One of the big (BIG!) considerations in endurance events is nutrition. If you are attending this year’s event, chances are Gravel Worlds isn’t your first rodeo, ‘er, voyage. Nonetheless, we’ve all met the Man with the Hammer, and he’s not a good looking fellow. So, in the interest of avoiding him, we wanted to give you some, food for thought…
For the Privateer’s, there are no mandatory stops.
75 miles with significant elevation gain, on a Nebraska summer day, under race conditions. Can you make it on what you can carry alone? Do you risk blowing up in the interest of not stopping in order to gain ground on your competitors; or do you stop and risk over-expending your precious resources to chase, in the hopes of rejoining the group you were with? Questions that a savvy sailor ought to address prior to being on the plank and under imminent duress.
Some choices to consider…
Otto Pond (last year’s final Oasis), is down a gravel driveway and will be water only, maybe donuts (‘Mmmmm, donuts!). At mile 27.1 it might be a good time to refuel. You’ll have a good amount of climbing under your belt by the time you hit Valparaiso, and staggering into Val doesn’t set a pretty table for the hills that are yet to come.
Valparaiso has many options. Tvrdy’s One Stop has been a regular visit for us in most years. This year they are pulling out all the stops knowing we are weary travelers. Indoors they will have an extra cash box to speed purchases, and outside in their parking lot, the Valparaiso Boy Scouts will have sodas, water, gatorade and assorted snacks for sale, we expect that to be cash only. (Please enjoy the pretty pictures of these fine establishments at the bottom of the page).
Near mile 100k, Branched Oak Farm will have a much (MUCH!) less elaborate setup than last year. (One of the most exotic ever – homemade ice cream, cheese curds, pickles and more; serious Oasis). We expect water jugs at the gate. Again, look for those gorgeous Jersey’s (not kits, cows!) and you know you’ve found the farm.
Your last option along the route will be along the main drag in Raymond, at the Ding-A-Ling Bar. We suspect some will choose to pull the competitive plug and opt for some adult-only sustenance to celebrate the few miles that remain.
For the Official Gravel Worlds Course competitors…
the same, above-mentioned, Otto Pond and Valparaiso options for refueling are available to you. But where the routes diverge, at mile 52.4 (Privateers will head south on 31, while you big, pirate-pant wearin’ folk will continue west on A) your options change.
Please note, there is absolutely nothing to mandatorily stop your progress until the Reinkordt Farm Checkpoint at mile 84.9. 85 miles on a Nebraska summer day under race conditions… How, dear sailors, do you plan on arriving intact and prepared for the remaining 40% of your voyage? Sure, the Reinkordt’s put out a helluva savory spread, but what happens if you hit their shores with an empty tank and an unfavorable wind?
Only you can solve this riddle. Know your limits, and be prepared with a plan. (See another Man with the Hammer).
Your next intellectual (and physical) hurdle is how to plan for 40 miles of open waters. You are not required to stop until Checkpoint 2 at mile 123.6.
An already written explanation of your remaining choices for grub and grog that exist can be found on The Courses 2017 page. In Roca, there’s the Roca Tavern and maybe Kona Ice, suffice it to say, you can likely drink more than you can eat; a snickers and a soda, maybe a beer?
In Bennet, there is a Casey’s General Store. Be careful, big parking lot, traffic, it’s along a well-traveled highway. When they say, “Famous for Pizza,” they’re not kidding; those greasy slices have saved many a sailor, many a time. Common convenience store supplies, extraordinary sensations of sugar, fat, and caffeine.
Lastly—a favorite calm in the storm—is Schmidty’s Aunt and Uncles’ place and Checkpoint 2. YOU HAVE TO STOP HERE. Pepito Fierro (Pepé) will be there with wraps and smoothies. Anything else is a bonus. But far and away, the best thing about stopping there is the friendly greeting you’ll get. So help us, if you don’t respond in kind, your days may be numbered.
That’s it kids. Have a plan. You’ve been warned.