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Aug 6, 2019

A conversation with Mike Kuhn and Gunner Bergey about Pennsylvania Gravel and the Unpaved and Ironcross events.

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TECH CORNER sponsored by THESIS

Thanks, Craig.

In recent years, 1x drivetrains have taken over the mountain biking world. Today I’m going to argue why 1x should also be the default for most gravel riders.

1. With no front shifting, there’s less to go wrong, and less skill needed to dial things right.

2. With 1x, the user interface is vastly simplified. There’s no possibility of rubbing or cross-chaining, and you can just focus on the terrain ahead.

3. 1x drivetrains are cheaper to buy and generally cheaper to maintain.

4. In the case of some mechanical front shifters, you can modify them to activate a dropper post. This is actually super slick because it puts your dropper post at your fingertips at all times, whether you’re on the hoods or in the drops.

Now there are two primary objections that I hear. First is range. This one’s actually a non-issue. You can get the same or greater range these days, with consistent jumps between gears as well.

The second thing that often comes up is gear spacing. However, on dirt, the terrain is generally changing so frequently that you’re never at the same cadence for very long. Additionally, many riders, especially those of shorter stature, are running cranks that are too long for their inseam. Having a crank length that’s proportional to your inseam will allow you to spin at a wider range of cadences, which would in turn cancel out much of the perceived benefit of tight jumps.

So that’s why, for most gravel riders, I recommend a 1x drivetrain.

I’d love to get your feedback on this topic. In the meantime, back to Craig and this week’s guest.

FULL EPISODE:

Automated Transcript (please excuse the typos)

Mike, Welcome to the show.

Okay.

Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

Yeah. I'm excited to talk about unpaved, but before we dig in, how did you get into event organizing and what attracted you to being a gravel cyclist?

Uh, I, I know we don't have a whole lot of time so we'll try to keep it brief, but um, but many years ago and in Lewisburg where we based on pay from a, I went to school and I got involved in collegiate cycling at the time and we, we put on a couple of events and I put on my, my very first, uh, event production involvement was, was there, um, we did, we did road race weekend, we did a mountain bike event at Arby Winter State Park. And that over the years has blossomed into other things eventually. Uh, I was, I was part of that crew that brought an event called iron cross together, which, uh, is now 15 plus years in two years. Sort of a mixed, um, mixed surface type ride. Uh, and then the Transylvanian mountain bike epic was one that I did for almost a decade. And through those experiences in some bike racing experience too, we got to know the folks in Lewisburg and the tourism office there, the, um, Susquehanna river valley and, uh, have built a really wonderful relationship. That's why John Paved this point.

For those of our listeners who don't know exactly the region you're talking about, can you describe where it is in the state of Pennsylvania?

Yeah, it's pretty, it's pretty central in Pennsylvania. So, um, you're, you know, a couple of hours from Philadelphia. You're a couple of hours from Pittsburgh and north of both, both of them, um, and, and pretty central in the state. It's into what we call the ridges and valleys, uh, portion of Pennsylvania at Lewisburg itself. That's sits on the Susko Hannah River, which is one of the, uh, made perhaps the main, um, you know, uh, body of water that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. So it's a pretty big river. And then, uh, we, uh, we ride west from there. We ride West from there into, uh, towards state college, Pennsylvania. I'm at Penn State University and through the ridges and valleys of Pennsylvania.

So what's your [inaudible] this is the second year of unpaved in the Susko Ohana Valley. Sounds like you've done a ton of event organizing in the mountain bike space and earlier in the road space. What drew you to this opportunity around creating a gravel event?

So the gravel, I know the gravel things. So first off being in that area in college, you know, I was exploring some of these roads. Um, even back then I think that even even before we had sort of the specialized equipment that we do today though, the gravel in Pennsylvania is really welcoming to a wide range of bicycles. And so, uh, even getting out there on some, some road bikes as, as possible, um, from just south of there and Pennsylvania and have, um, and had that experience too. And then, you know, really iron cross I think was sort of the first, um, venture into this world. Uh, iron cross is a hundred kilometers. It's mostly gravel. We mix it a little bit. We didn't purposely mix in as much pavement and a little bit of single track and to that event so that we can, uh, we, we really try to make it hard to figure out exactly how to set up your bike.

