On August 16, several months of planning and preparation by many people came together for a great day of dirt road riding and racing just outside Haddock, Georgia at the 2nd Annual Red Clay Ramble. Over 160 riders and racers set out on a warm and sunny day to take on the courses varying from 20 to 56 miles. This was up from 102 at last year's ride and was in fact the largest ride of any type our club has ever put on. Despite the mid 90s heat and slightly dusty conditions, few would have traded it for last year's upper 60s and steady rain.
A great time was had by all. The race leaders set a blistering pace with the winner finishing the hilly 56 mile route in just 2 hrs 46 minutes. That's just a hair over 20 mph! The last 56 mile riders came in at around 5-1/2 hours. All were hot, dirty and tired. Food and various beverages awaited after the ride, along with a chance to sit around and talk with fellow riders about the ride and the bikes. There was a great variety of bikes on hand from cyclocross bikes to hardtail MTBs to long travel full suspension MTBs to hybrids to touring bikes to old school road bikes to Wally World BSOs. There were even a couple of skinny tired road racing bikes on hand and one unicycle! CX bikes with 32mm to 40mm tires dominated the leaderboard.
I was the ride director and drove a SAG truck, mostly attending to the slower recreational riders on the shorter routes. The event went off with only a few glitches which were handled in stride by the capable staff. I made a few quick gear and brake adjustments, handed out a couple of spare tubes, gave a few pep talks and picked up a few exhausted riders. I saw many of my local riding friends, several I have met through other gravel rides, like my Monthly Grind series and met some of the top gravel racers I had heard about on the Southeastern scene, coming from MTB, cyclocross and road racing backgrounds.
Strava report for 2nd place finisher