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Feb 28, 2024

Andy Chasteen, co-director of the Rule of Three gravel event in Bentonville, Arkansas, joins host Craig Dalton to discuss the vibrant gravel cycling community in Northwest Arkansas. They delve into the importance of connectivity and safe infrastructure for cyclists, the origins of the Rule of Three event, and the unique experience it offers with a combination of pavement, gravel, and singletrack. Andy also shares his perspective on event organization and the value of creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for participants. Don't miss this engaging conversation about the growth and excitement surrounding gravel cycling in Bentonville.

Rule of Three Website

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About the Guest(s):

Andy Chasteen is an avid cyclist and the co-founder of Rule of Three, a unique gravel cycling event held in Bentonville, Arkansas. He has a background in rock climbing and ultra marathoning, which led him to discover his passion for cycling. Andy is also a consultant in the outdoor industry and has worked with brands like Allied Cycle Works. He is dedicated to creating a vibrant cycling community in Northwest Arkansas and promoting the gravel riding experience.

Episode Summary:

In this episode, Craig Dalton interviews Andy Chasteen, co-founder of Rule of Three, about the vibrant gravel cycling community in Northwest Arkansas and the unique gravel event they organize. They discuss the growth of Bentonville as a cycling destination, the importance of connectivity and safe infrastructure, and the origins of Rule of Three. Andy shares his journey from rock climbing to cycling and his passion for creating events that offer a challenging yet enjoyable experience for participants. He also emphasizes the value of different types of gravel events and the need for inclusivity in the cycling community.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bentonville, Arkansas, has become a thriving cycling destination with a strong focus on connectivity and safe infrastructure.
  • Rule of Three is a gravel cycling event that combines pavement, gravel, and single track sections to create a challenging and engaging experience.
  • The event aims to provide a unique and fun atmosphere for participants, with a focus on community building and inclusivity.
  • Andy Chasteen believes that gravel cycling offers a more accessible and enjoyable experience for riders of all skill levels.
  • Rule of Three is committed to delivering a high-quality event and prioritizes participant experience over profit.

Notable Quotes:

  • "We're building gravel connectors that are not used by cars. They're just for cyclists to get from the center of Bentonville out into these rural areas." - Andy Chasteen
  • "Gravel riding resonated with my culture and personality. It felt like home." - Andy Chasteen
  • "Our goal is to put on the best event possible for the people that show up." - Andy Chasteen

Automated Transcription.  Please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00] - ():  Craig Dalton: Andy welcome to the show.
[00:00:03] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Thank you. It's an honor to be here. I've been listening to you for a long time.
[00:00:08] - ():  Craig Dalton: That's amazing
[00:00:09] - ():  Andy Chasteen: to hear Andy. Well, sometimes it's just weird to be on a podcast that you've been listening to and you're talking to the person that you listen to all the time. So it's. It can be awkward, but it's great.
**** - (): It's an honor to be here. Thank you.
[00:00:20] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I feel like I've been observing your antics from afar for a while. So I feel like I know you a little bit, but it's the first time I think that we've actually got a chance to chat.
[00:00:30] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. Yeah. I'm S I'm super stoked to talk to you. So sweet,
[00:00:34] - ():  Craig Dalton: well, a lot of people will have heard of rule of three, and I definitely want to get into that event.
**** - (): Super excited to talk to you about that and, um, gravel cycling in Northwest Arkansas as well. Just as a general topic, because I know as we were talking about offline, that community that you're part of cultivating and a member of is just. So vibrant that, uh, you know, I just love to hear stories from the ground and how other communities can mimic what you're doing and the passion that the community seems to have for gravel riding.
[00:01:04] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. It's, uh, you know, as we were, as we were talking a few minutes ago, there's a lot going on here and, uh, it's quite exciting. And as we like to stay around here, we're, uh, we're just on first base, which is kind of, which is kind of exciting to, to even say, yeah.
[00:01:19] - ():  Craig Dalton: And for those of us who have been to Bentonville to.
**** - (): To, to hear you describe it as first base is insane because you've got great infrastructure. You can get around town on bike paths, but that's just the tip tip tip of the iceberg. There's a couple of substantial mountain bike areas and obviously miles and miles and miles of great gravel as demonstrated in the big sugar gravel event every
[00:01:41] - ():  Andy Chasteen: year.
**** - (): That's right. And, uh, you know, we're working on, you know, like you said, connectivity, and I don't mean to jump straight into this, but like a lot of what we are working on in the Bentonville area is connectivity. How can we connect neighborhoods, uh, you know, business centers and just life in general to trail and gravel road and safe connectors to get out into these rural area, like.
**** - (): That's a, that's a thing that's been on our mind for, you know, well, for, for a while, but what we've really focused on in the past year is, is really making, it's connecting, uh, Bentonville or the Northwest Arkansas area to the ride experience, which has been a fun, a fun time for
[00:02:24] - ():  Craig Dalton: sure. Yeah, I bet. You know, that, that safe connector thread, I think is so important because a lot of areas are great for cycling, but you have to get there and many of us want to ride there.
**** - (): And if riding there is dangerous, that's just going to prevent people from enjoying the sport in the way we want them to.
