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Apr 2, 2024

In this episode, host Craig Dalton interviews Dean Dahl, the founder of Good Ride Gravel, about his journey into gravel cycling and the upcoming gravel event he is organizing in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Dean shares his background in skateboarding and mountain biking and how he found a similar sense of adventure and exploration in gravel cycling. He discusses the unique characteristics of the Chilliwack area, including its diverse terrain and the growing gravel cycling community. Dean also explains his vision for the Good Ride Gravel event, which focuses on creating a community-oriented experience that celebrates both the sport of gravel cycling and the natural beauty of the region. He highlights the different routes available for participants, ranging from a beginner-friendly 50-kilometer ride to a challenging 150-kilometer route with significant elevation gain. Dean emphasizes the importance of sustainability and community engagement in organizing the event and shares his plans for a lively post-event atmosphere with local sponsors providing ice cream, craft beer, coffee, and food.

Good Ride Gravel

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About the Guest(s):

Dean Dahl is an event organizer and gravel cyclist based outside Vancouver, British Columbia. He grew up in the Vancouver area and has always had a passion for outdoor activities. Dean has a background in skateboarding and mountain biking, which eventually led him to discover gravel cycling. He currently resides in Yarrow, British Columbia, a small town just outside of Vancouver, where he enjoys the quiet and scenic surroundings. Dean has experience organizing events in the nonprofit sector and has a deep understanding of the cycling community. He is the founder of Good Ride Gravel, an event that aims to bring together gravel cyclists of all levels and create a vibrant and inclusive community.

Episode Summary:

In this episode, host Craig Dalton interviews Dean Dahl, the founder of Good Ride Gravel, about his journey into gravel cycling and the upcoming gravel event he is organizing in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Dean shares his background in skateboarding and mountain biking and how he found a similar sense of adventure and exploration in gravel cycling. He discusses the unique characteristics of the Chilliwack area, including its diverse terrain and the growing gravel cycling community. Dean also explains his vision for the Good Ride Gravel event, which focuses on creating a community-oriented experience that celebrates both the sport of gravel cycling and the natural beauty of the region. He highlights the different routes available for participants, ranging from a beginner-friendly 50-kilometer ride to a challenging 150-kilometer route with significant elevation gain. Dean emphasizes the importance of sustainability and community engagement in organizing the event and shares his plans for a lively post-event atmosphere with local sponsors providing ice cream, craft beer, coffee, and food.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dean Dahl's passion for outdoor activities, including skateboarding and mountain biking, eventually led him to discover gravel cycling.

  • Chilliwack, British Columbia, offers a unique mix of flat, smooth trails and challenging mountainous terrain, making it an ideal location for gravel cycling.

  • The Good Ride Gravel event aims to bring together gravel cyclists of all levels and create a vibrant and inclusive community.

  • Participants can choose from three different routes, ranging from a beginner-friendly 50-kilometer ride to a challenging 150-kilometer route with significant elevation gain.

  • The event will feature a lively post-event atmosphere with local sponsors providing ice cream, craft beer, coffee, and food.

Notable Quotes:

  • "I realized this is actually a lot like the feeling I used to have as a skater... discovering strange little places and hitting obstacles. I get that same feeling when I'm gravel riding." - Dean Dahl

  • "We want to be able to provide something that is an amazing opportunity, a gravel adventure that has a high-end component to it." - Dean Dahl

  • "We're celebrating gravel, but we're celebrating you as an individual. And we're celebrating the fact that you want to be a part of something good." - Dean Dahl




[00:00:00] - (): Craig Dalton: Hey Dean, welcome to the show.

[00:00:05] - (): Dean Dahl: Hi there Craig, it's good to be here.

[00:00:08] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah, good to finally connect. I'm glad to see you got a sip of water right in before we started recording. I thought I had a sneeze teed up, but it seems to be holding itself. Well, you're welcome

[00:00:17] - (): Dean Dahl: to go for it. We can edit that out, right?

[00:00:20] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Although the listener knows that I'm not much of an editor, so it is what it is.

[00:00:27] - (): Dean Dahl: Getting live and real. On the podcast.

[00:00:30] - (): Craig Dalton: Let's set the stage a little bit. Where are you, where are you talking to me from?

