We went to FAR Gravel. No, not “to make gravel”, but a FAR GRABAnd the bulldozer assembly supported by Cannondale and Alé Cycling which takes place in Argentina, in the heart of the Po Valley, the place where land merges with water, where all the tributaries of the Po River converge, that delta where there is no other in Italy, the kingdom of herons, cormorants and eels and now also gravel biker .
It is becoming increasingly common to see events such as FAR Gravel CannondaleNon-competitive gravel events are on the rise and the Ferrara event was one such event, on the same track as the first Italian Pebbles Championship Of course the next day FCI, it can be argued that there is a sharp contrast of intent between the two events.
far pebbles There was no stopwatchAnd the no judge, only the gentle grinding of pebbles under the wheels and smiles, surely distorted by wind and heavy beer at refreshment points, but still a sign of joy. Yes, on Saturday 17th September we attended the FAR Gravel concert under the pretext of trying the new Cannondale Topstone And we loved it not only for its delicious refreshments.
So we decided to tell you how we lived in the company of complete strangers, we shyly introduced ourselves to them in the morning, but at the end of the day we hugged like old friends. That’s grit, actually that was our FAR grit.
With a remote tease to rediscover PO DELTA
Around what was formerly the Duchy of Ferrara Estense, now considered the city of bicycles, a itinerary is designed that follows the Reno River and enters Delta del Po Natural Park. In particular, FAR Gravel Cannondale set out to make everyone rediscover an old road, namely the Po di Primaro, one of the main branches of the Po Delta. Which we saw most of the time during our trip.
So FAR Gravel Cannondale was based on Three non-competitive paths With varying miles, from 57 kmAnd the 100 or 140although unfortunately bad weather forced the term to be shortened from 140.
Don’t think we have the right leg to tackle the 140km road, but it would be very interesting to be able to observe the approach of real gravel riders, that is, the long distances as tradition recommends.
Short track twist around ArgentinaEntry Provincial Park in the Delta Poalong the banks of the Reno River. The 100-kilometer river was its most extreme point, Comacchio, Little Venice, with its valleys and swampy environment where it meets wonderful species of birds, including herons and flamingos.
LEXPERIENCE SUL 60 km
We tackled the 60km road, 57 to be exact, to ride with the Cannondale guys and try out the new gravel bikes at the range and we did it with Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1one with Lefty Oliver.
To participate in the 57-kilometre FAR Gravel it wasn’t much necessary, and certainly a good physical preparation, but given that the chronometer was not started by anyone, the dash was left in the bag with the most aerodynamic equipment, both useless. FAR Gravel is an event that has to be felt, and so is a headwind (impossible not to notice). We wore our lowest set, put on comfortable shoes and downloaded the official track to our computer.
Being an event with no time limits, in FAR Gravel you can start at the time that is most advantageous to each participant, it all depends on the track you want to tackle and on the 60-kilometer track we had enough space to think about starting quietly.
Basically, a cyclist can control more of the racing spirit than a road racer, but most of our group members came straight from the road, so we prepared for the worst, a nice aerodynamic positioning could have saved us, thus lowering the position in the steering, we stiffened the front to feel more From clinging to the ground and improving the situation.
We were ready to go with Porsche drivers like Beria’s victory aka Vicki, serial mills of kilometers like Sarah Ermento (running factor) and thrill seekers like Francesca PavesiAmbassadors and journalists are ready to experience the Topstone and Supersix Evo SE in all imaginable conditions.
How did we want to confront him versus how it happened
We wanted to confront FAR Gravel Cannondale in the pure spirit of a fan of that discipline, in company, but given the names and backgrounds of our fellow adventurers, the fear that the competitive spirit would explode and the bulk mines from which he wanted to raise his pace were too high.
Only one thing saved us: hunger…
Neither of us left a full stomach, but it was an aspect not overlooked that, in addition to bringing in dirt road fans on the banks and in the dust, also offers the possibility to take advantage of the refreshment points located along the path for refreshments.
