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REGISTRATION CLOSES ON MONDAY 9/6/2021 at 11:59pm.  Link to Register


Update for 2021's Race: NOTE that 2021 we have "tweaked" the route to avoid some major roads around miles 100-140. Always use the most updated route information prior to the event. 

Its official... you're crazy. At least that's what your friends and family think. This event began as one of those terribly awesome bad ideas that seems to get worse as you go but suddenly turns out amazing. In 2021, we're introducing the Dirty Water Route to the world as an official gravel grinder event. Riders who sign up must complete the challenging course in under 38 hours to receive a coveted belt buckle, or under 62 hours to receive an official finish time. The course is relentlessly hilly and there are over 100 miles of rough gravel roads on the 314 mile route. This event is self-supported, just you against the route. We are providing some extra safety checkpoints this year stocked with some basics to help you along the way. What you get by registering for this race is an epic route, a mass start, and the motivation to challenge yourself on a self-supported bicycling adventure. We also have an excellent race day t-shirt and custom neck gaiter for all participants included with your registration.
 
A gravel bike or lightweight mountain bike is highly recommended with the ability to carry water and supplies for up to 50 miles of riding on out-of-the-way backroads, gravel paths, and whatever else may find its way onto the course. The route has numerous big hills, gravel roads, and long lonely stretches of pavement. It has also proven to be a beautiful course that starts with the back tire in the Ohio River and ends with the front tire in Lake Erie.
 

Ride Tracking Service through Follow My Challenge USA

Due to the nature of this event and the size of the course we have decided to move forward on our plan to require ride tracking via a SPOT or Garmin InReach to the race for this year. We have worked with Follow My Challenge to provide the service for you. None of the tracking service fees are provided back to us at the DWR. Cost for the service is $85 including a device rental for the race or $25 if you are using your own SPOT or Garmin InReach device. Riders MUST participate in the ride tracking service. Upon registering for the event, we will be contacting you prior to the event to make sure this is set up. 

Unfortunately, this means you as a rider have an expense that is not included in your entry fee, but given that our event is at least 1/3 of a typical event of this size I believe this is an acceptable result. This is for 2 reasons: SAFETY of the riders and the ability to watch the race unfold over the weekend via the tracking link.

To offset some of the costs, Ashland Bike Company is working with Garmin to provide a Garmin InReach Mini at a significant discount. A Garmin InReach Mini is normally $350. We are selling these through Ashland Bike Company for $290 exclusively for DWR participants. If you were on the fence about buying a satellite tracking device, now would be a great time to pick one up! You would then be paying only the $25 tracking fee and not the $60 rental fee for the equipment. On top of that, you’d have your very own InReach for other adventures in the future! Contact us at Ashland Bike Company to place your order.

 
Official Rules:
 
ANY outside assistance besides what is publicly available via businesses along the way is prohibited and will result in disqualification from the official results.
 
Participants must carry their own supplies. Refilling water from streams along the way is not recommended. The route will pass through towns and it is advised that supplies are purchased along the way from these locations. You must check in at the safety checkpoint along the way. Riders must navigate through and complete the entire route.
 
No Drafting. Participants may ride together side-by-side.
 
Participants must use the ride tracking service provided by Follow My Challenge USA. Look for instructions for this in a follow up email to you after you register.

What you get by registering for this race is a route, a mass start, and the motivation to challenge yourself on a self-supported bicycling adventure. We have added safety checkpoints and aid stations along the way... details coming later. SWAG includes a t-shirt and bandana. Finishers under 38 hours receive a super awesome belt buckle. 

Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35931443

Registration: https://www.bikereg.com/dwr-500km

When: Saturday September 18th, 2021 at 5:00 am.

Where: Starts at South Point Ohio, Finishes in Vermilion, Ohio.

Cost: $50 (DOES NOT INCLUDE MANDATORY RIDE TRACKING SERVICE)

Lodging: There are numerous camp grounds along the way and ghost camping is always an option if done in a respectful, safe manner. We have been given the okay to camp at the start the night before the race at the South Point Community Center. Recommendations for campsites along the way are as follows: 

Lake Alma State Park

Lake Hope State Park

Dillon State Park (slightly off route, but only a few miles out of the way)

Mohican State Park

Other: A HUGE part of this challenge is the logistics. We will not be providing you a detailed explanation of how to download the route, get to the start, find your way along the unmarked route, and finally, get home from the finish. Remember the spirit of this event is to challenge yourself and to have a little adventure in your life. We will provide you with answers to your questions, but don't be surprised if the answer more about guidance than a solution to your problem. Let's keep the spirit of the ride in mind as we all explore this beautiful state. We don't think you'll be disappointed!

