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Jun 6, 2023

This week, your hosts Craig Dalton and Randall Jacobs reconnect with the gravel cycling world and their personal lives, sharing insights and experiences from Sea Otter to UNBOUND. Dive into this episode and join the guys as they discuss the latest from Logos Components, Enduro Bearings, ENVE and a little bit of gravel beef.

Links from Episode:

Made Bike Show 

Thesis Bike (Code: 'Community500') 

Enduro Bearings Whitepaper 

Support the Podcast

Join The Ridership 

Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00]Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week, I'm going to be joined by my co-host Randall Jacobs for a long overdue catch up. And an episode of in the dirt. We're going to jump into, what's been going on in the world of gravel cycling and in our own lives. With that said here's Randall.

[00:00:44]Craig Dalton (host): Hey Randall, how you doing?

[00:00:46]Randall R. Jacobs: Doing well. Good to see you, Craig. It's been a bit since

[00:00:48]Craig Dalton (host): I know I feel like we keep just not finding time to do these catch up calls, so we've got like months of stuff to cover, but I think we'll keep it brief cuz I know we're both pretty busy today.

[00:01:01]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah, and I'll, I'll take responsibility for Ave for not being so available. Um, I've been building largely just like rebuilding a house. Uh, so that's, uh, a pretty big undertaking and, uh, having to learn building science and all these things myself along the way to make sure it's done right. So, uh, very joyful task, but also hasn't left a lot of bandwidth.

[00:01:24]Craig Dalton (host): And for anybody catching the video, we're looking in the backdrop at some of Randall's cabin in Kingston, New York.

[00:01:33]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah, gutted the upstairs so that I could move into it while I renovate the rest of it. So definitely a labor of love, but uh, also very, uh, very all encompassing.

[00:01:44]Craig Dalton (host): Nice. Well, it's exciting. I can't wait to be sort of part of the journey in the background as I see your property evolve, and I know how committed you are to that community.

[00:01:53]Randall R. Jacobs: We'll have to have you out to ride, uh, once it's a little bit further along. I know that you sometimes make trips to New York and, uh, the riding here in the Kingston area and the broader Hudson Valley is, uh, fantastic. In fact, I did a ride last night with some folks, uh, along the Walkhill, uh, bike path up to the area around the Mohawk Preserve.

It was a night ride. And we were up there, uh, on this big, uh, hilltop meadow at about 11 o'clock for the full moon, and it was absolutely fantastic. Riding the dark is delightful and just the area is beautiful.

[00:02:28]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Writing in general sounds delightful and I have to be honest, it hasn't been something that I've been doing a ton of. Unfortunately, I've had, I feel like a string of. Setbacks this year. It's just been one of those years that as much as I've been eager to ride my bike, timing health and a bunch of other things haven't allowed me to do so.

So I feel sort of a little bit anxious about where I'm at just cause I wanna be riding more. But uh, also trying to just give myself the grace to know that, you know, it's just not in the cards at the moment and it'll come back around for me.

[00:03:04]Randall R. Jacobs: Well, I, I also have to confess on my end, this was this ride I just mentioned, with the exception of having taken my niece and nephews out a couple of times on several milers was my first real ride of the year. Uh, I've been so swept up in other things. Plus I had had, you know, some, some issues with like, pain in my hands and feet and so on that I had been dealing with it.

I just hadn't been riding at all. And, uh, There's an ebb and flow in the relationship with the bike. That is okay, even if you have a podcast and have, have built a company in the industry and so on. Um,

[00:03:38]Craig Dalton (host): was just gonna announce if we,

[00:03:40]Randall R. Jacobs: the right thing.

[00:03:41]Craig Dalton (host): I was just gonna ask if we fully discredited this podcast in the first five minutes.

[00:03:47]Randall R. Jacobs: I mean, the, the, the bike for me was always a jumping off point and or an excuse for having interesting conversations about other topics. Anyone who's, uh, You know, enjoyed any of the episodes I've done has found that like, even if say we're nerding about bicycle technology, it's actually just a conversation about technology and entrepreneurship.