[00:00:33] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, I'm from, uh, I live in Vancouver or just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, and, um, yeah, my name is Dean Dahl and been out here in a little town called Yarrow, British Columbia.

**** - (): And, uh, it's about an hour, if there's good traffic, east of Vancouver in, uh, the Fraser Valley.

[00:00:54] - (): Craig Dalton: And did you grow up in Canada?

[00:00:56] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, I did. So, I grew up in the Vancouver area, uh, recently moved actually out of the city, um, about five years ago. Um, me and my wife and our kids moved out here and it's quite a different, uh, change.

**** - (): It's quiet out here, uh, kind of like, uh, sort of semi rural farming kind of community. With lots of great outdoors, but nothing happens after 9 a. m. or 9 p. m. Sorry. And, uh, being in the city, like I was right in East Van in the thick of it. And, uh, I was used to living life after 10. P. m. So it's a change, but you know, the scenery is great.

**** - (): So that's awesome. And lots of good biking, which I'm sure we'll talk about

[00:01:35] - (): Craig Dalton: for sure. Yeah. I'm always interested to explore like how people found the bike. Obviously, you know, many of us had bikes introduced to us very early on in our lives, and it would give us a sense of exploration and freedom from a population perspective, there's very few of us who take that through line into our mid lives and are still riding a bike.

**** - (): So what was your journey to the bike? Like, and, you know, we can ultimately get to how you found gravel cycling.

[00:02:02] - (): Dean Dahl: Oh yeah, sure. Um, off and on, like probably everybody listening to this, uh, had the classic BMX bike or whatever little cruiser thing and made jumps with it and got my nose banged up a bunch when I was a little kid, which is all kinds of fun stories in themselves, but whatever.

**** - (): Um, My, I was just actually thinking about this the other day. My uncle was a really interesting character in that he had a real passion for serving young people. And, uh, he lived in the same town I did, and he actually started up a small group for, for teenagers and young kids. And he would take us on camping trips and hiking trips and, uh, overnighters and things like that.

**** - (): And, um, kind of set up his own organization with it. And I remember going on, um, You know, in the Pacific Northwest, we have a whole bunch of what we call the Gulf Islands here, all up from Seattle, up the coast, all the way to Alaska. They're beautiful. And around Vancouver, uh, he had arranged this, uh, this bike tour for us to go when I was in grade 11, around one of the local Gulf Islands.

**** - (): And, uh, I got a road bike for it and. Put panniers on it. And it was kind of my first expression of being able to be on the road, packing, gearing up stuff. And I thought, this is amazing. So from that point on, I got really interested in bike riding, but that was, you know, fun. But then, um, I kind of got distracted by skateboarding and turned into like a course skater for years and years.

**** - (): Um, and, uh, did a little bit. Uh, on the side of that, I discovered mountain biking in kind of the mid nineties, I guess, and bought, uh, you know, an old Kona hard tail thing and lived on the North shore at the time and was doing mountain bike racing a couple of seasons there and got just really exhausted from.

**** - (): pushing my bike up the hill and then slamming as I was riding down it. So that was a short lived season. Uh, but it was still really fun. Like I was talking to you, Craig, before, um, I realized now that a lot of the mountain biking I did in the past was actually gravel riding without drop bars. I remember having a picture of John Tomac Um, on my wall at some point and him, I thought he was so cool because he was mountain biking and yet he was, he had drop bars on his mountain bike and I was like, those are dark bars.

**** - (): Like I had when I was touring around salt spring Island and he's riding a mountain bike. Like I'm right, like I want to ride a mountain bike and myself. He brought those worlds together and I didn't click at the time what was going on, but now that I'm gravel riding a lot, I think, yeah, yeah, that's cool.

**** - (): That that's, that's the deal.

[00:04:46] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's funny when you think back to that period, it's like, why didn't it click then? And I think there's so many like little reasons why it wasn't right until sort of your, your 2014 era for the bikes to actually come together and form the basis of what is gravel riding today.

**** - (): Uh, it's super interesting. And I love those old Tomac photos for sure.

[00:05:10] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Well, you know, I w I wonder if, uh, mountain biking had to find itself or discover itself and had to really move away from all things road bike so it could find its own identity and now maybe it's mature enough that people can dip in and out of that road style, the gravel style without a feeling, I guess.

