An organization that promotes gravel grinding, "Dirty Freehub" organized a group ride out of the small town of Patagonia. The town has become a destination for gravel bike riders as between it and the border, there are many miles of relatively smooth, dirt roads. Gravel bikes differ from a road bike mostly with much wider tires. Thirty-five of us rolled out at 11:00am, with a cool temp of "only" 54 degrees.
We had two routes from which to choose, 30 and 50 miles. Gravel riding miles are more difficult than road riding miles due to the rolling resistance. I chose the 30 mile route but ended up on the tail end of the 50 mile group and never saw the 30 mile group again. Above, we pause to remove a layer of clothing.
For much of the route, the roads were well paved with a few rockier sections. I'm a real novice at gravel riding and so am nervous about rocky sections or stream crossings, of which there were two. The first 13 miles was a steady but not steep climb to "American Peak".
Reaching the peak, we finally had nice views to the southeast. Not spectacular, just nice on this mostly cloudy day.
I hooked up with a couple who decided to abandon the 50 mile route for the 30 miler. We descended into a valley of wide ranging grassland. Patagonia is only an 1:15 drive from home yet at an elevation of around 4000', no cactus and a much different look.
There is a lot of ranching going on in the region. The descent from the peak yielded many miles of coasting but one road had lots of wash boarding. Ugh, that was brutal. I really don't like that aspect of gravel riding but otherwise, the absence of vehicles, the change of scenery, new roads, etc.... is good. Finished with 30 miles, 1300' elevation gain and a modest 13.3 average.