Or if we're talking about sports psychology, it's actually just a conversation about the human experience. So I think, I think we are credible amongst the types of people who gravitate to this particular, uh, corner of the cycling media landscape, I suppose.

[00:04:23]Craig Dalton (host): Fair enough. We did, however, in April visit the spectacle of all spectacles called Sea Otter, where we got to hang face-to-face at least for a day. I just did a day trip down there. But I know you spent the entire weekend down there. Any sort of thoughts from what you saw that will inform the listener for the year as the new trends or anything going on?

[00:04:46]Randall R. Jacobs: Honestly, I didn't see a lot that excited me. Um, and you know, looking at the press coverage, none of, you know, there wasn't much out there that was found by others either. Um, the, we've talked about, you know, Sam's release of their transmission. So, um, there were a lot of conversations in the background about the implications of that for competition within the bike industry, both with, you know, people in the media and.

At brands, uh, component brands and, and bike brands and so on. But otherwise, I mean, it was a great festival. The, the vibe was great. It was, uh, very well attended. Uh, lots of racers, lots of activities, lots of people out and about. Uh, so as far as that is concerned, it was a big success. But nothing major from a technology standpoint that I found or a trend standpoint.

[00:05:36]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. I wonder if someone who's sort of better at the history of the cycling industry than I would sort of point to other, other sort of moments in time, whether it's been with mountain biking or other sectors of the sport where you just sort of plateau, where you've, you've sort of, you've got to a point where a lot of the best ideas have been flushed out. Because I feel like if you're coming in to build a bike today, and I'll point to my episode with Envy, with their MOG gravel bike, it's just straight down the center. Like you can't point out anything wrong with that bike. It's gonna do everything great. It's got all the sort of modern, um, tire clearance features that we've been talking about for years, and now there's just sort this sort of.

Mainline point where you can enter the, the, the, the bike gravel bike market and produce something that's really gonna do the job.

[00:06:30]Randall R. Jacobs: If anything, I think that the, the trends that would, that was clearly in play is that gravel is now very mature. And you know, our first conversation when I was a guest on this podcast, It was, you know, I, I recall mentioning like gravel bikes are essentially the all-purpose bikes that we should have been making for normal people all along.

And, uh, that's kind of played itself out. You know, there's quite a few people who have one bike for nearly everything and it's their gravel bike, and there are lots of gravel rides or gravel races. Um, I, uh, Sam, uh, Sam Jackson, my colleague at, at, uh, thesis and Logos and I were volunteering for, uh, enduros, uh, media ride.

And, uh, that was also a mix of road and gravel and people were on gravel bikes with, you know, even if they had oversized road tires on some of them, in some of the cases. Uh, so I think the trend towards having bikes that are more versatile is, is the big thing. And, and gravel is no longer insurgent.

Gravel is very much central in the industry, and if anything, road is more peripheral.

[00:07:35]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, agreed. Like I look around Mill Valley on the weekends when I see packs and packs of riders riding on the road, and sometimes I do a double take because more often than not, I feel like half the kind of casual pelotons are gravel bikes with just narrower tires on them than they are road bikes these days, which.

Obviously makes a ton of sense. From what, what we've been saying the last couple years on this podcast, you mentioned you were hanging out with the Enduro gang, and I know your wheels were being displayed at the booth. It sounds like after that conversation you had with their founder, Matt on the podcast last year, you've really developed a pretty deep relationship with that team.

[00:08:14]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah, so, you know, it's funny, like Matt and I had a delightful conversation that we've recorded and then we kept going for about an hour and a half after we finished recording. Just, uh, just nerding out about, uh, you know, different concepts that him and I have, have played with over the years. So, uh, I guess nothing that I can, I can reveal in a public forum, but that might bear some fruit in the future.

