Let’s Ride! Solo DIY Gravel DK Ad Astra

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Let’s Ride! Solo DIY Gravel DK Ad Astra

Video and images by Ansel Dickey & Nick Keating

by Ted King

No events? No problem. How to solve the lack of gravel races – ride it solo.

With the ongoing Covid-19 situation placing all regular cycling events on hold indefinitely, people itching to go out and fill their lives with cycling challenges are having to do things differently. Take the ‘world’s premier gravel grinder’, a heady mix of outstanding countryside, miles and miles of glorious off-road gravel riding, good music, great times, and even better camaraderie. Fingers crossed we’ll be enjoying our favorite gravel events again in the near future – but in the meantime, Ted King took matters into his own hands and helped lead out DIY Gravel DK Ad Astra: individual ride challenges for everyone to enjoy on their own terms, in their own backyard, all ridden in the spirit of the original. Ted’s own challenge was a little different – Ted decided to cover an entire US State, corner to corner, in one ride. Here’s how he did it.

“A 310-mile ride will chew you up and spit you out. No matter how much I told myself to cool my jets, keep the powder dry, not go into the red, and any other metaphor with the message of not riding too hard, I had a tough time doing so.”

“Let’s backtrack. It’s 11pm on Saturday night at the end of a dirt road in far northern Vermont. There’s a steady pelting rain as I make the last-minute checks to my gear, lights, computer, and clothes. If we started trudging through the woods north past where the road ends, we’d meet the Canadian border in a matter of minutes. Instead, I’m about to set off south to the Massachusetts border. 310 miles of pedaling are ahead of me, 90% of it is gravel, where the pre-ride mapping software tells me features 31,000 feet of climbing, but it will actually tally just shy of 35,000 feet. I’m as fresh and ready and eager as ever. Time to get #DIYgravelDK going!” – Ted King

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