I mean that's really the purpose is like what, what is the, you know, how do you, how do you figure this thing out? But then within that, also as, as gravel grew, we, we started something that we called the a great gravel gathering, which was just a weekend, kind of in the same area in a little town called the Ohio. Um, that it, that, that on paved kind of reaches on its, its exploration of the Bald Eagle state forest. And, uh, and, and that once we figured out that, that a rail trail was being built because the rail trail that we use to get from Lewisburg, our starting location out to kind of the first section in the last section of the course did not exist. Um, until, and, and I'm going to get to, you know, I'm going to get the exact timeframe wrong, but I don't want to say until maybe eight years ago or so.

And once we figured out that that connection was there that we could get into the volleyball state forest and have sort of this gravel connection, um, from Lewisburg out there, that's when we really, you know, went back to our friends at Susquehanna river valley and said, hey, this is gravel stuff is looking pretty cool. Um, that's probably about six years ago that we did that. And let's, let's start exploring this. What's it gonna take? And have worked through that process over a couple of years with and [inaudible] and, uh, which is our department of Conservation and natural resources in Pennsylvania. And now working with, uh, with those two entities in a whole lot of others to, to kind of bring the city together.

Yeah, it's great when you can get those agencies involved because they can help open spaces that might not have otherwise been opened and really help show the athletes and the community how special those open spaces are.

It's, um, you know, Pennsylvania has thousands and thousands of miles of trails and, um, kind of millions of acres of property between, you know, between the state portion and something else we call the state game lands and the gravel roads. It stretched through all of this stuff. And once you get to, I mean gravels everywhere in Pa and then especially once you get to kind of to the Louisburg area and endorse in the state, I mean, you could ride for days if not weeks, um, and on gravel. So it's really, it's pretty spectacular. First state that's as old as we are and as developed as we are, we also have this really wonderful way to escape into the back country.

Yeah. Geographically speaking, as I mentioned when we were offline, Pennsylvania is so well located amongst a whole bunch of states. I, I gotta imagine you draw athletes from all over the place wanting to sample the trails you're talking about.

Yeah, we just, um, W I mentioned Transylvania, you know, we, we were drawing folks from around the world to continuing to as a, as an a just kind of been reborn this year, uh, under a new director and continuing to draw writers from around the world to that event. And, uh, it's, you know, the, the trails here are technical and, and rocky and challenging in a different way than what most people are used to. And then, like I said, the gravel, just amazing how many miles of Babel roads exist. Um, w what we typically refer to in the northern tier of the state, but even, even coming down through the central part, and, uh, you can just, you can just find it everywhere. Um, it's, uh, it is geographically really well located in the u s and has some great, you know, between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, couple of pretty big airports.

Harrisburg offers another, you know, travel option in, it's about an hour or 15,000 of the venue. Another good place to travel in and out of. Uh, and certainly from, you know, from a connect connectivity by a interstates man, there's all sorts of stuff. 80, 81, 76, um, which depends on what you turned by all of them. All right. Pretty close to where we are. So it's pretty easy to drive fly, uh, access land rovers there if you know, you feel like paddle and then you can probably make that work too. But yeah. Good spot to be for sure.

Absolutely. So speaking to you from the west coast and just sort of having an understanding of sort of the number of athletes we have here in northern California, in southern California over the last few years, have you been doing iron cross and last year with unpaved? How is the scene on the east coast? Is it growing as quickly as we see it in the West?

