the event happens the first weekend of May 2020. I definitely don’t feel like I was as trained for ToH as I needed to be, and hope to improve that for 2020.

The end of May, and early June brought the grand daddy of them all, the Dirty Kanza. Upon completion of the ride I was sure I had to do it again in 2020, and started trying to figure out how I could guarantee myself an entry into the event. That brought me, and Chris W, back to Emporia in July for the Lunar Kanza. Some of the same roads as DK, with a sunset and some moonlit riding, along with plenty of opportunities to “win” prizes. I was able to secure myself a Golden Ticket, allowing me to bypass the lottery for DK 2020!

August didn’t bring any organized rides, but I was able to keep my streak of 200+ miles a month going. September brought riding in Lincoln Nebraska, on some of the very same roads that the Gravel Worlds took place on in August. If you haven’t checked out some of the gravel in Nebraska, you definitely should. I put in 47 miles over a few hours, and didn’t see a vehicle on the road for the first 2+ hours of my ride. The end of September brought a road ride with the 10th annual Pedal The Cause ride in St. Louis, of which myself and Dave took part for our 7th time, both earning the yellow jersey fundraising level this year thanks to very generous friends and family. It was another hot day, but a great ride around the roads here in St. Louis County.

October brought the awesomely named Cuban Gravel Crisis based out of Cuba, Missouri. Another great ride on some HILLY Missouri roads. 50 miles, 5k feet of climbing, with a start time temperature of 32 degrees. After the Cuban ride, my riding tapered off. I got a couple of additional outdoor rides in with friends, and a trainer ride in or two, but definitely not enough riding!

I crossed 1,802.9 miles for the year, far off from my initial goal of 2,500, but almost 6x as many miles as I did in 2018. I just realized, with < 7 minutes left in 2019, that this year was 1 mile less than my previous biggest year, 2012, where I rode 1803.9. If I had noticed this 10 minutes earlier, I would have gone out and rode another 1.5 miles to break the record, but this just means I need to ride more next year to make sure I surpass both 2012 and 2019.

Hope you had a great 2019, and hope to see you out on some gravel roads in 2020!

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