2017 Harvest 50 Gravel Road Race Recap

October 31, 2017

This past Saturday, October 28, 2017, saw the 3rd running of the Zionsville Harvest 50 Gravel Road Race put on by Team Nebo Ridge. Over 125 participants braved unseasonably cold and windy weather to challenge themselves and their competitors and friends to one tough day on the beautiful gravel farm roads of Boone and southern Clinton Counties, north of Indianapolis.

Fifty mile racers were treated this year to five additional, scenic miles on the NW corner of the course, near Kirklin, IN, that included one very lovely road: Scotland Road. Thus, including the neutral 2 mile roll-out, competitors completed 57 miles of mostly plush gravel.

Scotland Road runs along the north bank of Sugar Creek in southern Clinton County. Yes, the same Sugar Creek, but in its early miles, that turns into a floater’s and canoer’s paradise in western Indiana (Parke County) as it runs southwest to the Wabash River. Well, this pretty little creek road perfectly breaks up the flat and straight farm roads with a little contour, shade, and windbreak. The reviews from all of the riders were that this part of the course was the highlight of a very tough 55 miles.

It didn’t help that the weather was hovering in the mid-30’s at the start, and never really exceeded 41 degrees. The wind was 10-15 mph out of the west. The skies were ever-changing. A bit of sun, a lot of clouds, even some sleet at one point.

Once again, local road, crit, and cross senior world-class racer and Zipp Regional Team member Bryan Boggs was the man watched by other competitors. Despite returning Friday from a business trip to London (UK, not KY), Boggs and Troy Andrews, of Pumpkinvine Cyclery in Middlebury, IN, and Tomasz Golas of Bloomington were most active at the front of a lead pack of some dozen riders. The pack included among others Bogg’s teammates Brian Gavette and Jason Fowler, 16 year old Drew Gavette, and a strong team presence from the Columbus, Indiana-based Bicycle Station Team with members Jeff Fetterer, Josh Martin and John Wischmeier nestled into the pack.

With about 20 miles to go, Boggs and Andrews separated from the leading pack who failed to organize and chase. Over the last 18 miles the pack disintegrated into ones and twos, but Boggs and Andrews kept at it with Boggs doing most of the work.

In the end, after a surprise encounter with a flock of geese in the road about 200 yards from the finish, Andrews edged Boggs at the line in a time of 2 hrs 48 min for the Overall and Men 30-39 category win. Golas was not far behind to finish 3rd overall and win the Men 45-49 category. Out of the lead pack, a number of category winners emerged: local racer Justin Lauderback of Team World Bicycle Relief finished 8th overall to win the Men 40-44 category. Lauderback in turn was followed by Jesse Smith (DRT Team of Bloomington) and Drew Gavette of Zionsville who won the Men 20-29 and Under 20 categories, respectively.

On the women’s side, Team Nebo Ridge 2016 female racer-of-year, Stacey Hughes continued her domination in 2017 of regional gravel and ultra racing, crossing the line as the first women in 3 hrs 41 min. Hughes was followed closely by 30-39 category winner Molly Birt. Margaret Barawaskas of J’s Bike Racing in Terre Haute won the female 20-29 category edging out Chase Wischmeier of Bloomington. Team Nebo Ridge member, Tonya Simpson, finished a strong 3rd overall Women.

Kudos as well to Singlespeed champ Mike Minichiello (16th overall) of Westfield, IN, Fat Tire winner Curt Jansen of Lafayette, IN, and Men’s 60+ champ David Thomas of Cicero, IN.

Significantly, 27 of the 125 total participants chose to contest (and finish) the 25 Mile Challenge Ride — no easy feat on this day.

Team Nebo Ridge volunteers blanketed the course and did a magnificent job handling registration, sag stop, finish line, scoring, and course marshaling duties. These volunteers, along with our sponsors SRAM/ZIPP, Omni-Source, Bone Dry Roofing, Hydro-Gear, Bank of Indianapois, Washington Eye Center, Kite-Harris Property Development,  and Nebo Ridge Bicycles have made this one of the most unique and talked-about races in the Midwest.

Look for the 4th edition of the Harvest 50 next October 27, 2018!

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