In the world of gravel, a cycling team ins't a necessity, but nonetheless, it has been a goal of ours for sometime. Maybe it was because, we knew the thrill of dirt roads stemmed beyond Northeast Kingdom borders, and a gravel team would give us reason to explore. Maybe it was because, we've always had desire to support youth cycling and feel gravel is the community that young riders can flourish in. It's safe. It's one big family. And though we maybe biased, it's just a heck of a lot of fun. Maybe, it was that we as co-founders love creating things. We love designing kits. We love creating a look, and well a team was sort of like a blank canvas.
Whatever the reason, after the 2017 Rasputitsa, we decided to do it. We decided to launch the Rasputitsa U18 Gravel Team.
In the same fashion as when we created our first gravel road race in 2015, creating a gravel team was something we knew little about. Alright, we knew nothing about. So we followed the same path history had led us on and we contacted friends. It seems to work in life and cycling. We had previous conversation with Matthew and Olivia Lord regarding youth participation. Their son, Henry, raced the 2017 Rasputitsa. (Side note: In 2017, we grew our Rasputitsa U23 participation by 488%). So we contacted the Lord family and they were immediately onboard. From this point, we divided and conquered. Olivia Lord helped recruit three other U18 gravel riders, and we worked on gear.
Pretty essential to the success of this crew was our ability to get them riding the new Specialized Diverge. You are pretty much void of all gravel culture news if this name doesn't ring a bell to you. But let us give you another hint. It's that bike that's neither cross nor road, but all gravel with features like the Future Shock with Progressive Springs specifically adapted for the gnarliest of rough roads. Still don't know what we are talking about? It's that new bike you've seen Peter Sagan throwing it down on.
We Became Soigneurs - Vermont Style
How would we support a U18 team? What elements would be essential to success? We circled around this drawing board and again like everything we do, we typically shy away from pretentious, roadie-style, take-yourself-too-seriousness. So we came up with this concept of supporting the team by attending gravel events they participate in and setting up waffle feedzones for all the racers. This would not only feed all riders, it would also feed the pipeline of communication that we are more than just a gravel race. We are a team. We are committed to growing cycling. And we are purveyors of all things cycling.
Vermont Overland will be the launch event for the team. We will be on course via our team and on course via a waffle station . . . Not just any waffles. We've sourced authenthic Belgian waffle dough. We are talking deliciousness served. We got pickles too for those salt-deprived individuals that are wearing more of their own sweat than they are lycra. Specialized Bicycles produced waterbottles replicating the team design and we will be handing these out too! Sic!
So that's just the beginning. See you out there. Life is too short to not ride bikes and eat waffles.