In the photo: Emile Goguely
Written by Emile.
After a fruitless stage-race-focused early season, I decided to ride my mountain and cross bike. Shifting my focus on the mountain bike allowed me to progress by learning new skills while maintaining my fitness. Hearing all the buzz about gravel bike races made me want to give it a go. After signing up for the Lost and Found gravel grinder I was still a bit confused on what to expect. Modified my bike with 3 bottle cages so that I could have a tool box and space for water; swapped the cyclocross tires for some cushier ones and called it a day!
The gravel grinder started with a smooth 5mile section on the road where I was trying to spot out the competition. As we got on dirt it was an immediate climb, I pushed the pace to test out people’s reaction. After 10min of spirited climbing, I rode the descent with a group of 4. We were joined by a 6th rider as we covered another brief section of road. Feeling a lot better in a smaller group I made sure that we were working well together. After a long fast section of dirt, I noticed some movement in my cleat, pulled over and fixed it despite losing contact with the group I was in. Pressed on alone trying to reconnect with riders.
Not finding people willing to ride at my pace I kept pushing until the top of the longer ~9 mile climb. It was getting hot by then which was more motivation to clocking miles and wrapping this ride up. After loosing a bit of ground on the descent, I TT’d my way back to a couple riders. Focused on drinking and eating a lot more than usual, I worked well with the a 31-40 who was a solid wheel to hold.
By mile 85 I had to stop for more water to control some signs of cramping. Used my TT knowledge to press on harder whenever my speed was slow and mimicked my TT position whenever I was on road sections. Crossed the line content with my long effort but not sure how I did in my category, during the last bit of the race, the 100mile, 65mile and 45mile course all shared the same trails. I was very happy to learn that I had won and proudly enjoyed being on the top step of the podium!