Guest blogger Dave Schneck, a school counselor at Prattsburgh Central School, was at the beginning of that evolution as a member of the original race crew.
The inaugural Prattsburgh gravel race, dubbed "The Rambler," took place in April 2008.
See the results of results from 2008 here.
A couple years earlier during a casual bike ride, Casey and I wondered what it would be like to race on the incredible gravel back roads of Steuben County. We were pair of avid backroad commuters who cycled year-round to work in Prattsburgh, and knew other riders would enjoy the stunning Finger Lakes vistas and country roads free of traffic.
Casey and his crew from Pedaling Productions (Val Berner, Suzanne and Mark Hartman) hatched a plan to create a gravel/backroad race that included area "seasonal" roads that would minimally require the need for a cross bike and that would occasionally tempt one to consider a hard tail.
Casey and the gang liked to mix it up and threw in occasional singletrack surprises. The course included a 50-yard swamp along an abandoned RR track along with a cyclocross-style quad burner across a farm field toward the end of the race, which surprised riders who would later brag about surviving such a muddy tester after 30 + miles of racing.
The signature climb has always and continues to be "THE WALL" on the Hungry Hollow Climb.
This year however riders will also gasp at the formidable climb up Newton Road out of Mitchellsville and white knuckle it down Newton's rocky and rutted backside, surely causing some cyclists to again wonder briefly, as in the early days, if a hardtail might have been a better option.
Whatever the weather or conditions, the Prattsburgh Gravel Classic continues in the spirit of its creators from Pedaling Productions in providing a backroad race with intense challenges, great scenery and small town flair sure to thrill riders of all skill levels and ages.