48 episodes

The Gravel Ride is a cycling podcast where we discuss the people, places and products that define modern gravel cycling. We will be interviewing athletes, course designers and product designers who are influencing the sport. We will be providing information on where to ride, what to ride and how to stay stoked on gravel riding.

The Gravel Ride. A cycling podcast Craig Dalton

    • Wilderness

The Gravel Ride is a cycling podcast where we discuss the people, places and products that define modern gravel cycling. We will be interviewing athletes, course designers and product designers who are influencing the sport. We will be providing information on where to ride, what to ride and how to stay stoked on gravel riding.

    Marshall Opel - Cycling Tips Endless Summer of Gravel Tour

    Marshall Opel - Cycling Tips Endless Summer of Gravel Tour

    This week we speak with @cyclingtips, Chief Gravel Correspondent / Man in a Van / Gravel racer, Marshall Opel about his 2019 gravel tour and take-aways from the numerous great gravel events he attended over the year.
    Cycling Tips Website
    Cycling Tips Instagram

    Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos.
    Good day everyone, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the pod we've got Marshall Opal, he's the chief gravel correspondent for cycling tips and last summer he went on a journey all around the United States racing gravel races out of a van. He was affectionately known as the man in the van. What's awesome about Marshall's experience last year was that not only did he get to experience all these phenomenal races that we'll get into in the podcast, but because he was camping out in his van, he really got a sense of the community in these events, which is something I think we all look at when choosing gravel events. We want to go somewhere that the racing is going to be fun, the terrain's going to be awesome, but the community's there. That's really the big draw. That's why it's so worth traveling outside your comfort zone and outside your local area to get into one of these races.
    Because the community, it's just fun to hang out and meet people. And what better way to do it then spending your time in the van and driving between races and just taking advantage of everything the local community has to offer. Marshall's a talented racer in his own right. So he got to experience some of the front end excitement in the race, but also that deep level of community across the country. So I was super stoked to meet Marshall down in Bentonville at the end of the year at the big sugar gravel reveal and talk to him about his opinions on where gravel's going, where it's been, how do we keep it fun and awesome. So I really looked forward to recording this interview with Marshall and I hope you enjoy it. So with that, let's dive right in. And Marshall, welcome to the show.
    Craig. Thanks for having me. I am stoked to talk about the endless summer of gravel you had in 2019. But before we get started, let's explain to the listener a little bit about your background and how you came to riding bikes off road. I grew up in Montana, so a lot of our riding is off road in the first place. But yeah, we used to have a, a road race called the Rocky mountain route Bay and that had a gravel section on a circuit. And I remember it being, you know, Oh, it's a off road race. I'm gonna put 20 fives on. And so it was very much riding road bikes on, on dirt and gravel. And it's only been pretty recently that I have gotten in this, the new wave gravel. I would say I did Belgium Walsall rod in 2016 and I did the way for that year and that was, I would say that was when I really started to see the, the new gravel movement. And you'd spent a couple of pretty intense
    Years in as a junior and later as an older, a rider racing on the road. Right?
    Yeah. I was determined to be a European professional road cyclist from the time I was like 12. I was like, Oh, this is definitely going to happen. And I'm, I chase that pretty hard. Dropped out of college and lived in a campground in Brittany France and raced for a French team and spent some time with the U S you train three national team and you know, looking back it was cool that I chased, chased the dream to that level, but I also, it was, it was an opportunity where I kind of realized that I needed to make adjustments for for myself that that wasn't going to be for me to be a full time pro cyclist. And I never really left the bike world though. I became a bike tour guide and then I got a job at Rafa. And now I'm sort of in the cycling journalism world and so bikes have never left. But the racing is, has evolved quite a bit.
    That makes sense. And the equipment ha

    • 37 min
    Salsa Cutthroat - Peter Hall and Joe Meiser (Salsa engineer and product manager) go deep on the Cutthroat.

    Salsa Cutthroat - Peter Hall and Joe Meiser (Salsa engineer and product manager) go deep on the Cutthroat.

