Featured Event: The Dirty South Race 100K-
Editor’s Note: The RidingGravel.com calendar is chock full of great gravel events from which to chose from. The choices have grown to include several varieties of events and number over 400 as of this writing. That’s a far cry from the small handful of events I first listed in 2008! With so many events listed we wanted to help put the spotlight on a few upcoming events we think are unique and interesting.
This time we are featuring an event that started out as a challenging group ride, then it grew, and now it has evolved to a full on race. Check out the Dirty South Race 100k as described for us by Shawn Moore who also provided all the images used in the post here.
History and Beginnings: The locals have been doing long painful adventure rides for several years. We call them the “Dirty South” rides. These rides are a mix of pavement, gravel, dirt, mud and sometimes water. We continue to look for the most hills, most gravel and most painful route we can put together each year. Until now, all of these rides have just been large group rides. We usually have between 20 and 35 riders show up for these rides. Some people want to hit it hard, some want to ride a casual pace and chat, and some just want to see if they can finish.
Many people have been asking for a race…. So, here it is. The first Dirty South Race in the far South end of Illinois. Most people think Illinois is flat. Well, not so much down here in the Southern tip. There will be some flat sections of the course, but it will be littered with gravel and potholes. The course will be 100K + and will not disappoint. My Garmin claims last year’s route involved over 4,000’ of elevation gain. My legs didn’t argue. If you are looking for an awesome route, great challenge, killer scenery, beer, food and cool peeps to hang out with for a day, come check it out.
Sponsors: We lined up the most important sponsor the day we decided to put on this event. The beer guys. St. Nicholas Brewing Company is not too far from Carbondale where many of us live. They have great brews, awesome food and most of all, they love cycling. The brewery is cycling themed and the owners ride and promote cycling in the area. Tom is a great guy and has been to some of our rides as we have went to many of their group rides from brewery to brewery too. There are many breweries scattered around our area, but we are very partial to St. Nicks because of their love for cycling AND their great beer.
There will be at least 2 sag stops with hydration and nutrition. At least one of these stops will have a wrench from the Bike Surgeon in Carbondale to help anyone out who needs it. We will shuttle a SAG bag with your own food/drink/gear to the stops before the race if you would like. There will also be a sweep vehicle to pick up anyone who needs a ride back to the start/finish area. We will do a packet pick-up the night before at a local establishment with local brews and eats. There will also be morning of packet pick-up at the race start/finish area. There will be an event T-shirt and other swag with your entry. There will be prizes for top finishers in each category. Our goal is for this to be a fun event that people want to come back for another one next year. Ultimate goal is a series of races using different areas of SoIL as we have been doing with our rides for several years.
Suggestions On Equipment: Most of us ride cross bikes with light knobbies or file treads on these rides. Many of us would ride a gravel bike if we had it, but we don’t, so a CX bike does just fine. Some people ride MTBs with light knobbies. If I had to suggest a bike to ride on this course, it would be a gravel/cyclocross bike. Tubeless is the way to go for me, it may not be for you. It all comes down to riding something you are comfortable on and you trust to get you through the day. There are a couple areas on the course that a cheering/heckling/hand-up group could assemble.
.Advocacy: A portion of the proceeds from this event will go towards the Mountain Bike Trails at Touch of Nature.
Right now, there are ZERO purpose built mountain bike trials in Southern Illinois. We are trying to help things get moving at the Touch of Nature property to get some trails built. IMBA is designing the first 5 miles of trail right now, and we hope to be moving dirt and building trail within the next 6 months. Unfortunately, money is the hold up on having the trail professionally built. It looks like we may be leaning on volunteers to build some or all of the trails. However we end up building it, we will need some money. So, a portion of the proceeds from this race will be given to Touch of Nature to put towards whatever is needed to help with the MTB trail efforts.
For more information on the Dirty South Race 100k see the following links: Registration Facebook Page RidingGravel.com would like to thank Shawn Moore and Tom Welge for the information and images used in this post. All material and images used in this post may not be reproduced without prior consent. RidingGravel.com would also like to remind you that this event and more like it can be found on our Events Calendar: http://www.ridinggravel.com/event