They called it “Menso’s SLO ride to Hell.”
Now, Hell wasn’t exactly where we ended up going, but with the promise of all the dirt you could possibly dream of around San Luis Obispo and some steep climbs that may have you walking, it was sure to be a ride to remember. The start /finish location was a winery on the corner of somewhere and the route took us off and into the absolute center of nowhere.
We may as well have been riding our bikes a thousand miles from civilization. Cellphones didn’t work, aid stations had trouble contacting each other, and the terrain was that of some desolate western that had been completely locked in time. With enough food and supplies to manage we marched, rode, climbed, descended, and traversed all kind of gravel, pave, washboard, dirt, and sand that was presented to us.
The Gravel Gauntlet delivered exactly as promised. It began with a gentlemanly roll out of the start that maintained fairly well until the first climb at which point the group fragmented completely. The climb started with a technical single track that opened up to a generous fire road section. Of course, there was fog to deal with. The bitter chill cutting straight through jerseys and freezing bones stiff.
But once the fog lifted it was plesantly sunny conditions for the remainder of the day. There was a slight wind to deal with but when the biggest issue was maintaining traction on sustained dirt climbs, wind was the least of anyone’s concerns.
When it was all said and done, (6 hours and 32 minutes, 80 miles, and over 7,000ft later) the stoke level was high. Quite possibly one of the best rides so far this year it’s one I’m definitely going to be remembering for a long time to come. Thanks SuperPro! The Gravel Gauntlet is definitely shaping up to become a yearly staple.