My year of gravel

As I thought about what I wanted to accomplish in 2023 for running and biking events, I ended up landing on a theme. In addition to doing another 100 mile trail race this year, I wanted to incorporate some biking events. As I started to investigate what events appealed to me, a pattern developed, so I decided to just lean in. The result is 5 events that all revolve around gravel.

When people think about gravel running they often think about flat endless rail trail, but at least one of my events is on hilly country roads of Nebraska. Not flat or easy at all. Flat and straight isn’t easy either. When you’re on a trail that seems to go on forever it can do a real number on your brain. Keeping motivated and focused when you can see miles ahead of you, and it never seems to get closer, can be brutal. However, after some success at Tuscobia this year I’m feeling pretty confident that I can make each of these events happen.

Here’s where you’ll find me in 2023:

  • Sugar Badger 50K (running): This is a warm up to my 100 mile race, on part of the same trail, and similar conditions.
  • Freedhem 46 (biking): Repeating this one from last year, this time on a different bike for fun.
  • Badger 100 (running): The big one for me this year when it comes to running. I’ve been wanting to get this one done for a while, and I’m excited to knock out another 100 miler.
  • Gravel Worlds Double (running/biking): I’ve been wanting to do a double for a while. This is an event where I run 25K on Friday, and then do a 75 mile bike ride on Saturday. All on gravel roads in Nebraska. This should be an interesting challenge.
  • Heck of the North 105 (biking): My first century biking event, and not an easy one either. I’ve heard that some of the gravel roads here are great, and a bunch of this isn’t even roads.

I’ll also be around at various aid stations again this year volunteering, as well as pacing and crewing for at least one event.

It’s nice to lay out a plan for the year and then figure out how to get there. My early training has been solid and I’m feeling good about my first ramp-ups in mileage. The biggest challenge for me this year is mixing the running and biking training correctly to ensure I’m peaking at the right time for each of the different events.

It’ll be interesting to see how I feel about gravel road and trail after this year. Maybe next year will be nothing but climbing big hills to make up for this year’s lack of vert!


Beer, running, and geeky things.

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