[00:02:42] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah, uh, the lens with which we've been looking at, uh, let's, let's just stay on the gravel side for now, but like the lens with which we've been looking at the gravel side of the, you know, the experience in Northwest Arkansas is, has been heavily towards, okay.
**** - (): This area is growing. This area is growing very, very fast. And there's, there are some things that we cannot control and we can't control growth. You know, we, we, we don't, you know, we want the Bentonville Northwest Arkansas area to grow and be prosperous. And, you know, but we also have to make sure that that experience for the rider is You know, safe, it's enjoyable.
**** - (): Um, it's, uh, it's approachable for someone who might be brand new. So that's kind of the lens with which we've been looking at the gravel experience. And quite honestly, we're building gravel connectors that are not used by cars. They're just for cyclists to get from. Say, let's just say for right now, uh, the center of Bentonville out into these rural areas.
**** - (): So as Bentonville grows and the footprint expands, those will be protected in perpetuity for their gravel experience, which is really cool. And I'm maybe there's other, you know, communities doing that. But if, if they are, I'm not aware of it. And it really is this amazing foresight, uh, to where 20 years from now, we hope that the gravel experience is protected and enhanced and, uh, and it's still what it currently is.
**** - (): So.
[00:04:11] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's probably worth, you know, I've, I've spoken about Bentonville a couple of times on the podcast before, but it's probably worth noting that the sort of. And correct me if I'm wrong, but the major employer in Bentonville is Walmart and then entities that are related to Walmart. And it's just, it's been there for many, many years.
**** - (): Sure. The Walmart family has had a commitment to investing in cycling infrastructure. So that when they're thinking about their new campus from the ground up, they're always thinking about how can people ride bikes in and it seems from an outsider's perspective that that's infused across the entire town.
**** - (): Just this idea that bikes are going to be part of this community and to your recent point, we're going to build in infrastructure from the onset of planning, not try to slap it on after we've built a subdivision or grown the community in
[00:05:02] - ():  Andy Chasteen: some way. That's right. There has to be some foresight and you're right there.
**** - (): That's the, that's the, that's the focus for sure. And it can't be done. Like you said, behind the ball, we have to be ahead of the ball on that. You know, for example, the walmart's building a new, uh, ginormous, uh, home office campus and on that campus will be single track and there's initiatives within the, within the home office, you know, To, to have a certain percentage of people commuting there, you know, to, to work on, you know, on a weekly basis.
**** - (): And so there is a lot of foresight within, you know, cycling and riding a bike is not only healthy, but it makes, you know, it's just, it's better for a community as well. So, yeah, absolutely.
[00:05:44] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. And as an off road cyclist, I remember going from my Airbnb to an event that the people, people for bikes conference people were having at the, that great museum you have there.
**** - (): And I remember Bridges. Yeah, Crystal Bridges. Yeah. And I remember having the opportunity to ride single track just on the way there to get from point A to point B. And I was like, this is fantastic.
[00:06:07] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. There's kids, you know, kids ride single track to school every day, which I mean, yeah, I'm a little jealous cause I wish I would have had that experience, but yeah, it's, it's a, it's a, it's, we got a lot going on here.
**** - (): There's it's. I like to use the word bonkers. There's a lot of bonkers things going on here. It's busy. It's bustling and it's great. If you're a bike rider, it's hard for me to think there's a better place to be. That's for sure.
[00:06:32] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah, no, I agree. It's definitely someplace everybody needs to visit at some point.
**** - (): You know, Northwest Arkansas 10 years ago might not have been on people's radar as a cyclist as a place to go. And now I think unequivocally for anybody who's set foot in that town of Bentonville in that area, it's an emphatic yes, go visit.
[00:06:51] - ():  Andy Chasteen: That's right. Yeah, for sure. For
[00:06:52] - ():  Craig Dalton: sure. You were talking about sort of childhood and the ability to ride to school, etc.
**** - (): Yeah. Let's, let's roll back a second and just kind of learn a little bit more about where you grew up, Andy. And how'd you find the bike originally?
[00:07:05] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Well, man, that's a long story, but I'll try to, I'll try to keep it short. Uh, I grew up in Southern Missouri, kind of right across the border, actually from Northwest Arkansas.
**** - (): It's a really small town. Went off to college. Um, I played, I actually played basketball in college and, uh, you know, in, into team sports, basically, you know, my entire childhood and into, you know, probably 21, 22 years old. And then after I graduated college, I, I got obsessed with rock climbing for some weird reason and, uh, and got really into rock climbing, ultra marathoning.
**** - (): Um, and like I said, like a very long story made very short, maybe not very short, but short, um, I was running the, I was running ultra marathons and in order to train for ultra marathons, I'm like a big guy by like 200 and I knew that I couldn't run a lot of miles to train for these ultras. And so what I would do is I would go out for like, you know, maybe like a 10 mile trail run and then I would jump on a bicycle.
**** - (): I wasn't a cyclist, but I would jump on a bicycle. To take that, you know, pressure off of my joints and like keep injury free. And so I, I would go out and jump on a bicycle for four hours and I just got hooked, completely hooked and really the rest is history, been on a bike ever since. Um, and you know. I still love to do all these.
