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The Weekly Dirt: Getting Yomp’ed, women’s paydirt, and XC MTB movies

A weekly roundup of what's happening in the off-road.

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Welcome to The Weekly Dirt.

After a whirlwind month of travel, I’m home for …  a week. And, how sweet that week is. The town trails are riding so well, the air is abuzz with chirping birds and rustling leaves, and everything is green, green, green.

One of the best parts about being on the road for work is meeting new people and catching up with friends. As I settle into season three of my time as a cycling journalist, I’ve been trying to ask people what they want to read about riding bikes. Some of what I’ve heard lately is cross-country mountain biking, more gravel culture, and continued coverage of the Life Time Grand Prix. I am going to do my best with all of the requests!

In the meantime, here’s some news about events I wish I’d been at, wish I could go to, and that I hope to check out next year!

Inaugural Yomp Rally destroys ego, expands consciousness

A week and a half ago, a group of 100 intrepid cyclists participated in a first-year event that none will soon forget.

The Yomp Rally, brainchild of Rapha’s North American marketing manager Brandon Camarda, was billed as a “simple concept,” but anyone who went can attest that the ride — not race — spanning 375 miles and over 40,000 feet of elevation from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles was anything but simple.

Or — was that just it? When faced with seemingly impossible and impassable challenges (road closures, mud slides, dead batteries, saddle sores, and more), we realize just how simple life can be, one pedal stroke at a time.

Girls rule at Stetina’s Paydirt

This weekend, Stetina’s Paydirt will return to the gravel roads of Carson City, Nevada. And like last year, this one is definitely #ferdagirls.

Thanks to Shimano, only women will vy for a $5,000 prize purse during Saturday’s 72-mile gravel race.

It’s called the Shimano Women’s Paydirt Challenge, and according to race organizer Pete Stetina, “it’s a result of many long discussions about how to tackle the problem of gender equality in cycling. Ultimately, we resolved that equal payout doesn’t make up for ground lost. So at Paydirt, the women will get center stage. There is no men’s purse, but there will still be a podium, prize, and plenty of beer.”

Follow along on social media as some of the strongest women in gravel — Sarah Sturm, Amy Charity, Anna Yamauchi, Caitlin Bernstein, Heather Jackson, and Flavia Oliveira Parks, to name a few — take center stage.

Still time to get Loco

Another gravel race that’s doing good things is Gravel Locos, which returns to Hico, Texas for the third year on Saturday.

The Hico Volunteer Fire Department has been a beneficiary from the race’s inception in 2021, and this year’s entry fees will benefit the continued expansion of the fire house.

Pete Stetina leading the front group at Gravel Locos 2022. (Photo: @velophoto.tx)

A strong pro contingent is scheduled to race, with “Dutch mafia” members Laurens ten Dam, Ivar Slik, Jasper Ockeloen, and Niki Terpstra all on the start list. Jordan Schleck and John Kariuki from Team Amani have been preparing in Texas all month, and other notable names include Alex Howes, Payson McElveen, Marisa Boaz, and Laura King.

Registration is open until 5pm CST Thursday, May 18.

Race Tapes docuseries might make you want to ditch gravel

Ahead of this season’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Red Bull TV has launched a new docuseries that follows the stories of some of the world’s best mountain bikers.

Race Tapes is the evolution of the highly successful Fast Life docuseries on Red Bull TV, which followed elite stars Kate Courtney, Loic Bruni and Finn Iles on their respective UCI World Cup journeys.

Jolanda Neff at the 2021 Nove Mesto World Cup
Former MTB world champ Jolanda Neff (: Svoboda Jaroslav/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

The new six-episode series covers big names such as Austrian Vali Höll, Swiss legend XCO Nino Schurter, American Aaron Gwin as well as young Britons Tom Pidcock and Evie Richards.

The first episode focuses on how two highly decorated three-discipline riders, Tom Pidcock and Jolanda Neff, can also win gold on singletrack.

The Race Tapes docuseries is now live on Red Bull TV.

More Cape Epic

The coverage — both live and retrospective — out of this race is bonkers! Here are two shorts, one from Giant and another from Specialized.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.