The more, the merrier is Ned Gravel Creator Gavin Coombs’ mantra. The race invites and encourages women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ athletes to come out for this fun, technical and challenging cycling competition. “Cycling has traditionally not been a welcoming and inclusive space,” says Coombs. “We believe that gravel riding is for everyone and that the more people on bikes, the better. So, we set out, in our small way, to hopefully start to move the needle in terms of creating a space where everyone, and we mean EVERYONE, feels welcome.”
The race partners with Ride for Racial Justice and The Davis Phinney Foundation as well as the Nederland Area Trail Organization to create awareness and donate 50% of the proceeds to the cause. In 2021 this totaled $5,000. This competition is only in its second year but has a promising future ahead. “Nederland is a small, tight-knit community and we live here as well, so everything we plan, we do our best to be considerate and a good neighbor.”
How to Prepare
Whether you are a beginner in cycling or have years of experience, preparation is key to a successful ride. “Our races are built to be challenging and we recommend that if you are able, come and ride around Nederland to get used to the hills and the altitude. Being above 8,000 feet pretty much the whole time is the biggest challenge for most people.” You never know what you’ll get at that elevation when it comes to weather. Consider preparing for sun, rain and thunderstorms.
Get the Gear
Depending on what course you are riding, any bike can be used. “Even a road bike can handle our Silver Course, though we strongly discourage road bikes.” Visit the Ned Gravel website to browse a guide recommending what gear and clothing will be best.
How to Help
Enter the race and your registration fee and presence are on their way to supporting the cause. If you aren’t up for the ride, volunteering is another option. No experience necessary. There is also an expo event during the race with music, food and games for the racers’ friends and family to attend.