**** - (): I love outdoor endeavor, outdoor rec, anything outdoor rec, paddling, you know, climbing trail. I like all that, but my obsession is certainly with the bike. So, um, that's the, that's the short story and we
[00:08:39] - ():  Craig Dalton: did you discover yourself as a, as a mountain biker in those early days or what, what was your niche of choice?
[00:08:46] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Uh, at the time I was actually living in, in Oklahoma city and which, which is, you know, It's there's, there's not a lot of what I would consider like great bike riding there, but the community is amazing. It's a very tight knit, not a big community, very tight knit, but it's very road centric. Um, so I started off kind of on the road bike and, uh, you know, I raced, I did road racing and crate racing and all that.
**** - (): And, uh, I, I was, I was certainly into mountain biking at the time, but that wasn't what I spent most of my days doing. So it kind of started on the road.
[00:09:17] - ():  Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Since we're going to get into the rule of three event that you're putting on there in Bentonville, I think it's going to be interesting to just talk about your journey and experience as an event organizer.
**** - (): And I know from your bio that a rock, a big rock climbing event happened sometime. In that period. So why don't you walk us through like that event? Cause I think it is for those of you who haven't heard of Horseshoe hell, go look it up. I think I S I want to say I saw, uh, some stuff on Red Bull TV about it, but I've read about it now outside magazine over the years.
**** - (): So it's a really amazing event, but I'd love to just hear how it got started because I think it's part of your origin story as someone who stuck up their hand and said, I can put on an
[00:10:00] - ():  Andy Chasteen: event. Yeah, for sure. So like, you know, rewind back when I was in this very obsessive rock climbing phase and, uh, you know, there's a, there's this beautiful, beautiful canyon out in, uh, in Arkansas called, uh, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, and they have, you know, 600, uh, you know, sport routes.
**** - (): Um, so single pitch technical, you know, sport route, rock climbing. And I would spend a lot of time there in kind of the early years of my climbing. And we just, me and some buddies, when we can get this crazy idea, it's, it's kind of an outdoor climbing gym. You got a route here, you can climb this route, you take, you know, 10 steps to your right and you got another one, you know what I mean?
**** - (): It's like route on route on right on route. And they're all really good routes. And so I, we got this wild idea to put on an event that was like a 24 hour rock climbing competition, which seems. Idiotic. Yeah. Had anybody
[00:10:54] - ():  Craig Dalton: done that in the past? No, no, no. Yeah, we have like on the mountain bike side, there's 24 hour mountain bike racing, but sounds like it was a totally foreign concept.
[00:11:03] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Very foreign. Of course, very, very foreign. Um, and so, and all my buddies thought it was a great idea, but nobody really wanted to like I kind of take the reins. So I took the reins and, uh, and, uh, you know, I, it's a private, it's a private property. So I, you know, I went and asked the owner and he was like, yeah, yeah, yeah.
**** - (): You can do that. And just, and thus started this beautiful relationship. This is 2006. And, uh, this, this beautiful relationship with this, with this great, amazing place. And we built this. really cool experience where it started off as a 24 hour rock climbing competition, but now it's a five day festival, right?
**** - (): And so, uh, outside climbing or I'm sorry, outside magazine calls it the burning man of rock climbing. So you got people in costumes and it's a five day love fest party, right? Like, It's I like to say, you know, you can come here and be anybody you want to be for five days as long as you're respectful to, you know, to your fellow, you know, people there.
**** - (): So, um, and the rest is history. It still happens. We're still, we're still doing it. And, uh, even though I'm not like a huge climber is into it as I used to be, um, it's still, it's still a raging, we can, we can only allow 500 competitors, um, so that people can like. Accomplish their goals that they set out, you know, for that 24 hours, we can only let 500 people in, but it the amount of spectators that come and the people who just want to kind of party for the weekend is way beyond that.
**** - (): So, yeah, it's really cool. And oddly enough, I'd never put on a bit before that. I had never even been to a rock climbing competition before I put that on. And sometimes I think that that is actually the golden ticket. Like, yeah. It's almost better to not know how things are done or they're supposed to be done when you're trying to do something that way you can be creative and kind of do, you know, something a little different.
**** - (): So anyways, that was kind of the origins of my first event. And I don't consider myself. I still don't consider myself an event promoter because I have always just done them for fun. I've always had a real job. And, uh, but these have always been for fun and we've cultivated beautiful communities behind them.
**** - (): And that's, that's what I'm proud of, um, in these events.
[00:13:15] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. Amazing. I'll make sure to link to Horseshoe Howell. Cause I just, I think it's a fascinating story and the pictures that come out every year. Yeah,
[00:13:22] - ():  Andy Chasteen: it looks awesome. It's a real wild time. It's a real wild.
[00:13:26] - ():  Craig Dalton: Is it a two person team for 24 hours or is it solo?
**** - (): That's
[00:13:30] - ():  Andy Chasteen: it's a two person team. Cause you have to have a belayer obviously. So the whole idea is like, but there are categories just like any other event. Like, you know, there's categories for the most amount of routes climbed by a team or an individual or the F the most amount of, uh, Uh, routes climb that are certain, you know, difficulty level or whatever the case may be.
**** - (): So you, there's all these just like, um, like kind of like the Tour de France. There's a race, there's lots of races within the race. There's lots of categories within this bit, this one event that you can actually go after, which is kind of cool.
