Instaworthy.

“I’m not surprised. I just don’t understand why.”

“So true Cody. Chaz Girewski can’t win, but he’s in the start hut for run 2.”

“This can’t be good.”

“Tyler, you’re track side, buddy, what’s happening?”

“Well Cody, I can’t get to Chaz because it’s absolute mayhem here. Officials, doctors, even other riders are all surrounding Chaz and, wait…someone just tried to take his bike off of him…but that’s not his bike, it’s Seth Daley’s, but Chaz won’t let it go, oh boy!”

“Tyler, is he wearing someone else’s helmet?”

“Yeah, that’s right, it looks like Sepp Bol’s helmet, guys it’s pure chaos here.”

“Thanks Tyler. Well folks, Slopestyle finals here at Crankworx Whistler have been stopped while they try to prevent Chaz Girewski from taking his second run, so let’s look back at the replay to see where it all went wrong.”

“Rider no. 4, Chaz Girewski, the Phoenix Phenom. 19 years old and one of the hottest Slopestyle riders on the planet right now.”

“Without a doubt Cody. He’s about to absolutely send it. He’s been posting amazing tricks on his insta @chazzyg lately and this could be epic.”

“Rolls into the first ramp, big air and a Can-Can with double Bar Spin and a Superman”

“Oh…My….God, did we just see that?”

“He’s hunting Emil Bjornssen’s 94.20 folks and he’s all in”

“2nd ramp, what’s he got?”

“Tsunami Backflip with a Tailwhip and a Cork 360 “

“No, this is insane!!!!!!”

“He’s killin’ it, Cody. He’s taking huge speed in to this final jump. Pushes hard into the ramp and rocks a Highland Fling up onto the Whale Tail”

“First time ever in competition. We are witnessing history!!!!!”

“Off the Whale Tail with a Nac-Nac into a Cash Roll and…”

“Oooooh, eeeeuuuwwww, yuk, no…”

“Oh no, that’s nasty”

“He’s slammed into the ground super hard and he’s not moving.”

“Doctors are on the course and holding his neck. Chaz is still not moving and there’s an eerie silence over this huge Crankworx crowd.”

“Let’s see what happened. Off the Whale Tail and then halfway through the Cash Roll he loses his rotation and we can see his foot off the pedal, then the rear wheel hits the lip hard and he flies over the handle bars.”

“Oh guys, this is hard to watch”

“In slowmo we see the visor snap and part of his helmet crack, his goggles fly off, snapped spokes and parts of his bike, I think it’s his brake mount, go spiralling into the air…”

“Wow, that’s nasty”

“We can see now that doctors are asking him to press on their hands”

“Well, that’s to check for a spinal injury, Cody”

“Wow”

“That’s how it happened folks, now we’re back live and Tyler is finally with Chaz in the start hut.”

“Chaz, buddy, that was a massive crash, you should be in hospital dude, what are you doin’ here?”

“I have to do that run again, I forgot to turn on my GoPro.”

Nancie Akinyi wins three in a row at the Migration Gravel Race.

Nancie Akinyi of Kenya has won her third straight stage at the Migration Grave Race after taking the fourth and final stage in 6:57:54 ahead of Dorien Geertsema in 7:22:15 and Betsy Welch in 7:26:15.

Akinyi raced with pure determination on the final stage. She trailed Welch by 20 minutes overall leading into the final day despite winning the Queen’s stage and the third stage, and left everything on the dusty gravel roads in the search for victory. She powered through the first feed station at 60km without stopping, knowing she had to make up a considerable deficit.

Welch arrived some time after Akinyi, and was forced to stop for mechanical advice.

“My chain fell off 8 times already,” she explained.

“I’m feeling ok but the clutch fell off when it’s on the low gear.”

After a snack, a drink and a chat with the mechanics, she set off after Akinyi with Spanish rider Marc Roig.

Geertsema and compatriot Mieke Luten arrived at the first checkpoint in high spirits.

“We saw a cheetah,” they beamed, “and an elephant.”

The Dutch pair have ridden together throughout the race but Geertsema had stronger legs at the end of the final stage and followed Akinyi across the line.

Ian Boswell wins stage 4 of the Migration Gravel Race.

Ian Boswell finally claimed victory at the Migration Gravel Race with a strong solo breakaway to finish ahead of a chase group containing the contenders for the podium. Boswell powered to victory in stage 4 just a few kilometres from the place where he struck disaster on stage 1 and lost his chances on winning overall.

