Happy 2023 from Desert Gravel
Greetings Gravelers Happy 2023, Dreaming of your best fitness and event performance yet? We are...0
Can you hear it? Not sure if that is the ticking clock or the gnashing dino teeth? Whatever it is, it is close!!!
First and foremost – WELCOME. We are so honored to have you join us, to visit our community, and share this incredible, yet-to-be-discovered desert odyssey with you… Only you will get to say “I did it first.”
Reality check – It is going to be hard out there. Fortunately, though, almost none of you will ever know how much harder it could be. The conditions are going to be about as good as they can be. As of tonight the brutal headwind we always fear but relentlessly ride in looks to be on vacation (actually a tailwind much of the way – which we can promise you NEVER happens.) The Raptor Trap sand pits we’re famous for? History! The rain has packed it down to asphalt-like conditions where 8″ of sand usually sucks you down.
As with all good things – with the good comes the not so good. The challenge of your day will be that the rain has carved out ruts at the bottom of virtually every gully. Let’s say that again with feeling.
YOU WILL FIND RUTS AT THE BOTTOM OF EVERY GULLY. They will wear you down, then they will irritate you, then you’ll be pissed and finally, you’ll accept it, take them in stride and always pay attention.
THIS IS A LEGITIMATE, SERIOUS WARNING! Most of the ruts are 8′-10″ wide and a couple of inches deep, you roll right across. Some are 20″ wide and 20″ deep, you slow down a lot or slam into them. Some are 30″ wide and 30″ deep, you slow way down, perhaps walk it or end up on with your nose in the mud. NOT KIDDING! Please – be vigilant. Especially at dawn and dusk and even more so when it is dark.
From Course Creator Morgan Murri after riding most of the course last week.
“It’s really tough to judge these ruts until you are upon them. I can tell you I had the biggest get offs I’ve had in several years, riding roads I know better than anyone, hitting a dip that I was sure “wasn’t that deep” until I was in it. I was tired, the light was flat and I lost my focus at just the wrong time and was lucky I didn’t break my wheel and my shoulder, please, stay focused.”
The trade-off for these is all the other parts of the course with hardpack dirt, no sand and smooth fast conditions. While these ruts can appear anywhere they are most common when you are up higher in the hilly parts of the course. When you are going up and down – pay special attention. Nuff said.
Course Marking – The primary course marking is large hot pink arrows. The secondary, backup marking is smaller read arrows. You will find these markers on fixed items; signposts, cattle guards, BLM signs, and as you can see in these photos attached to Cyclocross stakes. Three additional variations.
XX means you are going the wrong way or Do Not Enter. We can’t put these at every potential “wrong turn” but do use them in areas with confusing options.
The Down Arrows with the Up Arrows on a single post (Pictured here) is our “Caution Symbol” If you see these. SLOW DOWN.
DANGER sign. If you see this sign it is very serious and you must slow way down and be prepared to stop. DANGER means DANGER
Mud – You will likely encounter mud at some point. Especially around Cisco – We’re marking that section tomorrow, giving it as much time as we can to dry out so we don’t create tire ruts you’d have to ride through. Morgan will give an update at the beer meeting 8pm packet pick up as well as an announcement at the start of both distances. The mud here is super, super sticky, clay based. If it’s out there it comes in small batches and doesn’t last long. Slog through it, most likely walking, spin on when you can.
Weather – Did we say ideal? Looks to be almost perfect. The Rexy start will be chilly, and you’ll find the low valleys even cold early on. Once warmed up, with the sun and the forecasted tailwind breeze by mid-morning it really should be incredible. Shed a layer, smile, and take in the incredible colors drawn out of hiding by the fresh rinse of recent rain. Remember that when the sun goes down in the desert the temps go down with it. The finish will be chilly for Rexy riders.
Last but not least – We’ve made a big deal about the fearsome magnitude of Rexy. Rightly so – It’s one hell of a journey. But truly, this is about that journey. No fear, nothing scary, just a wonderfully long day on your bike taking in miles and miles and miles of mind-blowing terrain. Embrace it. Love it, even when it hurts. We say it often, even put a few reminders out there for you, don’t forget to look up. Take it in. The beauty here is unique, tear jerking, and vast. When you’re down, look up and smile. Often, that is all it takes to completely shift from a low spot to a high one. Never forget how fortunate you are to be here. How amazing are you to be fit and able enough to accept this challenge? Seriously – you are amazing. Remind yourself of that from time to time and take a few moments to remember all those that can’t be here with us. Truly, we are blessed.
We can’t wait to see you all “on the line” and we really, really cannot wait to see you at the finish of this most epic journey.
Peace and Love gravelers,
Morgan and the Dino Wranglers