[00:14:02] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. So much fun. So much fun. When did you find yourself actually moving to Bentonville and what, what attracted you to, to that area?
**** - (): Uh,
[00:14:12] - ():  Andy Chasteen: I'm trying to think of how many years ago that was that I, that I moved to Bentonville. I, I originally, I originally, uh, became involved in the Bentonville area through, um, I'm self employed. I'm a consultant in basically really what I I've always considered like the biker outdoor industry. And so I really started coming to Bentonville years ago, um, as a consultant for different brands in the industry.
**** - (): So I, you know, I had go to Bentonville and, uh, in my sprinter van and, uh, and spend, you know, you know, Half of a month there at a time. I spent half my time there, uh, just kind of living out of the van and working for clients and doing work that way. And, uh, eventually I moved full time. Uh, we're full time in Bentonville now, but my wife and I, but, um, it started off as kind of like I was kind of, I hate to use the word squatting in Bentonville, but I was kind of squatting in my Sprinter van in Bentonville for work.
**** - (): Yeah. Which is wild. Obviously
[00:15:06] - ():  Craig Dalton: you started to discover some of the riding throughout the area. Yeah. Okay. Was there a certain point in time when you sort of got under, got your first gravel bike underneath you?
[00:15:17] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Uh, I had been, I had been dabbling in gravel bike, you know, before I started going to Bentonville.
**** - (): I was super into the gravel scene early on, um, for a lot of different reasons. Um, I, I grew up in the outdoors. Um, you know, hunting, fishing, things like that. And it just felt like gravel was more all in line with like my personality and where I came from. I, I grew up in a rural area. So even today, when I ride my gravel bike in rural areas, it feels like I'm home.
**** - (): And so, um, I was, I was into the gravel scene pretty early, I guess, if you will, but not because I thought it was the next big thing is just because it kind of resonated with my culture. Yeah. Personality or my soul a little bit more. Yeah.
[00:15:58] - ():  Craig Dalton: Did that, did that lead you to testing the water or some of those early
[00:16:02] - ():  Andy Chasteen: events?
**** - (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I had a lot of, you know, I wrote an article many years ago. I'm trying to remember when, when that was, but I wrote this crazy article. I have to look it up on the date, but the, and it was just for like my personal website. It wasn't to like, you know, I wasn't a journalist or anything like that, but I wrote this article and this is when, you know, mid South was, was called, you know, the land run 100.
**** - (): And the article was, was titled. Oh yeah. Um, and it just gave all the, I gave all these reasons because it was a bill. It was, it was for everyone. It was for everyone who wanted to ride a bike, no matter who you were and the, the community, the community building and like. So I, I just, it resonated with me early, I guess, is what I'm trying to say.
[00:16:48] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. And imagine, you know, at that time, obviously being familiar with Mid South and all the events that were going on at that time, over the subsequent years, we started to see, I mean, for lack of a better word, a professionalization of some subset of races. Sure. Lots of community based races. I mean, still to this day, I think event organizers have to kind of navigate their lane and understand like what type of they're putting on.
**** - (): But as we come to the rule of three, I'm just curious of your mindset of. Was there something missing? Was it more, Hey, Bentonville is awesome. And I know my way around and I want to show people a great day out there. Talk us through the mindset of the origin of that event.
[00:17:33] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. Um, I think, I think there's probably a combination of, of, of maybe all of those, um, The origin came, I have to say, you know, allied cycle works has been one of my clients for quite a few years.
**** - (): And, uh, a guy named Sam Pickman, he's the director of product over there. He designs all, you know, all the bikes and everything. I'm a podcast guest over here. Oh, no way. Okay. That's awesome. Yeah. Sam is a super good buddy of mine. I adore him. And, uh, there's actually a connection with that too, because Sam's wife, Lauren is my co director for rule of three.
**** - (): So anyways, I want to back up. Uh, we were, you know, when the Abel came out, Allied's first, first gravel bike, um, we, we were on, Sam and I were riding around, um, on the, on prototypes in Bentonville one time, and we were hopping on single track and popping in and out of single track trail and then back onto gravel and things like that, and we got this one day, boom, all this crazy idea, why don't we put on an event that is equal amounts pavement, uh, Gravel and single track, and we kind of like threw it around a little bit.
**** - (): We thought it was a really cool idea. And that honestly is the origin of rule of three. And really, we sat on that idea for probably 2 or 3 years or I did the Sam's busy. He doesn't want that. He didn't want it. That's not Sam's lane, right? Sam is a brain. He's a brain guy. Um, so that was where the origin of the idea came from is riding our gravel bikes on the single track in Bentonville.
**** - (): And so we sat on this idea for quite some time. Right. And this would have been early 2021. I remember specific, the specific time when I decided it was go time for rule of three, um, uh, Mid South, uh, uh, uh, Mid South again, I love you, Bobby, Mid South had just canceled, uh, their event because of COVID. And the reasoning behind is we can't bring people from all over the country here.
**** - (): Um. Because, because of COVID and I thought to myself, well, you know what I could do? I could put on an event in Bentonville where it's just locals, no one has to travel and we let, you know, we have maybe 150 people show up and that is our, like dipping our toes into the event scene, right? This is my time.
