But the people and town city of Newport welcomed us with open arms. The course comprised itself of many roads I knew well and rode frequently. It would be a race, but many in the field were treating it as a ride. For some, they were here to support the Mary Wright Halo Foundation, the benefactor of the event and their mission to help families affected by cancer defer costs of traveling to receive treatment. Others were looking for a challenging race, ala Battenkill, to test their early season fitness. Although I had a number on my Fit Werx jersey, I think I managed to fall into both groups as mid April is way too early for this guy to have race fitness.
On Saturday morning we awoke to a mostly overcast April morning, and then the rains came. Just four days earlier, when things were starting to dry out a bit, a cold front rolled through and dropped 2.
Soft dirt roads were already saturated and more rain would make things that much softer and slower. Jockey for position, attack in the ditch and do it at nearly 25 miles an hour was the order of the day. Once rolling out of Newport, the first third of the course has a fair amount of climbing and I did a good job to stay with a decent sized group of like ability riders as we rolled towards Coventry village. While I intended to ride with some of my ski racing friends, I would find myself wondering when or if we would all regroup. Cyberia was surreal. Being the type A personality that I am, I had walked this section of the course earlier in the week and had some idea of what to expect.
The downhill off Cyberia could be ridden if you had the right equipment and mindset. I did, as I harkened back to my days of racing mountain bikes. Simply point the bike downhill, relax and pedal. I hooked up with an old teammate from a previous incarnation as a bike racer and we figured our group would swell.
Rasputitsa Spring Classic
As we rolled through Troy and Jay a group of 5 or 6 caught us and promptly left me. I was 20 miles, or perhaps a little less, from the finish and I chose to ride my pace rather than lift it and pay for it down the road. Alone I was. I would encounter a rider periodically, but they were either going by me, moving quicker than I could, or vice versa at this point.
It had started to rain again, only this time it was freezing rain. As I crested the last dirt climb on Farrar Road, I was caught by a young rider who was on a standard road bike who was still mumbling about Cyberia. After a few words of mutual encouragement, and my assurances to him that it was basically downhill until the finish, we shifted our focus to that…the finish. We hit the Lake Road and put our heads down.
Here his road bike left my CX bike for dead. Alone again. I could see Newport and the ice that still covered Lake Memphremagog and with every pedal stroke I was inching closer. The last little climb grade onto Main Street hurt, especially since I had three riders closing on me and I certainly was in no mood to sprint. In the case of Rasputitsa, it starts with the two founders and an impressive commitment to the race participants.
Another big part of growing the Rasputitsa community has been in encouraging the participation of women. Rasputitsa started that way but has grown since. Part of that encouragement is a non-race event called Bittersweet. Like we have a Bittersweet event where there was skiing.
- Gravel Race: Vermont’s Rasputitsa Celebrates Cycling, Community, Charity … And Mud.
- Sweet and Sour;
- Hernando de Soto and Property in a Market Economy (Law, Property and Society);
- So is it a Race or Is it a Ride?;
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We try to put everyone on the same level to make it encouraging. Then there is charity.
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- Principles of Automotive Engines (Mechanics and Hydraulics).
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All of the money raised by Rasputitsa goes toward giving young women more opportunities to ride bikes via the Little Bellas organization. This year, Rasputitsa drew over 1, avid gravel enthusiasts as well as an impressive cast of professional racers from across the disciplines. One of those professionals summed up her experience rather succinctly. Rasputitsa checked in at only 41 miles this year, which is quite a bit shorter than the usual km or miles we see as a starting distance for challenging events.
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However, those 41 miles included 4, feet of climbing and roads that were at times impassible by bike. Mentally, just having to deal with the weather, I saw people out there who just broke down mentally. The conditions can be quite rough as Rasputitsa. The seasonal carnage is particularly focused in one section of road aptly named Cyberia. Myers described that particular corner of gravel cycling hell:. They are unmaintained roads.
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There is extensive snow cover in there. If you look at the pictures, you can see people literally walking their bikes through. Cyberia was again unrideable in spots this year. Although we recently saw neutral support at a gravel race , gravel is by and large for those are self-supported and not faint at heart.
Getting the right gear, being prepared and persevering are all part of the experience.
Rasputitsa: Is it a race or is it a ride? — To Be Determined Journal
The way Rasputitsa team sees it, all of that is part of the fun. Type 2 fun, probably, but still fun. What are people riding for tires? What bike choice?
Team Fit Werx Rasputitsa Race Report
Am I going to bring my fat bike? Should I bring my cyclocross bike? If you are still not sold on traveling to northeast Vermont for a mile gravel race, the event does come with a money back guarantee.
Not hard enough for you? Rasputitsa will return your entry fee. Thus far, everyone has gone home happy. With its location in New England, Rasputitsa is within driving distance for the talented roster of racers based in the region.
Not surprisingly, it brings out some big names from across cyclocross, mountain biking, road and gravel. There were national champions of all levels from the U. The week before the race, word dropped that Lars Boom would be racing Rasputitsa as his first-ever gravel race. Boom approached the organizers, and together, they worked out a way to get the cyclocross world champion to the start line. While Boom chipped in his rainbow-clad stature, other pros chipped in in other ways.