    The Salsa Cutthroat has been THE gravel bike for the bikepacking set. If you look at the sport on a spectrum from 'road +' to 'bikepacking', the 2020 model is squarely on the 'bikepacking' side of the spectrum. In this episode, we hear from Salsa engineer and product manager's, Peter Hall and Joe Meiser about everything that went into the Cutthroat.
    Salsa Website
    Salsa Instagram 
    Automated transcription (please excuses the errors).
    Good day everyone and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast I've got two guests from salsa cycles and QBP talking about the 2020 salsa cutthroat. We've got Peter Hall and Joe Meiser from the team that have been intimately involved in the design and manufacturing of the salsa cutthroat. It's a really interesting bike for this podcast as we've sort of tended towards middle of the road gravel bikes. In terms of tire width, we've touched on some gravel plus, excuse me, some road plus bikes, but we've never really danced on the other end of this category, which is where the salsa cutthroat clearly occupies with 29 inch wheels, 2.4 tire inch tire capabilities. It's a pretty massive departure from sort of the more road oriented gravel bikes. So I was really excited to talk to them about this bike and the intention behind the design. It was really heavily influenced by the 2,700 mile tore divide route and those ultra distance events that we've talked about a little bit on this podcast. So with that, let's jump right in. Gentlemen, welcome to the show.
    Thank you. Thank you for having us.
    Absolutely. It's always a good place for us to get started. To learn a little bit more about your backgrounds as cyclist and since we're going to be talking about a very specific product, maybe you guys can also talk about what your roles are over there at salsa professionally.
    Sure. Yeah. So I'm Pete hall. I'm one of the design engineers here at salsa. Ah, I, I think the best way to describe what kind of cyclists dimes I'm at. At my core, I'm a mountain biker. Certainly don't discriminate against the like gravel or pavement and absolutely love them. Love both, especially gravel. But you know, I think single track will for me always be the best. I don't know how many years I've been in the bike industry now have, I've never held drop outside the bike industry. I know that like shops [inaudible]
    Yeah. So my name is Joe Meiser. I'm the senior product manager here at salsa cycles. I was a lead product manager on the new 20, 20 cutthroat. You know, I've been at QBP for 15 years. I've held roles as an industrial designer. I've led product development across our brands and I've led product in salsa full time for the last four years. I came into the brand at the time when the first Cutthroat was being launched and had the opportunity to work on the second generation, which has been pretty cool. My background as a cyclist is pretty wide ranging. Like P I would say I'm a mountain biker with a drop bar problem and I think that's probably reflected in a lot of our drop bar bikes. I started racing gravel in two and seven. The first gravel race I ever did was the trans Iowa and it sorta quickly Korean from there.
    You know, the vernacular here is gravel roads and rural roads. And so I was racing events like Ragnar rock 100 in Redwing in the Driftless region in Minnesota. I was racing the on Monzo in 2008 and about that time and decided that I would go out and do the tour divide and we as a brand team had kind of started to see this niche of gravel and started designing bikes, kind of led that direction with big tire fit, just breaks, so on. And so I actually raised the tour divide in 2009 and was able to do that on the Fargo, which was really the predecessor to the cutthroat. And and then got to be part of the team when we launched the first gen cutthroat and now this one.

    • 31 min
    Peter Stetina - World Tour Pro turns to Gravel for 2020

    Peter Stetina - World Tour Pro turns to Gravel for 2020

    Former World Tour Pro, Peter Stetina joins the podcast this week to discuss his decision to leave the World Tour to race gravel in 2020.
    Peter Stetina Instagram