**** - (): This is my time. And so I like started this free Instagram account and just kind of started marketing the idea behind rule of three. Um, next thing, you know, we sold out 700 spots in the first year. I didn't, wasn't expecting that, but, um. That's the origins of Rule of Three. And quite honestly, I'd never put an event on.
**** - (): I've been to a lot of them, obviously, um, and I didn't do it out of, out of a desire to do something. I didn't think it was necessarily something that was lacking in the scene. I just was like, you know what? I want to put on an event and I want to do it my way. You know what I mean? Um, and we'll do it different than everyone else.
**** - (): Um, because I personally speaking, I find value in all of these different ways that gravel events are put on. I think they're all valuable. I think they're all great. Right. Whether you're putting on this beautiful, UCI feel, you know, SBT gravel, that's a polished and beautiful, or you've got unbound. That's this really long ginormous event, right?
**** - (): That's like the worldwide, or you've got rule of three, which we put it on in a freaking field. We're dirty. We're grimy. We're different, right? I find value in all of those. And I think that, I think that, you know, uh, There's, there's enough of an audience now to where, uh, to where all of these different ways of putting on an event find value with, they resonate with, you know, a certain audience.
**** - (): And I, so that's, that was really the reason behind it. Yeah. A
[00:21:13] - ():  Craig Dalton: hundred percent. I remember when I first read about rule of three, I was like, this is my jam because I often say like my favorite events. You're going to hate your bike at least once during the event. Event organizer did it right. And when you guys kind of came out with rule of three, I was like, this is awesome.
**** - (): Like it's really putting a fine point on like. You better pick your poison and I very much enjoyed hearing stories about it and hearing some of the racers talk about it because they were going through these thought processes in their head. Like I remember Ian Boswell talking about it and he's like, you know, I know I'm not going to rip single track.
**** - (): So if I'm going to be competitive in this race, I need to do something on the road section and on the gravel section that's going to meaningfully displace some of the more skilled mountaineers
[00:22:02] - ():  Andy Chasteen: in the bunch. And he did, he did that year, you know, he put the hammer down and dropped almost everyone on a, on a really long kind of gravel pavement sector, you know.
**** - (): Um, which, you know, the routes really hard, you know, you know, it's historically speaking, we've, it's been a hundred mile route with about 10, 000 feet of climbing and about 20 miles of singer track, you know, it's, and he don't do all that single track at once. Like you're kind of in and out of stuff all day.
**** - (): Right. And that's the whole idea. You gotta be on, there is no zoning out at rule of three, you zone out, that's when you're in trouble. You know, and so the whole idea was to do something that was really, really difficult. Um, but keeps you on and honest all day long. Right. Yeah. And so, um, that was kind of the idea behind it.
**** - (): We throw a huge finish line party. Um, and that's one other thing that we do differently. We're in a field, right? We're in this big wide open field and you're, the finish line is basically a two track road. Last year we built a cyclocross curl course for you for the finish line. Um, and so, and what we do, what I do on purpose or what Lauren and I do, I, I should give Lauren the, Lauren does most of the work.
**** - (): She's the brains behind the operation. What we do is we, we build the finish line. And this is a, this is a very important part for, for the, the brand of Rula3. Our finish line, you cross that finish line in the finish line shoot, and you are in the party. We don't shoo you out of the shoot. You, you, as you come in to cross the finish line, you're in the party.
**** - (): We don't move you, you're there. You can stay there as long as you want to. We put a bag over your shoulder, and in that bag is a burrito, a beer, a coke, and a muffin. So that, so you don't have to go somewhere and pull your wallet out to find food. It's right there. We expect you to stay and have a good time with all your friends and tell stories and whatever, right?
**** - (): But in order to do that, there, it also has to be safe, right? So what we, what we did is we put the last corner, um, on the course, about 10 feet from the finish line. So no one, there are no sprints across the finish. The sprint is before you get to the finish. And so that keeps it like nobody's getting ran over by a bike going too fast.
**** - (): So there's, there's thought behind that because I want people to feel like when they cross that finish line, they can stay right there. And so all these little things that like doing things differently, I think sets us apart and all sets all these other events, but not just us, but everyone who does all these different things with their events that sets them apart.
**** - (): I think that's cool.
[00:24:35] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah, that's awesome. Since I want the listener to definitely walk away with a real. Understanding of the rule of three course, you know, you talked about these three elements of single track kind of gravel roads and road, you know, as you, as you talk through people who are coming to the event about the type of equipment they would use, I mean, is the single track entirely, or is it.
**** - (): You know, it's rideable on, you know, a four C tire. I'm just curious about that.
[00:25:03] - ():  Andy Chasteen: We keep it, I like to keep it as, as not gnarly as possible. That way, that way, because I don't, I don't want to limit our audience to people who are really good mountain bikers. I don't think that's fair. And so we try to keep most of the single track, uh, in, in like a, like the green blue.
**** - (): Yeah, you know, realm, right? And there'll be some technical sections, but they're not long. If you need to hop off your bike for a second, that's okay. It's not that big a deal, right? We do suggest, um, nothing smaller than a 45 on tire width. Yeah. Um, and, and 50 is your go to quite honestly, just because really.
