We asked our Cyclo-cross teammate Tim Goodman for a recap of two 2019 gravel road rides: The LuLackaWycoHundo (Pittston, PA) and the Tour de Tuckahoe (Woodbine, NJ). "Gravel Grinders" are all the rage, and something a lot of riders have been asking us about at the shop. Thanks for the recaps Tim!
Not a race, and nobody treated it as one.
Cold. Wet. Hard. 200+ toed the line in a small soaked central PA mountain town, and 2 dozen finished the entire route. I Took it easy for a while to stay warm. Rolled into the 1st aid station at mile 35 soaked to the bone, and Mother Nature turned on the spigot and a/c. Dumped heavy rain, sleet, and the temps dropped to the mid 30’s. Joined a group of like minded riders and hit up a diy bailout route that included 2k in vert in 20 miles, but provided some of the best singe and double-track I’ve ever ridden on a drop bar bike. Low points include: hours of numb feet, shivering uncontrollably, and a fleeting mental fortitude. High points include: BOMBING descents, rowdy singletrack, mud drifts, a non sanctioned beer stop, and a handlebar bag full of McDonald’s cheeseburgers and candy.
A must ride event, regardless of weather. Central PA is pretty, and hilly.
Ride stats- 55.57 miles (out of 101), 5,256ft vert (out of 8,363)
-Tour de Tuckahoe-
Not a race, but 1/2 the field didn’t get the memo.
The geographical Bizarro Superman to llwh, flat and fast. Weather mostly held out with only about 10 minutes of drizzle, which was just enough to pack down the sandy roads.Hit it hard from the get-go with a fast group and hung on, ripping a steady 20-25mph paceline of 30 riders. Hit the first aide station at mile 25 (at the intersection of nowhere and somewhere) in a little over an hour, dripping sweat. Sucked down a bottle and a mouthful of oranges, and took off to finish the route solo, at a more relaxed pace.
I found out the hard way about the “South Jersey Hills” aka the constant headwind in every direction. One gravel (sand) road was literally 7 miles long and arrow straight, with a steady 15mph headwind. Bridged up to a small group of riders to hide behind and they were glad to tow my rump for a while.
The sun decided to show itself at mile 37, and dried up the sand quickly. Add a block headwind, some watt sucking soft sand, dead flat vert, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for sustained efforts us PA riders aren’t accustomed too. No coasting at all. I was still able to keep the stoke level high and finish strong.
Another must ride event, weather depending. The pine barrens are absolutely desolate, and it’s cool. I can see why the mob prefers to dispose their unusually heavy rolls of carpet there.
Ride stats- 48.18 miles, 444ft vert.