Inaugural Colorado Gravel Event Enjoys Unprecedented Success - SBT GRVL Photo Gallery & Event Recap

In the ethereal mountain town of Steamboat Springs, an event known as SBT GRVL would bring in a new era for gravel cycling. On the weekend of August 17-18, 2019, some 1,500 riders representing every US state made their way to northern Colorado’s Yampa Valley. With promises of a welcoming community, pristine gravel roads and a star-studded field, SBT had seemingly everything one would expect from a world-class gravel event.

Traditionally our most prestigious gravel races like DK200, RPI, BWR or LR100 have taken several years of sustained growth from their grassroots beginnings to attract the best talent, top brands and the media’s attention. SBT GRVL managed to do these things in its very first rodeo, among the seemingly hundreds of other gravel events across the US.

Under the leadership of Mark Satkiewicz, Ken Banesh and Amy Charity the race was presented by Canyon Bikes, and sponsored by numerous other well-known brands including Panaracer, Orange Seal, GU Energy and Mavic among others. Perhaps most striking about this event was the number of female participants, who made up nearly 30% of registered riders. Pro athletes included Brodie Chapman (overall female winner), Lauren Stephens, Sarah Sturm, Ella Harris and Tiffany Cromwell. A deep and talented field of male riders included Ted King (overall male winner), Colin Strickland, Payson McElveen, Jeremiah Bishop and Simon Richardson.

Fortunately the event delivered on its sky high expectations with a wonderful host city, remarkable diversity and some of the finest gravel roads we’ve ever ridden. The entire weekend and race itself was extremely well organized and a blast to participate in for gravel enthusiasts and racers alike. The undeniable success of SBT GRVL in its very first year not only gives new credence to gravel, but sets itself apart as the leading edge of American bike racing.

We hope you enjoy our 2019 SBT GRVL Photo Gallery and further commentary below. All images courtesy SBT GRVL.

The weekend kicked off with an all-day Expo in the heart of Steamboat. Riders picked up their packets, visited the booths spread across Yampa street and explored the weekly farmer’s market just one block away. PC: Wil Matthews

Race organizer Mark Satkiewicz offers key details on Sunday’s course at a well received riders meeting, one of many activities on Saturday afternoon. PC: Wil Matthews

After an evening of sleep at altitude, riders arrived early for a 6:30AM start. Sponsors included the local Steamboat Coffee Co, offering much needed caffeine for racers. PC: Wil Matthews

2019 Queen of Kanza Amity Rockwell was all smiles at the start, and would end up finishing in the top 20 among women on SBT Black. PC: Linda Guerratte

While many had something to say about the scheduling of SBT on the same weekend of Gravel Worlds, Mat Stephens couldn’t get enough. After placing fourth in Lincoln, NE, Mat Stephens made the 9+ hour drive to Steamboat to line up with Lauren. This guy deserves a cowboy hat. PC: Wil Matthews

1500 Riders lined up at a chilly start for one of three courses on Sunday. Three waves would roll at 6:30, 6:35 and 6:40AM. PC: Wil Matthews

SBT Black covered 141 miles and 9,000 ft of elevation, boasting 100 miles of gravel roads winding through Routt County. PC: Ian Hylands

Given the nature of the local terrain, including wide roads and smooth gravel, more eager athletes would find it difficult to break free from the large peloton until later in the race. PC: Wil Matthews

The race kicked off with clear skies and temps in the 40s (F), ideal conditions for #groadslikethese. PC: Dane Cronin

Riders push through a dust cloud kicked up by riders, vehicles and motorcycles on course. PC: Linda Guerratte

Timothy Rugg, seen here breaking away, said about the weekend, “After four months of struggling I finally found the fun on some of the best gravel roads I’ve ever ridden.” Good on you Tim. PC: Linda Guerratte

The four aid stations on course were well stocked with GU products and other treats. PC: Linda Guerratte

Several loose gravel sections encountered in the first 50 miles of the course would make line choice a critical factor in conserving energy. PC: Dane Cronin

The majority of gravel bikes on course had tires in the 30 to 40mm range, offering the right balance of comfort and traction over loose gravel to rocky terrain. PC: Wil Matthews

A 100 mile Blue course and a 40 mile Green course made SBT GRVL an attractive event for a wide variety of riders. PC: Linda Guerratte

40 miles of road and fast rolling, wide gravel sections made pacelining a key factor for the race. PC: Dane Cronin

As the race continued into the afternoon, temperatures rose to above 80F. PC: Ian Hylands

Sarah Moloney of The Meteor // Intelligentsia coming in hot at an aid station late in the race. PC: Dane Cronin

A post-race bike wash courtesy of Muc-off. PC: Dane Cronin

An impressive weekend on all fronts makes SBT GRVL a must-do event for racers and gravel enthusiasts alike. Hope to see you there in 2020! PC: Ian Hylands

Thanks for visiting us at Gravelstoke and reading our recap of the SBT GRVL event. If you’re looking for a complete list of race results you can find those here.

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