I've consulted staff and customers and come up with a Top Event List of some of the very best cycling events of 2013. These are events that folks say have been the highlight of their riding year – big, awesome, life-changing, and mostly accessible to a broad variety of riders with a bit (or in some instances, a lot) of training. – Tim
Sub-Nine Death March – Hoosier National Forest – March 9
Two-person teams scramble over miles of forest gravel road and trail to see who can find a number of historic cemeteries in the Hoosier National Forest. There are different ways to ride it – to approach it – and to cover the ground – but you can tailor your challenge and count on fun with over 300 eager participants from around the Midwest. See www.subdeathmarch.com for more info and to register.
5th Annual Barry-Roubaix -- Hastings, Michigan -- March 23
A very gnarly early season low-key endurance race which gets rave reviews. The Barry Roubaix offer up lots of gravel roads and hills in and around the area around lovely Barry County, Michigan. You will race once or twice (depending on level) a 35 mile hilly loop which is 85% gravel. Each loop offers 2200 feet of climbing. This one sells out so register soon at www.barry-roubaix.com.
Hillsboro Roubaix Road Race -- Hillsboro, Illinois – March 23
For hardy, early-season road racers, try the Hillsboro Roubaix on Saturday, March 23. For most, it's a 58 mile race on windy, bad chip and seal roads in southwest Illinois – with a famous climbing finish up brick side streets into the heart of Hillsboro. You can get more info here.
Tour of the Battenkill Challenge Gran Fondo – Cambridge, NY – April 14
This traditionally large pro-am race in scenic NE New York (the course bumps up against Vermont) has this year scrapped its pro race and substituted a "Gran Fondo" ride, which uses certain timed segments to challenge citizen riders. Part gravel, mostly scenic roads – drive time is about 12 hours from Indy! Amateur USA Cycling racing will still be offered on Saturday. Go to www.tourthebattenkill.com to register. The Gran Fondo is limited to 1000 riders. The editor of Bicycling Magazine, Peter Flax, rates this course and amateur race as one of his favorites.
3 State 3 Mountain Challenge Ride – Chattanooga, Tennessee – May 4
One of the toughest, biggest and best organized one-day century rides east of the Mississippi! Sample Chattanooga and surrounding states' (TN, GA, and AL) mountains with a one-day ride of 26, 67, 83 or 100 miles. Lots of Hoosiers love to head south for this early season ride. See www.chattbike.com for more information.
Dirty Kanza 200 – Emporia, Kansas – June 1
This famous ultra-endurance one day challenge ride is known as the ultimate gravel grinder. It takes in a single, remote 200 mile hilly, gravel road loop in the Flint Hills region of eastern/central Kansas. Not for beginners. This year you are offered the "Half Pint" choice of a mere 100 miles. Go to www.dirtykanza200.com for more information.
28th Annual Ride the Rockies – Colorado – June 8-15
This ride takes in nearly 500 miles of asphalt over six to seven days with, obviously, lots of climbing. This non-competitive supported ride is a beauty in the midst of the Colorado Rockies. The field is limited to 2000 (last year over 3500 applied) and the precise course announcement will be announced on February 3, and entries will be accepted starting then. So check out the gorgeous and challenging 2013 route and logistics quickly at www.ridetherockies.com.
Ride Across INdiana (RAIN) – Terre Haute to Richmond – July 13
Sponsored by the Bloomington Bicycle Club, this one-day sagged, timed ride starts at the Wabash River a few miles west of Terre Haute and takes you on a 160 mile journey across the State. Our teammates and club members from Team Nebo Ridge will be out in big numbers to brave the heat, humidity and distance of RAIN.
The Dairyland Dare Gran Fondo Wisconsin – Dodgeville, WI – August 10
This timed endurance challenge ride on the rolling hills of central Wisconsin offers 100, 200, and 300 km courses. Registration opened February 1. This is a part of a 3-event endurance riding challenge series in Wisconsin. To get more info go to www.dairylanddare.com.