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Before CX, Gravel Worlds

Gravel Worlds, a 150-mile gravel race around Lincoln, Nebraska, is a must-do for many local cyclists, including those on GPCTCX, who if they didn't ride (Jen, Rachel, Allison, and Russell), helped out and cheered others on.

Brian Waters

Closed? Maybe for cars, but not for bikes. 

Brian found his sun-guard arm and leg covers useful in the hot Nebraska sun.

This was my second Gravel Worlds. The first half was mostly on roads I had never been on before, which was lots of fun. I was pleased to improve my time by 3 hours 22 minutes compared to 2016, on a course that was 7 miles longer than the 2016 course.

Rachel Gehringer-Wiar

Rachel and Tamara Virgil set the bar of positivity rather high. 

While I couldn't ride Gravel Worlds this year due to a health issue, I had an incredible experience volunteering and providing support. My friend and I staffed a "roving oasis," where we popped up on various remote roads with snacks and water. I've never seen so many people greet sliced watermelon with such enthusiasm! 

Rachel and fellow GPCTCXer, Michelle. 
Volunteering flipped my Gravel Worlds experience by 180 degrees. As a racer in endurance events like this, I'm focused only on personal survival and sharing my constant appreciation towards volunteers and friends who help me through. As a volunteer, I spent the day prioritizing and tending to the needs of others, and I received so many thoughtful thank-yous in return. We were an important source of resources and support for many racers, especially late in the day. Providing tangible help in times of intense physical struggle to both friends and to those I had just met was a powerful role to fill, and I felt overwhelmed in the best way by the end of the day. 

The gravel community in Nebraska is something special, and I'm happy to have multiple ways to be a part of it.

Abhilesh Dhawanjewar

Never ridden even a 100 miles before, so why not do 150?

Never having ridden a century before, the 151 mile-long Gravel Worlds was a challenging but an incredibly fun experience. The course set up by the organisers offered some spectacular views of the Nebraskan countryside as I started out in the wee hours of Saturday rolling through dense fog illuminated by the first rays of sunlight. The atmosphere was energetic and festive as many villages came out together to help the pirates on the voyage. Even though I couldn’t feel my legs by the end and was literally squirming on the ground due to cramps, the help and friendliness of the volunteers and fellow riders alike made it possible for me to end what was the most memorable day of my life in recent memory on a successful note.

Michelle Haikalis

Michelle rode the 75-mile course, probably with a smile the whole time.
Photo credit: Jon Karas

Paul Gebers

Photo credit: Kyle Hansen.
Gravel Worlds is one of those races that I train for all summer but never really feel ready for. Many long rides never really prepared me for the high gravel seas. The day began smooth. I rolled through the first two aid stations feeling great and had some great conversations with old friends along the way. Miles rolled by and I quickly lost track of time. Before I could realize it I was in Malcom and the race was half over. I stopped for some amazing BBQ and continued to roll along. Now people were spread out. I found myself alone. pounding out the miles with no one to talk to. It made me realize how sore I was. I could not shake the thought of every muscle in my back, legs, and hips that was starting to tighten up. I slowed my pace and rolled through another checkpoint. Now the temps have made it into the low 90's and the gravel roads that are bare of any shady trees allow the heat to pound down upon me. I begin to feel loopy, still trying to sip water every few minutes. I can't seem to keep up. At mile 112 I run into some lovely gravel angels and teammate Rachel who give me shade, watermelon and ice! I finally have enough encouragement to finish out the race.I continue to push on! headache gone, legs refreshed and excited to have this done with. As I crossed over from Gravel roads to pavement, I knew there was only 1 mile left. I was filled with joy, excited to finish another Gravel Worlds race. I crossed the finish line at 13hrs and 15min. No course record but in my book, it was a win just to finish it. Overall, I had a good time and got to hang out with some great people eat some good food, and enjoy all the rolling hills Nebraska has to offer. Now that I have this Gravel crap out of the way,  Bring on Cross!!!

Thanks to everyone at the Pirate Cycling League for putting on such a great race!

Jason Strohbehn

Jason, like Sydney opted to call it day at the halfway point of 75 miles.
Photo credit: Kyle Hansen

Sydney Brown

Photo credit: Kyle Hansen
I was delusional. I had made a good plan, register for the 75 miles and call it a day. But, I got caught up in the excitement and when I discovered my registration was in the 150 masters women, I sort of lost my head and definitely lost track of my original plan. I figured, "Who knows? Maybe it will be fine, maybe I'll do 150."

Well, around mile 60 my shoulder began sending twinges down my arm and by mile 70 reality was in full force. Fact 1: If I did the next half it was going to be excruciating to complete and if I didn't complete it, I would have still maxed my capacity and undermined the training plan.  Fact 2: If I rode home at the 75-mile point, it would still be a 90+ mile day, but I wouldn't be wrecked. 

Fortunately, Sensible Self won out and I returned to the venue later to celebrate the many successes of the team and friends.  Even had a nice chat with superstar Allison Tetrick. 


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