Uh, and then sometime after I got, uh, a contact from, uh, Rick Sutton, who Rick Sutton for tho has been on the pod. Um, he, I think he was representing, uh, The handlebar company he was

[00:08:52]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Coefficient.

[00:08:53]Randall R. Jacobs: Yep.

[00:08:54]Craig Dalton (host): The handlebar company. Yep.

[00:08:55]Randall R. Jacobs: but Rick's also the founder of Sea Otter and, um, is now working with Enduro, helping with their, um, you know, marketing strategy and messaging and so on.

And so he reached out and, uh, we, you know, set up a collaboration where, you know, we have a, a product that we think is based on this, kind of the same sorts of principles that. Particularly their XD 15 product is, is ceramic. Hybrid product is based on, which is having something that performs at a high level yes.

But that is highly durable and serviceable. Uh, and so, so yeah, that's been a collaboration that has been an absolute delight. And um, you know, it's also been a joy to kind of work with that team. So spent a lot of time at Rick's house, uh, just outside of Sea Otter, uh, in Monterey, uh, uh, volunteering with the group rides and the other events that they were hosting there, uh, for their kind of, you know, media and press, uh, efforts and so on.

[00:09:56]Craig Dalton (host): Nice. Nice. And so, I mean, are you using some of the products in your logos, components, wheels now?

[00:10:03]Randall R. Jacobs: exclusively. And in fact, we've used them exclusively in our wheels from day one. Uh, so as soon as we started making our own hubs, we were doing Enduro bearings. Uh, so this is predates, uh, talking to Matt. I reached out to Matt because I liked his bearings, uh, and found out that actually he is a, a nerd, uh, a kindred spirit and his nerdy,

[00:10:25]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah.

[00:10:26]Randall R. Jacobs: uh, by the way, that is an episode.

If any, if any listeners haven't heard it, that I'd strongly recommend, uh, Matt is a. Is really just a, uh, a he delights in the engineering, but also the history of the industry and so on, and so as a deep amount of knowledge about the evolution of the bicycle and where technology seen in bike have played roles in other industries, particularly around Barings.


[00:10:50]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, it was a super interesting episode and. Actually really cool to see Matt kind of get out there. I don't know whether it's the collaboration with Rick, but Enduro seems to be doing group rides. I know they did one up here in Marin out of Fairfax that I did. I was invited to one in Boulder, which sadly I could not attend, but just great to see Matt getting out there.

As you said, he's been around the industry. The whole Enduro story is pretty interesting, and just the commitment to quality and the, the way they manufacture things, I think is worth knowing and worth listening to. And regardless of whether you buy their product or someone else's, I think if you're interested in, in the technology that goes behind Barings and what you should be thinking about, that's a great episode to get smart with.

[00:11:35]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Um, there's also, they released at Sea Otter a white paper, which, um, I, I will grab so that we can put it in the show notes. Definitely worth a read. And what I love, uh, again, about Matt and, and their approach is just very straight shooting. Like, this is how it is, this is how our products perform. Um, this is, you know, this product that we have will perform at this level, this other product and how it compares in the ecosystem.

Ver uh, Compared to, you know, verifiable test results, uh, that have, you know, clearly spelled out protocols and so on, and. You know, as an example, you know, we talk about this in the episode, uh, ceramic bearings are not something that you should really be buying for the performance improvements. The, the difference in drag is pretty trivial in the grand scheme.

Um, uh, that really the benefit when you have something like, uh, an XD 15 ceramic hybrid is that they last much longer. They're basically bombproof and they provide a lifetime warranty. So that's a, a different, a different thing. Uh, so just like sh selling, like promoting things on their merits as opposed to on some, some hype to get people to part with their funds.

[00:12:47]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, I think that's, you know, it's obviously an interesting journey for a lot of newer cyclists because it's easy to see and become aware of the things that have the hype around them. But I, I, I found, at least for my, myself and my own journey, sort of took a while as a mountain biker back in the day to just sort of go back to what works above and beyond anything else.