“It took me 580 kilometres to find my terrain,” he said.

“Just about 5k from here is where I lost the chance in the overall at the start of the first stage with the mechanical, so to win here today does feel a little strange.”

“Today is the culmination of everything I’ve learned on this race. I’m now more familiar with the racing style here. Even near the end there I was cruising through cars and cattle and people on the road, so I just went up onto the grass to go around them. The great thing about this race is that anything can happen.”

Boswell and Laurens Ten Dam were the two clear favourites for the overall title. Boswell has ridden in all three grand tours and recently outsprinted Ten Dam at the Unbound Gravel race. Ten Dam placed in the top 10 at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana. Boswell, however, lost about 1 hr and 30 minutes due to multiple mechanical failures on the first stage, and had to fight for a stage victory to redeem his race.

A large lead group established itself at the beginning of the final stage, and only broke up during the first climb. This is where Boswell seized his opportunity.

“Didier (Munyaneza) attacked on the climb and by the top he had a bit of a gap. I decided to go with him then pushed on. Didier dropped off on the descent and I decided to go for it once I had a gap. I knew it would take a lot of commitment for all of the chase pack to work together.”

The chase pack contained Ten Dam and Suleman Kangangi, who were the only two riders with a realistic chance of overall victory. It also contained a contender for the third podium spot, Kenneth Karaya, plus John Kariuki and Jordan Schleck. Geoffrey Langat, who won stage 3, was also within reach of third place overall, but he and Kato Paul punctured early in the stage and lost contact with the leaders.

Munyaneza eventually crossed the line behind the chase pack, and the Rwandan road cyclist was satisfied with his performance in his first ever gravel race.

“Boswell dropped me on the descent after the climb. This is my first gravel race so it was good for me to get experience against European riders. Next time, I’ll do more training for longer before the event. I will be stronger.”

Boswell enjoyed his last day on the gravel roads of the Maasai Mara.

“The last 50k or so was fast, with beautiful dirt roads. I saw two elephants and some wildebeest on the ride today, so it was a fun way to end it.”

Geoffrey Langat rocks to victory in the Migration Gravel Race.

Kenyan Geoffrey Langat attacked through a rock garden to win stage 3 of the Migration Gravel Race ahead of four East African riders. Langat won in 4:34.22 ahead of Kenyan Riders teammate John Kariuki, who finished in 4:39.40 to lead home the chase group of compatriot Kenneth Karaya, Ugandan Jordan Schleck and Kenya’s Suleman Kangangi, plus Laurens Ten Dam and Ian Boswell.

Langat broke away from a group of seven riders in the final 20 kilometres when they confronted a rocky section of the otherwise smooth gravel road. The Kenyan battled through the rocks while the rest sought smoother lines off the side of the road, and he’d established a meaningful gap when the group rode back onto the rocks. A few minutes later, a herd of cows, then a flock of sheep, slowed the chasers, leaving some to wonder whether the local boy had arranged for the cattle to be herded onto the road.

Langat was soon nothing but a trail of dust to the chasing group.

The largest lead pack of the race so far stayed together for a long time on the fast, flat stage, and watched as wildebeest and zebra sprinted across the trails in front of them. A select group of five riders then formed, without overall leader Ten Dam. Boswell, Schleck, Kariuki, Kangangi and Langat sat about 3 minutes ahead of the Dutchman as the tailwind propelled them across the gravel. The three Kenyan Riders surged in an attempt to distance Ten Dam, but he worked with Karaya and both of them eventually clawed their way back to the front.

Ten Dam started the final stage with a lead of about 19 minutes over Kangangi. Thomas Dekker and Karaya are 57 minutes behind, while Langat and Boswell are about 1 hr 20 minutes off the leader. The battle for the bronze is particularly interesting.

Stage 4 is 160km long and features 1600m elevation. What will it do to the podium?

Nancie Akinyi wins a wild stage of the Migration Gravel Race.

Nancie Akinyi sped to her second consecutive victory during stage 3 of the Migration Gravel Race on a day when riders crossed paths with Kenya’s famous wildlife. Akinyi finished ahead of Betsy Welch and may have set herself up for overall victory.

Akinyi and Welch rode together for the first hour before back pain slowed Welch. Akinyi then broke away from the American and the Dutch pair of Dorien Geertsema and Mieke Luten, as ostrich, zebra and wildebeest sprinted across the flat and dusty roads right in front of the riders. The Kenyan took advantage of the tailwind to maintain a consistently high pace and successfully weaved her way through the cattle, goats and sheep which blocked the road throughout the day.