**** - (): The standards kind of moving that direction anyways, but, um, you're going to have a much more pleasant day on a, on a 50 than you would say, uh, even a 45, but, um, but the course is hard, you know, you know, in, in Bentonville, we don't have these, we don't have these big long climbs like you do out, out where you're at.
**** - (): So we call it death by a thousand cuts, you know, 10, 000 feet of climbing and a hundred miles when you don't have a climb longer than, you know, half a mile at the most. You know, uh, that's, that's a lot of steep, punchy climbing, you know, it's really, it wears you down over the day and like death by a thousand cuts is, is, is the name of the game.
[00:26:20] - ():  Craig Dalton: It's so interesting coming from the Bay area where, you know, we have to do an 800 foot climb or 1200 foot climb. Just we go up and then we go down. There's not a lot of flat rule stuff. I personally, I have a really hard time transitioning to the Bentonville type hills because as you said, they just. You might push over the first one and the second one, and then they start to add up, add up, add up.
**** - (): And it hits me a lot differently as a cyclist than the long climbs that I'm used to out
[00:26:48] - ():  Andy Chasteen: here. Yeah. It's interesting. Uh, it's an interesting, uh, difference. Like I don't, I don't adjust well to the climbs that you do because of where I live too, you know, so I'm used to, I'm used to 20 seconds at, you know, whatever.
**** - (): 500 Watts or like something above threshold or something. Right. So I guess it's just kind of, you're used to where you're at. Right. So, um, but yeah, it's a, it's a very unique course and we've, we've certainly started out at a, a lot of kind of B road sections, um, which can be in general, even more technical than some of the single track too.
**** - (): Yeah. So we, we changed the course every year, every single year. It's different. I
[00:27:27] - ():  Craig Dalton: think that, that underscores how much terrain you have access to, to, which is exciting.
[00:27:32] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. I mean, we change it up. Uh, Drastically every year. It feels completely different every year, which is cool. And you're like, you said the, the, you know, our, uh, our canvas is big.
**** - (): So it's, it's not hard to do that, which is a huge blessing for us. For sure.
[00:27:49] - ():  Craig Dalton: The other incredibly unique thing about this event is the entry fee. Can you talk about that? Yeah.
[00:27:56] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. Um. This is just kind of another part of the, of our ethos is our brand. Like we, and it's not just the entropy and it also, it goes back to what I said, uh, you know, a few minutes ago, I don't do this for my job.
**** - (): This is not my day job. I'm doing this. I do this cause I want to, cause it's fun. Lauren and I both do it because it's important to us to put on our, our goal is, uh, not to make money on this. I mean, I know that sounds counterintuitive, but our goal is to put on the best event. Possible for the people that come up that show.
**** - (): And so, um, our entry fee's, 85 bucks, um, and I believe we began, I think our first year it was 65 and now it's 85. And we'll never go over the amount of miles that the event is, is what, is basically That's the goal. Yeah. I think what, what I've committed to, and I, and I like to commit that in public 'cause it keeps me accountable.
**** - (): One other, one other thing that we do is we do not. Take or accept cash from sponsors. We want a sponsor to come to our event and take that cash that they would have given us and use it to add value to the participants, right? The people that are there. Um, I, I'm a fallible human. And so if you were to give me just, I'm just saying personally, me, if you're a sponsor, you're going to give me, let's say whatever, 10, 000 bucks to be a sponsor of rule of three, guess what I'm do probably going to pocket 5, 000 of that and then put 5, 000, the rest other 5, 000 into making the event better for the people.
**** - (): So. What I do to hold myself accountable is I just don't take cash at all. I just say, if you want to sponsor the event, then you're going to have to, you're going to have to come and add some sort of value to the event. And, and it's, and we don't make rules in this, which, which is cool. Like someone came last year and cooked.
**** - (): Bacon the out at an aid station the whole day. Um, so there's all these crazy ideas that we encourage the sponsors to come and do, uh, aid stations, uh, parties at the finish line. Somebody's making margaritas in one of their tents or whatever. Specialized comes and they give they do post finish. They do finish line photos when you're all 30 and gross.
**** - (): And yeah, and those are free. You get those for free. We don't charge. There's no charge for those. Um, and we have. Yeah. What I like to call the best swag bag in the, in the biz, like, um, we give every competitor to not one water bottle too, because everybody likes a matching water bottle. Right? So that's right.
**** - (): We do. Yeah, we do water bottles. We, you know, you get a tea, you get a bandana, you get a, uh, you get an ass saver, you get, you know, you get a stainless steel pint last year. Uh, mirror gave everybody's, uh, insulated, uh, Bottles that were logoed and like, so we, I like, I like to have two or $300 worth of cool stuff that people will actually use Yeah.
**** - (): In the bag that they, that they get at pack and pickup. So for us it's really about creating value and creating a real good time of the at, you know, at, at the event. And, uh, and that's what we're committed to doing. So that's, I guess, a few of the ways that we like to kind of do things different. Right. And I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm lucky I'm blessed that, um, I don't.