I'm not gonna lie, like I had a bunch of no shade against Ringle from back in the day, but I had a bunch of purple anodized parts that I thought looked good. I don't think they were the best performing parts in the world. And eventually, you know, I just sort of went back to some stock stuff and and focused on things that would really improve the quality of my experience, like upgrading wheels, for example.

[00:13:30]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Well, and it's really hard to know, especially, especially as somebody who's just entering the sport, but honestly, even as someone who's been in the industry for some time, like it took me years to really get to the bottom of what was real and, and what was, you know, marketing Huey. Um, and that came through talking with the engineers behind it and like hearing from them, oh yeah, this is something that our marketers wanted us to do and we actually despise it.

Um, or this is something the bean counters wanted us to do and we, and we wish we didn't have to. Um, but that's information that you only get if you're talking to say, like the head of QC at some large brand or, you know, the lead engineer or something like this. Uh, which is what we get to do here sometimes, which is great.

[00:14:17]Craig Dalton (host): That said, if putting an anodized piece of part on your bike makes you happy, makes you smile, makes you ride more, more, go ahead and do it. I've certainly got my, my fair share of colorful parts on my new bike, so happy to, uh, happy to make people smile when I roll. Roll by.

[00:14:34]Randall R. Jacobs: Oh yeah. I think, I think the moral there is not to is, is not to forego style. It's just to don't, don't compromise on the, uh, the fundamental function of the, of the components when adding that style elements.

[00:14:47]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Um, hey, I know you've been busy with Logos Wheels. Have you guys, I think you've added another wheel or two to the lineup. Am I correct in that?

[00:14:59]Randall R. Jacobs: So we hinted, uh, uh, we, we hinted this in our newsletter. Uh, we'll have another one going out actually today as of the, this, uh, publication. Um, but we have three more that we're about to release. Uh, one is a, uh, an Arrow road model, uh, 50 deep, 21 internal, 30 external. A cross-country model, which is 28 internal, and then a, uh, Enduro, uh, an all Mountain Enduro version of our current, uh, Uday wheel, uh, which is a 31 internal.

And all of those use the same kind of principles and components. Just, you know, broadening the line to, you know, hit, hit more the, uh, the sub niches for each, you know, product category.

[00:15:45]Craig Dalton (host): Gotcha and all. Were those in DU bearings you mentioned earlier?

[00:15:49]Randall R. Jacobs: All of those Enduro bearings. Uh, we are planning on releasing a, an XD 15 line later in the year. Uh, right now it's all their, um, uh, their, uh, stainless steel bearings.

[00:16:01]Craig Dalton (host): Okay. Gotcha, gotcha. Well, we won't drill too much into those new wheels just simply cuz they're a little bit outside of the gravel market, but you've still got your 700 C gravel wheel and a six 50 B gravel wheel.

[00:16:13]Randall R. Jacobs: Yes. And, uh, those have been doing really well and we've been building out our dealer program for that too, which has been a lot of fun. Actually, I, I plan on bringing on some dealers to talk about, you know, the nature of running a bike shop at some point. Cause it's just been a, an absolute delight to, to connect with local businesses.

[00:16:30]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, I mean I think that's just sort of, I think running a bike shop, there's never a dull moment. Right. I know. I think we were gathering from a lot of, a lot of partners in the industry at Sea Otter that there's just been a glut of inventory

[00:16:45]Randall R. Jacobs: Mm-hmm.

[00:16:46]Craig Dalton (host): market and that's kind of jamming a lot of, a lot of shops up in some interesting ways.

[00:16:51]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. And for those curious, um, so I mean, we all saw the shortages that happened during covid, um, along with the boom and demand. Um, so in boom and quantity demanded. So shifting out the demand curve, um, and. As a consequence, a lot of shops essentially ordered whatever they could from wherever they could and, uh, including, you know, Ordering the same thing from multiple places.

And these agreements, uh, were not agreements that could be canceled. These, these, uh, pos And so everything came, and everything came all at once at the end of last season, which is when it's. You know, when things are generally quieter at the shop. So this just this glut of inventory that's kind of working its way through the system.

