The Gravel Pizza Overnighter took place on September 24-25 in Eau Claire and Clark County Wisconsin. A community bikepacking event, we spent two days exploring off-grid gravel, cheese curd and beer stops, and camping at Wedges Creek pizza farm. Read below for a full recap and event galleries.
The Group Rollout
We all mingled before the ride dialing in our gear setup, packing our maple syrup, and getting pre-event portraits.
I was definitely feeling nervous about how our first event would go and what to expect from the fragile weather forecast we seemed to be in.
Riding through the woods in a pack always feels a little magical. Before the event I really only knew two people and had a wonderful time meeting new riders, hearing their stories, and working through the gravel and hills together. Our first 5 miles were on ATV trail without any major hills so we could start out riding in a nice group.
Day 1: Meeting Everyone Over Curds, Beer, and Gravel
I gave a fair warning that mile 4-5 had a nice section of sandy hike-a-bike and tried to prep everyone for the slow start. But afterwards a gal told me that I oversold that section and she was even hoping for a more challenging sandy section. So of course, I'm taking notes for next year (kidding).
The weather was crisp with a little bit of morning mist still in the air for the first hour or so. The gatherings for cheese curds at Vojtik's Stockyard and beer at AKA Lakeside were great breaks and gave everyone a chance to meet each other and share riding stories.
Camping at Wedges Creek
To pack light, I brought my rain fly but no actual tent. With the misty weather, I thought I might be sleeping wet. But the ground was pretty dry so I set up camp and grabbed a drink from the farmhouse bar.
We happened to be at Wedges Creek for the very last pizza night of the year. In celebration of the closing pizza season, the owner Jeff blasted a 10" pumpkin 700 yards into a field with the most massive cannon I've ever seen.
The barn had live old time bluegrass playing Old Crow Medicine show and Charlie Daniels Band covers. Once it got dark, it started to rain for the first time so the bonfire crowd moved indoors for dessert pizza and a little bit of dancing.
Day 2: Soggy Riding and Goodbye Until Next Time
So on the ride home, it totally poured.
I mean we got hammered with rain.
The wind was relentless and the rain poured. But the weather couldn't make up it's mind so of course it turned into a gorgeous (and hot!) blue sky sunny day without a single cloud before completely closing up and drenching us all over again.
Thankful that the pouring rain didn't unleash until Day 2 of riding, we packed up, said our goodbyes and now look forward to future gravel adventures.