Feb 15, 2019
Event overviews from Tony Sylor of Durty Bikes Grave in New York and Michael Fleishman of the Lake City Alpine 50 in Colorado.
Automagic transcription below, please forgive any errors:
Alright, Tony, welcome to the show.
Thank you man. Thanks for having me on.
I'm excited to have someone from New York talking to us about east coast gravel and definitely want to learn more about the dirty bike gravel series.
Yeah, absolutely. East Coast, gravels a lot of fun and I'm excited to kind of compare notes because I haven't done anything out west and I listened to your show all the time and been hearing about different events out there. So kind of a cool set up there.
Right on. Well, just to start out, let's learn a little bit more about you. How did you come to the sport of gravel cycling?
Um, I guess, uh, I'm a roadie first, so I think that's kind of the angle that I come at from, um, but uh, I was never an elite racer by any means. I'm just sort of a weekend warrior who likes racing his bike, so, you know, I've done mountain races in cross races and all that kind of stuff. Um, but definitely started in, in the road scene and I think that's a little reflective in the events we put on for sure.
And were you guys producing road events or other events? Cyclocross previously?
Um, we were producing a crits before we did gravel, but we didn't start too much before we started with gravel. We kind of started those simultaneously. So we do a calendar of have to gravel races that's paired with a third for gravel series and then we do a summer event in July. That's two criterium, races and uh, Fondo that will have a gravel option a as well this year. And we've, we've put on road races in the past too. So we've kind of done a little bit of all of it.
Yeah, it was interesting in that when we were corresponding over email, I could see you guys definitely we're slotting in gravel across like an entire calendar year that included these different disciplines that it's kind of interesting because out here, you know, a lot of the gravel events just happened in the summertime and it, it's, you know, who cares if there's a great road race going on that same weekend, but you've seemed to have taken that to heart to make it so that someone who just likes all aspects of the sport can get out there throughout the year and participate in your events.
Yeah, there's definitely a wide spectrum and more gravel racist popping up for sure. Especially in New York state. Um, we started very early in the spring, uh, as sort of what we call the traditional American style spring classics, um, meaning that, you know, in, in Europe they're racing cobbles and in the US we got dirt. So let's race dirt, but let's do it from sort of a road race perspective. And that's not something we came up with. But really for me is something that was sort of modeled off of what baton kill used to do when they were, when they were at UCI race in the way they kind of pioneered that. And we still kind of stick to that with the gravel race series. It's early in the year. We have really hard cold winters. We're in the middle of a really, really nasty cold spell right now. I'm so early April or mid April. A lot of people haven't been ride much. The conditions can still be really cold. We can still have snow. Um, so those early nasty weather kind of things are what makes the racing sorta gnarly. Whereas the may be more a ride oriented stuff like we do in, in July is when the were better weather comes around
in those first years, like five years ago. Were you seeing kind of your rowdy friends? You might have had a cyclocross bike in the garage that is their winter bike. Was that, that sort of bike that they were pulling out at the time?
Yeah, kind of. Um, and even before that, the second race of the series that, that I put on the first two races of the series, the second race of the series predates me by, I don't know, probably five, four or five years. Um, and I did that race several times before I took it over when the guys just couldn't do it anymore. But even when I was doing it first in like maybe 2010 maybe it was the first time I did it, it was a lot of a hardtail mountain bikes. Um, I actually did it on a full suspension mountain bike, which was a terrible decision. Um, it was a miserable hard ride for, for that kind of setup. I was like, when I got done, I was like, I'm never doing this again. And then the next couple of years I did it on a cross bike and I was like, okay, yeah, this is a lot more fun.
Um, but at that phase it was a lot of hard tail mountain bikes. There weren't a lot of racers really doing it, like a lot of road racers and cross racers weren't really involved in it. It was more of a sort of a mountain bike ride, adventure ride kind of thing. And then as cross continued to get popular, it's very popular where we are. Um, and as some of the early season road races kind of started to dwindle off, we started to get in more cross racers and more road racers and now we're seeing more of that sort of gravel race setup that we're at right now. But it definitely started with that for the road guys, for sure.
