I’m lucky enough to get to do a few long, memorable bike rides in super beautiful areas throughout the year, but because I hate carrying a camera when I ride I usually don’t have any pictures to show off. Last year when I wouldn’t shut up for months about how incredible the Gravel Conspiracy is, people just had to take my word for it. Fortunately, this spring I turned 30, freaked out about not owning any of the material trappings of adulthood, and impulsively bought an iPhone. I’m still rambling on about how anyone who missed this ride is a chump, but now I can back my claims up with some mediocre photos!
This year was my 3rd Gravel Conspiracy (I missed the first one). Each year I finish this event amazed that there aren’t 300 people demanding a spot on the roster. Admittedly, GC is hard to define. It’s not a race, but it attracts some fast riders who like to push themselves. It’s not bikepacking, but the route is as remote as anything you’ve ridden and you have the option of carrying your gear and camping every night if you wish. It’s not a party ride, but you’ll have access to a cooler of beer at some key points throughout the weekend.
Only a few dozen riders turn out for Gravel Conspiracy each year, but just about all of them come back. It’s one of the highlights of my year, and I’d bet that most other Conspirators would say the same thing. It attracts a diverse group of weirdos, many of whom I now call my friends. Said group of weirdos are also the type of people who host their own events, offer to drive you to races, invite you into their homes before taking you on a multi-day gravel tour of the Midwest, or teach you how to rappel down a frozen waterfall – in other words, the type of weirdos you want in your corner!
If this sounds like your type of event, take the plunge and make it happen! 200+ rugged miles over three days is a big commitment in comparison to a sanctioned race or gravel century, but Gravel Conspiracy is 100% worth it! It’s also one of the most accessible ways to see this part of Minnesota from your bike. Josh has done such a great job of making this a dirtbag friendly event that even I can afford it!