May not be Belgian Mud but tri-poding around corners can be useful on fast gravel turns.

May not be Belgian Mud but tri-poding around corners can be useful on fast gravel turns.

My first event of the season went off on Saturday. Nearly 200 riders came out to brave the impending rain in the “cold” (for Texas) weather to ride at least 52 miles on a 90% gravel and dirt road course. This was The Spinistry’s Texas Chainring Massacre.

Spinistry only puts on difficult events and is known for their Gravel Grinders, what amounts to Ultra CX or Road events where the road surface is predominately Gravel. You only have to go 1hr outside the center of the DFW Metroplex to find enough gravel roads to put on a great event. This year’s Massacre was a 52 mile loop with only short stretches of pavement and given their condition would have not been fun on skinny tires. The rest of the surface was chunky gravel or hard packed dirt.

Sometimes you need a little extra sodium to get you through tough rides. #hyperhydration #crampfree

Sometimes you need a little extra sodium to get you through tough rides. #hyperhydration #crampfree

There were multiple categories available for those looking to race or just do a “fun ride”. I lined up for the 105mi Open Race along with 69 others after starting my morning off with some Skratch Labs Hyper Hydration to stave off cramps. The race started with a 1 mile neutral roll out and when we took the first right onto a gravel hill the race was on. I was badly positioned but as there were 2 Cadence Cyclery Elite Team members in the race I tried to make the initial selection at the front to put in some work for them. Unfortunately my bad position didn’t allow me to make the group when a small attack was made right at the start.

I put in a moderate effort to try and bridge but the cross winds were strong and the riders at the front even stronger. I ended up dropping back and bouncing through a few groups eventually ending up around the Women’s race leaders. The Women’s race was only one lap of the course and after not making the front selection, and dreading the impending wet weather, I resigned myself to ending my ride before the rain after 1 lap. I put in a few efforts to help eventual Women’s 2nd place Christina Gokey-Smith bridge up to a small chase group and then backed off my pace when we hit some steep gravel climbs.

I spent the rest of the race riding at a decent speed and only putting in a few more harder efforts for training. I took a wrong turn shortly after the mid-point rest stop (Thanks Damon from Cadence Cyclery Highland Village for catching my empty bottle) and ended up doing an extra 2 miles. I rolled in at 3:10 for 27th place in the Open Race. Only 19 of the 69 starters actually completed the second lap of the tough course.

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My Focus Mares continues to serve me well and the Sram Force CX1 gave me no issues when the roads got rough. Thankfully this dust isn’t from neglect.

Thanks to Spinistry for the great event and the top pictures!

Next up: Northshore – DORBA Frozen Series 6hr MTB race