That makes a ton of sense. And have you seen over the course of the last four or five years ago an evolution in the types of bikes that are showing up at the event?
Oh yeah. Without a doubt. Um, it was definitely, like I said, at first it was kind of a lot of hard tail mountain bike. Had some cross bikes mixed in and you'd see, you know, those hard tails finishing in the top of the race. Whereas I don't think you would see that anymore, certainly not in the elite categories, although there's still some people that are riding them and enter plenty fast on them. Um, but you're seeing more people experimenting with, with bigger tires, you know, a lot of it was sort of a traditional across setup is what guys were bringing, I think when they first started, uh, now they're experimenting maybe with little wider tires than what they would run across. We have fat by categories, so there's people who are doing the whole series on fat bikes, so it's a pretty wide variety of, of different bikes setups. And I think that's part of the draw of gravel racing, especially for those people that are real tech oriented. Is there kind of like I can play with this and play with that and going a lot of different directions for their personal setups.
Right? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that's one of the things that drove the inception of the gravel ride podcast, which just that constant analysis of what bike should I be getting to get into the sport of gravel? And as we talked about earlier, I'm, I'm definitely curious to talk about east coast versus West Coast for me, you know, we ended up with a lot of more mountain bike style trails in Marine county, so a lot of sustained climbing, big descents. So for me as I got into the sport and it was really natural that I went to a wider tire, but I'm not convinced that that would have been the same journey I would have if I was riding out of the east coast where I grew up.
Yeah, I think that you're seeing probably a for are certainly for our spring races. I'm a lot more narrow tires, especially for the guys who are really racing the sharp end of the race. Um, you had a lot of cross guys who were there that for them, what we're doing is not that technical compared to what they normally ride. So they might even run something skinnier than what they run and cross, especially the pros that come into race it. Um, whereas for them it's more about the climbing and the distance is a little more challenging on that end. Whereas the road guys, they might run something a little bit more because the, the, the technical stuff is a little more challenging, but the climbing and the distances less and from a pure race perspective, that's one of the things I really enjoy about seeing it is that cross section of riders coming together and it's Kinda like nobody's really good at this yet. And everybody sort of figuring it out like who's better at it, the gravel guy or the cross guys, the road guys, and they're kind of both coming together and, and have strengths and weaknesses. Uh, you know, in that they both bring.
Yeah, I think that's, that's pretty typical of all off road racing and that you, you just, you're going to have sections that you're better at whether it's descending or climbing or technical switchbacks or what have you. And it's, it's interesting from a course designers perspective because you can kind of lean into those attributes as much or as little as you want.
Yeah, absolutely. And so it depends on the available terrain and the type of available terrain for sure. And what you want to kind of showcase and what the format of the event's going to be. So if it's just like our summer event, we're looking at trying to are looking at that course now where it's not going to be a competitive race, it's going to be a longer distance and what we put on in the spring, uh, probably more pavement mixed in a. But for there we want to find like the most out of the way trails and roads and things that we can sort of incorporate because people aren't racing it. So we have a lot more flexibility in terms of where we navigate people and it becomes a little bit more of that sort of adventure ride when we're putting on the races in the spring. We've got Marshall's on every corner and we're really concerned with making sure that everything's really controlled. So, and we also want people to be able to safely race the aspects that we put out. So, uh, the course design and the development a little bit different, we also end up running into a lot more really thick sticky mud or sometimes ice and snow because of the time of the year. And that makes a big difference on what we can send people down and what we can't sometimes.
Yeah. Given those weather conditions, do you ever have to reroute course parts of the course?
Oh yeah. Yeah. Last spring, the first race, the series is this year is April 13th and it was the same weekend last year and we had a real late winter. It starts out of a ski mountain and the Ski Mountain was still open for skiing. It never been open that late in the history of the mountain. And it wasn't good skiing, but there are people out skiing, you know, it was that sort of last of the last skiing. So we had to take out a lot of what we call seasonal use roads, which are just roads that aren't maintained from typically November, first to April, first, depending on the, on the township. Um, which gives us, those roads are a lot of fun because they give us a lot of the real technical, rocky rudy, sort of more narrow kind of gnarly stuff. They're still public roads, they're not trails or double track or anything like that, but they do give you, especially if you're riding a skinnier tire, that more technical stuff. But with the snow, they don't get plowed there, don't get salted. So if it's still snow they can be under two inch ice and we had to reroute because of some of those issues last year. Right.
