Friday, February 5, 2016

2017 AntiEpic Gravel Grinder

RMCC made its foray into the gravel scene in 2016 by taking over the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, carrying on a tradition started by gravel aficionado, Ben Welnak. In 2017, the RMCC incorporates the AntiEpic into the Colorado Triple Crown (Photo: Ben Welnak)

Since the inaugural Dirty Kanza 200 in 2006, the popularity of "gravel grinders" has exploded in the U.S. and is the now the most rapidly growing genre in cycling. The inaugural Dirty Kanza 200 in Emporia, Kansas had only 34 participants. Fast-forward 10 years and the DK200 now attracts over 1,600 participants from all over the U.S.! In addition to Dirty Kanza, dozens of endurance gravel events have popped up throughout the country over the past decade, including the Almanzo 100, Trans Iowa, Odin's Revenge, Crushar in the Tushar, and Gravel Worlds, just to name a few. It's clear that endurance gravel riding is here to stay!

A rider travels one of many sections of washboard during the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder (Photo: Ben Welnap)
The AntiEpic Gravel Grinder was created by gravel aficionado and ridinggravel.com founder, Ben Welnak, in 2012. This event rapidly gained popularity in Colorado as many Front Range riders used it as preparation for the DK200, which is still considered the "grand daddy" of endurance gravel events. The AntiEpic gravel grinder explores some of the rural dirt and gravel roads to the east of Monument and Castle Rock. Not surprisingly, these serene prairie roads are some of Colorado's lesser traveled thoroughfares. The AntiEpic is not classic, "epic" Colorado riding.....hence the name! There are no epic high altitude climbs or jaw-dropping alpine vistas, which is what Colorado is best known for. In spite of this fact, the AntiEpic course is never short on beautiful, panoramic views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains to the west. And the AntiEpic course instills participants with a different appreciation for the beauty of riding in rural eastern Colorado.

Unfortunately (for us), life's opportunities forced Ben to relocate to North Dakota early in 2015, forcing him to leave behind the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, which is perhaps Colorado's most challenging endurance gravel cycling event and its best preparatory ride for the Dirty Kanza 200. In 2016, Ben gave the RMCC permission to carry on the tradition of the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder in its previous timed, semi-competitive format. In 2017, the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder gains double century status to join the Colorado Triple Crown. So please join us as we continue our foray in the endurance gravel scene!


Gravel roads with open vistas certainly have an anti-epic nature to them! (Photo: Ben Welnap)

Like other RMCC Challenge Series events, the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder is a grass roots event, organized by members of the RMCC who are passionate about cycling and epic cycling adventures. These events are created for the purpose of providing life-enriching cycling experiences for our club members.  So come out and challenge yourself! I think you'll find the AntiEpic gravel experience more EPIC than its name could ever imply!

For more information about the original AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, please check out ridinggravel.com: AntiEpic 160

Chris Case is the managing editor for Velo News. Check out his experience with the 2013 AntiEpic Gravel Grinder: A Case for Suffering: When Epic Isn't Enough

Also, check out Andrew Schuhmann's EPIC experience with the 2014 AntiEpic Gravel Grinder:
Single Track Stories

The dreaded, extremely challenging B-road, Co Rd 98, with areas of snow and mud (Photo: Ben Welnap)

2017 AntiEpic Gravel Grinder

Date: Saturday, May 6, 2017

It's May...and it's Colorado! So please expect sunshine, rain, snow, wind, cold, and mud! Please bring the appropriate riding gear, a good attitude, and a smile!

Course: We will offer two timed tours for 2017:
    • The AntiEpic Gravel Grinder starts and ends in Monument, Colorado, traveling northeast along undulating country roads through the town of Elbert en route to Deer Trail just off of I-70. The course then makes the challenging return to Monument via a different route, gaining a majority of its 8,400 feet of climbing en route back to Monument.
    • The 2017 Long Course will essentially be the same course used during the AntiEpic from 2012 - 2016 (168 miles + an extra 32+ miles, TBD) and will include the potentially nasty B-road, County Road 98. As past AntiEpic participants know, this 3+ mile B-road has the potential to make the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder truly EPIC in nature.....some would argue perhaps even too EPIC at times! That being said, we have created an alternate route to bypass the B-road if it is covered in 3 feet of snow, so muddy that a tractor cannot pass, or simply not passable. We will make a decision in the week prior to the event if we will use the alternate route. 
    • As in previous years, the course will be unmarked. Riders are responsible for navigating the course using either the official cue sheet (which will be e-mailed to pre-registered riders during the week prior to the event) OR the Garmin file, which can be downloaded from the links above.
Start/End location: Pikes Peak Brewery, 1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument, CO 80132

