Challenge yourself with the SweetWater Whiskey Rebellion Gravel Rides, an adventurous tour through historic and rural PA landscapes of Washington County on Sunday, May 20. The rides transverse some of the trails of the pivotal Whiskey Rebellion of 1791.
“The Whiskey Rebellion is an off-road adventure ride for mountain bikers, cyclocross racers,
off-road cyclists, and other bicyclists looking for a challenge and something different,” says Don McKee, co-owner of SweetWater Bikes, sponsors of the rides. “Gravel cycling has attracted a lot of attention, and we’ve put together some great rides on gravel trails in a scenic and historic setting.”
Men’s Journal recently wrote that gravel rides “are the current rock stars of the amateur cycling world. These grueling, mostly off-road, but not quite mountain bike races, challenge man and machine against ruthless terrain, leg-searing elevation, and nearly every form of weather Mother Nature can dish out. Judging from their rapid rise in popularity — currently the fastest growing event in the sport — cyclists can’t get enough of them.”
Participants have the choice of four distances: 25K (16.5 miles), 50K (32.4 mi), 75K (53.7) and 100K (69.6 mi). Registration for any of the four rides is $40 and includes a post-ride catered lunch, beverages and some high-energy Appalachian bluegrass music from one of the region’s top bands, Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers.
Registration for the Whiskey Rebellion is available at BikeReg: www.bikereg.com/whiskyrebellion-gravel-50100k.
The 75K and 100K rides are set to begin at 8 am, while the 50K ride will start at 9 am and the 25K ride at 10 am. The event, to be limited to 200 riders, begins and ends at Morris Township Community Park, 4780 Prosperity Pike, Prosperity, PA.
SweetWater Bikes of Ambridge inaugurated the Whiskey Rebellion gravel rides last year and for 2018 there will be some new routes and new challenges. The routes vary from a little gravel to big, fresh new gravel and from hilly to rolling terrain with more than 7,000 feet of climbing in the 100K option.
The rides are:
*The Bourbon 25K (16.5 miles) is the shortest route though it will not be easy as cyclists gain 1,925 feet in elevation. Covered bridges pepper the route and riders will be able to sample real gravel roads, including beautiful Bradbury Hill. In other words, perfect for the new to gravel rider.
*In The Rye 50K (32.4 mi), riders will be traveling last year’s favorite route, Boulder Road, with some coarse loose rocks and potholes than any other roads on the course. Cyclists will be rewarded at the end of many of the climbs with scenic vistas from the ridges. Total elevation: 3,526 feet.
*For the hearty riders, The Single Malt 75K (53.7 mi) contains several very fast gravel descents. Cyclists face a challenging route with mixed gravel and crumbling asphalt with off-grid homesteads and off-the-beaten path covered bridges. The route passes through PA game lands and follows several streams.
*The ultimate Double Malt 100K (69.6 mi), like the Single Malt 75K, follows the western loop of 37.2mi. The full course includes favorites like Bradbury Hill, Boulder Road, Walker Road and Auld Hill and a couple of new roads that were added to the course this year. Long climbs with fast descents, state game lands, covered bridges, homesteads and lots of wildlife. This course has it all.
There will be four rest stops during the Double Malt 100K, as the course loops through the starting point to finish off the first 50K and continue on with the 100K, which will also be looping back to finish at the start.
McKee suggests that participants consider riding a gravel, cyclocross, touring or mountain bike with at least 32 mm tires. All riders will end up back at Morris Township Community Park and celebrate with locally-sourced food, beverages, great bluegrass music, and, of course, stories.