Not only did you need to be “Broke, Rad, Athletic and Determined,” but you also needed a snorkel because man, was Rasputista WET! When Rasputista said on their website “It’s not about the racing. It’s about challenging the human spirit,” they weren’t kidding!
Looking back on it, April 27th would have been a great day for a meteorologist because no matter what weather they predicted, the odds were ever in their favor. There was a little bit of rain, some sleet, a glimpse of sunshine and oh some SNOW! Yes, that’s right there was some white stuff coming down from the sky and yes, I was very confused. But hey, it's Vermont and weird stuff happens all the time.
So weird that because of the extreme weather, I was unable to shoot any photos without the fear of hypothermia. Luckily, we reached out to Rasputista race organizers and got approval to use some great photos of the race from 12 year old photographer Nolan Myers! Thank you, Nolan!
TRUE or FALSE
Off the line, the cheers from the crowd were slowly replaced with “SLOW, SLOW” from the peloton, kind of like the seagulls saying “MINE, MINE” in Finding Nemo. Just like that, the race was off and there was no turning back. My optimism was soon replaced with a strong desire for a hot shower and the warmth of a house. In the midst of all of this I thought to myself, what are some of the takeaways from this race? So here it goes, a little session of "true" or "false"…
“The Specialized Diverge was the perfect bike for Rasputista.”
TRUE! I had an absolute blast riding the Specialized Diverge! The future shock came in handy as the majority of the roads were gravel and pretty bumpy. I definitely noticed that it helped my hands to not fatigue as easily. This was a great thing because it allowed more focus on the roads in front of me, rather than if my hands were still hanging onto the handle bars. Along with that, I found the lower gearing on the bike to be super helpful. Let me tell you - climbing up a soft dirt road is no easy task, but the lower gear ratios definitely did the trick! Another thing that I really liked about this bike was the carbon frame which allowed for more power to be efficiently transmitted to the pedals while also giving great compliance to the bumpy roads below! Since I'm new to gravel riding, I used the Diverge from our Bike Rental Department.
“Riding in only spandex is the future!”
FALSE! Even though I looked like America’s next top model in my tight-fitting clothes, riding in baggies is a little more my style.
“The switch to Specialized Tracer Pro Tire was the right move!”
TRUE! Oh man, was I happy with this switch! Even though the roads were definitely soft and damp, overall, they were surprisingly not that muddy (as the pictures suggest). This made the Specialized Tracer Pro Tire the perfect tool for the job. Not that the Tracer Sport would have been a bad choice, but I definitely found that my legs thanked me when it came to the last big climb. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of grip that it had for being a less knobby tire than the Tracer Sport. In the two super muddy sections of the race I found that I had an ample amount of grip and definitely gained a few spots in the process!
“In endurance events you will find out something new about yourself you haven’t before”
FALSE! The only thing I found during this race was mud in funky places and a tiny bit of Lake Champlain in my shoes :)
“The race atmosphere was next to none!”
TRUE! Coming into this event I had no idea what to expect. The only thing that I really knew was that it was going to be hard and that it was in Vermont. For a newbie like me, this whole gravel road racing thing was an abstract thought and I was very confused as to why people paid to pedal their bikes in the gnarliest of conditions. However, after I crossed the finish line, went straight to the nearest shower, and had some time to reflect on it, this whole gravel thing kind of makes sense. The people that go and race this event aren’t the people that want to put up the next fastest race time - rather they are the people to wear a funky costume, share a laugh, and most of all, love riding their bikes! If someone had a mechanical on the side of the road, there were many people that were willing to help. If you were bonking on mile 2 or mile 35, there were people to cheer you on. If you are into old sick Land Rovers and smelling diesel, Rasputista has got you covered! It has taken me so long to write this up because it has taken me this long to recover. At the end of the day Raspusista, was unlike anything I’ve done before and I can't wait to do it again next year!
Just keep spinning.
- Brad Tasik,
Skirack Service Specialist
Click here to learn more about Brad.
Click here to read Brad's previous blog post: "Rasputista Gravel Bicycle Race: Making a Joke Into a Reality"
The header photo and photos 3 & 4 were approved for use and provided by Nolan Myers
Check out Nolan Myer's work