Gravel (Race) Controversy?

Anyone know the backstory here?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CsmFEl4O3eS/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Don’t know the details, but sounds like more “Spirit of Gravel” nonsense….which ironically is doing more to kill the spirit of gravel than almost anything else.

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not this bs again :roll_eyes:

if you don’t like group tactics, sign up for a TT.

Did he put a stick in another racer’s wheel? no? then fair play.

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I like the quote “ riders are not coming from all over the world to take their “fair” share of the wind. They are coming to perform.”

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I read the little text, what is the issue precisely? Was he not spending enough time in the wind or avoided taking his pulls? Riding through feed zones while competitors stopped? All of this seems pretty normal to me when you are at the pointy end of the race.

Indeed, this is why some people prefer hill climb TTs or enduro-style road races to traditional road races. Our best female team member only does hill climb TTs as she doesn’t like being in the middle of a road race. She has a running background (she ran a 3-hour marathon in the past), so that makes sense to me.

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Would love to know who was doing the complaining. I don’t get it. “not taking your pulls” sounds like sophomoric weekend warrior group ride crap. It’s mass start racing where drafting is core to success at all levels. I guess maybe there was a different dynamic when there were only a few guys strong enough to fight it out in the front, but the fields are much deeper now. I’m seeing the same thing at the amateur level, moving more toward road tactics as the fields have larger numbers of strong folks that can stay together in large groups. Gravel is still more of battle of attrition compared to a road racing, but being the strongest isn’t as big of a factor as it used to be. Everyone loves watching a strong “hero” rider win solo from distance, but group tactics make for interesting racing as well and gravel still adds elements that make for much better racing compared to road in my opinion.

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That was all?!? Isn’t this road racing 101?

I have never participated in a gravel race, but my impression is that for the majority of athletes many gravel races used to be about people finishing and achieving certain times (similar to triathletes). And now as competition is heating up at the front, more and more people care about winning? Is that it?

I would guess that gravel (thankfully) comes in many forms, some fire road-y, some with lots of paved segments, other very gnarly bits. So trying to come up with race strategies for particular riders seems like fun to me.

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The mix of abilities and objectives varies greatly depending on the race, but most of them are mix of serious racing at the front and a charity group ride at the rear. It’s an aspect that makes them a lot of fun. People can crap all over the “commercialized” events like leadville or BWR, but it creates a cool vibe with world class athletes racing the same event as someone who is just trying to finish. I volunteered to ride sweeper at the leadville stage race last year and watching the effort/fight in the folks at the back was pretty inspirational even to a jaded old fart like me.

I do think there has been a significant influx of strong riders coming into gravel in the past couple years. Obviously at the pro level, but just as much so in the amateur ranks with strong roadies and MTB folks getting into the gravel scene. I don’t think the competitive folks are getting more competitive, I think there are just more of them which changes the dynamics. It’s a lot easier to get away from a group of 5 riders of similar fitness than a group of 30, so groups are staying together more and racing is getting more defensive from what I’ve seen. I’ve rolled into to the finish in a couple races this year with a pack of 20+ riders. Maybe that’s just weird circumstances, but that has never happened to me previously in several years of gravel racing. I think there were about 15 in the final pro group at Gravel Locos and it was a big pack on the front much of the day (not for me, I lasted about 20 minutes, but was still in big/fast groups much of the day).

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From what I’ve read, at the 2021 Gravel Locos, the lead group of 8 agreed to stop for water at the last 30 miles. Roberge didn’t stop because he was wearing a hydration pack where the others were carrying only bottles. This upset the rest of the group because they had agreed to stop for water.

What’s not clear is whether Roberge agreed to stop with the rest of the group. If he did, while no rules were broken, I think it ruins trust with other riders . If he didn’t agree to stop, I don’t see why anyone is having a problem.

Here’s the VeloNew article: Commentary: Inside gravel cycling's 'wait or race' debate - VeloNews.com

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Boswell has been the most vocal. Others too, but mostly Ian.

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Why would you agree to stop if you carried a hydration pack and all that extra weight? It makes no sense. I bet none of the other riders volunteered to carry his pack for him but then they want him to stop and wait for them while they rest and grab some water? Come on man.

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There’s more in his stories:

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And from Ian Boswell, who I assume kicked this nonsense off:

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The whole industry wants everybody to gravel. Don’t win, be nice, but at the same time win cause there’s big bonus for wins. But if you do win, please do it nicely.

This Discourse™ is so dumb. It’s so freaking dumb. I’m not even going to get clever with my description of how dumb it is, because it’s too dumb. How do you show up to win a bike race and then get mad when there’s bike racing? It’s so dumb.

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“Someone beat me. It’s not fair”

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This is such a dumb take for a race. Why not just take power meter readings and see who’s done the highest avg power over the race to determine the winner? If you call it a race, all is fair imho.

Sounds like he’s mad someone raced smarter and got beaten to me.

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Hey guys, can we all take turns carrying my hydration pack? Then I might stop next time, too. :rofl:

Pit stop strategies are a thing in circuit racing. Hardly some new thing.

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Best random IG quote was: “If we get anymore drama around here L3gion is going to start a gravel team”.

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Next time i race I’ll be sure to sit on the front the whole time and pull everyone along - while carrying all their water for them and stopping whenever anyone wants a rest or a snack. #spiritofgravel

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I am not a fan of Ian at this point. Its a bike race, try to win. If you dont want to race, go for a ride.

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Lol, “Dylan rode like four men out there”. That doesn’t sound like a badge of honor. Sounds more like poor race tactics. Unless he was just racing hard for training purposes and didn’t care about the win.

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I like having the pros at these races to see what amazing times they put up. But what I don’t care for is the drama that comes along with their presence. I get for many of them it’s their livelihood so they get more upset about things vs the rest of us regulars just trying to grind it out and finish.

There’s always complaints about aero bars, somebody not pulling, not stopping at an aid station, etc. The pros are such a small percentage of most of these races overall field.

I see the “spirit of gravel” more as STFU and ride rather than “so and so didn’t do his fair share of pulling. :sob:

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