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Although Unbound Gravel commanded much of the gravel world’s attention last weekend, in California another event celebrated its own victories and milestones, as well.
After a two-year hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic Dixie Fire, the beloved Lost and Found Gravel Grinder returned to the roads and trails around Portola, California on Saturday.
The race was sandwiched into a weekend of festivities, including camping, music, and food. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS), a trail-centric non-profit that also helps produce the event.
The 2022 race was a fundraiser for SBTS’ Connected Communities Project, an effort to connect 15 mountain towns for economic prosperity through outdoor recreation. The end goal of the project is to build the proposed Lost Sierra Route, a 600+ mile route open to cyclists, hikers, equestrians, and motorized users. The route will pay homage to the biodiversity of the region, as well as the history of the Gold Rush-era mail delivery route.
On race day, riders were treated to a new course courtesy of SBTS that included 100 miles replete with 9,000 feet of elevation gain on 80 percent dirt terrain. Two shorter and less formidable routes were also on option.
“The race course is rough and rowdy compared to most of the gravel races on the calendar, and at times makes you wonder why you aren’t riding your full suspension mountain bike,” Liv Racing’s Serena Bishop Gordon told VeloNews. “Then the road turns north and the dirt gravel dreams are made of quickly passes beneath your wheels.”
Bishop Gordon was the fastest pro on the day, followed by Easton-Overland’s Caitlin Bernstein and Anna Yamauchi on the podium.
Canadian ‘cross national champion Michael Van den Ham won the men’s race, joined on the podium by Ryan Gorman and Sandy Floren of Mike’s Bikes who sprinted into second and third.
While the pros came for competition, they also came for what is consistently gravel’s biggest draw: camaraderie and community. With a new course and a sense of revitalization from previous years, the focus of this year’s Lost and Found was less on the race and more on the culture that surrounds it.
“The Sierra Butte Trail Stewardship puts on not only an amazing race but an amazing event,” Bishop Gordon said. “The home-grown post ride party is like no other, with people finishing their race and then hanging out late into the night on the grass of the city park, eating, drinking and listening to the live music that plays well past dark.
“Set aside the top-notch course and breath-taking views, and what you really have is a community of people who just love riding their bikes in the mountains, big adventures, and a big pancake breakfast the morning after.”
1. Serena Bishop Gordon – 6:25:03.4
2. Caitlin Bernstein – 6:35:11.3
3. Anna Yamauchi – 6:45:18.2
4. Hannah Wood – 6:49:31.2
5. Sofia Schugar – 6:59:25.2
1. Michael Van den Ham – 5:36:49.1
2. Ryan Gorman – 5:39:07.6
3. Sandy Floren – 5:39:07.8
4. Jonathan Baker – 5:43:12.3
5. Chris Blevins – 5:52:38.8