Um, and, you know, that's still ongoing for some shops. Uh, but for the most part, the shops I've been talking to have been able to, to, you know, navigate it. Uh, and are, are still, you know, doing just fine.

[00:17:51]Craig Dalton (host): I feel like this might finally break the sort of product year introduction life cycle that's been starting to break, and maybe less so for components, but I think more so maybe for smaller frame builders and brands that can just kind of bring bikes into the world when it's an opportune time to have a conversation about them versus.

These seasonal experiences we used to have in the bike industry.

[00:18:15]Randall R. Jacobs: Well, and certainly, um, I mean, there have been complaints about model years on bicycles from shops for, you know, probably since, since there were bike shops and brands were doing this as a way of kind of, um, you know, planned obsolescence. And so it's, it hasn't been healthy for shops. You essentially have brands that will force feed a bunch of product and then immediately release the next thing in the middle of the season.

Cuz they want, you know, cuz they're all competing with the other brands to release the new thing, uh, during the peak of the season. And it's just been pretty, um, Pretty harmful to these small businesses that have been essential to growing some of these larger brands. Uh, it's one of the reasons actually that I left, um, that I decided not to work, um, at a big brand because I, I really found the dealer agreements to be very pernicious and model years are very much part of that, um, you know, extractive relationship.

[00:19:12]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. So at, AT, and then at Thesis, you've still got, you're still working on, uh, you've still got full bike builds available right?

[00:19:23]Randall R. Jacobs: Oh yeah. And in fact we, um, we just launched a summer special where it is, uh, $500 off of our OB one Access custom. And, um, for members of the community, uh, there is an additional $500, uh, just for community members, and that's using the Code Community 500. So if you're listening, uh, thank you for supporting this podcast and, uh, being along for the ride.

And, uh, yeah, if you need a bike, reach out.

[00:19:51]Craig Dalton (host): I need to widen my camera. I've got my, my OB one in the background right on the wall.

[00:19:58]Randall R. Jacobs: Very cool. Oh, pinky.

[00:19:59]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, that's right. Speaking of the cool bikes, I got word about a new trade show up in Portland called Made This August, which sounds exciting. I think it in some ways it hearkens to the, the National Handmade Bicycle Show, but a little different vibe. A ton of cool frame builders are gonna be up there.

And it's both, uh, sort of a media show as well as the consumer show. So if you're in the Pacific Northwest or you know, close to Portland or fancy a bike geek holiday, that seems like a really cool show.

[00:20:34]Randall R. Jacobs: Yep, I'll be there. Sam will be there with me as well. Um, and we'll have a few, um, wheels on bikes and, uh, enduros gonna be there too. Uh, so we'll probably collaborate with them on some stuff.

[00:20:46]Craig Dalton (host): Cool.

[00:20:46]Randall R. Jacobs: but yeah, I'm really excited to see, um, more, well, there's, there's long, there's a long tradition of domestic, uh, custom bike making in the us.

Um, but to really see how, um, particularly in metal, um, how more domestic fame fabrication can happen at scale. And so that'll, those will be some of the conversations that I'll be having while I'm

[00:21:12]Craig Dalton (host): Nice.

[00:21:13]Randall R. Jacobs: In addition to just seeing all the eye candy,

[00:21:15]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, I, I definitely miss going to nabs and just having that experience and it was always such a great opportunity for Frame Builders to kind of roll out something special or something unique that showed their creativity and, uh, yeah, just always got me jazzed about bikes.

[00:21:33]Randall R. Jacobs: Well, and it's, it is the case that what happens at these custom bike shows influences what happens in the broader market. Um, it is no secret that the big brands are there looking at, you know, what the next trend is going to be. And in fact, there's a, a famous story about, uh, you know, Tom Richie's early mountain bike being brought over to Japan by, uh, the leader of another, uh, major brand, and that becoming a, uh, I think the stump jumper.