**** - (): Threat to mountain biking? I don't know.

[00:05:30] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah, who knows? Who knows? I'm interested, you know, you mentioned your, your passion for skating for many years. Do you see there, like, any similarities between skating and cycling in terms of what it delivers to you? Or are they two just distinct areas of your brain and body?

[00:05:48] - (): Dean Dahl: No, uh, well, I think that, um, for gravel cycling and skateboarding, there's actually a lot of similarities and I'll talk to them about them in a second. But in terms of my experience going from skateboarding into cycling, not that I've stopped skating, but I do it a lot less, that ground is not getting any softer as I get old.

**** - (): Um, I just got into road biking because I realized that I'm not skating as much as I needed to, to keep fit. And I needed something that was low impact. So I got a road bike and just started racing and that was amazing, but it was a totally different rush except from hill bombing, which felt the same. Uh, but then gravel biking came along and I realized this is actually a lot like the feeling I used to have as a skater.

**** - (): Like, Going to the city with my crew, uh, going on a road trip and looking around the dark corners and alleys of a city and out in these strange little places where you can find these cool skate spots and you're right, you're rolling to them and from them and you're hitting. You know, whatever obstacle and thinking, Oh, this is amazing.

**** - (): I get that same feeling when I'm gravel riding, like I'll ride for my house. And I'll be like, Hey, I've never seen that part of the hill before. I should go check it out and see if there's any trails there and riding with my friends. And we're discovering, Oh, let's try this. Oh, it's a dead end. Let's turn around.

**** - (): Let's go do this. And it just felt like, you know, when I was 10 years younger, skating cities and. That kind of thing. So I would say that there's a not really, really, really a practical line, but really an emotional feel that I get from gravel riding that connects to skateboarding.

[00:07:29] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah, that lands with me.

**** - (): I mean, I think as I think about designing routes for my own personal use in any given week, there's some creativity in looping together the trails, the roads, the mountain bike, single track sections, and. A given route in a given area of our little mountains here can feel radically different depending on how you approach it and what you tie together with it.

**** - (): And I think much like skating where bringing your crew on an adventure, like you're taking the lead and you're like, Hey, I found this spot and then let's skate over to this spot. Gravel ride route planning and bringing a group out there. I think it's quite similar in that you just want to show them a new way to experience the, you know, the terrain around your house.

[00:08:17] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Yeah, totally. And it's really fun actually. Um, as I've gotten into gravel riding, I'm, uh, connecting, uh, through Instagram, but a whole bunch of different ways with skaters that I used to skate with back in the day that also bought gravel bikes and, uh, that are cruising around and they're hitting trails in the city and doing things.

**** - (): Actually, you want my one friend just posted on Instagram, uh, on his gravel bike. He's got a really nice titanium gravel bike, but he's like riding downstairs and like, um, doing little ollies on banks and stuff. And I'm like, dude, you're skating on your bike. That's hilarious. It's hilarious. that escape deal, but he's doing it on a gravel bike.

**** - (): Right. So he's got the same adventure.

[00:08:59] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah. I love it. I love it. We're going to get into a great gravel event that you're organizing for this may, but I wanted to tease out earlier in your life, You know, Had you been producing events and had you had any experience doing events before kicking this one off?

[00:09:16] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Um, I've, uh, I'm kind of an event planner. Um, a lot of my career has been spent in the nonprofit world. And, uh, so I actually kind of helped found a skateboarding nonprofit within a larger nonprofit organization. Um, so I was doing a lot of skateboarding events and doing a lot of fundraising events for the larger umbrella organization as well.

**** - (): And, uh, as I got more into my career, I became better at it. So I kind of moved up into more senior circles in those nonprofits that I was working for. So a lot of the events that I was running, um, especially towards the end of my nonprofit career, uh, were, um, fundraisers and, uh, they were the classic peer to peer, you know, I'm going to do this a hundred kilometer, uh, cycling event and I'm going to raise money for this cause it's going to be great.

**** - (): And so I did, uh, a lot of those. And over the years, I kind of honed that to doing a lot more kind of bespoke tours where we'd get a small group of people. They'd raise a lot of money each and it wasn't a huge amount of people because we thought we could provide a better experience by doing something smaller, uh, really intentional with our, uh, with our friends that would want to ride with us and we'd still raise a lot of money and it was great for the organization.