Reflecting on the first 3 stages, Welch said her arms hurt more than her legs, and re-ignited an old debate when she asked:

“Should I have brought a mountain bike?”

Riders were invited to see two goats slaughtered in their honour by their Maasai hosts after the stage. Some accepted, some declined. The fate of the goats reflected the harsh reality of rural Kenya, something riders will again experience on the 4th and final stage.

Who will stand on top of the podium in the inaugural Migration Gravel Race?

Follow the action at http://www.migrationgravelrace.com, and http://www.instagram.com/migrationgravelrace

Who will win the Migration Gravel Race?

The winner of the inaugural Migration Gravel Race will be crowned on today’s fourth and final stage through the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. Laurens Ten Dam and Suleman Kangangi will fight for victory in the men’s category, while the women’s race is a showdown between Nancy Akinyi and Betsy Welch. The fight for bronze will be just as fascinating on the 162km stage with 1600m elevation.

Ten Dam leads Kangangi after the Dutchman won the first two stages and rode strongly in stage 3 to regain contact with the leaders after numerous mechanicals saw him dropped. Kangangi and his Kenyan Riders teammates Geoffrey Langat and John Kariuki attacked Ten Dam, but could not break him.

Akinyi has now won two stages after Welch took stage 1. Akinyi has looked stronger as the race continues and has been too fast for her rivals…when she stays on the course. She got lost on stage 1 and 2, but showed enough strength to catch and then pass the other women in the field. Meanwhile, Welch is battling her own mind as she constantly asks herself whether or not she cares about winning, and whether or not she is competitive. Now is the time to decide.

Ian Boswell and Langat battle for third position. Boswell lost more than one hour to the leaders on a horrid first stage, but has clawed his way back on the subsequent stages to challenge Thomas Dekker and Kenneth Karaya who sat in 3rd and 4th before stage 3.

Langat is looking very strong after powering away to win the flat and fast stage 3, while Boswell is yet to win a stage after taking out the recent Unbound Gravel race in the US. Boswell has ridden in all three grand tours, but Langat employed his local knowledge and inherent toughness to escape from the lead group in the rock garden on stage 3, and leave his rivals in the dust. Jordan Schleck, Edwin Keiya and the Masaka Cycling Club duo of Wasswa Peter and Kato Paul could also fight their way onto the podium.

The Dutch duel.

Dorien Geertsema and Mieke Luten will contest the final podium position in the women’s category. The duo from the Netherlands have ridden together and supported each other during the first three brutal stages and were locked on the same overall time entering stage 3.

Will they cross the line together, or will competitive instincts kick in and prompt one of them to attack?

Follow the final day’s action at http://www.migrationgravelrace.com, and http://www.instagram.com/migrationgravelrace

Boswell is back.

Ian Boswell is fighting for a podium position in stage 3 of the Migration Gravel Race, while an intriguing battle between Nancie Akinyi and Betsy Welch awaits. Boswell finished second behind overall leader Laurens Ten Dam in stage 2 after a disastrous first day, and is chasing Suleiman Kangangi and Thomas Decker on the 130km stage which involves 1300m of climbing.

Akinyi rode powerfully to win the Queen’s stage and now sits about 28 minutes behind Welch after the American won stage 1. Dutch duo Dorien Geertsema and Mieke Luten occupy 3rd and 4th position, and are locked at exactly the same time. The pair have ridden together throughout the race and will have to decide at some point who claims a spot on the podium.

Stage 3 is shorter and flatter than stage 2, but stage 1 taught riders to assume nothing and avoid complacency on the rough gravel roads of the Maasai Mara region.

Ten Dam extended his overall lead with victory in stage 2. Kangangi is 19.07 behind, with Dekker and Kenneth Karaya 57 minutes back. 1.19.30 separates Boswell from Ten Dam.

Akinyi and Welch appear to be the only contenders for the overall title in the women’s race, as Geertsema and Luten are about 2 hrs and 25 min behind Welch. But this is Africa, there are two tough stages remaining and anything can happen, as Boswell proved on stage 1 when multiple mishaps destroyed his day.

11 of the top 15 riders in the men’s field are from East Africa, while riders from Kenya and the Netherlands are expected to medal in the men’s and women’s categories. Will the USA also grab podium positions in both categories?

