Tuesday, May 18, 2021

2021 Slothful Stallion

Photo May 15, 8 28 16 AM


Three years ago at the height of gravel races popping up all over the place and former road racers gravel-tating to those races, the tiny burb of Ohiowa decided to go another way and hatched an idea for a gravel tour instead of a gravel race. That idea became the ride with a thousand monikers or if you're speaking officially, the Lazy Horse Gravel Grind. Not a lot has changed in the format of the ride in the three years it's been around and not much really needs to change. While there were about 40 miles of new roads on the long course this year we still hit up the same small towns that we did in the previous two versions and I was quite okay with that. I'm a big fan of supporting the rural towns of Nebraska that are off the beaten path, these are true American treasures and they are dying off. You can tell that the small towns that route passes through go all out to show their appreciation for the cyclists and welcome us with opened arms.  Seeing the same volunteers year after year you start to recognize them and they start to remember you also so it's almost like an extended family reunion. What's not to love about that?
I'm not sure who is in charge of tourism in Nebraska but the fact that they are not shining a spotlight on the almost endless miles of virtually car free gravel almost borders on criminal. It wouldn't take too much effort, IMO, to meet with some of these small rural villages and string together several gravel routes that both Nebraskans and visitors could travel. The only real requirement would be to find enough villages with lodging and services available, even if that lodging was camping. Even our neighbors to the east have figured out that bicycles bring in money.  






New this year was a fully dry start. Until this we hadn't had one of those yet, the previous two years it rained the night before and left the roads a little more supple than even the #supplelife folks would like. One of the perks of the Lazy Horse is that you can make it whatever kind of ride you want. If you want to go fast, you can. If you want to go slow, take in the scenery and enjoy the time with friends you can do that too. It's like one of those choose your own adventure books that were popular in the 1800s when I was a young lad but with fewer paper cuts. With the roads being bone dry and a little dusty someone flipped that adventure book to race mode to start out and we booked it out of the gate at a blistering 16.7 mph average to the first town. That might not sound like all that quick of a pace for the seasoned gravel connoisseur but the town elders really get a kick out of the fat bikes so we try to oblige them so a pace near 17 mph is plenty fast when your pushing portly bicycles with bulbous tires. When nicely adorned for a full day of adventuring the Pugsley is equal in weight to 3+ of those nimble carbon bikes that are popular with the go fast crowd.

Photo May 15, 5 42 45 PM

Alexandria, NE was the first town we rolled into and just like previous years the burritos at the church were delicious. Also on course again this year was event photographer Andrea who always seems to be in the right place at the right time to get the great shots.


There were a fair amount of minimum maintenance roads on the course this year, something we missed out on the last two years due to the overnight rain. As fun as they are when dry nobody wants to ride down one when it's wet if they can help it. I was super stoked that everything worked out his year because they were all in fantastic shape and were a blast to ride.


Photo May 15, 10 40 24 AM

If you hadn't connected the dots just yet the ride is put on by the winery turned beer-ery(?) of the same name so there is no shortage of ice cold barley pops to help with hydration and socialization.




Gilead is a perennial favorite of the group, the pie never disappoints whether you eat it by itself or go upscale and pair it with a scoop of ice cream and a super swanky banquet beer. While small town Nebraska folk might look at you funny for photographing your food, they don't much care how you take your pie.





Photo May 15, 2 14 52 PM

Next up on the tour is Belvidere, Nebraska which has become known to us as the official home of the walking taco, some in the group will forgo food earlier in the ride to save room for the tacos served in the village park. Despite knowing that Belvidere, Nebraska and Mr. Belvedere have no connection what-so-ever I always half expect to be greeted by Christopher Hewitt donning a tie, sweater vest and English accent when we arrive at the park. It has never happened... not even once... despite my unfounded and unfettered giddiness when we roll into town. While it would be near impossible to get Christopher Hewitt since he passed in 2001, one might be able to convince Stacy (Fergie) Ferguson to make an appearance.... what, you didn't know that Fergie of Black Eyed Peas fame once had a brief roll in Mr. Belvedere? Your lack of 80's sitcom trivia knowledge is disturbing.



The last stop on the Lazy Horse express is always Brunning, Nebraska and the volunteer fire station. Larry is a big hit here and they call him out by name and might have even given him a ride on the fire truck but who among us doesn't love Larry.

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Photo May 16, 7 54 00 AM

Despite having all day to ride the 60ish miles, we always seem to just make it to the raffle drawing and this year was no exception. I had a gift care waiting form me from an earlier drawing but didn't take home any of the raffle swag this year. Food was good, beer was good, showers were refreshing, I got to spend all day riding with friends and I made a new fur buddy at the end... that was win enough for me.



  1. Ice Cream, Pie, Brews, Bikes And Adventure Books From The 18 Hundreds , Dig It - Such A Cute Working Dog There - Score On The Gift Care - And NON Muddy Roads, Pure Righteousness - Super Stoked For You And Your Tribe


    1. Thanks, Padre. It's one of those rides I look forward to every year, great times for sure.