Yeah, good question. I have not had the pleasure of making it a trip out to your negative woods, but eh, I mean I, if it's not, if it's not growing as fast, um, holy macro must you guys be blown up and you know, and say at an insane rate. Cause it's, it's picking up really, really quickly over here. I mean, we've gone from zero to 1,002 years at on and we have, you know, our friends putting on events like keystone gravel, just selling out, you know, immediately a little lack of Waco Hondo, uh, sells out immediately. Those are, you know, relatively big events. Of course. Yeah. North of us. There's some, some great stuff happening, um, in the New England states like the Vermont overland, you know, ted King has his event coming on. Um, it's big, right? It's big and it seems like it's getting bigger.

Yeah. Well that's exciting to get that report from the east guest. I didn't doubt it. There's certainly a lot of effort and a lot of great events that have been going and are cropping up. When I look at the unpaved website, and I'll certainly put this in the, in the show notes so people can get to it, it's pretty easy to be attracted to the trails when I'm an athlete thinking about coming or signed, signed up already, what do I need to think about from an equipment perspective?

Yeah, good question. I feel like, you know, I end up feeling like that so personal, so much of the time, it's so much, it depends on the experience that you've, you know, that you have, that you bring with your equipment I suppose. But I'm going to think a general rule of thumb is you for the most part. Now I'm going to, there's a little caveat in here because on the really long day on the one 20, on our longest distance, we throw a wet long well draft people along. They'll draft a is, is it very sort of chunkier type experience. It's not a, it's not Pennsylvania single track, but digging in pretty decent size, embedded rocks on a, on a downhill grade. And uh, and that's kind of its own thing. And if you're headed out there, you really want to protect yourself and protect your, you know, your equipment and they lessen the chance of flats or you might, you know, a little bigger tire might be a good choice for you. But you know, the vast majority of this course, the gravel is, um, unless we happen to hit a time when decent art has just graded one of their roads and kind of kicked it up a little bit and turned it up a man really well packed, really well maintained. And I've done, I've done large portions of the course on, you know, on, on 28. Now I don't recommend that. That's not the most enjoyable way to do it, but it can be done. Um, so maybe, maybe that, does that help you figure it out?

It does. And when, when you talk about Pennsylvania fat tires, what, what kind of with are you talking about for that?

Yeah.

People who are experienced 40 ish really want to feel it. You know, if you're 40, 45, he really, he really want, like, if you're really like, mm, that's pretty, you know, I'm maybe really out here for the cruise and enjoy it. Just want to be, just want to be safe and happy or whatnot. You know, throwing something a little wider on there is not a, is not a bad idea. If you're taking on the one 20, I don't think I would say. I would say if you're not doing the one 20, there's a little section that gets pretty Chunky, um, early on in the course. But you know, you can really, I think most people are probably going to be pretty comfortable on that 40 45 sort of choice. Yeah.

Yeah. It was. I recently had Alison Tetrick on the podcast and we were sort of laughing because she tends towards, in my mind what's a narrower attire. I told her I routinely run fifty's here in Marin County and she sort of laughed and she laughed at me and said, well actually I think that's stuff that you ride down in Marin county's actually mountain biking, which is probably true.

Right.

So that is fun. I mean that's why and how that's all changed. Yeah. I don't, I, you know, despite having this podcast, I don't like to geek out or agonize too much over equipment choices. I am very much at, you know, ride what you got and there's going to be advantages and disadvantages. Certainly when that the group is, is hauling butt through some of this, the uh, the more paved sections, having an hour or tire and lightweight setups going to be great. But as you said long into the day, that little bit extra comfort, you really need to balance that. If you, you know, are you out there really to, to kind of win and go for it? Are you just out there to kind of have a smile on your face all day long?

Yeah, right. The last, right. You protect yourself a little bit, a little little, you pay a little penalty for, for carrying a little extra weight, but you don't have to stop, you know, you don't have to stop you on problems. There's, there's joy in that too, right? Like it just makes a day that much more fun potentially. So.

Yup. Yeah,

exactly. So you mentioned there's multiple distances for the event this year.