**** - (): So I have a history in that, um, and, uh, that. I guess. And well, as well as that, the last couple of years, I was hosting specific gravel races. And again, they had a fundraising component to them, uh, but they were a lot more in the, they were increasingly becoming more sport oriented. And, uh, that was partly intentional on my part.

**** - (): And we can talk about that later, but I found that there's a, an odd space that the cycling community, specifically the gravel community sits in where it's, um, uh, It's attractive to both people in the nonprofit realm who see something like a gravel event as something dynamic and a vital, like a community with lots of vitality in it.

**** - (): And they want to be a part of that because it's an exciting thing that can represent their nonprofit through which they can raise money. So that's one way of looking at that community of cyclists. The other is through the business realm that sees it as, Oh man, this is a great marketing opportunity for me to sponsor races or to put my name on it.

**** - (): Our brand on this cool new community. And, uh, for my, from my perspective, the races that I was organizing, I just really felt like the organizations that I was helping produce these events for didn't understand the community of cycling and they weren't treating it well enough. They weren't going through the due process of looking on the race calendar.

**** - (): Are we intersecting with another race that's happening in the same city? Are we actually doing the due diligence to get permits properly, to make sure the police know about our presence on the road? Are, do our cyclists know how to ride properly on these, on these trails? Um, And I'd get calls from mountain bikers or gravel cyclists after and be like, Hey, what's going on?

**** - (): I heard about this event and people on the, you know, on my favorite trail are complaining about all the cyclists on the trail. I just realized, Oh man, through a good intention of doing a nonprofit work, raising funds through cycling, we're actually doing a disservice to the community of cyclists. Through it.

**** - (): And I really wanted to address that in the events that I do to be able to create an event. That's actually not just something that you show up to do your race and you're gone and not something that you show up to because you have this other thing that you're raising money for, but to have something that really honors the community and says, this is something amazing.

**** - (): We're all passionate about this. Let's build a community and let's make this community amazing. So that's a long answer to your story about my history and running events.

[00:13:06] - (): Craig Dalton: So, I mean, let's name, let's name, let's talk about good ride gravel. Yeah. Like let's talk about one, you know, you talked about some of the motivations about why you created it, but let's kind of dig into that.

**** - (): Let's dig into, What's your vision for this event this May?

[00:13:24] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Uh, we are basically hosting a kind of a sport forward event that really focuses on the community of gravel cyclists. Uh, there's a, uh, an increasing amount of them here in the lower mainland in Metro Vancouver area. And, uh, they are an emerging group and they are.

**** - (): Kind of, kind of referencing back to my skateboarding days, they feel like a skate scene in a sense in that it's just this new thing and people are trying to discover what it's all about. And they're really stoked on being able to do things that are, you know, really gnarly in some cases and really smooth on the other adventuring, like what you're talking about.

**** - (): And we want to be able to provide something that is an amazing opportunity, a gravel adventure that has a high end component to it. So you can come, you can race it. We've got podium prizes with cash. Um, so those people on the sharp end of this, uh, of the scene, uh, we've got a couple of pros coming, which is great.

**** - (): And they're pushing their community to come and enjoy it. But on the other end, we have people that have never really tried gravel cycling again. But during COVID they bought a gravel bike and they've been riding it for a couple of years. And now COVID is kind of, we're kind of finding our way past COVID and these people want to get involved in events.

**** - (): They have this passion for cycling. Now they want to find the community connected to that passion. And so whether they're pro cyclists, whether they're sponsored racers or whether they're just those adventure people that want to get out and ride for an entire day and see if they can do it, we're all going to come together at the same point.

**** - (): And we're going to focus on, Hey, this is actually a community thing. It's more than just a race. We're celebrating gravel, but we're celebrating you as an individual. And we're celebrating the fact that you want to be a part of something good. And so that's kind of what it's about. And on top of that, I really believe that when people get together, they want to feel like they're a part of something bigger than just themselves.

**** - (): And so we have a fundraising component to it. I found this really cool, small nonprofit in the city that we're doing this event called Restorative Cycle, and they just work through a restorative justice process to help people that have been, um, that are underserved in the community or that have had issues, uh, in the criminal, um, system.

