Imagine 200 kilometers of the most pristine gravel Mother Earth ever spewed out, mix in a whole lot of elevation and serve it on a bed of biting cold winds along the Scottish Borders and you end end with an event like Dirty Reiver.
After a week well spent in Snowdonia, filled with hiking, riding awesome trails and a lots of breakfast Terry and I finally got to drive up to Kielder for one of the most legendary gravelraces around.
On the drive up to Kielder castle we started to get our first impression of the scenery we would be riding in. Neverending forests and fields of sheep as far as the eye can see. In other words; true wilderness in the eyes of us big city children. When we finally reached “De rand van den band” AKA the point of no more cellphone reception it was time to call it a night.
The day before the race we took our spot on the campgrounds and started making the final preparations. 40T chainrings were slapped on our XC-rigs and strapped all the energy we would need for the ride to our toptubes. Since both of us could only bring one bike for the entire UK-trip, we chose our weapons carefully and went for the Orbea Alma mountainbikes with Fox 32 suspension. Light, comfy, versatile and most importantly fast as lightning.
The science behind our tactics was pretty solid, we planned on doing what we do best, simply eat and drink our way through a big ride as we always do.
After a warm and cozy night in the van we couldn’t help but notice the snow on the saddles of our bikes that had to spend the night under the stars, this was going to be a cold one… Luckily the atmosphere at the startline was so electric nobody felt even a tad cold when the gun went off.
After a short neutralized section to the official (timed) start, the race was on. It took Terry a couple of hours to find a comfortable pace but our champ always keeps her eyes on the prize.
Speaking of prizes, even though the Dirty Reiver isn’t an official race, the guys from Lauf did a great job adding a little kick to the end of the ride. After 180 kilometers the crazy Icelandics decided to test the riders’ true grit by adding an additional times section of 8 kilometers. The fastest male and female riders on this section were awarded with a pair of Lauf Forks and an entry to Lauf’s own gravelrace in Iceland called The Rift. No wonder Thunder Terry saved up some much needed watts for her endgame. And boy, did we deliver… 8K of solid pacing did the job. And with that being said, we are expecting a nice addition for the Orbea Terra!
Again, The Dirty Reiver isn’t a race, just a timed event, so in the end it turns out to be a race after all!!!! :-) There were some other girls hopping on and off our bus but in the end Terry came across the finish line as first female rider in the big Dirty Reiver 200k ride!
Dirty river is absolutely a 10/10 must ride gravelrace and one of those events you’ll be feeding positive energy off for months to come.
Not only are the course and views absolutely stunning, you’ll get to meet some of the nicest people keeping this community going as well. Dit we already mention beers?
Big thanks as well to SABMA for providing last minute tyres and fox suspension and TORQ for keeping the sugar and hydration levels high!
PS. If you ever make it to Kielder, trust us on the spuds. S-P-U-D-S! Simply perfect umami dashes of starch! Enjoy them as much as you possibly can!
Keep on rolling
Terry & Reinout