Recently, I participated in the Steamboat Springs Gravel Race with my husband, Jim, and it was a truly wonderful and unforgettable experience.
This is my Race Report for the 2023 Steamboat Springs Gravel Race (SBT GRVL). There is a reason gravel cycling is so popular. Where else can you enjoy some of the best views on earth, all while testing my strength and endurance?
Along the way, we met some amazing people, such as one of my athletes, Steve Davidson, and fellow cyclist Eddie, who fondly calls himself a single-speed carnivore.
This race was my first after overcoming a back and knee injury, and I’m excited to share my experience with you.
Thriving Resort Town Creates a Great Gravel Races
The best part of the Worldmark resorts is their kitchen, washer, and dryer. I am not a fan of eating out, especially before a race. it was nice to cook my food.
SBT GRVL Event Details
The town is the perfect backdrop for a gravel bike race and ride. The unique combination of quiet “champaign gravel” roads, beautiful weather, and a quaint resort town create the perfect backdrop for a world-class gravel race.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Northwest Colorado with the remarkable SBT GRVL courses. The roads are well maintained, with a few key sections of looser gravel and paved roads.
All the courses start from magnificent Steamboat Springs, CO, with a unique combination of quiet roads surrounding thriving resort town create a beautiful backdrop for an epic day. It doesn’t matter what distance you choose; you will see some epic views and ride on some of the greatest gravel roads in the country.
The Black Course is 142 miles and has an elevation gain of 9,200 feet for the super fit and maybe a rider who is a little crazy. It is a long day looking at pretty epic scenery. But be prepared.
It’s a challenge with 6,000 feet of climbing over 100 miles.
A nice day on the bike with 3,600 feet of climbing over 60 miles.
I dipped my toe into the SBT GRVL waters. I covered 37 miles in 2,000 feet of elevation.
I can confidently say that the Steamboat Springs Gravel Race was a challenging event that tested my limits. But it was also an incredibly rewarding experience, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of it. I’m proud of Jim, who completed the difficult 60-degree distance, and I’m also grateful to have met people such as Eddie and Steve along the way.
Who doesn’t love a big expo? I do! There were a ton of vendors with great giveaways. The expo was super fun.
Week of Activities
SBT Gravel is an immersive experience. From Thursday before the race to Monday after the event, there were things to do.
The activities started with a ZIPP Shakeout Ride on Thursday, A bunch of Shakeout rides on Friday, and more fun rides on Saturday. Then a fun day of racing on Sunday.
Details About My Bike Set-Up
I rode the Liv Devote gravel bike for the SBT GRVL event and found its geometry to be a perfect fit for me.
The Devote Gravel Bike provides an unparalleled level of comfort, ensuring an immensely enjoyable riding experience. It is unfortunate, however, that the performance of the crankset did not match the excellence of its geometry.
I have the Praxis Crankset with 2x on the front and an 11 x 40 on the back. When the bike shifts, it works great having the granny gear. The “when” is a big “if.”
The shifting was never great on this bike. I bought it during the pandemic, and most things bought then might be less than stellar quality.
I had the bike serviced before the event, and even with that, halfway up the first climb, I couldn’t get my front chainring into the small gear. The cables are constantly being stretched or breaking. I was left with three gears until the second aid station.
Thankfully, the support provided throughout the race was fantastic, and at the second aid station, there was a bike mechanic who adjusted my cables, and my bike worked smoothly for the rest of the race.
Planning for my next hilly gravel race, I’m saving up for a 1x, pairing a 10-44 cassette with a front chainring in the 38-42T range.
Since I wasn’t racing the event, I didn’t go through the trouble to get the fastest tires out there. My current tires are Giant Crosscut 1 700x38c on the front and the Goodyear Connector Ultimate 700×40 on the back. The tires were fine, with no issues.
PSI for the Race
The Silca Pro Tire Pressure Calculator has never let me down. I plugged in my numbers, and voila gave me my tire pressure. The app recommended 44.5 psi in the back and 42.5 in the front. The PSI worked perfectly.
Training for the Event
Beautiful scenery mountain scenery comes with a cost. The price to be paid was in thin air and climbing. Steamboat Springs is located at the sits on the southwestern flank of the Park Mountain Range. It is the perfect backdrop for epic views and cooler temperatures coming from Phoenix.
Training Plan for SBT GRVL
I followed a training plan that incorporated short intervals, long intervals, and lots of climbing at elevation.
Being an Arizona resident, I wasn’t entirely prepared for the race’s altitude, which stood at 7,000 feet above sea level, despite having trained on weekends in Flagstaff at around the same elevation.
My Garmin Edge 530 let me know I was acclimated to 3800 feet. Not near enough for the hills. The next time around, I am adding in oxygen training before my next high-altitude race, I will do some oxygen training.
The Steamboat Springs Gravel Race was indeed a well-supported race, and throughout the race, I had the opportunity to interact with some great people. It is worth the trip to go. I will take my lessons learned from this event to train and race a longer event next year… if I get in.