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The gravel has always been there, but I’m always rediscovering it; its acoustics, its tumbling nature, its many shades and shapes, and where it leads.

Gravel is solitude, is freedom, is sexy. Time travel can happen on a sunny, mountain ribbon of class 3, or an undulating class 5 parcours; who isn’t overcome by the need to skid and jump and wheelie on this hard, water-like substance?

When my tires hop across the transom from pavement to ground earth it’s as if a wild tale of adventure is about to begin. Possibility lurks around every rutted bend, over each felled tree, beneath the shady canopy of pine or oak.

Gravel is pensive, is fast, is elusive. Sometimes gravel is hidden just behind that hill or through that gate. And to every season there is a flavor: Summertime holds the possibility of hot, dusty roads punctuated by lakes and streams that beckon like sirens; Autumn’s fallen leaves mute knobby advances, while winter is grit and mud, slick and sideways.

Whatever the texture and flavor, these imperfect paths are a portal to finding that elusive present moment that consumes all senses with joy. Over remote mountains and through lonely desert we forge camaraderie with friends and nourish our souls; it’s what we live for. Gravel, surely, is life... Ornot.

 

-- Words and Snaps by Ornot cyclocross rider Adam Kesselman --

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