**** - (): In the past, um, to help them back on their feet by providing bikes for them, programs for them, uh, even like bicycle repair. So we're going to be able to sponsor that group and raise some money for them. But again, it's about a community getting involved to benefit a larger community beyond it. So that's kind of the nature of what the good ride gravel is about.

[00:16:02] - (): Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And so for this particular event, you're coming at it as a sort of solo operator. You're not confined by previous relationships you had that were defining the event. This can be your baby and your vision, right?

[00:16:17] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, definitely. That's very freeing in some cases and you know, probably as you know, if you've organized events before, that's also like, Oh, crazy time.

[00:16:27] - (): Craig Dalton: Super scary. Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent. I have a lot of, a lot of respect for anybody who holds up their hand and, and organizes events because it's, it can be thankless work and you just hope that the event day goes off well and you get those, uh, vibes of appreciation from all the riders who have a great day out there.

[00:16:45] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, and you know, it's been fun Craig listening to your podcast and hearing from the other guests that you had their joys and struggles in finding their way through organizing these events running these races been really fun to hear the stories from the people that you're talking about. About these events.

**** - (): And I really, um, I really feel what they're feeling. So I sit right in that too, but I love it. And again, for this event, it's our first year doing this specific event. Uh, our team has run events before, so we're familiar with cycling with gravel cycling, but we're trying something new. And so we're. Being honest that we don't have a lot of resources to make this happen, and we don't have a lot of time because we all have other things that we're doing.

**** - (): I'm not going to make a full time career out of this race. I want to do things along with this. So we're going to keep it sustainable. We're going to start small and we're going to do it really well. And, uh, from there, we're going to evaluate and see, okay, what can we do next year to incrementally build this up?

**** - (): You know, we want to be, I don't want to burn anybody out, including myself. And we want to make sure that our people that come really, really enjoy the vibe of it and feel like, yeah, I could do this again. I could bring a friend next time.

[00:17:59] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah. Let's talk about the community of Chilliwack BC. Why, why there, what's so special about it from a community perspective and also a terrain perspective?

[00:18:09] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Uh, Chilliwack is again, like it's an hour outside of, uh, Vancouver, British Columbia. It's kind of right on the border. Actually from my house, I can see into the United States, uh, which is kind of fascinating. So it's literally right on the edge and it borders at the very end of the Eastern Fraser Valley, which is a massive river Delta of the Fraser River that comes down into the ocean.

**** - (): So, um, there is a really unique mix of a Dead flat, um, kind of prairie as the Fraser dumps out into the ocean and also it's on the very eastern or the western border of the Cascade mountain range, which goes down into Washington state. And so you get this really interesting, uh, and almost drastic.

**** - (): Confrontation where you'll be riding flat, flat, flat, flat, flat for a long time. There's lots of dike trails around here that are like buttery, smooth, perfect for riding on. It feels great. And then all of a sudden smash you're right on better mountain, which is like, you know, mountain bike heaven for a lot of people in the Vancouver area.

**** - (): And you're climbing serious terrain right now. And it just doesn't stop. And then you're at the forest service roads and. You could literally ride forever from there. Like Canada is a big place and it goes on forever. So there's that really interesting scenario of, uh, you know, something that's really, um, smooth and flat and fast, and also something that's really technical and aggressive, um, for that.

**** - (): So in terms of the, uh, the, uh, the draw it has, it's an emerging community. It's a, it used to be a small kind of a farming city that's turned into a bedroom community of Vancouver. A lot of people are commuting from Chilliwack and Abbotsford, the Eastern Fares Valley to Vancouver, similar to what has gone on with Squamish.

**** - (): And a lot of people call this like the next Squamish, Vancouver's new backyard. In that it's close enough that you can live here. It's a bit cheaper than living in the city and yet you're far enough away that you feel like, Oh man, there's a lot of terrain to explore. Lots of forest service roads, you know, let's just go out and have some fun.

[00:20:18] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah, sounds ideal for those Vancouver based riders and around there who maybe don't know where to go up there to have this as a jumping off point for their exploration of that valley.

[00:20:28] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah.

[00:20:30] - (): Craig Dalton: When you think about the three different routes you've laid out, what were the different goals there? And maybe you can sort of talk about each route in terms of the distance and the amount of climbing you're going to be doing.