A gravel bike or lightweight mountain bike is highly recommended with the ability to carry water and supplies for up to 50 miles of riding on out-of-the-way backroads, gravel paths, long smooth stretches of asphalt,  and whatever else may find its way onto the course. The route has numerous big hills, class 4 gravel roads, and long lonely stretches of pavement. It should also prove to be a beautiful course that starts with the back tire in the Ohio River and ends with the front tire in Lake Erie. We have made every attempt to cross into resupply areas when possible. 

Bike set-up recommendations:

During our recon rides and drives, we have determined the ideal bike is a gravel bike with 700 x 38 tires or perhaps wider if you are unfamiliar with riding on gravel. Fast rolling tires setup tubeless would be the best bet. Water carrying capacity and some lightweight sleeping setup of some kind. We suggest a small lightweight backpack in the event you need to carry supplies to get through a night or two out on the route. BE AWARE OF GUARD DOGS ALONG THE ROUTE IN SOME RURAL AREAS. Of course, you could load up with a heavy bike-touring setup, but the hills in this route are steep, numerous, and many are rugged enough that your stuff will be more of a burden than an asset. We always recommend lights front and rear. Be sure you have a way to ride through at least some dark hours, as we start at 5 am sharp on September 18th. 

We've gotten a lot of questions about the route over the past few weeks, especially related to tire selection. The DWR consists of a majority of grade 1 roads with prolonged stretches of grade 2 and 3 and a few short sections of grade 4+. You don't want to under-tire on this route because the gravel stretches are miles long in many cases, including a 10 mile stretch in the remote Wayne National Forest area. Terrain is steep and unrelenting throughout the route until the very end so even a paved , grade 1 road, will be best tackled of a wider tire, disc brakes, and a stable bike. Fast rolling tires of approximately 38-42mm would be ideal. Probably the best tire we've found for this is a Teravail Washburn in a light and supple casing. 

Here is a great explanation on different levels of gravel. Cycling Tips: Grading Gravel

   

(2020 Recap)

2020 Results are in!!! Congrats to all of you that started this journey, and great racing at the front by Doug, Ben, and Jared. Special kudos to Jill White for being the only woman brave enough to try this, and to the tandem riders Troy and Quinn who both won and lost their category at the same time. 


Rider NameCityStateFinish Time or Mile Completed  Place  
Doug RitzertCoshoctonOH26:571
Ben HerbertzIndianapolisIN27:572
Jared SmithWoosterOH28:073
Matt BarnumColumbusOH31:454
Christopher HicksLewis CenterOH31:454
Mike PeifferMaumeeOH32:106
Dave VesperAshlandOH33:287
Kyle FedlerLakelandFL33:287
Jeff ShaullMansfieldOH34:209
Anthony BuntAshlandOH37:4910
Tyler EllisLouisvilleKY39:0911
Garrett AllenShelby OHOHMile 27212
Terry WagnerAshlandOH Mile 22513
Troy Chipka/Quinn WatsonAshlandOHMile 22513/1    Tandem Losers!
Marshall BeebeColumbusOHMile 20216
Jill WhiteMansfieldOH Mile 18017/1 Female Winner
Brian DavisTallmadgeOHMile 17618
Scott PhillipsCincinnatiOHMile 17119
Matt BrownsonLovelandOHMile 17020
Matt PolandMedinaOHMile 16021
Steven KunsakPittsburgPA Mile 11422
David LayfieldO'FallonIL4 Days
Craig BickleNewcastleOH6 Days
Chris DaiberColumbusOH6 Days


C



DWR reviews

Craig and Chris left South Point, Ohio in early September, and to our knowledge are the first riders to tackle the entire route. These men did it right, taking their time on the course and enjoying the sights along the way! Six days later, on September 11th, 2020, they became the first two people to complete the route! They stopped in Ashland on their last day on the way to the lake for a couple of minor repairs, some coffee from Downtown Perk, and some beer from Uniontown Brewing Co. before heading out on the last section to Lake Erie.