New for 2020: 18-mile distance replaces 22-mile
Hey all you gravel lovers, we've got some exciting news! Our team has been hard at work dialing in the details for 2020 and we've got a few changes coming. One of the big ones is modifying the 22 mile route. For 2020 the 22 mile course will be replaced with an 18 mile course!! We're excited about this for a number of reasons. First and foremost this will be a big step forward in rider safety. With nearly 4,000 riders out and about, safety and rider interaction is number one for us. Our goal is for EVERYONE to have an awesome time out there whether it's your first ride as a beginner or you're a returning 62 mile champion.
We have eliminated the course overlap where the 22 and 36/62 merge prior to The Wall and have a safer 22 and 36 mile merge on Anders Road. With the shorter course this will also give more casual 22 milers extra time to get back to the finish before the lead 62 mile riders merge into the finishing stretch.
We often hear from first-timers that the 22 mile course is a bit much and harder than they bargained for. With the most elevation per mile of all our courses it is a challenging ride. The new 18 mile route removes The Wall and Cemetery Climb effectively cutting out 200' of elevation gain. Our hope is that this will be a more beginner friendly route as it was intended to be from the get-go.
Lastly, if this change perturbs you please keep in mind we didn't take this decision lightly! We spent many working hours pouring over our rider interaction analysis spreadsheet, reviewing options, and weighing the benefits. We feel it's a leap forward in rider safety and ensuring EVERYONE has a good time out there. Plus, if 18 miles is too short for you don't forget we've got a perfectly pleasant 36 miler! ;)