After a 31 year corporate career, I decided to retire this past August at the age of 58. Just how does one start off retirement? I chose to kick it off with a twist, an epic road trip in pursuit of cycling races and cycling destinations.
The gravel scene has seen an increase in popularity in the last couple years, but the definition of gravel riding has yet to be officially defined. If you ask someone to describe gravel riding, you will get a different answer depending on where they are from. If I had to define it myself, I would say gravel riding is about “all-road” riding: a mixture of paved road, dirt—and, yes—gravel. But it’s not just about the surface you are riding on, it’s about adventure, camaraderie, and an overall good time.
This year marks my fourth ride of the Belgian Waffle Ride. I first rode the event in 2015 when “gravel” was just becoming a dedicated bike category and my Supersix Evo with “wide” 25mm tires and tubes seemed to fit right in. By the end I had a dent in one of my rims and my arms were cramping, but I had finished. And I was hooked.
The Belgian Waffle Ride is commonly referred to as the Hell of the North (county), among other strong adjectives to describe its brutal nature. It is NOT often, if ever, referred to as a beginner's ride. But scarily enough, for me, that's what it was.