It’s no secret that the sleepy little town of Steamboat Springs in the Rockies of Colorado—located in the upper valley of the Yampa River along U.S. Highway 40 just west of the Continental Divide and Rabbit Ears Pass—is a powder hound’s playground in the winter. But you know what’s going to have folks from far-flung places flocking to Steamboat (as the locals call it) during the summer? Gravel. Miles and miles of buff dirt roads, undulating ribbons of earth, connecting homesteads, ranchlands, private property, open space and national forest. I suffer from gravel fever, which means I was in town to compete in the inaugural SBT GRVL race, to experience what all the hype was about.
Speaking of race experiences, my day on Niner’s all-new 2020 RLT was one I won’t soon forget, but not because I set any land speed records or beat my finish-time expectations. It’ll be my spectacular physical melt down at mile 90, a magical grape popsicle and a jersey that looked like it was an abstract expression of Jackson Pollock’s if he painted in sodium and potassium.