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Gallery: Aspen trees aglow and snow-dusted mountains at the Telluride Gravel Race

Steep climbs, long descents, and cheerful volunteers created a seasonally spectacular first-year event

As a journalist who covers gravel, I am fortunate to be invited to countless events — large and small, near and far — every year. It’s very hard to choose, and sacrifices are always made.

Last weekend alone, there were three good options within driving distance of my home in Colorado — The Rad in Trinidad, Rexy Queen of the Desert in Fruita, and the Telluride Gravel Race.

Truth be told, I needed a break from the UCI gravel worlds chatter, and I always find the greatest respite in huge mountain landscapes where the scenery dwarfs all human drama. The San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado are just the place, especially with thousands of aspen trees aglow, snuggling up to the snow-capped mountains.

While the date for next year’s Telluride Gravel Race is yet to be announced, I can assure you that this event is one to put on the ever-lengthening list. Especially if steep climbs, long descents, stoked volunteers, and Mother Nature are of interest.