Culture

The Grind: All together at The Gravel House

Good folks converging, and great rides to be had in Southern Arizona.

The Grind is a weekly column on all things gravel.

Betsy told me I would love it.

Halfway between Tucson, Arizona and the U.S./Mexico border, the tiny desert town of Patagonia is home to The Gravel House, a cyclists’ oasis in the middle of a surprisingly diverse desert. I’m here this week with my colleague Betsy Welch, who first came here for The Spirit World 100 gravel race put on by two of the four proprietors of The Gravel House, Heidi Rentz and Zander Ault.

The plan was to come test bikes, shoot gravel videos, connect with new and old friends, and soak up some southern Arizona sunshine. We were halfway to Patagonia when we found out our crew just got bigger.

On Monday, as Betsy and I were riding early in the morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico with my buddy Tim, we learned that our company Pocket Outdoor Media had acquired Outside and Peloton Magazine, among other things. And that our company is now called Outside. Huh.

We were on our way to Patagonia to meet Yuri Hauswald, a gravel OG, a longtime contributor to Peloton, and an all-around good dude.

We arrived at the super cute southwestern-vibe Gravel House to find three magazines stacked on the wood coffee table: Outside, VeloNews, Peloton. Was this staged?

On the coffee table at The Gravel House — magazines that already coexisted pretty darn well together. Photo: Ben Delaney

On one wall hung a framed Peloton story  — written by Yuri — about The Cyclist’s Menu, the cycling tour operation that Heidi and Zander run. The following morning, I set up my computer with its video camera facing that for our first “hello, welcome to the team’ Zoom call with the crew from Peloton and the other cycling titles in our fold.

I don’t know much about Outside; a few friends have worked there, I have read it for years, and its hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico was mine, too. I’m stoked to be a part of the Outside team. But with Peloton, in particular, it already felt like family. Peloton founder Brad Roe, upon on hearing that we were heading to The Gravel House, said that he had just been in November, and loved it, and to say hi to Heidi and Zander!

Company mergers and acquisitions can be tumultuous things. And the bike world can be suspicious. But here’s the deal: our company, formerly Pocket Outdoor Media, is now Outside. Under that umbrella are a host of active lifestyle brands in the media, event, photography, and service spaces. In cycling, that includes the Colorado event company Roll Massif that I had the pleasure of working for in 2019 as we launched the brand and two gravel sportives. And that also includes the awesome Beta MTB crew, risen fully formed from the ashes of Bike Magazine, plus now Peloton and of course VeloNews.

A pit shop on course at the Spirit World 100. Photo: Betsy Welch

As a reader, that means you get a truckload of sweet cycling and outdoor content tailored to what you’re into. Just register for free, and you can customize your feed to everything from yoga to skiing to backpacking to triathlon. Soon all the new brands will be added to your options. (Subscribing to VeloNews Pass or Active Pass gets you full access to all the exclusive content, Today’s Plan training software, a Roll Massif sportive, two VeloPress books, and more.)

But what this week’s addition of brands means to me is a lot more immediate and visceral: I get to work and ride with people who already felt like family. Now we’re just officially on the same team.

So about The Gravel House… if you like riding gravel bikes, you absolutely should come check it out. It’s fully tailored to riders, from bike stands to safe storage to multiple high-end coffee-making options standing at the ready in the beautiful kitchen. Technically, there are two gravel houses you can rent on site. Oh, and there is world-class gravel riding for days right out the door.

You can follow Betsy and me on social this week as we bang around Arizona. We’ll be Outside in the sunshine, enjoying taking pulls, tucking in the draft, and chatting with new and old friends in the Peloton.

Betsy at the Spirit World 100 in 2019.