Featured Event: The Old Man Winter Rally – by Guitar Ted
Over the years I have compiled events calendars for gravel events, I sometimes come across curiosities that raise my interest. Events with unique names, held in cool places, or that may have unusual formats. The Old Man Winter Rally is one such event. So, I was pleased to have the chance to interview Josh Kravetz, the President of Adventure Fit, the company that promotes and runs the Old Man Winter Rally.
After the interview, read on for a chance to obtain two free entries for the 2020 Old Man Winter Rally.
Riding Gravel: Hey Josh, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions about the Old Man Winter Rally. I’ve seen this event pop up on our Events Calendar before, but I don’t know the history behind this event. Can you fill us in on the beginnings of the Old Man Winter Rally?
Josh Kravertz: I always really enjoyed winter training. As a past pro living in Austin, we used to go out for an annual “600 minute” winter ride and pack gear so we were prepared for anything. After moving to Colorado, the conditions get a bit chillier, but I still love long winter training with buddies. Winter is a time when some people like to hang up the bike and I wanted Old Man Winter to be a motivation to keep the wheels turning. So, initially it was a call to “Rally the Troops” and get out for an epic winter adventure ride. But…this is Boulder, one of the fittest cities in the world, so naturally it gets competitive for the boys and girls at the front. Although we have a huge prize purse (almost $5K cash for the top 5), the event experience is maximized for people who just want to RIDE.
RG: The event is well regarded in the area. Can you tell us what makes it so special?
JK: We have really well-stocked aid stations and a killer after party. Another unique part of the event is that we have foam ‘snowflakes’ on the course. When a rider or runner finds one on course and brings it back to the venue, they can trade it in for a guaranteed prize. We have 100+ of these snowflakes and $1000’s of dollars with of prizes, with the grand prize being a custom built REEB bike frame with a ‘Barn-built’ bike factory tour.
RG: So, Colorado in February in the foothills? Sounds cold, but maybe it isn’t what I am thinking. What should folks be expecting for weather in early February there?
JK: The average high is 45° in February in Boulder, so most likely, conditions won’t be too severe. However it’s always a lot more fun to suffer with buddies than alone. In 2019, the forecast was for sun and low 40’s, but we woke up to a cloud sitting on top of the venue. The cool thing was, when the course went up the first big climb, you rode above the cloud where it was sunny and 20 degrees warmer! (it’s called an inversion layer). We’ve had weather ranging from the mid-60’s to high 20’s. The good thing is riding gear is so great these days that there are really no excuses not being comfortable in any weather. Rapha is a sponsor of ours and they offer really great deals to our riders!
RG: I saw on the website ( Old Man Winter Rally) that some snowy bits may be there on the trail, and the views look spectacular. Can you tell us a bit about the course and what kind of bikes people are using?
JK: On the 100k course, there is a 2 mile trail called “Rowena” that connects two canyons. It used to be a narrow (gauge) railroad during past gold mining days. These days, the tracks have been removed and it’s a trail that’s sure to have snow on a lot of it and some technical riding. It’s the crux of the course. You have to plan your bike/tires/shoes for this part. A bike that crushes this section will not be the fastest bike on the road sections, but a bike that does well on the road, will make for a challenging ride on Rowena. Most of the fastest riders choose gravel/CX bikes, but we’ve had Pro Tour riders choose straight up road bikes and then run the whole 2 miles. It’s fun to make your plan of attack!
For those that want a milder experience, the 50K course is primarily rolling gravel roads with just over 1000′ of climbing. A gravel bike is for sure the best option here.
RG: The course is timed but not how you might think, right?
JK: For us, the timed segments serve a couple purposes: #1. Safety: We don’t time the long twisty road descent down Sunshine Canyon. This way riders don’t have to take risks on a road that is certain to have some gravel in the corners.
#2. Regroup: For riders that want to catch their breath and ride with friends who may not be the same speed in the hills, the break in the course allows them to chill and regroup as the ride through the City of Boulder. The 50k course is timed all the way through since it’s shorter and has no major climbs.
RG: There are also other ways to do Old Man Winter, right? I noticed a running event and run-bike-run option. That sounds like maybe a good option for some. What’s going on there?
JK: Old Man Winter also offers a popular mixed-terrain 10K. It’s pretty flat and covers snow-packed trails and a scenic road along the river. We also allow dogs, so you pay get your PR if your pup is pulling you along. For multi-sport athletes, we offer the Ice Queen/Ice King competition for the best time on the 10K run and 50k bike. There is time in between to change clothes and recover, so it’s not like a traditional duathlon, where you are timed during the transition.
RG: And then you have some fun lined up for the folks off the courses as well. Tell us more about that
JK: For participants, we have a great party waiting when they cross the finish line. It includes hot chili, cold Sufferfest Beer (our title sponsor), 6 bonfires, unlimited s’mores, and great contests from sponsors like Rapha, Specialized, and OtterBox.
RG: And finally, for those who might be bringing family, friends, or significant others, what can they find there that might be of interest?
JK: Old Man Winter Rally is in beautiful Lyons, ColoRADo. A small town close to Boulder that’s known for it’s access to trails, whitewater, and great beer. The park has an ice rink, a huge play ground, and is just an overall fun place to be.
RG: Got anything else you’d like to add?
JK: Not to wax philosophic, but these days with everybody in front of a screen for most of their waking hours, event experiences are the rare times when you’re really creating memories and slowing life down a bit. My hope (with Old Man Winter and other Adventure Fit productions) is that people walk away with a story to tell, great times with their buddies, and a bigger smile than they expected.
RG: Thanks Josh!
And now for a chance at two entries to this year’s Old Man Winter Rally in Lyons, Colorado. The event is February 9th, all travel accommodations and travel to and from the event will be the responsibility of the person(s) receiving these entries. So, if you cannot make it, please pass on this chance. We want to see someone that can actually attend the event get the entries. Okay? With that said, all you have to do for these entries is the following:
Follow Old Man Winter social media: Facebook and Instagram: @ oldmanwinterrally (Click links to go to those individual accounts) “Like” and “Follow”, then answer the following question: “What’s the name of the trail that’s the crux of the 100K bike course?” Leave your answer on Old Man Winter’s Facebook page as a comment, or likewise on Instagram. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ANSWERS HERE AS A COMMENT! Go to OMW’s social media and leave you answer there. *
NOTE: All images used were provided by Old Man Winter Rally
*NOTE: The Old Man Winter Rally will choose a random entrant from all the correct entries (make sure you follow their social media and answer the question!) and Old Man Winter Rally will contact the winner. There is no obligation to purchase anything, and this offer is void where prohibited. Contest is open to U.S. citizens only. RidingGravel.com and its associates are not responsible for any losses or damages incurred by entering and participating in this contest or from participating in the Old Man Winter Rally event. RidingGravel.com also assumes no responsibility for how the contest is administered.