There are, and I'll tell you what man, we are, we are so excited and so grateful to say that we're essentially, we have, we have literally one spot laughed and our three longest distances. So we do a one 20, a 90 and a 55 as of this morning. There is one spot last, um, in across the distances and it's in the 55 90 category. We kind of combine those for the field by met. So we do have a, we do have a uh, a little shorter category. It's kind of a taste of gravel. It's a lot of rail trail, a little bit of pavement. It does, you know, it hits the rest of the rail brewing company, which is, which is pretty cool out there. And Muslim various one of our aid stations. And uh, that one's about a 30 mile, a little less than that, about 27 I guess this year. Um,

yeah, I saw that on your site and actually I was really excited to see that cause I think it's so important if you've got the terrain that you can make into a very enjoyable beginner experience. It's so important for the sport because obviously you're not going to sign up for a 121 miles with some steep technical terrain if you're a road rider that's never written off road. So I appreciate the efforts of inviting, you know, all categories to kind of join the event.

Yeah. And it's, you know, for us to, uh, again get this wonderful experience up there and let us Berg w with school and, and we've got these great partners, not just the, uh, since Wayne at river valley, but the Miller center as well as our start finish location downtown Lewisburg is rolling out the, you know, red carpets for riders with, with stuff going on all weekend and they're really leading the effort on that, which is really cool. And we want to, we really want to encourage the, the local community, Lewisburg, Williamsport, even Harrisburg is not that far. We would encourage that community to come out and try this and be part of this weekend. And you know, and, and, right. I mean, every, you get a taste of this, you get a taste of this fun. The people that are involved and then you're like, I just want to do more of this. And you know, hopefully we over time encourage them to try the longer distances as well. So that's definitely part of what we're thinking too.

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you see, you see the events that have been around eight, 10, even longer number of years. And you've got kids who started their watching their parents who are all of a sudden now able to toe the line, which is, I mean obviously what the sport and what cycling needs. Absolutely. 100%. So when we look at the longer event, when I'm done with it, when I'm done with my one 21 miles, what are three sections that you think we're going to be talking about at the end of the day?

Okay.

Longwell draft, which we talked about, you go down long. Well, you're like, okay, I've had enough of that, but it's a good part of the courts, uh, and, and long, well, sort of that, that extra 30 mile loop is, is that meant that takes the 92, the one 20, uh, Dave, my coconspirator in this whole thing, day prior now calls out the difference in, um, it, you know, you feel that there's a lot of climate in Longmont wrapped in there. So, so long while that is, is, is a piece of that, I mean, there's, uh, Pine Creek, Raj, and we do roll out of town and it's relatively flat, a couple of rollers, then you hit, um, John's mountain road and John's mountain is, uh, the first climb of the day and it's one of the bigger clients of the day. I think that often sticks out in people's minds.

There's a wonderful vista just over the top of it. Um, kind of have to, you know, heads up to, to catch it. But man, what a, what a wonderful spot for pictures and, you know, taking an idea if you can spare a second. But then after that, it is just this wonderful slight downhill grade for 10, 12 miles. And, um, something that we don't see a lot of in Pennsylvania actually. And that is probably my favorite part of the course. I mean, you can just grow and roll and roll and Rovell uh, on this beautiful gravel section of the course. And I really love that one. Um, and then we have some rail trail in there and then that doesn't sound very exciting, but man is that beautiful along Pans Creek. He goes through a tunnel as you come out of Pope Patti State Park. Uh, and, uh, and to me that's one of the other kind of unique features and highlights of the course as well.

And then when we're all done, are you getting together for sort of a festival type atmosphere?