    Automated Transcript (please excuse all typos)
    Greetings everybody and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast we've got professional cyclists, Peter Stetina. If you're a fan of professional road cycling, you'll probably recognize Peter's name from his time in the pro Peloton, most recently with the Trek SegraFreddo team, and if you follow the gravel cycling scene closely in November of last year, Peter dropped. What dare I say is a bit of a bombshell. He decided to forego a future in the European Peloton, which was available to him and take a crack at being a gravel privateer. Peter's contract in 2019 allowed him to dabble in a few gravel events and his impact was immediately felt at the front end of the race, having one Belgian raw full ride come second at dirty Kanza and put in a pretty stellar performance in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. It was great to learn a little bit more about pizza process and making this decision. What is 2020 calendar is looking like and how he plans on modifying his training as a gravel athlete versus his time in the pro Peloton. With that, let's jump right in. Pete, welcome to the show.
    Thanks for having me.
    Well, I usually start off by asking my guests to talk a little bit about your background. I think you've been in the press enough lately that I'll do a little summary in the show notes that people can look into. But suffice it to say your announcement in November of 2019 sent shockwaves through the gravel community when you decided to not continue pursuing your prayer road career over in Europe, which was definitely an option for you and sort of embrace this alternative calendar. Let's start by talking about 2019. Obviously you put your foot in the water and gravel racing and winning BWR and racing and DK and getting second there. What was going through your mind in 2019 as you were doing double duty and what led to the decision for what you're going to be doing in 2020?
    Yeah. You know, it was, um, it, it started even back in my mind at the end of, uh, 2018 last year. Um, I had had some health problems. I was actually suffering with, um, Epstein BARR virus, which is the precursor to mono all season. And it was undiagnosed and the, the road results weren't clicking, my body wasn't firing. And I was, I was struggling to get the, the contract renewal and you know, I've been doing this a decade. I felt like I had a place in, in the world tour, but it was, you know, just things weren't clicking. And I was second guessing myself and my body and the longevity in the sport. And, um, I kind of saw these races, you know, starting to gain traction. And, you know, I, I started thinking, you know, I wanna I want to experience these. And, um, and then, you know, Trek came back to me and they said like, yeah, you had a good to season, you represent the USA at the world's, like you had some good Italian classics, like, let's jam again.
    You, you know, we trust you. And so I, you know, I was gonna I was able to sign on again with Trek, but I kind of said, you know, Hey, like some of these events are big in the U S and they make sense and I want to try him. And this is actually totally independent to what the guys over at ETF were doing. I had no idea they were planning this even though Alex houses one of my best buds. Um, you know, he's one of my groomsmen in my wedding. He didn't tell me that was going down. And, uh, um, so it was kinda funny how I, I went to Trek and I said, Hey, I want to do these. And the road team, you know, it's, it's Italian run more or less over in Europe. Uh, they went to Trek marketing in Wisconsin and they just were like, Hey, you know, Pete is kind of putti

    • 28 min
    Thank You 2019

    Thank You 2019

    Thank you from Craig at the Gravel Ride Podcast. Best of luck in your 2020 season.

    • 2 min
    Hunter Allen - Peaks Coaching Group talks gravel training for your 2020 plans.

    Hunter Allen - Peaks Coaching Group talks gravel training for your 2020 plans.

    This week we tackle training plans, gravel camps and the oldest gravel in America with Hunter Allen, founder of Peaks Coaching Group.
    Peaks Coaching website 
    Peaks Coaching Instagram 

    Automated Transcript, please excuse any typos:
    Good day everyone and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton as we're in the middle of winter 2019 2020 I thought it'd be a good opportunity to talk to a coach, so this week I've invited Hunter Allen from peak coaching group onto the podcast. Hunter's got a background in professional road cycling as well as experience coaching thousands of athletes. At this point, we wanted to dig into some of the different elements when preparing for gravel events. Looking at your 2020 calendar, I was curious not only to explore structure and power workouts, but also the notion of grit and overcoming adversity because I think you simply can't Excel in gravel cycling if you're not prepared to have a left hook thrown at you at any point during the event, whether it's loose gravel, technical terrain or anything's going to take you out of your zone. You've got to be both physiologically prepared for these type of events, but also psychologically prepared to attack whatever's thrown at you. It was a great conversation with Hunter. He's based out in Bedford, Virginia, and is also producing a gravel camp in 2020. So let's jump right in with Hunter Hunter, welcome to the show.
    Thanks for having me on
    For sure. As is customary on the gravel ride podcast. Let's start by learning a little bit more about how you came to gravel cycling. And maybe just for the listeners perspective a little bit more about your background as a cyclist in general.
    All right, excellent. Yeah, so I mean, I live here in a really beautiful place in Virginia with lots of beautiful mountains and small roads and you know, it's we've got all these incredible paved roads, but then we've got these amazing gravel roads too, which you know, just for years, ever since you know, I've been riding on the road, just kinda did, right. I mean, it was just, they were little connectors between other paved roads and such. And then all of a sudden, like gravel riding thing became a thing and it's like, wait, Oh wow, I can get a bike that's more specific to this and actually seek out these roads now and go have a lot of fun. So that was, that's kind of this the way that I discovered him.
    And did it start to take over more of your interests and mileage?
    You know, it's probably evened like a, I still love the speed of pavement and in our little country roads that we have here. And but it's probably even now, I mean for me, I can jump off a jump out both, you know, my office where my house and jump on a gravel road within two or three miles of, of either place. So it's kinda like, well, what's the mood? What am I, what am I in the mood for? To be honest. We're really fortunate that way.
    Yeah, you're lucky to have that option. And people should look at where Bedford, Virginia is just to get a sense of the type of roads and terrain that a Hunter's got in his backyard.
    Yeah, absolutely. You know, just a little of my background, you know, I came from a, I started racing BMX when I was a kid, so race, BMX all the way till I was 18, so have lots of that kind of a, you know, jumps and you know, background from, from thrashing on a BMX bike and then a race mountain bikes in college and rode bikes in college and was fortunate enough to get a pro contract in the middle nineties with the navigators team and raise for them for a few years. And, and I had a lot of fun and after that started the whole coaching thing. So it was a, it's been quite an evolution, but at the same time it's a, you know, cycling is the thread that has woven itself throughout all of my life, which I'm very fortunate and thankful for.
    So in your coaching career, obvious