It goes. So let, let's get into the dirty bikes gravel series a little bit more specifically. If someone was coming from out of town, is there a particular event in the series that you would point them to, to sort of really get that upstate New York experience?
Probably the first one is where we frontload most, most of the event, the biggest one of probably the three M it's a at a ski mountain. There's lodging that's directly within riding distance to the start line. So that's always nice. We bring, uh, we have some good pros who show up. Jeremy Powers is coming to the race, we do a charity ride with him, a recovery ride with him the next day that we use to, uh, raise some money for junior development. Uh, we've got bands and, and parties going on around that weekend. So that's really kind of the, we make that sort of the big kickoff and kind of make it the big kickoff regionally have like winter's over. It's pretty close to over hopefully by then and let's get out race our bikes. Um, so that would definitely be the one I think if you're coming from out of town and that's definitely where we get most of our out of town riders from our at that point in the series.
Yeah, it's nice. I'm going to be in around as long as you guys have been around. It's, you know, people start to get it in their calendars and look forward to that push to get fit, you know, so early in the season. Yeah. Yeah. And it's tough
around here. I mean, it is, it's a, it's a tough time of year to be really ready to race, but it's kind of a fun way to do it too, you know, the old calendar and it's kind of shifted a lot is uh, used to have a lot more traditional road racing in April and I always kind of remembered just sort of dreading it, like I'm not going to be in shape and it's, you know, it's just really hard time of year to be ready to race. Whereas here it's still the same feeling, but it's also sort of a let's go out and kind of get my button gear and get me ready for the rest of the season too. So you have a kind of a mix approach there.
Yeah, it was, it was really interesting when I first moved to California because there's really no off season here. People seem to, people seem to be flying from January all the way through December because the weather's decent, you know, we certainly have our rainy season, but at the end of the day you can still be going out and doing these long rides where I know from living on the East Coast in New Jersey and Massachusetts, like you had to have an off season because you just simply couldn't be out all winter long for the most part.
Yeah, for sure. I mean def definitely fat bikes have helped with that. I'm more guys are riding those and writing stumbled, build trails and things like that. But. And it was like negative 20 the last three days here. You know, nobody's outside really doing any miles. Everybody's on the trainers and inside or just kind of taking the time off.
Right. And I think you alluded to this. Do you shift the length and duration of your events, making them longer in the summertime to kind of account for, hey, no one wants to be out there in a super cold weather for, you know, four or five hours. Yeah,
absolutely. Our race series in the spring, the dirty book series, the races are a anywhere from, I mean we have to really short beginner distances that are 18 to 20 miles and then the elite and intermediate distances will be anywhere from 35 to 55 partially because it is cold and sometimes it's, it's 38 degrees and raining and nobody wants to be out to do 100 miles doing that and partially because if people aren't artists fit yet and because we do it as a series, we want people to be able to come back for a couple of weekends in a row and not sort of crushed themselves with just one big ride early. Whereas when we get to July we'll do a 100 miles and you know, 6,000 feet, 7,000 feet and make it more of an all day kind of thing and if anything there, you're just kind of concerned with keeping people hydrated and out of the heat and not worried about those really cold temperatures or that really early season fitness.
Yeah. The logistics just shift in terms of what you're concerned about.
Imagine while his give hats off to promoters because I think it's, it's a hard job that you do, but I think it's also really fun being able to design the courses and see how people react to the different features that you put there. Yeah, that's,
that's always the most fun part about it and a lot of the races and the rides that we're doing or about rides in courses that my friends and I do all the time and it's just kinda like, you know, come check out this cool road or this section that we love to do in training that we can kind of show people.
Are you ending up hitting singles track sections in some of your roots?
No, no. We keep everything on, on public roads. Um, just those seasonal use roads are the only places where we would bring in any which way it gets a little technical and definitely that time of year it can be a little dicey for the summer one. I don't know if we'll have any actual single track mixed in, but we'll play with a little bit more of those kind of stumbled beal trails. And things like that, um, that aren't as hindered by the restrictions of kind of running it more like a race.