[00:20:41] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, sure. And sorry, I don't know miles that well I'll be in kilometers meters. Yeah. So maybe put in the show notes, you could put all the mile or the Imperial stuff. Uh, yeah, we got three routes this, uh, this, for this event in May. And, uh, starting off as we just got our party ride, it's 50 kilometers. It's.

**** - (): Dead flat. It's all on these beautiful, buttery, smooth dike trails. And uh, it's going to be just a fun tour. We've got kind of a bit of a lollipop route that goes out and back, explores a couple different communities. Uh, but it's pretty much all off road. There's a small portion at the beginning, a couple of kilometers that you have to ride on the road, and then it's just all flat gravel.

**** - (): And it's meant to be just something, Hey, I've never done a gravel event before. Oh, I just got this bike and I feel a little nervous, but, um, can I do this? Yeah, I can. It's 50 kilometers. I'm, I got all my friends along. Um, it's going to be great. So we've got a bunch of snack stations and, you know, photo booth kind of things, you know, fun stuff to make it feel like, Oh, this is a fun little event.

**** - (): And it's again, that entry thing that people can do it and feel like, okay, I'm ready for something more challenging next year. So that's our 50k. We just call it the good ride. And, uh, then we have our, what we call our very good ride. I don't know, they're cheesy titles, but whatever. And it's a hundred K and it is kind of a medium course.

**** - (): It starts to explore that terrain that I was talking about. Up the side of mountains. So you're starting on, um, you're doing about, I don't know, five or six K to access the first forest service road. Then you start climbing. It gets a bit intense. You come down, it's great. And then you hit a really heavy climb.

**** - (): You're going to max out at 20 percent on that climb. And it's a mixed terrain, a bit of a technical downhill. And then you get to celebrate the fact that you did those two climbs and that technical stuff with that. gravel dike thing and you're doing the same lollipop route that the 50k people did. So you get a really kind of even mix of, um, some, you know, good single tracks, some good forest service road with the smooth kind of finish, uh, to bring you to the event village again.

**** - (): The big one, which we call our crazy good ride is, um, it's going to be 150 kilometers and it's about, uh, just over 2000 meters of elevation, probably 2200 meters of elevation. And that elevation is serious. Like it, uh, it, it's a good. Wall in front of you, uh, great forest service roads with all kinds of mixed terrain.

**** - (): You're just right from the start going hard and going up and down and up and down and experiencing everything out here. It's wet. It's like rainforest. So there's no big sprawling gravel roads. It's like, okay, you've got the tree canopy. You're in this Emerald green forest and there's moss and ferns everywhere.

**** - (): And you're riding mixed terrain, some mud, some gravel, some dirt, All kinds of stuff and it's up and down, up and down, up and down. And, uh, again, you've finished all that after about 90 kilometers, a hundred kilometers, and then you get to ride that really smooth. Um, Dyke lollipop thing to finish again, um, to, to, you know, sprint to the finish, so to speak.

**** - (): So it's a good mix of both for everybody. You get the smooth terrain if you want to just take it easy for the day and do the 50 or you get the hardcore experience of, man, I can't believe I did this for the 150.

[00:24:07] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's kind of interesting the way you're describing it. I was thinking about, you know, if you're at the pointy end of the sphere, attacking all that aggressive terrain.

**** - (): To begin with for the first a hundred K and then having this relatively in perspective, tame terrain for the last 50 K, it's just going to be really interesting to see how it pans out. Like there's a group of merge from the forest and the climbing, uh, together, or, you know, or the technical riders separating themselves from the pack and then doing a 50 K time trial on the smooth terrain to try to bring it home.

[00:24:42] - (): Dean Dahl: I know. Well, it's very interesting because if you can keep a pack going somehow through that last, uh, that last climb, the last one that's, it's about 450 meters of elevation and then a technical, there's about two kilometers of technical single track to get you back down. To the flat. Um, if you can stay in a group there, then you can draft and it becomes an entirely different race because the last 50 kilometers, it's all, it's, you almost need to be a good road rider to make that happen if you want to finish first.

