Pella Roubaix

This is sure to be a fun event. A mixed surface ride modeled after the Spring Classics of Europe. Although it won’t have the sustained climbs or the cobbles of the Euro Classics, it is sure to be a fun day out on the bike. That being said, fun is a relative term. The weather in April in Iowa can be very unpredictable as well as the schedule of fresh gravel distribution. Those factors can make the day be fun filled fast day on the bike or a pure sufferfest. But if it were easy, everyone would do it right? This event could be a perfect storm of an amazing experience on and off the bike. With some great businesses on board and a community that is welcoming it has the ingredients to be a great day not just for the riders but also for friends and families.

A little history on how this came to be…

A long standing team trip to Arkansas got my first taste of mixed surface madness. During those trips we’d set out on full day excursions that took us throughout the Arkansas High Country within the Ozark Mountains.

As the industry has taken to gravel as their recent focus, a lot of events have started popping up surrounding that focus. There have been some long standing established gravel events that have been going on in Central Iowa as well as all over the nation for some number of years now and as of recent more and more have popped up on the calendar.

I came across a specific event in California a few years ago that really caught my eye called the Belgium Waffle Ride. What so intriguing about this event was how different it was compared to other events. It took you on multiple surfaces throughout San Diego County in California. Just the thought of your equipment choice was enough to drive a person insane. What tires do I run? What gear do I need to pack? What training would be involved? But the most important question, what kind of bike do I ride??? This ride was quite intriguing and really sparked my creative interests to bring something like this to Iowa.

Many hours checking out maps, roads, different areas, and more importantly towns/cities that would be a good fit. I came up with some ideas and some routes, but nothing that made me feel really great about it. The one thing that always lingered…Iowa weather. The weather in Iowa in general is very unpredictable, especially in the transition seasons(Fall&Spring). So, how does one plan a route with single track incorporated in Spring? I think the correct answer is, one does not.

Not ready to abandon the idea of a mulit-surface venture I pushed the routing/planning to the back burner. Fast forward to some conversations over beverages(as many great and terrible ideas stem from) the idea of modeling more of a Euro spring classic model started to emerge. Our team had hosted mulit-surface road races in the past so bringing this to light didn’t seem unreasonable. Conversations with some of the guys from Pella and a few leads on sponsors and the ball was rolling.

I was good with abandoning the idea of adding single track and wasn’t a huge fan of adding Level B roads into the mix as that seemed to be what a lot of other races were incorporating. A lot of rides I do throughout the year are mixed surfaces on my road bike with 28’s. Crazy? Perhaps, but I like the idea of cruising on county roads and challenging myself dipping onto gravel. It also doesn’t limit my route planning and proves for a good ride, so why not turn that experience into a race format?

Why Pella? Why not? The town thrives on tourism and has a friendly location. The city municipals, surrounding counties, and citizens keep the area very nice. If you don’t know, they have a large Tulip Festival each year just a couple weeks away from our proposed date, so they know how to host a large influx of people. They have a small college and a few large corporations. It’s a great town with great infrastructure. What’s great also, is while you’re racing your bike, your fam can explore the downtown shops and eateries.

Looking forward to a great event and hopefully one that can catch traction for years to follow!