[00:22:03]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Yeah, I remember hearing that story. The other cool one that's going on actually this month in June out in Ogden, Utah, is the Envy Groo. So it's a a ride slash kind of builder partner event. Similar kind of jam where it's just like amazing custom builders coming out. So that one's a favorite of mine because you get a great gravel ride combined with this fun bike show.

And I hope, I don't know, but I hope at Maid they're gonna do some group rides or some other ways to engage the community.

[00:22:36]Randall R. Jacobs: I suspect so. And if in fact I'll just come out and say like, if no one's doing it, then maybe we'll kick off something. Uh, cuz we got some friends in that area that could help create a route. And it would definitely be great to get some riding in the Pacific Northwest Riding is pretty fantastic.

[00:22:51]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, I think that's an amazing idea. You should go forward with that.

[00:22:55]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Um, I have, uh, given a hostage to Fortune, and I suppose I now have to create this groove ride.

[00:23:04]Craig Dalton (host): What else is, what else are you seeing out there?

[00:23:08]Randall R. Jacobs: Uh, so again, like I haven't seen a ton interesting that the, the main thing. Uh, so Camp Nolo has kind of been a distant third in terms of group sets in recent years with, uh, you know, the Swam Shao duopoly being quite dominant. Uh, but they just released a road focused, uh, wireless electronic group. Uh, so it, it does kind of, you know, this doesn't have a clutch, so it's definitely two by tight gearing roady focused.

But it does beg the question, when are they gonna come out with a, an, you know, an ecar, like gravel focused one by version and will that have 13 speed and so

[00:23:48]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, you would think by next year or so, I, I've always heard that Ecar, gravel groupo is super well regarded and performs well.

[00:23:56]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Yeah, I hear great things about it. Um, the other interesting thing is, uh, in the article, I'll, I'll just quote, uh, quote the folks at bike rumor. Uh, they're talking about the fact that there are two different batteries used in the front derailer in the rear derailer. And, uh, uh, quote. An important note here is that both use different batteries and both have a different mechanism to secure the battery in place.

This was apparently a direct workaround, str access patents. So I haven't explored the patents, uh, in this much detail, but if it is possible to patent the idea of a single battery being shared amongst multiple, Bicycle components. There's something wrong with our patent system. Uh, this isn't serving riders or, you know, competition, healthy competition or things like that.

It's just supporting incumbents and, you know, it's anti-competitive. That's, I'd be interested to see what the specifics are there.

[00:24:53]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, that is interesting cuz there's no logical reason not to take advantage of having swappable batteries. It's just so useful in my in sh shram setup.

[00:25:05]Randall R. Jacobs: This is, uh, I, I'm definitely of the opinion. Uh, the more I explore how our patent system works, that it is, it exists less to support, um, the small, independent inventor, uh, and more to keep incumbents incumbent.

[00:25:25]Craig Dalton (host): It certainly has those

[00:25:26]Randall R. Jacobs: bot Botton paid for.

[00:25:27]Craig Dalton (host): It certainly has those tendencies.

[00:25:30]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Uh, what

[00:25:33]Craig Dalton (host): Well, I haven't been, uh, riding a lot. I have been appreciating the gravel racing scene starting up for the year, and I'm always sort of bemused and enjoy kind of following some of these bigger events on social media. And obviously like just, just this past weekend Unbound happened and I think some of the bigger stories there were, you know, big Rainstorm came in.

And mile 10 or 11, there was a huge mud bog hike, a bike section that lasted minutes and destroyed the hopes and dreams of many of an athlete. From what I understand, derailers getting clogged sounds like one of those days that choosing a one buy was a way better choice than a two buy for people's drive trains.