Boswell won Unbound Gravel in the US recently, outsprinting Ten Dam at the finish. He has ridden all three grand tours and has the pedigree to challenge any rider in the field. He currently sits in 5th overall, 1 hour from Kangangi, but only about 22 minutes behind Thomas Dekker in 3rd. Kenyan Geoffrey Langat also made a big move on stage 2, and at only 23 minutes behind Dekker, he will also threaten for a medal.

What will Boswell do in stage 3?

Follow the action at http://www.migrationgravelrace.com, and http://www.instagram.com/migrationgravelrace.

Which dot have you got?

Who are you tipping to win the first ever Migration Gravel Race? Who will conquer the gravel roads of Kenya and emerge victorious on June 26 after 4 days of gruelling, dusty, hot and challenging riding?

Ian Boswell

Laurens Ten Dam

Thomas Dekker

or one of the African men?

Mieke Luten

Dorien Geertsema

or a woman with inside knowledge of local roads, such as April Kelley or Nancy Akinyi?

Stage 1 has just started and 61 riders set off from Naretoi Estate, and are making their way through Enonkishu Conservancy.

Follow the dots at http://www.migrationgravelrace.com.

Image: Vermont Social

Suleiman Kangangi is ready.

Suleiman Kangangi is ready for pain. He is ready for exhaustion, hunger, thirst, dust, dirt and heat. He is ready for Africa. The Kenyan cyclist is ready for the first Migration Gravel Race in the wilds of Kenya from June 23 – 26.

Kangangi will battle some of the world’s best gravel riders as well as 650 kilometres and a total of 8000 metres of elevation. He will traverse single track, game trails, red clay, and rough hard pack gravel around the Maasai Mara region. He is also ready for the average elevation of 1900m – he grew up in the Rift Valley at much higher altitudes.

When asked how he was feeling just days out from the big race, the quietly spoken Kenyan said simply,

“Good…motivated.”

Most of the race will pass through Maasai villages as well as plains, rivers, mountains and across big game country. Kangangi has ridden much of the route in training and in helping to establish the route. As organisers have promised:

Not all kilometres are equal.

Kangangi is also ready to seize an opportunity. He has raced all over the world as a member of German road cycling team Bike Aid, Kenyan Riders and the national team. He now enjoys the opportunity to race the world’s best on his home soil, and to benefit from one of the founding principles of the MGR: to bring the world’s best cyclists to Africa and expose African cyclists to elite competition without having to leave home.

One of the pioneers of Kenyan cycling is now fine tuning his preparation for the big race, and his steely exterior hides a strong undercurrent of excitement,

“It’s gonna be hot,”

Retired sprint cyclists to donate their muscles to charity.

Professional sprint cyclists will donate their unwanted leg muscles to charity upon retirement to give recreational riders a new level of speed and power.

“Retired cyclists don’t need their leg muscles,” announced a spokesperson for the charity.

“This initiative allows those riders to donate their muscles to a recreational rider and to see those muscles re-used. Sprint cyclists work extremely hard to build their extraordinary muscles so it is great to see those muscles will not go to waste. It’s also another way for cyclists to give back to their sport.”

Thousands of local riders have already signed up for the program, and have requested muscles from one track star in particular.

“Robert Forstemann.”

“Every local rider wants Quadzilla’s thighs. Even though he’s still competing, he has promised to donate them to the charity when he retires from international competition. The muscles are so big we actually plan to divide them and distribute them to about 10 different people – no single amateur rider can handle thighs that big.”

“We’re also offering Thighs of the Realm, from Sir Chris Hoy and Elis Ligtlee, who is a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Muscles were also donated by Shane Kelly, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, plus Kristina Vogel, Anastasia Voynova and the recently retired duo of Stephanie Morton and Anna Meares.”

Road cyclists have also agreed to participate in the program. German sprinter Andre ‘Gorilla’ Greipel will donate his calf muscles when he retires to concentrate on his singing career. Dylan Groenewegen and Erik Zabel are offering their pistons, and Mario Cipollini’s muscles come with a free waxing and tanning kit.

Each set of muscles comes with a diet and workout guide to help maintain the muscles, as well as a free pair of custom-made jeans which will actually fit over the ample legs.

The program is so popular organisers are requesting muscles from current riders, and may expand the program’s remit to include other body parts.

“We’ve made contact with Peter Sagan, whose muscles have been requested by road cyclists, sprinters, puncheurs and mountain bikers. Marianne Vos, Wout van Aert and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot have been swamped with requests, and everyone wants Mathieu Van der Poel’s legs, heart, lungs…

Image: http://www.gettyimages.com