If you want to earn your chops on dirt, it’s absolutely necessary to have a Gravel Fail or two under your belt to have some street cred.
Normally, this comes in the form of a mechanical, as I’ve had cables snap and tires all torn up as my main dilemmas.
The main issue you notice coming to gravel as a converted roadie like me are there are many more problems on dirt than pavement, such as washouts, no existing signage, poor cell phone reception, etc.
Also factor in impossible riding conditions, there’s a lot of room for a gravel fail and I’m a bit surprised it doesn’t happen more.
In this case, our main problem was the closure of Monrovia Truck Trail for weekend excursions.
While unexpected, a little R & D on the internet would have told the whole story.
One thing I try to do in the planning stage is to have a backup plan in case things go south (which we did not have).
In this case, Plan B of climbing the Van Tassel Motorway might have been possible, but after a mile up, it was evident that completing this was going to wear on us and to head back down to live another day.
Yet our next attempt at finding dirt on Glendora Ridge Motorway was going to be the case of three strikes you’re out instead of being a charm as someone like me who looks at maps of the San Gabriel Mountains all the time, I never saw this road registering on people’s rides.
We probably did around 15-20 miles of riding that day and while we could have found something else, there’s a time to cash in your chips and accept you’ve reached a gravel fail.
Consider it the price of having adventures.