ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the sadness!! totally get it. lots of sad gravel riders out there.
Tour of Hermann is my DK substitute this year. Not the same, but it's a great event nonetheless. And if you want a really great gravel race, the Gold Rush in South Dakota has a 110-mile route that's incredible.
Yes, still sad about it. And I even had accommodations lined up (albeit simple - the RV park) and was planning to bring the fam. Boohoo. But I'm glad you made it in the 200 silky! Enjoy!
K - I was hoping to hit Tour of Hermann this year too. And I remembered you doing Gold Rush last year and checked it out, but it's a little more driving than I'd like (but would love to do it sometime in the future).
Question: would the Almanzo 100 be another decent alternative? It's not too much more driving than DK.
oh yes, i've done Almanzo and it is really really nice. and FREE. not a lot of hotels in the Spring Valley but Albert Lea (hometown of Erl) and Rochester are close.
Two other good, albeit later, alternatives are 24 Hours of Cumming (which has 100-ish mile options) in August and Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra (at 150 and 200 mile courses, might be longer than you want) in October. Both are in the Des Moines area, both reasonably priced, and both have great, low-key vibes.
All great suggestions - thanks so much!! Spotted Horse in Oct. seems perfect for keeping the training going through the summer.
I still don't know whether I want to venture into the gravel thing (other than training rides), but maybe something next fall.
Worth a try -- great scenery, minimal cars, and less hazardous than mtb (for me anyway).