**** - (): I don't put this event on for my living if I'm just being honest.
[00:31:15] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. It changes the dynamic entirely, I think, because I mean, it's such a, it's such a difficult business to be in the event business. It
[00:31:23] - ():  Andy Chasteen: is. It is. That's right. I can make every decision I make is. Is not attached to the bottom line. And I, I, I know that other events aren't like that and I, I applaud them.
**** - (): I think every other event out there, I've been to almost, not all of them, but a lot of them. And almost all of them. And I will go to them this year too. 'cause I think they're amazing, but we just wanna do things different at rule three. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:31:47] - ():  Craig Dalton: And as you said, there's room quite simple. There's room for it all.
**** - (): A
[00:31:51] - ():  Andy Chasteen: thousand percent room for it
[00:31:52] - ():  Craig Dalton: all. Yeah. I think you mentioned this, but I wanted to make sure the listener, uh, has this as a takeaway that the it's a hundred mile event, but it's, I think you have a, uh, additional distance this year. Is that right?
[00:32:04] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah, we actually, we, we also offer a 50 mile event. Um, so that's something that like we like to, we like to say, if you, if you don't think that you can finish the, well, you know, this isn't your typical gravel race, it takes or gravel event.
**** - (): I'll hate calling it a race for some reason that doesn't sit well for me. Um, if. You know, this is not 100 mile gravel event. This will take you a lot longer than you would. It would normally take you to do a gravel event because of that 20 miles a single track. Yeah, you don't think that you can finish something like that and say 10 to 12 hours.
**** - (): We always we like, just we respectfully say you should dip your toes in the 50 miler. And then once you've got that under your belt, hit that next one, right? And so we've got the 50, we've got the 100, and this year we're actually adding the 200. Um, which will be such, it's going to be a sick route. And we're only opening it to a hundred people.
**** - (): Because it's, you know, you know, my, my thoughts are ultra distance. If it's not already here, it's the future. People, you know, I'm thinking of, I'm thinking of myself. I've done how many hundred mile events. And. Where I, while I still love them, sometimes I think to myself, well, what's next? Right. I think people are thinking in, I think a lot of people are thinking, what's next for me?
**** - (): I've done 10 hundred mile gravel events. What's my next step? Well, a 200 mile is probably your next step. And I know that unbound is a 200 miler, but. This isn't unbound. This is, you know, this is 200 miles with 30 plus miles of single track at, you know, and you're circumnavigating this ginormous lake out east of Bentonville.
**** - (): There's a lot of climbing and it's way out in the middle of nowhere. It's an adventure. Yeah. So we're adding that on this year. Yeah.
[00:33:45] - ():  Craig Dalton: Given, given the, obviously the duration it takes to ride the single track about 100 and the added single track in the 200, how long of an event are you thinking that's going to be for, I mean, I don't know how to put it in perspective for people from the first to last, but what's the window of time you're thinking?
[00:34:03] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Well, we're going to, we'll start the event the day before. So we'll start, we'll start the 200 miler on Friday afternoon, and it'll start from where packet pickup is basically. Um, in town and we're, we're, we're making a 30 hour cutoff and you'll have to wear a spot tracker on your, just like you would any other ultra distance event.
**** - (): Right? So yeah, it really is. It's, it's unsupported. It's fully self supported. We ain't coming to pick you up. So it's, it's a different adventure, but I, I do, I personally believe if it's not already here, it is the future of, of, uh, you know, the gravel experience, at least part of the future. Yeah.
[00:34:40] - ():  Craig Dalton: I mean, I think to your point, just about the different flavors of events that exist, even in that like a narrow hundred mile mindset.
**** - (): Now you're seeing it go both directions, which is pretty natural. I mean, I think again, like sometimes. Riding 100 is not enough should be for most people. Sometimes
[00:34:58] - ():  Andy Chasteen: it's not. Yeah. And we, we, I had a question. I had someone asked me the other day. Are you ever considered making doing like a 20 miler because your events not that approachable for maybe a newer person.
**** - (): And I was just honest. And I said, no, we're not going to. But what we do, what we do offer is we offer training rides. Um, yeah. In Bentonville, for no charge, they're free. We just did what we call the Rule of 399 last weekend, which we offered a 22 miler route. For people who wanted to see what it's like, you get to practice on the single track.
**** - (): You get to see that, wow, this is a lot harder than a 22 mile gravel ride, right? It takes a lot longer. It's harder to do. It takes a little bit more technical skill. So we, we are, we're trying to train up newer people to at least have the opportunity to maybe hit that 50 miler one day. I don't think that we'll ever have a, a distance that's shorter than that, but we do that outside of our rule of three events, like our rule of three and nine, we do training events and things like that to give people that approach approachable mindset of maybe I can do the 50, you know what I mean?
[00:36:02] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. Super interesting. And that goes back to where we were talking about, which is that great community of cyclists and cycling events that's growing up and around Bentonville. It sounds like there's plenty of opportunity and exposure. For people to all these great events that are going on and as they sort of start to put a toe in the water, you're not the only person who's told me there's, you know, great group ride events quite regularly out in Bentonville for people to get a understanding what gravel cycling
[00:36:30] - ():  Andy Chasteen: is all about.
**** - (): There are, there's a lot of great events that happen in Bentonville. It, it seems like they're, they're nonstop actually. But, um, and they're amazing. I love to go to all of them. Um, you know, Big Sugar's a big deal, you know? Um, and so, you know, and there's, there's many more that's not, they're not the only one, but there's the, the opportunity, opportunities are endless.