When we left Argenta the hunger alarm was already sounded and 4km later we stopped at the first stop, a good sandwich resting on a Cannondale Topstone Carbon top tube, the right way to start the ride. We understand that everyone has given the same interpretation of what FAR friends Gravel and Tuscany Bike’s Chill & Ride have to say.
The enemy is on the road… the sharp wind
The height difference in the FAR Gravel was chosen to be able to please everyone, the least trained riders who can go forward lightly, without rushing, but also for those who instead want to push themselves towards high rhythms to give Far Gravel another key read. Use the track for training.
The problem for the FAR Gravel isn’t the difference in elevation, in the early part of the track the high rates weren’t, but the real problem was the wind. Cutting winds, omnipresent, of those reminiscent of climbing or training a Danish driver Sebastian Finney (Pedal by pulling a frame). Once you get to the banks outside of central Argentina, the wind exposure is even higher. An open area, where the eyes are lost among the plowed fields, crops and some streams ready to enter the Rhine, the true constant with the wind.
The FAR Gravel Trail is a series of gentle curves and slopes, hollows, and freshwater anglers who are patiently searching for a bit of luck in the rivers with their rain hat on and their eyes turned toward us, the plains cyclists. The itinerary is easy to interpret, from the embankments guiding the bulldozers, as in the tracks and the track on the bike’s computer becomes just an extra navigation aid because the FAR Gravel is perfectly marked with signs that resisted the wind so hard.
Aromas and flavors
The rivers and swamps of Argentina and Ferrara are the backdrop but not only, it’s almost October and the pumpkins will arrive on our tables to fill our plates for the winter, that’s where they come from and I tell myself, as I ride the Cannondale Topstone Carbon. Rows and rows of pumpkins alternate with fields of melons still in fruit.
An alternating rhyme filled our eyes with color in the first part of the track. The terrain alternates between cobbled embankments and other stretches of grass, a few stretches of asphalt, from those reminiscent of the narrow streets of the northern classics, with a hunchbacked structure, always with the scent of the river under the nose but also the sea brought back by strong winds, a unique combination.
Restaurants and neck zippers
A few kilometers was enough to make both of Cannondale’s riders grow inland, wanting to harness the high horsepower of their physiques. In fact, the situation began to turn more and more aerodynamic for a specific reason, the wind.
Someone asks: “Are we against the wind, do we fall a hair?” I look out of the way, looking for a reference to understand the way the wind came from, but the only element I see is a white heron, motionless, relaxed, who seemed to live in a completely different context. The running operator knocks two teeth and begins to make a brighter pace, even to her the wind does not seem to be there, but she has just returned from an epic journey from Trieste to Ventimiglia, and this wind only contributed to the dependence on her face a more vivid smile, the smile I saw on the faces All participants in the FAR Gravel, an event that unites and creates synergy and collaboration. To advance against the wind we cannot help but cooperate.
“But that wasn’t refreshing” another person asked while the gaze to one side was at a watery surface with typical swamps and vegetation flying elegantly above, skimming the surface. We missed our refreshment with wine, only understanding it at the end, but then the single track in the tall grass where rubbing shoes made the only sound in the surroundings, it sounded like a dream.
But the pace also changed, it no longer walked on Sundays, and there was nothing to reach but the pebbles of the royal army, and the serpentines in the vineyards, and the earth which, despite the rain, drained completely, gave us the urge to press our pedals, and more and more.
Anima from Far Gravel
FAR Gravel is an adventure that everyone can adjust to their liking, adapt to the rhythm of their friends, sit back and listen to the timid sounds of nature with a zero kilometer watermelon slice, or pull out some low-grip teeth. With this event in the company of the Cannondale guys and all the characters who made up our group, we knew Exploring Pebbles is a great experience.
We also understood this when at the end of the lap, after the fist bump given to every single adventure buddy, upon returning to Agrilocanda, we saw other gravel herders in evening gear returning from a height of 100 km, with flashing lights and the same smile seen for miles and miles.
We realized at that moment: Next year we’ll be back at FAR Gravel Cannondale, on the 140km course, but we stop at every refreshment point.