**** - (): Right. So, yeah,

[00:25:12] - (): Craig Dalton: yeah. It's one of those interesting races. I really enjoyed, for example, my conversation around the rule of three. Growl in Bentonville, Arkansas with Andy Chastain. And it's just fascinating to kind of game play out if you are racing these things. Cause a lot of us go in it and we're just kind of out there to enjoy the ride and test ourselves to see if we can, you know, achieve a crazy good ride.

**** - (): But for those at the front end of the spectrum, it's, it's pretty interesting to kind of game play out where your skillset lies and technical riders are going to have to bury themselves to get enough of a lead that. A pack won't hunt them down in those last 50 K.

[00:25:50] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, yeah, it's totally true. So it'll be really interesting.

**** - (): And again, you know, you're, you're right. Not everybody's going to be racing this, uh, but it's got a great race ability at the front end of the sharp end. Like you say. So it's good. And I've got it all staggered out. So, um, people won't be arriving at the same time in case there's a sprint, but close enough that we'll all be in the event village after the event together.

**** - (): And people can celebrate racers coming in and adventurers coming in at the same time. So,

[00:26:21] - (): Craig Dalton: yeah, that was going to be my next question. Just sort of around the race village and what kind of post event atmosphere and shenanigans you have planned for riders.

[00:26:29] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Yeah. Um, again, it's a fairly small event.

**** - (): We're only. Capping it at 200. So, and that's intentional because we need to be able to start small and be sustainable, make sure we do this right. Um, and then we'll start expanding it from there. Uh, but we've got a lot of great sponsors locally. Um, I have a lot of friends in the area and they all are small business owners and they're like, yeah, this is amazing.

**** - (): I want to be a part of this. So we've got an ice cream. This, uh, uh, boutique ice cream place just down the street from where we're going to be starting, uh, has a massive ice cream set up and they're handing you an ice cream cone, you know, and you cross the line. We've also got a local beer craft beer sponsor.

**** - (): That's going to be giving everybody a pint. If you're showing up to race, if you're you register, you got to celebrate with a pint from this brewery. And, uh, we've got a local cafe as well that actually a coffee roaster, that's going to be providing coffee at the event village. And we've got a local cafe that's actually going to be setting up a cafe in the middle of absolutely nowhere on our course at the top of one of the biggest climbs.

**** - (): So you're going to finish this climb and you're going to just feel like you totally. Destroyed yourself and you're going to turn the corner and there'll be tables there. They'll be doing pour overs, there's croissants and scones. They've got the tables, all that kind of stuff for you. So it'll be a fun, really kind of a neat surprise.

**** - (): So the event village is actually spread through the course, so to speak, uh, which will be really fun. We've also got a food truck, uh, I'm going to be having donors and falafels for everyone as well. So, you know, we're just trying to bring the hype and, you know, I'm talking to sponsors locally and just saying, Hey, kind of like what Andy said, actually, in, when you're talking with him, he was so interesting in that he was talking about how he just wants to be able to create a great thing and just let sponsors dictate how they want to bless the event.

**** - (): And, uh, I like that style and I think I'm kind of going for that style too, or. Somebody's got a food truck that serves falafels and doners and shawarma. I'm I'm down. Let's do that. Let's let's figure something out. Right.

[00:28:33] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah. You

[00:28:34] - (): Dean Dahl: have a cafe. Let's set up a cafe in the middle of the route. That'd be amazing.

**** - (): So yeah, so that's kind of the event village feel.

[00:28:41] - (): Craig Dalton: That sounds awesome. When you think about the community, is this the type of community? And I often like think and talk about this. Like when you have a rural community and you stand up an event like this, yeah. All the businesses around town are like, bring it on, like no downside.

**** - (): This is awesome. Anything that will bring people to the community. Does Chilliwack have that vibe? Or is it still close enough to Vancouver where there's a little bit of like, actually, we don't want a lot of more people discovering us.

[00:29:09] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, there's a bit of that vibe and, uh, Chilliwack, again, like I said, it's a, it's an emerging community.

**** - (): It's probably, you know, close to a hundred thousand people. So it's actually not a small town. I mean, well, maybe that is a small town compared to some places. Um, but it, uh, yeah, it sits in an awkward, uh, Spot and it's discovering itself and there's some really great things happening and there's also a oh man A lot of people from the city are moving out here, you know It's the roads are a lot less quiet than they used to be our trails you know, I used to ride my horse on this trail all the time and now there's You know, people running all the time and cyclists all the time.