Yeah. I'm trying to get sort of in, in talking to event organizers all around the country trying to get a little bit more of a gauge of the amount of single track double and fire roads that are put into the event versus county roads and just under-maintained roads. And it certainly is location dependent. Um, but it does play a big role in bike selection. Entire selection obviously.
Yeah, absolutely. And I wonder too about format because I know and maybe you could tell me what you're seeing out west around us. You know, a lot of people are doing that sort of. It's not really a race, it's more of an adventure ride kind of thing with grandma, which is cool. And like I said, that's what we're going to do in July. Whereas, you know, we structured categories and really kind of functioning as a real, almost a replacement for what road racing has kind of dwindled on as well as maybe sort of a progress and making it more open and more inclusive than road racing has ever been, but still fitting that niche as well. Um, and I'm wondering how many events that are still doing that race under, including that single track and that kind of stuff?
Yeah, I would definitely say that judging from what I've seen on your site, your more structured than the events I tend to participate in, in California. It's, they're generally mass start kind of winner takes all. So you're lining up against the likes of Ted King and everybody else at the start line and they had go and everybody's off. A couple of unique ones that we've seen out here would be kind of strava based reporting. Uh, so there's just sections. So the idea being to encourage, um, racers to, you know, enjoy the camaraderie of the ride and only focus on being super intense during, for limited sections I think. I think that's kind of an interesting format. A lot of the events I've done in, in lieu of any cash prizes for example, they'll just do a straight up raffle afterwards instead of giving the winter anything per se. I know like this year I interviewed the guys over at steamboat gravel and they're putting a big cash purse out there for the men's and women's winter and it's interesting and I'm a bit torn because I personally have enjoyed the more adventure element of it. I have no problem with the, you know, the top 15 percent of people racing their asses off, but I know that's not really a world that I'm going to be participating in per se. So I like the events to make sure that the mid pack is fun.
Right? Yeah. And that's definitely for. I think we, we hit that with our races, uh, in the sense that we group our racers, so we'll do, we have an elite field, we have an intermediate field of sport field and then we also have masters and junior fields. There's no licenses required. So you can place yourself wherever you kind of want to be, but that way if you're going to race your group with somebody, a group that's, that's closer to your ability. Uh, we don't, we don't put a ton cash in any of it. I'm not huge into cash for amateur racing. We put some cash in the series just on the elite end to try to discourage anybody from sandbagging and picking up cash in the lower categories, especially without a, a category or a restriction. I'm putting those into, like I said, it's, it's hard writing. So even the people who aren't concerned with winning the race, they're racing there, they're trying to finish the course, they're racing against themselves, they're racing against the course or against the group that they fall in with at any particular time, um, as opposed to just kind of enjoying the scenery that time of year all the time. Whereas the summer event, we look maybe more at that end.
Yeah. I think the idea of the day being an adventure and taxing no matter what or where your practice, whether you're in the front or the back. I think that's one of those university activities of gravel racing and rides that makes it great. You know, you're, you're just out there to test your mettle if so, to speak and have a good time.
Right. And that's what we want to bring in as well. Keeping note the road race kind of aspect going as well because if you go to a road race, you know, and you get dropped in the first whatever, couple of miles, it's not a challenge to go out and finish that as a beginner, maybe 25 mile course or is even an intermediate rider, that 50 mile course, they're usually not like, oh, I can't believe I made it through that. You could go do that right anytime you want. It's more about did I keep up with the group or not and if I didn't keep up with the group, I didn't really enjoy it or I got to work to come back to do that and there's people who want to do that and that's awesome, but it makes it a lot less inclusive. Whereas the gravel racing just finishing the course is hard and the groups get so spread out, you end up with a group instead of just sort of being dropped by that big pack, but at the same time that front of the race can still race and get that road race feel that that group wants, so it's kind of a nice sort of in between ground that gets big groups of riders out together putting on an event.
Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see over time whether gravel becomes an entry point for other elements of the sport. Like at this point we're obviously in on the gravel side, we're drawing from other disciplines. We're bringing new riders in there, buying new equipment, but we are seeing people buy gravel bikes as their first performance bike and entering gravel events as the first organized cycling event they've ever tried. I think it's probably likely that, you know, over the next decade we're going to start to see great road racers and great mountain bike racers who got their start strictly in gravel.
Yeah, I agree. I think you'll definitely see you see that especially as more road bikes are coming with disc brakes anyway, so the difference between a gravel bike and a road bike might just be the tire you put on that day. So you get a really, you know, a lot of versatility there as people are buying new bikes.
So if people want to find out more about the series a, what's the best place to find out?
You could register on bikereg.com or you can check out our website at Ryde, LCC.com. And if you click on the dirty bikes link there, there's a breakdown of the races and the dates and all that good stuff. Sweet. Well I'll make sure to put all those links in the show notes and encourage everybody to check it out. The series has been around for quite some time, so I know Tony and the crew over there put on a good day out. So if you're in the area or making a trip to New York, definitely put these on your calendar for next year or this year I should say. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, man. Cool. Right on. Thanks Tony. Thank you. Welcome to the podcast, Michael.
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.
Yeah, great. I'm excited to dig into the Lake City Alpine 50. It's an inaugural event this year and I'd love to start out by just understanding a little bit about you and your cycling background and your motivation to bring an event to lake city.
Yeah, so my, my history started in Tucson, Arizona. I'm a, I'm a Tucson native. It's my, uh, it's my full time residents, but I have spent many, many years in Lake City, primarily is just a summer visitor, uh, you know, 30 years ago, uh, started with uh, uh, a Jms Dakota, a hardtail hardtail. How about fully rigid a bike and uh, just uh, uh, you know, just exploring a, the desert on a, on a mountain bike. Uh, I went to Undergrad in boulder, which really sort of jump started my, uh, love and desire to just be outside and, and really, um, to, to explore, uh, mountain biking in a community that, uh, clearly is a, uh, all things outdoors. Uh, I went to the 1990 world mountain bike championships and slept in my truck and watched as a John Tomac came ripping by with his crazy disc wheel, uh, only to crash on course and watches a net over and took the world championships. So a long history of, uh, of, of mountain biking and road biking, uh, you know, started about 10, 12 years ago.
Was that world championships in Durango, Colorado, if I recall correctly.
Yeah, that's exactly right.
Amazing. Amazing days. It's, it's remarkable. I suppose it's a sign of my age, how many people I talked to who kind of were coming up through mountain biking at that time and uh, you know, how we're sort of resurfacing now that gravels taking hold over the world.
Yeah. And I, and I, it's a, it's a wonderful thing. Uh, you know, the, I, I've, I've found, you know, I'm what, 46 years old, uh, but what I'm finding is, is my desire to be on the road is, is waning considerably. As I watched cars veer to the right as they're, they're texting, uh, you know, get the notion of a untouched gravel back country roads is, it was appealing to pretty much everybody.
Yeah, I think it's unquestionable that we live in a lot more dangerous time when it comes to just the volume of traffic and certainly the unfortunate nature of distracted driving.
So, uh, I was looking at the map. I'm, you know, I lived in boulder myself and traveled around to some of the mountain bike races back when I lived there, but I'd never been to lake city. And can you describe for listeners where it's located?
Yeah. So Lake City is, is not something that you're going to discover just driving most of the major byways of, of Colorado. It's a, it's, it's smack dab in the middle of the San Juan's. It's surrounded by five slash 15 or sorry, five 14,000 foot peaks and then sits it incredible elevation of a just above almost 8,700 feet. It's a south of Gunnison, probably 55 miles, I don't know, three hours north east of Durango. And I'm about an hour and a half south of crested butte and as the crow flies directly to the, to the east of telluride, but it's, it's not, it's not an obvious or an easy place to get to. And it's a small town. There's only probably 400 year round residents.
Yeah, it's interesting. I think that's the profile of a number of towns that have become epicenters for gravel cycling.
Yeah. And it makes sense. Uh, you know, there's a lot of, um, uh, the amazing thing about Lake City, it sits in it. It's the only city in Hinsdale county, which I believe is the smallest county in the lower 48, if I remember correctly, and a 98 percent of the land in Hinsdale County is public. Uh, so there, there's an incredible amount of, uh, you know, forest service, blm roads, uh, that, that people can explore there.