[00:26:25]Randall R. Jacobs: That race is already just like a notorious supper fest,

[00:26:29]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah,

[00:26:30]Randall R. Jacobs: so,

[00:26:31]Craig Dalton (host): someone made the point that, you know, they, they thought and were, were sort of saddened that all these athletes who had, you know, spent months and months and months preparing for a 200 mile event, many of them had their day destroyed by a mud bog 10 miles into the race. Whereas, you know, potentially maybe there was a reroute potential for the course that could have made it less of a suffer fest than it already was.

[00:26:58]Randall R. Jacobs: You know, it, it, it, for me, it brings up granted taking, I've, I've never done this event, haven't part, haven't, uh, been to this event, uh, have, have nothing to say about this particular event. Um, but it, for me does reinforce the idea of like, the value of smaller local events. And, you know, taking precedent over some of these like, high profile types of events.

Like you can find a, a 200 miler in New England. There's, there's, in fact a, a couple I think that go longer than that. Uh, it's just, it won't be the one that, um, will have shown up in the media a whole

[00:27:35]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, I mean the counterpoint to that, Randall, and I would say this kind of goes for like my Ironman triathlon experience. There is something magical about being part of the spectacle and I'm not,

[00:27:47]Randall R. Jacobs: true, true, true.

[00:27:49]Craig Dalton (host): Again, I haven't been out there, I haven't done it, but I've spoken to plenty of people who have, who espouse its virtues, and I, and I do.

I would like to do it one day again, just to have that spectacle moment. I have a hard time getting my head around riding 200 miles, to be honest with you, and making that seem like it's gonna be a fun day for me. But I do appreciate it and I do acknowledge, like anybody who's, who's crossed that finish line, that is a.

[00:28:15]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah, that's, that's a huge accomplishment.

[00:28:18]Craig Dalton (host): especially if you had an inclement weather year like this one sounded like it was with not only rain preceding it and, and obviously creating that mud bog, but I know for some of the athletes who were out there, you know, the 10 plus hours, the majority of them were caught in very, very heavy rain at one point in their day.

[00:28:39]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah, I'm recognizing there's a little bit of like, um, retired former PAC fodder, racer curmudgeons coming out me. So like I should be, uh, yeah, I, it's easy for me to say don't go to the, you know, prioritize smaller events when I got to participate in some big events and kind of get it out of my system too,

[00:28:58]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, there's something to be said for both. At the end of the day, there's no, no doubt it, no doubt about it. Speaking of your curmudgeonly, old racer days, I, I've got one that that may potentially rally you up. So this was the other one. People jokingly have the last couple years have talked about gravel beef, and inevitably like, and in any given year, someone's angry about something and I, I caught wind.

Via a sort of shady post from Ian Boswell, a former professional road athlete after this gravel lo race where Canadian, Adam Rob ended up winning. And the shade was basically that, uh, Adam didn't work in the race. And, and for those of you who maybe aren't familiar with that terminology, by working it means rotating through, taking some of the wind, hitting the front of the race, setting the pace.

Um, apparently he did none of that. Is that, I mean, is that fair racing in your mind? If you go back to your racing days?

[00:29:58]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Yeah, that's totally fair. I mean, granted, I I'm not as accomplished of a rider as, as Ian Boswell, um, by any means. Not even remotely close. I might have been, but, um, yeah, I, I mean it's, it's a race. And you know that now, as a racer, you need to keep in mind that you know, these other participants are people that you're gonna be racing with in the future.

And so when you need a pull or something like that, you know, you might not get that support. But at the end of the day, um, at racing, at that elite level, it is highly competitive. And if that is a tactic that works, then others need to adjust their tactics accordingly. Um, It doesn't feel great, but at the same time, like it's not against the rules and that's what dictates what's okay in racing.

[00:30:49]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, it, it's been interesting sort of watching the scuttle bit on this, cuz I tend to agree with you. My, my first reaction, and I, I, I sort of stand by this, is, it's fair racing. And in fact, prior to in the runup to gravel Locos, a number of pros had commented that there was no technical feature, no climb.