Yeah, I'll tell you what we are, we're throwing a party all weekend long. You know, I say we, I mean, all those partners, it's, it's far more than just, uh, just unpaved that's doing that. So starting even earlier, as early as Friday evening, uh, a little fun. Graveled we're going to get on garage raveled unraveled on graveled uh, oh on Friday night with some fun town's Saturdays Expo. We've got a bunch of wonderful partners coming in salsa as they are, stands as their, uh, I think Floyd's and Ergon are coming in and it looks like, you know, a Jira will be there and a number of others. Vargo which is, uh, which, which some of our folks know, maybe not everybody would bargo make some really cool equipment for bike packing in there, right in town. They're actually based out of Lewisburg, which is a really cool connection. They're going to be, you know, part of this, we got all this stuff and then there's a bunch of local artisans.

There's a wooly where and festival, which certainly appeals to me, but it's gonna appeal to my kids even more. Um, that's going on as part of this, uh, the wheeler center is working with us on daycare opportunities. So, you know, both parents want to come. Uh, maybe you can't, maybe there's not enough daycare for the full one 20, probably they may be for Alison Tetrick or somebody that fast. Maybe you can, you can blow through quickly enough, but from a mere mortals, you know, if you're going out for the 30, uh, one of the parents wants to do that and, and have the kids kind of engage in some super fun activities. That number center's got family friendly stuff going on. Uh, and then Monday even we've, you know, we have some rides happening conjunction with like at Buycott, Lewisburg, sort of local advocacy, um, folks there for, for cycling and pedestrian activities in those groups. So [inaudible] entire full weekend of fun, family friendliness, you know, Clyde peelings rep, they'll land reptile land is just up the road. That's a pretty fun stop for families while you're in town. So just tons and tons of stuff to do even in, you know, kind of small town Pennsylvania. But man, is it a beautiful spot on the Bucknell University and uh, and some good things that weekend.

That's awesome, Mike. I appreciate the overview. Certainly from all accounts. Last year's event was amazing, so I'm sure this one will be even better. I hope the weather holds for you guys and you get a big turnout. It sounds like there's only maybe one slot left for some lucky, lucky person online who hears this. Go over and grab it. Say I'm Mike. Thanks again for the time.

Hey, thank you very much for having us. Really appreciate it. I hope you can hope you can make it and, and you know, not this year decent. Our, we're hoping to work with us and we get this thing bigger and better. Next year or two, we're going to keep, keep a foot on the gas with it too.

Right on Mike, I appreciate that. Cheers.

PART 2:

Gunner. I want to welcome you to this all Pennsylvania edition of the gravel ride podcast.

It's great to be here. Craig, thanks for having me today. I'm really excited to help fill you in and get the listeners up to date on what's going on with iron cross.

Yeah, I'm stoked to continue the conversation about Pennsylvania riding cars. As I was mentioning to Mike, I've done a bit as a mountain biker when I was living in the mid Atlantic. I love the terrain and I can see how it totally lends itself to gravel riding. I'm excited to get into a little bit to the, into the history of iron cross, but let's start off by just learning a little bit about you. How do you come to the sport of cycling?

So I grew up, my dad got me into mountain biking when I was pretty young. Uh, I raced mountain bikes as a junior year and I eventually transitioned to focus on cyclocross. Um, I've raced with the national team over in Belgium. I went down to these McCray where I raced, uh, in college and was part of some teams that did pretty well national championships and uh, and just sort of grew from racing my bike to I got Lyme disease and it sort of took me off the racing side of things and that kind of opened up the door to help put on races. And I've been really enjoying being on the other side of the core state.

Interesting. In Pennsylvania, is there a big cyclocross contingent? Okay.

Yeah, the mid Atlantic has a pretty awesome series a, the mid Atlantic cross, they put on some really great events. They host a bunch GCI events. It was really helpful growing up as a junior to have such high quality events. Uh, you know, so close to where I grew up.

And you mentioned Mike was there one of the original founders of iron cross. What was the vision? What time of year did it sit in and what was the intention to contribute to the cyclocross racing community there?