Start time:
  • AntiEpic Long Course: Sign in: 4:15 am - 4:45 am. Ride starts at 5:00 am
  • AntiEpic Short Course: Sign in: 7:00 am - 7:45 am. Ride starts at 8:00 am
Note: 1) We do our best to start our events on time. Please arrive early to get yourself prepared to ride and please sign in early! Our ride starters may not be able to check you in after the sign-in period closes. 2) Official sunrise on May 6 is 5:53 am and sunset is 7:58 pm. Total daylight = 14 hours, 4 minutes. Please plan ahead a bring good lights, reflective gear, and a functioning computer with turn-by-turn capabilities if you anticipate that you might finish after sunset. 

Format: 
This event is a timed, minimally supported, single-day tour on dirt and gravel roads. Results will be posted in order of finishing time. Riders must successfully complete the course that they have signed up in the time limit listed below to be listed as an official finisher. Riders who deviate from their selected course will not receive an official finishing time. There are no prizes or awards for top finishers...only the bragging rights and the life-enriching experience of completing an AntiEpic day on the bike! 

Time limit:
  • AntiEpic Long Course: 18 hours*
  • AntiEpic Short Course: 9 hours
*We do not have data on the long course yet. It is possible the allowed time to complete the course will be increased slightly base in the finishing time of the first riders. 

Registration: To register, click here: 2017 AntiEpic Gravel Grinder

Notes about registration:
  1. Pre-registration is required to participate in this event. Pre-registration closes on 5/4/17 at 10 pm.
  2. RMCC membership is required to participate. RMCC membership has an affordable $25/year fee and gives members access to other club events, including the challenging Colorado Triple Crown Series and the Colorado Brevet Series. For more information: RMCC membership.
  3. The long course will have a $25 registration fee (March 1 - April 29). The fee will increase to $30 one week prior to the event (April 30 - May 4).  Please register early. 
  4. This short course is FREE to RMCC members; however, short-course participants must have active RMCC memberships and are still required to pre-register for this event. 
  5. If the event is cancelled due to inclement weather, refunds will not be granted; however, we will be willing to transfer the registration fee to another 2017 Colorado Triple Crown event.
Withdrawal:
Pre-registered riders may withdraw up to 3 weeks prior to this event to receive a refund for their $25 registration fee. Within 3 weeks of this event, refunds for registration fees will not be given. RMCC Membership fees are non-refundable. To withdraw, please e-mail Mark Lowe: mvlowe5@yahoo.com

Bike selection:
You can ride whatever bike you would like: gravel-specific, mountain, or road. But please choose wisely! Some of these roads, including the nasty B-road (County Rd 98) will be extremely difficult to navigate on a road bike!

Support: 
  1. RMCC will provide limited support (via support vehicles) at checkpoints along the course. This will be similar to the other events of the Colorado Triple Crown. Please refer to the "About the Colorado Triple Crown" section on this Blog for more details about how we support these rides. Otherwise, participants must be self-sufficient when riding this event. 
  2. Participants may choose to have a personal/private support in Deer Trail, CO; however, to keep the course safe and fair for all participants, riders are only allowed to meet their support vehicle in Deer Trail (exact location TBD). Support vehicles are not allowed anywhere on the course. Riders who have support vehicles that are shadowing them along the course or providing support at other locations along the course will be disqualified! Please be forewarned! 
  3. Riders may cache water and other supplies along the course prior to the start of the ride.

Event Roster:
Please pay attention to the event roster on the Colorado Triple Crown Blog on the right-hand side bar. Once you see your name on the roster (after 3/1/17), then you know you are officially registered!

Post-ride festivities:
Please join your friends at the Pikes Peak Brewery for some lunch or dinner after the ride. Riders will be trickling in all afternoon and evening after 1 pm. 

Questions? Please contact event coordinator, Mark Lowe, e-mail: mvlowe5@yahoo.com

Riders en route to Deer Trail (Photo: Ben Welnap)
AntiEpic scenery makes for an EPIC day on the bike! (Photo: Ben Welnap)