Gravel Fest Recap

GravelFest 2019 was May 13th – May 19th. We had an amazing time! Read about it below

David Epperson Photography   riding along RCR 44 on day 1 of Gravel Fest

Gravel Fest is an annual local event hosted by our good buddy & longtime Routt County local JR Thompson. The idea behind this event was first & foremost to get some friends together and go for rides all week. All rides were FREE and open to anyone who wanted to join. By promoting local businesses, getting a few sponsors, and creating a social media presence it turned into something a bit more meaningful than just a few organized group rides.

David Epperson Photography    Elk River, County Road 44

Biking culture is changing. It’s becoming more inclusive than exclusive. It’s also becoming more exploratory in regards to what is physically possible and what is possible to create. Gravel Fest is a true celebration of all this. It was JR’s 50th Birthday on the last ride of the week so we really did celebrate! We had cake at mile 25 on Sunday’s ride! (Thanks a million to Nate Bradley for setting this up).

David Epperson Photography –  Routt County Road 29

I came away from Gravel Fest with some new friendships that I wouldn’t otherwise have made. It’s all about riding, exploring our neck of the woods, and getting to know each other. I knew most people who showed up for the rides but never had the chance to really connect with anyone until we spent time riding together. The experience of riding bikes with your friends for 7 days in a row – and you’ll certainly make friends if you didn’t show up with any – is something extraordinary. I rode all 7 days in a row but of course you could pick & choose whatever rides you wanted to do. If you wanted to really challenge yourself you could go for the 500K challenge, where you try to get in 500 km during the week in whichever way you can. One person did this that I know of, local legend Jon Cariveau . There were 3 of us that did all 7 seven rides for a total of 287 miles, 17.5 hours, and 17k ft of climbing.

David Epperson Photography  – County Road 52E Salt Creek, one of my favorites

The forecast leading up to Gravel Fest week was not looking too promising, at least a 40% chance of rain or snow every day! We really lucked out with what mother nature actually decided to do though. We had fairly good weather for the majority of the rides. Out of all 7 rides, we were only rained on once for about 5 minutes and snowed on (but more like grapple) for a few minutes.  Temps were in the 40-60 Fº range and not too much wind. The forecast probably deterred a few people from showing up, but we still had a good turn out. 

David Epperson Photography– County Road 14, River Road

Promoting local businesses and local cycling culture is also important for our town. We are Bike Town USA after all. By supporting our local bike shops and local businesses we are creating a more connected, thriving community. Some sponsors for Gravel Fest included: The Dirty Roads, Orange Peel Bikes, SBT GravelMoots, Ski Haus, The Classic Crank, Mountain Tap Brewery, Velo Scapes, The Barley, Steamboat Coffee Roasters, Zirkel Designs.

David Epperson Photography  – Brad & I riding up Trout Creek, RCR 29

There are plenty of amazing places to ride your bike but there is something special about Routt County. Come and visit us and I’ll show you!

All the gravel rides we did are listed on the Gravel Fest website. While you’re at it, follow Gravel Fest on Instagram and on Facebook.

Until next time!

Peace ✌🏻

Hannah B