**** - (): So there's a bit of that thing. And also, um, again, Chilliwack is discovering itself in terms of how to be a community as it grows. And it's fascinating. Like, yeah, I love the idea of watching, um, cities grow and the urban planning idea fascinates me. And I'm seeing it on a local level in this city, which has got some really great, um, potential, uh, to see people really want to adopt this as their spot.

**** - (): At the same time trying to struggle with the people that have always lived here who are saying well we don't want it not in our town like we don't need another race we got two races already so there's both the yes let's get involved let's do this and also the well just do your thing and that's kind of it that's kind of a Vancouver thing too the west coast of Canada is very much like uh yeah you just do your thing and you know just leave me alone and just do it whatever.

**** - (): So

[00:30:41] - (): Craig Dalton: that brings up a question around land access, you know, any issues around getting on the land that you want to, that you're going to do the event on? Is it land that we can go out and ride today?

[00:30:53] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. Uh, well, that's a great question. And we are actually really excited because we are actually on the lands of the Stolo people, the traditional ancestral people, the Solo nation and the Swahili nation.

**** - (): And, uh, they have been really gracious in being allow us right down to being able to use some of the roads in their community that we can pass by on our route. Um, so we're very excited to be able to, um, kind of honor these communities and recognize them at the same time as being able to practically make use of the, the roads in their communities at the same time.

**** - (): So that's good beyond that too. Um, we're actually working with. Five different jurisdictions of ownership are stewardship of the various lands that we're going to be on everything from the city of Chilliwack to the regional districts to different communities that have different park zones and things.

**** - (): So the permitting process is extensive, and I was actually working on that a lot this morning just before talking to you. Um. It's exciting to do because you get to spread the word about a cool event and these people are like, yeah, that's amazing. Have you dotted this T by or dotted this I by the way, but what you're doing is great.

**** - (): Keep it going and fill out this form. As long as they

[00:32:07] - (): Craig Dalton: keep saying yes, it's

[00:32:10] - (): Dean Dahl: when the

[00:32:10] - (): Craig Dalton: fourth land manager says no and you're just like, wait, I have this great route that needs your section of land.

[00:32:17] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, that's totally true. But you get through that. You just got to take your time and, uh, you pay a little bit of money along the way for it, but you just do the due diligence, right?

**** - (): And you, you know, respect the process and then it's all good.

[00:32:33] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah. Well, I love what you're working on up there, Dean. It looks like a great event and from everything you've described, looks like an amazing piece of Canada that we should be exploring on our gravel bikes for sure. And I love, I love that you come with a different sports mindset as well.

**** - (): Obviously you've been around bikes your whole life, but having that skateboard influence, I always think it's interesting and refreshing when event organizers have. A totally different context for what an event can be. Like you can only imagine as a cyclist, like what a skate event might look like versus a cycling event.

**** - (): So bringing that unique mindset, I think is, is something new and great that you're bringing to the gravel community.

[00:33:16] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah. I mean, it's all I know is like skate scene and my experience in cycling. So I'm just going to do what I do, but we'll find out. It's cool or not. And my team is, they're, they're not skaters, uh, but you know, they're like, Oh, that sounds cool.

**** - (): Let's do that. That'd be amazing. I've never seen that in a sailing race before, but whatever, it'll be great. I love

[00:33:37] - (): Craig Dalton: it. Yeah, for sure. Well, best of luck. We'll make sure everybody knows about your event on May 11th ticket. There's still some slots available, so we'll put a link to registration in the show notes for everybody.

[00:33:49] - (): Dean Dahl: Yeah, that'd be amazing. Craig, great to talk with you. Love your podcast. Keep it going. I know that's a lot of work and, uh, but keep at it because you're exploring something really interesting. And like I said before, the community around gravel cycling is so vibrant and it's growing and, uh, you know, you're a great voice to represent all kinds of things in this community.

**** - (): So thank you.

[00:34:13] - (): Craig Dalton: Yeah, I appreciate the kind words and I appreciate you sharing everything you did today. Thanks, Dean.

[00:34:17] - (): Dean Dahl: All right on.