    • 36 min
    Burke Swindlehurst - The Crusher in the Tushar. Special Annoucement

    Burke Swindlehurst - The Crusher in the Tushar. Special Annoucement

    Crusher in the Tushar founder, Burke Swindlehurst talks about his 10 year journey around this unique Utah event. We talk about his journey and reveal his new partnership with Life Time and what it means for the future of the event.
    Crusher website 
    Crusher Instagram
    Automated Transcription.
    Craig: 00:00 Burke, welcome to the show.
    Burke: 00:01 Hey, thanks, Craig.
    Craig: 00:02 As is customary, always like to start off by learning a little bit more about you as an athlete. Obviously you had a professional road career, but when did you start riding drop bar bikes off-road?
    Burke: 00:17 I would say probably the first time that I really delved into it was in 1996. I was preparing for the Tour of the Gila and I wanted to get some really big climbs in at high altitudes, and at the time I was living up in Logan, Utah. The training up in Logan is actually phenomenal, but they just didn't have those like massive clients that I knew I was going to be facing at Gila. And so I decided to take a trip with my buddy and we actually just packed credit cards and a change of clothes and just started riding from Logan to ... The ultimate destination being Beaver, Utah, which is where I grew up, and knowing that we were going to be climbing some big mountains on the way and also taking in some gravel roads.
    Burke: 01:03 But it's funny because, I mean, that essentially was where the Crusher was born because our final day, we rode up out of the Paiute Valley, which is on the backside of what is the Crusher course now and we actually rode up what is now called the Col de Crush, the big, defining climb of the race. That's when things started to click in my mind about how cool and how much fun it is to basically ride a road bike on gravel. Primarily, you know, not just the experience of what it takes to actually ride a road bike on gravel, the skills and all that stuff, but mostly the places that it takes you. It's off the beaten path and that really spoke to me.
    Craig: 01:51 Yeah. I think there's something amazing about when you put together your first mixed terrain ride, about the sense of adventure you felt. You may end up from point A to point B in a radically different fashion than you ever did on the road.
    Burke: 02:06 Yeah. And nine times out of 10, there's going to be some sort of calamity in there too. And that's part of the fun is you get a flat tire or you go off course, whatever it happens to be. Like you said, there's a sense of adventure involved that arises from taking those roads less traveled.
    Craig: 02:27 Yeah. I got to imagine that that's been a big driver for the industry as individual athletes discover those things about the types of riding they can do and the thrill you have at the end of it all.
    Burke: 02:38 Yeah.
    Craig: 02:40 In 2010 I guess, it was you and your wife founded the race known as Crusher in the Tushar. Can you talk about why you started the race and what the original vision was?
    Burke: 02:52 2010 was the end of the final year of my professional cycling career, and I was 37 years old. Honestly, I'd been thinking about retiring from cycling for a while just because physically it was just becoming a tall ask by that age. But I found a way to extend it and started to actually have a lot of fun with it. But I knew by the middle of the 2010 season, I'm like, "This is it. I can only hit the ground so many times, and I'm not getting up the same way that I used to." It was one of those, "Oh, s**t," moments. It's like, what's next? At the time I'd been working with the Tour of Utah and I'd been volunteering with them for probably five years up to that point. I think I started in 2005 with them, and had been doing course design and I was like the athlete and team liaison.
    Burke: 03:51 It eventually evolved to the point where the race director asked if I would like to come on and be the assistant di

    • 36 min

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