That's great. I love when people are taking initiatives to bring events to communities they know that are off the beaten path. It, it very much reminds me, my early days in mountain biking where I would just sign up for something to go somewhere that I'd never been before and explore what I can only presume was the designer's favorite loop in that area.
It's funny you say that. Uh, I, I remember, uh, racing in, in Aspen on the government trail, which at the time I lived in Aspen one summer and the government trail was single handedly my favorite mountain bike, a trail that I had ever been on, but I had a miserable Reyes broke my chain. I think I crashed and somehow lost, uh, uh, the, the, the joy that the government trail, uh, previously presented, that can be a mixed blessing. Right.
So with your time that you've been spending in Lake City over the years, is the root something that came out of some of your favorite rides while you were there?
Yeah. The difficulty with Lake City, I'm in mountain bike map specifically as a, uh, you know, you're, you're starting elevation is high and most rides are gonna. Take you up and then back down, uh, that we don't have a tremendous amount of, uh, have developed a single track the way that, uh, pretty much, uh, many of the communities around certainly crested butte or otherwise even gunnison to, uh, to the north have done. And so that, that's kind of. I'm never went Lake City to, uh, the mountain bike map. However, Lake City does have a gem of a back country loop called the Alpine loop. It's a, it's a connector of about 65 miles that starts and ends in Lake City with the loop. But I can drop you into Silverton and into your ray. A long been popular with jeeps and Atvs. Um, but, uh, you know, for those who have had the opportunity to write it, it, it's an incredible place to be.
What type of terrain, if we could drill into the details of those roads, how under improved are they, so to speak?
Yeah. So it's sort of, um, the, the loop itself against starting in Lake City and then looping around and ending a kind of goes out, uh, on a, on a county road, a county maintained road, and it's, it's pretty smooth and we would feel like a very solid dirt road. Uh, it'll be, uh, some of the quickest sections of the course as you head out. Again, county road 20 is what's going to take you up towards the top of a cinnamon pass at 12,000, 640 feet as you make the approach towards a kind of a real definitive section of the road. It, it starts to ramp up and, and the road becomes considerably more rough. I'm much more of a off road, a jeep trail to the point where, you know, if you're in a vehicle, uh, you would want to be in a razor or a four wheel drive jeep. And so, uh, it, it, as I said, it becomes considerably more difficult as a, as the miles tick off. And I would say on our course, uh, somewhere around mile maybe 15 is when all of that starts to kind of kick into gear.
I'm just sort of scanning through the maps right now and looking at the elevation profiles and thinking about what that might like when I was out on the gravel bike.
Yeah. And I, I'd be happy to kind of lay out the course, uh, is, is, uh, you know, your listeners would get benefit to that.
Yeah. I think, you know, in any course there tends to be these memorable moments, whether they're by design or simply just the way it feels on the, on the given day. I'd love to get your perspective on what do you, what do you think when people are a year from now talking to their friends about the second lake city, Alpine 50, what are they going to say that it was most memorable about the course?
Well, I think the thing that will stick in most people's minds is just how difficult the writing gets above 12,000 feet. Um, you know, there, there, there are certainly other rides and races throughout Colorado that uh, we'll hit that. Um, but you know, on this course you're going to go over, as I mentioned, cinnamon pass at 12,060 slash 40, and then you're going to drop back down into, uh, the animas forks region, an old mining town, and then you're going to climb the backside a towards engineer passed, which I believe is the fifth highest passing in all of Colorado at 12,000, 800 feet. The writing, uh, I think people are going to remember just how slow and creeping, uh, that climbing will be to the top of cinnamon and the backside of engineer and just how much they're there. They will likely be gasping for air. It's, it's, it's a lung buster.
And then how will they feel on the descent? Obviously like descending off of high mountain passes is one of those things on a gravel bike that sometimes makes you wish you were on a mountain bike with a suspension fork. Just given the high speeds. Are a riders to expect, you know, wide open fire roads or are they, is it a little bit sketchy on the way down?
