A gravel event back story-
After putting our event on hold for the past 2 years, we were excited to host the 7th Annual Moots Ranch Rally. The event started in 2014 with the idea that gravel riding was only going to grow and at the time we called it a “dirt road ride” that encompassed historic ranches of the area. The founding thought behind the event was to show anyone we could how fantastic the roads right out our front doors are and what a welcoming community we have around us. Teaming up with our local ranchers and more specifically the Community Ag Alliance to build a bridge between two unlikely partners. On one side, the cyclists who historically had stuck to paved roads or trails that were out of the way of most ranching operations and on the other side, the area ranchers that have been using these dirt and gravel roads to move livestock and tend to hay fields and move large slow-moving equipment from one place to the next. With gravel riding becoming a thing, the two groups find themselves sharing these quiet country roads. The Moots Ranch Rally had the approach from the beginning that if we could help ease those tensions between the two groups and show the ranchers that cyclists can be responsible, we may just keep what is now known as gravel riding less of an impact and more welcome for years to come.
We named the Moots gravel collection after the county in which Steamboat Springs is located. A clever play on words if you will. Loosely sounding like route…R outt. Say it with us…..Routt. The Ranch Rally uses many of the dirt and gravel roads that we have used for decades to hone the designs and uses of our gravel bikes. Smooth/rough/fast/broken are words we use to describe gravel and that holds true to the Ranch Rally course. From the super smooth mag-chloride sections, to the almost two-track of the Salt Creek area, each model got its start out there on the Ranch Rally Loop.
Anticipation grew as the months, weeks and days of planning clicked by. Back in mid-winter we had a conversation with Reggie Miller as we set off to make him his 4th Moots. This time around the gravel bug had bitten and Reggie eyed a custom Routt RSL. As the bike made its way into production, we started talking with Reggie about what he might be doing on June 11th? In a humble conference call with Reggie and his agent, we shyly brought up the date and asked what he might be up to on that date. With NBA Playoffs as the only thing that would keep him from coming. The plan was made, Reggie would bring his new Routt RSL out to Ranch Rally for the ultimate break-in-ride.
As we opened Ranch Rally registration in February, it seemed that riders were looking for an event to fill the early summer date. The reception was fantastic, and Ranch Rally soon was near full.
The perfect day and a couple of NEW features-
I don’t mean to curse Ranch Rally, but I do have to say, we have had the most amazing weather during the 7 editions. Minus one re-Routt (get it?) from a pesky thunderstorm in 2015 or was it 2016? As the 10-day forecast came into view on our phones this year, June 11th looked to be the warmest and sunniest day we’ve had to date this year. A clear morning lead the way for a HOT afternoon, where we saw temps hit the upper 80’s, which is hot for here especially in early June. Roll out came at 8:30am and the 300+ riders lined up behind Reggie as he led them out up the Airport hill and onto the route proper. The day was underway and as the riders made their way around the course they were greeted by local ranchers, our Moots volunteers, horses and cows. New this year were two timed segments to spice things up for those that wanted to test themselves. Those that wanted to go hard, could do just that, for those who did not, no worries. We also added a NEW longer course that took the total mileage to 72 vs 52. The longer course featured an out-and-back section that took riders down Wolf Creek to a turn-around and then backtracked up the climb of 1,300 feet in 8 miles. This section was well received among the riders. At the bottom of the turnaround was aid station #2, and as riders topped the long climb an oasis of frozen popsicles was found roadside to reward those that had made the climb out.
Ranch Lunch stop
It would not be Ranch Rally without a lunch stop under 100+ year old shade trees. Our outstanding hosts at the Rocking C Bar Ranch open up their place for Ranch Rally and provide a lush grass lawn with a tree canopy to sit down, enjoy lunch, snacks and cold drinks. Marsha and her husband Doc have played host to every Ranch Rally lunch, and we could not be more thankful for their hospitality.
Moots evening social
To wrap things up, we host an evening social back at the Moots building. Once riders are back in town there is time to clean up, change into casual clothes, and hang out and share stories of the day. We open our building to tours, we have light food, cold drinks and host a short raffle. Each year we have held Ranch Rally we have raised money for our local Community Ag Alliance that brings awareness to locally raised foods. This year we added Reggie Miller’s push to raise funds for HBCU cycling clubs and teams. We along with Reggie believe that if we can get more people on bikes at a young age, they stand a better chance of experiencing what we all know and love about the bike.
Thank you to all that came to Steamboat and supported our event. We are truly humbled by each and every one of you! We can’t wait to ride with you again, plan on coming back to the Moots Ranch Rally in 2023!
See you out there.
All images credit: Devon Balet