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Gravel riding enthusiasts from all over travelled to rural Nebraska, USA, over the weekend to participate in the 2017 Gravel Worlds. Formerly known as “The Good Life Gravel Adventure,” Gravel Worlds is a tongue in cheek poke at the ‘real deal’ and organised by Nebraska’s Pirate Cycling League.
Sanctioned or not, a rainbow jersey was still up for grabs, as were bragging rights and booze. Racers, however, had their work cut out for them. A challenging course of roughly 244 kilometres (154 miles) with 2745 metres (9,000 feet) of climbing through rural farmlands of Southeastern Nebraska had been laid out for them, and it would take finishers anywhere between seven to seventeen hours to complete.
Setting the fastest time of the day was Colin Strickland of Intelligentsia Racing. Strickland, who dominated the Red Hook Crit fixed gear races in 2016, stopped the clock at 7:18:26, crossing the line solo, two minutes ahead of fellow Texan, Kevin Girkins.
In the women’s race, it came down to a two-up sprint between Cylance Pro Cycling’s Alison Tetrick and defending Gravel Worlds champion Kae Takeshita (Panaracer/Stan’s NoTubes p/b Bicycle X-Change). Earlier this season, Tetrick had taken home the prestigious Dirty Kanza 200 belt buckle while Takeshita was sidelined due to injury. The two women went head-to-head in Nebraska and after 8 hours and 13 minutes, Tetrick narrowly nipped Takeshita at the line.
“After several mutual searing attacks, Kai and I rode to the finish together. With whatever little bit of energy I had left, I barely sprinted past her to victory at the line, and we both lay in the grass after the grand finale knowing we had nothing left,” penned Tetrick in her CyclingTips rider diary.
“Crossing that finish meant that I had earned the title of Gravel world champion, unofficial as it may be it still felt good. I can’t wait until I get to wear [the jersey] on the group ride. Rainbow stripes, even with the pirate flag, are as valuable as gold.”
1. Colin Strickland 7:18:26
2. Kevin Girkins 7:20:42
3. Mat Stephens 7:21:09
1. Alison Tetrick 8:13:51
2. Kae Takeshita 8:13:51
3. Katie Strempke 9:55:55
Click here to see the full results.