So Mike definitely pushed that cross as a, when he started that race. This'll be at 17, 2019. We'll be at 17th year. So it was quite awhile ago when Mike got that off the ground and he was sort of doing something that no one else, no one else was offering. There weren't a whole sampling of gravel races back then. There were some minor cross claims to be the first one in North America and it was based off of, I believe it's called triple cross, that triple cross or triple peaks that was over in the UK. And that was sort of where he got his inspiration there and it was an old race where they would actually ride to the pills and then hike their bikes to the top and come back down and ride to the next step. So that was sort of what Mike used as says, um, idea and inspiration behind it. And it sort of grew from there. Um, it's interesting because it's, oftentimes it's with falling this year. It's on October 20th, 2019. And uh, it is in the middle of cross season and a lot of serious cross raisers have a hard time working into their schedule. You know, they're trading for short hour long efforts. So, you know, depending on how quickly you're going up, three to five hour effort on the bike doesn't really suit that sort of training. But people come out and they make adjustments to their schedule to make it because it's a, it's a pretty unique event.

Yeah. It's interesting that you mentioned the three peak cyclocross race in the UK. My cousin Tim had competed in it, shout out cousin Tim Tebow Dalton. Um, and I remember seeing some of the pictures and I remember talking to them about how friggen hard that race was and seeing him struggle over those peaks carrying his cyclocross bike on his shoulder, you know, going back a decade ago or so. So it's a pretty interesting model and I think like three peaks, it's clear that iron cross is put on the calendar as a big adventure, which is, I think it's really cool and exciting for someone who maybe specializes in cyclocross to kind of go out of their comfort zone and tackle a longer event and tackle the adventurous route that you guys have laid out for people.

Yeah, absolutely. I mean it's great. It's sort of pools, iron cross pools in a racers from road mountain and cross backgrounds. We've had people do it on road bikes with big tires. I wouldn't recommend it, but it is possible. Uh, and then you've got serious mountain bikers that are in the middle of their off season and then you've got serious cross racers in the middle of their, you know, racing season and they all sort of come out and they have a pretty good battle. It can neat to see a different groups that maybe don't get to race with each other the rest of the year. Um, sort of meet each other and, and meet people that maybe they do training rides with but don't, don't attend races but together cause they focus on different disciplines.

Yeah. And I imagine it's fascinating as you look at the different parts of the course where they favor one bike or another, how you see athletes in that specific discipline close gaps or create gaps depending on their skill and their equipment.

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, you've got, you know, sometimes there'll be road racers that know that their technical skills are lacking and are a lot for a mountain bike because they think that they can overcome, uh, the larger tire with and the drag on the road, uh, to be a most, maybe go faster on some of the offer sections and then they'll be the opposite people that are used to going downhill and used to navy riding, drop par bikes on some rough terrain that are worried about having to fitness to get up or some of the hills.

So if I'm lining up at the start line, can you walk the listener through what an iron cross races, like, what's, what's the terrain that they're tackling, how does it unfold? And we starting out with more technical terrain. Are we starting out on fire roads? Just give us a brief overview of the exciting sections of the course.

Yeah, absolutely. We can totally walk through the course here. Uh, so we start right outside of Williamsport in south Williamsport, uh, from the South Williamsport senior center. We go a neutral rollout through south Williamsport. And one of the cool parts about iron cross that we've been able to pull together in the past few years is it's neutral. And we have a replica cannon on the side of the hill and people always say, well, how will we know when the river starts? And I tell them that, well, the race starts from the cannon goes off and not everyone thinks I'm serious. And we have a full cannon that gets loaded with a, you know, gun powder in it. It makes a loud, loud blast. There is no confusion on when the race starts. So as soon as soon as the candidate goes off, they roll through the Williamsport. What authority property?

It's kind of a nice intro, some rougher double tracks, smoother double track, and that sort of just gets the blood flowing and let everyone know what they're going to be in for for the rest of the day. Um, after that, they've got a road climb and he kind of works through the tie dot and state forest. Uh, just some absolutely beautiful views. Uh, some great descents, great climbs. Um, then the, the main thing that everyone fits, stands out in everyone's mind is the hike a bike. So we've, we've got a pretty, pretty unique section of trail where it just goes up this, this rocky in bank men and, uh, there's photos of people and there's often, often times you've got three points of contact with the ground, both your feet in one of your hands because it is so steep that, uh, when you leave for not that far, your, your face is right off the rocks and everyone's carrying their bikes.