**** - (): You know, in our neck of the woods,
[00:36:54] - ():  Craig Dalton: if you will, when does rule of three happen each year?
[00:36:59] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Uh, we have we're on the same weekend every year. So, uh, I like to You know, it happens on may 18th, but I like to say that I think that's may 18th saturday might be the I think it's 18th. Um, but I like to say that rule of three is like May 16th through the 19th because we got to shake out rides.
**** - (): We've got, you know, uh, we got, uh, breakfast on Sunday morning. Uh, you know, uh, after the event, we've got all kinds of things going on all weekend. So I hate to like, pin it down. Like, I'm like, come early, stay late, bring your mountain bike to, you know, let's party, you know? So, uh, but yeah, it's on the 18th this year.
**** - (): Yeah. And we like, let's, I mean, yeah. I'm gonna, I'm gonna shout out to like, I think Gravel Locos is that weekend. I think, uh, I think Pete's Pizza Pater is that weekend. And, you know, I've talked to, I've talked to all those guys and I'm like, they're, you know, everybody's kind of like, are you guys, are we, are we okay with all this?
**** - (): And I'm like. We're all in different parts of the country. The audience is humongous. Who cares? You're going to fill up, you're going to fill up, we're going to fill up. Let's all be okay with this. There's no problem with us overlapping dates. I've had zero problems with that. Yeah,
[00:38:15] - ():  Craig Dalton: I'm sure. How much writer capacity do you have for this year?
[00:38:20] - ():  Andy Chasteen: We, we, uh, we limited at 1600 people, and there's a reason behind that. I think we could probably sell 3, 000 spots, but I don't want to. I want someone who crosses that finish line to look over our after party, right? And feel like they know everyone there. They don't have to know everyone there, but I want them to feel like they do.
**** - (): And so, um, I'm not interested in, uh, you know, having it. Be bigger than that. So that's kind of, that's what we've been at for, this will be our third year that we've been at, at 15, 1600 people. And I like that number. It's, it's nice for us. Um, it helps, it helps our logistics and it just helps people have a better experience too.
**** - (): And so that's probably what we'll stick at.
[00:39:04] - ():  Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's funny. I was having a totally unrelated conversation in my day job, just about a business I used to run and this opportunity we had to basically double the business. But I recognize that doubling the business was going to ruin my life. It was going to be miserable.
**** - (): You know, we'd have to run two shifts in a factory. No one would be happy. I couldn't imagine it being the same thing. And so it's great for you. It's great to hear it from your words as well. Just like, this is a great size for us where you're confident that we can deliver an exceptional experience to 1600 people and why deliver a subpar experience to 3000 people.
[00:39:45] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Yeah. And part of that is because this isn't my real job, you know, um, you know, you let three, 4, 000 people in that becomes your real job and I don't want it to be, I like my real job.
[00:39:59] - ():  Craig Dalton: Um, when does anyone's registration open?
[00:40:03] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Registration opens, uh, February 5th. So what is that like a few days from now? Yeah.
**** - (): Um, and that's okay. If that's okay. If you're like, if, if this is coming out after that, it's not a big deal. I, we have always sold out in like a minute or two anyway. So it's, it's, I just love getting on here. And if, if, if I'm being completely honest. The legacy that I would love to leave behind with Rule of Three is not the event.
**** - (): The, the legacy I would like to leave behind is that everyone goes out and rides these types of, does these types of rides where they live, no matter where they live. Yeah. I, I call 'em rule of three rides. You know what I mean? That's a legacy I wanna leave. Like I think that this is the funnest form of riding a bike that I've ever experienced, even just bar none.
**** - (): And, uh, and I would, I would be happy over the moon if everyone, uh, out there rode, did these kind of rides where they lived. So, yeah, that's a legacy we really wanna leave behind. So,
[00:41:04] - ():  Craig Dalton: I, I love it, Andy. I'm just going to shut up. If you had a microphone, I would have just allowed you to drop it and we would have cut the cut the show right there.
**** - (): But I do want to just conclude by saying thank you for the energy you're putting into the sport, your energy into the community there. We'll definitely put, you know, links to rule of three because whether it's this year or next year, love for more people to go and get exposed to that great Bentonville riding and the experience you just described to us.
[00:41:33] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Thank you. It was, it's, I've, I'm serious. I've listened to your podcast for a long time. How long, how long have you been doing this now? God, I think it's
[00:41:39] - ():  Craig Dalton: five years.
[00:41:41] - ():  Andy Chasteen: I was going to say, I didn't want to speak out and say, like, I've been listening to you for three years and you've only been around for two, but cause I, I did, I, you know, you lose track of time.
**** - (): Yeah. I'm, I'm almost positive. I've been listening to you since the beginning. So, uh, very well done. I love listening to your stuff. It's, I like the variety, like you're always speaking to interesting people about all these different interests topics. So keep it up. It's awesome. Thank you. I appreciate
[00:42:05] - ():  Craig Dalton: that Andy.
**** - (): Right on. Thanks for spending some time with us, man.
[00:42:09] - ():  Andy Chasteen: Thanks man. Thank you.