Uh, there are sections that if you were, um, you know, if you were on a solid bike without suspension, um, I, I would, uh, I would be writing and saying, boy, yeah, I really do wish I had some form of suspension here or at least a wide enough tires to suck some of that. It'll be a bit chunky on, on the backside of a, a sentiment past weeding down into animas forks. And the same would be true coming off the top of an engineer. Um, I, I think that the, you know, the, the strong and gifted writers will, will navigate that course just fine. Uh, but yeah, this courses, it is sort of that classic quandary of, boy, what, what bike do I choose? Um, I've, I've actually only ever written it on, on mountain bikes, uh, from 26 full suspension to 29 hard tail too. Now I ride a seven and a half steel, a hard tail. It, it will rattle you. I think no matter what you're on and, and especially considering that you're looking at an approximately 15 miles descent off the backside of, of engineer leading back towards the Lake City.
Yeah, that's perfect. I think it sounds like many, in my opinion, great grovel courses where you're probably going to enjoy it on the way up and on the way down. You're going to question your sanity from time to time when you're on a hardtail gravel bike, but at the end of the day, it's part of the fun and part of the challenge.
Yeah. And one additional, um, you know, it's, it's a very small portion of the root or the course, but coming out of Lake City, we're going to take people up onto some of the recently cut a single track that heads across the small Lake City Ski Hill. It's probably about a mile mile and a half worth of single track. Um, and some tight single track actually up through the woods before dropping everybody down to, uh, cut a little portion around a Lake San Cristobal, which is one of the most just glorious lakes in Colorado. It's a, I think the second largest natural awaken all of Colorado created by a crazy slumgullion earth flow.
Yeah. I saw some of the pictures on the website. I in the whole area looks spectacular.
Yeah. It's, uh, it, it, it was like anybody who has spent time in the San Juan's, um, uh, you know, I think that's another part that people will, will, uh, just remember, um, is, is just what an incredible place to just ride a bike.
And what, what motivated you to put together this event?
Uh, kind of twofold. Uh, it turns out that my neighbor John Coyle, who literally lives in the alley behind us and lake city, he's a long time sort of summer resident to spent a little bit more time up there than I do. We both had sort of independently been a pondering this for a number of years that would be amazing to have a race on the Alpine loop and uh, we both kind of fumbled around for a little while on our own joined forces this past summer and just said, let's do it together and let's get this done. And, uh, that, that was sort of the genesis of our company called human powered, uh, endeavors. And, uh, as, as the name actually, uh, gives you an idea. We're, we're trying to bring a focus on human powered, uh, events to, to wake city lake city has a little bit of this tension between, you know, the off road community and hikers and bikers.
Nothing that's not unusual in any other community, but we wanted to sort of, um, maybe redefine a little bit what Lake City is about. Wake city has a, um, one of the most storied, a 50, a mile off road, sorry, Fifty Mile Endurance runs called San Juan Solstice, uh, that you has cells out and has a very deep waiting list every year. And so we wanted to build on that concept. Um, and for the two of us, it was a little bit about just saying thank you to lake city. We felt that we have received the benefits of, of everything that that community has given to us, as you know, summer residents. And we wanted to find a way for a small town to add one more event to their calendar. I'm spur some economic development and to give back to the, the various, uh, community organizations that could use, uh, some, some funds this year, the beneficiary will be lake fork, valley conservancy, which is a, a, an organization that is trying to obviously protect some of the headwater regions of the lake. Fork valley has wake city, has a couple of rivers flowing right through it,
right on. Well those are certainly noble motivations to create the event. And as I said before, it's, it's amazing to me when individuals like yourself and your partner decide to showcase areas that they know well and love because I think it just brings a lot of value to the community. So I know it's a lot of hard work getting this done and I wish you a lot of success in this first year running the event.
Well, Hey, I appreciate you allowing us the opportunity to talk about, uh, we're, we're super excited and uh, obviously, uh, people can find, you know, the race at a lake city. Alpine 50 is basically the, the, the, the call, the call name for everything, social media and our website as well.
Right on. I'll make sure to put all those links in the show notes.
Perfect. Thank you very much. We're excited to get to the riders on course.