In that race that was likely to separate the strongest athletes and undoubtedly it was gonna be a, a pretty big lead group. With that said, it's pretty natural that some people are gonna try to conserve their energy. I think it's a, it's sort of in important it, tactically speaking, other athletes needed to take that on and try to sort of break them free, if you will, earlier in the race, if people are hanging on.

[00:31:38]Randall R. Jacobs: Well, also, it, it al it sounds like maybe the chorus was more conducive to this type of strategy where a sprinter could preserve their energy as much as possible, and then ultimately it's a sprint that wins. I don't know if that was the case here, um, but it's just, uh, you know, whatever strategy gets you over the line first that's within the rules and is not, um, You know, is, is not unsportsmanlike.

It, it makes me think of a example. Like, uh, you know, in, in the, in some of the grand tours and actually even in some amateur stage road stage races I've been involved in, you know, there'll be a consensus amongst the, the dominant riders in the field that it's time to pull over and pee

[00:32:21]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah.

[00:32:21]Randall R. Jacobs: and the whole group will pull over at once and pee.

And if you're like sprinting off of that, I mean it, that would be pushing the limits for me in terms of that's a totally legal strategy, but that's also a pretty lousy one. Um, but what I'm hearing with this one doesn't, doesn't seem

[00:32:41]Craig Dalton (host): And I, I think, I mean, if we go back to last year's gravel beef, it was all around s n n, not stopping at aid stations and like, you know, carrying water in a camelback or the like, which again seems like

[00:32:53]Randall R. Jacobs: Oh, yeah. If, if you're carrying your own stuff, that's totally legit. Like that's a smart, like, I, I could imagine too, if I was racing these days and I was attending a really hot race, I'd have a camel back That wa, that I had frozen the night before said I was keeping my body cold. And that would be totally legitimate.

And just because other people didn't think of it, doesn't mean it's

[00:33:11]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. Yeah,

[00:33:12]Randall R. Jacobs: Um, so I, it's, but everyone has their lines, I

[00:33:15]Craig Dalton (host): exactly. And I think what you, one point you brought up early on, which I think is, is so true, there's both what's legal and illegal in racing, but also the social dynamics of future races. And the likelihood that people are gonna help one another. And I mean, I, again, I feel a little bit bad for all the shade that that Adam's been catching.

And I don't imagine anybody helping him bridge any gaps or working with him, which is, which is a shame and a little bit unfair. But again, people are gonna take offense to how people ride and they're gonna wanna work with people and not work with people.

[00:33:51]Randall R. Jacobs: I don't know, man. Like, if, if that's, uh, a strategy that works and you know, there are other ride, like if you're, if there are other riders who are stronger and then you're able to come up with a, a more clever strategy, uh, that seems legit to me.

[00:34:07]Craig Dalton (host): Yeah,

[00:34:09]Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah.

[00:34:10]Craig Dalton (host): my usual strategy is, is suck wheels and then get dropped. No one seems, no one seems to complain too much about that with me. That said, that said, I aspire to develop some sort of fitness on my bike this year, attend some events later in the year, and just kind of bring this year back together for me on the gravel bike.

[00:34:35]Randall R. Jacobs: Well, I don't know about, uh, cycling fitness, but, um, if you're ever inclined to build fitness through carrying rocks and building materials and swinging a hammer, uh, I know somebody who, uh, would happily, uh, give you free training.

[00:34:49]Craig Dalton (host): I love it, Randall. Well, my friend, good to connect with you again. Good to see the progress on the cabin. I can't wait to, uh, to see how it goes, and hopefully we'll hook up again this summer.

[00:35:00]Randall R. Jacobs: Very good. Good to see you, my friend.

[00:35:02]Craig Dalton (host): Take care.

That's going to do it for this week's edition of in the dirt, from the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed catching up with Randall and myself this week. If you have topics you're interested in us covering whether it's interviewing other people in the industry or athletes, please reach out to us. You can do that via social media or via the ridership. That's

If you're able to support the show, ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated. Or if you're able, you can visit buy me a gravel ride to support the show financially. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels.