Stephens, Newsom and Ward to hit the gravel this weekend


The gravel is calling for Emily Newsom, Lauren Stephens and Maddy Ward this Saturday.

Newsom and Stephens will take the start of Gravel Locos, a weekend event in Texas with free entry geared toward raising money for the local Hico Volunteer Fire Department. Ward will take part in the Grasshopper Adventure Series“Huffmaster Hopper” race in Mendocino National Forest, California.

Both events have attracted some of the best gravel racers in the country.

“It’s a free community event, but donations are accepted, and there are also VIP events to raise money,” Stephens said. “Emily and I did a Q&A dinner last night and VIP ride this morning to help raise money.”

“For me, it’s just cool because it’s a big race in Texas and the best gravel riders thought it was cool enough to come to and it’s relatively local for me and Emily, so a lot of my friends will be here at this event.”

“From the performance side of things racing gravel is the closest we can get to simulating a World Tour event. We’re racing against top men and former world tour pros. The speed and peloton dynamic mirrors what we race like in Europe, we don’t really get that in any other race in the U.S.”

“I anticipate the GravelLocos 150 being one of the most challenging races I’ve done,” Newsom said.

“Not only is it long, it’s actually 155 miles, but the top end of the field is very strong. I’m confident in my form and will give it everything I have while keeping in mind it’s a very long day on the bike. Fueling and hydrating properly will be a key part of a successful day.”

Maddy Ward will take part in the Grasshopper Adventure Series race in Mendocino Natl Forest. The “Huffmaster Hopper,” an 89-mile course with 50 percent road and 50 percent gravel, means bike choice and tire choice isn’t clear cut.

“I’m excited to be riding the team gravel bike, Cannondale’s Topstone, so I can tackle the steep gravel climbs and somewhat technical descents with ease,” Ward said. “It’s a strong field this weekend, so it’s going to be a great time for testing out the legs and just having fun with friends.”