I have only ever met people who, when presented with the concept of Rasputitsa, respond one of two ways: “hell yes” or “hell no.” Rarely, there is an exception when people inquire, what IS Rasputitsa, exactly? I have yet to perfect the art of describing it without simultaneously getting them stoked, and scaring the shit out of them. But then again, stoked and scared shitless is the best way to describe how I feel every year leading up to 45-ish miles in the Northeast Kingdom. Special emphasis on the North, because at about mile 20 I’m always convinced we’ve crossed the border and are now headed straight to New Foundland.
I wouldn’t put it past Heidi. Every year I think she and partner in crime Anthony top themselves with race-antics. If it hasn’t been made obvious, Rasputitsa isn’t your typical race. In fact, is it even a race? Still up for debate. Make it what you want, but let's be honest, on that last climb up to Burke everyone is equally thankful for the beer waiting for them at the finish line. I rode this past year with my Dad, so he had double the incentive. (Here’s a pro tip for all you Moms and Dads: race with your kids and not only do you make memories, you might even cop a bonus beer at the end.)
Between the maple syrup shots, Cyberia, pickle hand ups, breathtaking views, the stray devil/yeti/unicorn in the woods, and 1,500 of your now closest comrades in Rasputitsa insanity, it really is the coolest “race” vibe you could imagine. Bur out of ALL this quality Insta content, I’m still part of only 3% of people who do Rasputitsa that are millennials. Alright go ahead, laugh at the label all you want, but like it or not we’re the future of the sport. There should be more of us, and at a $25 registration fee for U23, I think my generation is out of excuses.
Don’t have a gravel bike? Put some beefy tires on your road bike. Put something skinnier on your mountain bike. Shit, grab your roommate and track down a tandem! Racing is scary? Who says you have to race? I sure as hell don’t. Enjoy the views, take advantage of the surprise aid stations, stocked with all the necessities to keep you from bonking. Do whatever you think is FUN over the course of 45 miles on a bike… and if that IS racing, that works too! If you’re the rare breed who finds solace deep in the pain cave and sprinting through lord knows what sort of early spring road conditions, more power to ya! I think that’s super badass, and everyone else will too. Just save us weekend warriors some of that incredible food from the Craftsbury General Store at the end. Don’t want to do it alone? Not even possible at Rasputitsa. Like I said, 1500 people are in this with you, and the line of bikers will stretch out far in front and behind you on those dirt roads. We’re all in this together. You’ve never heard of Rasputitsa? Well, now you have! Tell your friends! Help us millennial up that percentage.
If you’re not convinced, come hang out and cheer, introduce yourself to the world that is gravel racing/riding. You’ll just have to see it to believe it, and once you do, you’ll already be asking Heidi and Anthony when you can register for next year. Who knows what Rasputitsa will have to offer in 2019.
Written by Hazel Brewster, 2-time Rasputitsan