Some people put it on their shoulders, some people put it on their back, some people roll it up next to them. Um, and then about halfway up that climb is the unofficial aid station called Larry's tavern. And, uh, we often have someone there from SBDC and they're in the past, they've grilled bacon, they'd grilled a deer meat, venison. They've had all sorts of stuff on the grill there. They've had a, sometimes they have some, some special drinks. They're hanging out. And last year that the, uh, the winner of the overall winner of the race actually stopped. And, uh, took a Ciroc shot and kept going on afterwards. So it's a pretty cool spot to hang out.

The Syrup shop might not be that bad of an idea. I get a little sugar and yet at the end of that climb.

Yeah, absolutely. And after that you've got some more dre gravel and other descent and another climb and then the course finishes with a mountain top climb. Uh, and it's a pretty brutal, it's about two miles long, really nice double track. And uh, up at the top we normally have hot coffee cookies. And, uh, then it said, then you just take your time and roll back to your car, the race at the top of the hill. You've got a nice three, two mile descent back into town. And then, uh, that's sort of it.

And then what do they expect after the race back in town? Do you have some events going on afterwards for people to enjoy themselves?

Absolutely. We've partnered pretty closely with, uh, um, the brick yard restaurant and the stone house restaurant there. There are two restaurants that, uh, are operating under the same management open company. So laughter in everyone's ready to bag. They get a token for free beer and a burger or pizza for after the, um, after the events and they can come down and we do award ceremony in the courtyard and there's lots of lots of hanging out and people talking about the event and whether or not they had a good time and uh, there's been some, some really cool cool nights and it ends up people hanging out for a long time and really enjoying, enjoying what sport has to offer.

Awesome. I was looking at the GPX file for the, for the race. So it looks like it's, it's just shy of 60 miles and about 6,200 feet of climbing, is that right?

Yup. [inaudible]

and looking at the elevation, there's no break in this bad boy. It goes up and down and up and down. And I could see that, um, that last finishing climb is as big as anything else earlier in the day.

Yeah. The, the last line definitely. I mean when you're done, I don't care if you're the first finish or the last minister, you are happy to be done when you come across the line. The last time's pretty tough. It's a good one. Um, and it, it's when you get to the top and have that hot coffee and cookies, everyone's usually pretty excited to be wrapped up for the day.

I bet. I bet. Are All these trails open to riders other times of the year or is this any private property?

Uh, most of the courses open all the year. The glands. What, what our authority, uh, grants the event access. You're allowed to go there and ride. Um, and we, and uh, there's just, there's some rules there saw posted on a side but, but you are able to ride all the course all year round.

Awesome. Well I encourage everybody to go to the iron cross website because there's a video of that cannon going off. There's a course profile across the board and a lot of information about how cool this event is and about the history. Like when we were talking to Mike earlier, I think this region is just so cool for people to visit for riding. And I can see how gravel riding is just exploding in the mid Atlantic area for, for events like this, just sort of setting the stage for what that community can can do.

We'd love to have the hour, um, that there's a really, really great gravel community going on in PA. Uh, and then I think that you'd have fun at anything that's going on in the state. There's some really great stuff and we'd love to have,

well I appreciate you taking the mantle of continuing the history of the Iron Cross race and continuing to have it evolve as new opportunities arise. It's amazing when I think multiple people in the community dedicate themselves to putting on events and thinking about this cause it really helps. It really helps people visiting the area to know where to ride and find some great loops. And it's just amazing to have these things on the calendar year after year after year. So gunner, thanks for joining us. I know you've got a busy weekend racing ahead of you, so thanks for the time and we look forward to another great iron cross later this year.

Thanks for having me, Craig.