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.
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 carry GPS devices and track their route along the way. Rides must be uploaded to Strava and shared with the race director on the event Facebook page. Riders who do not upload to Strava may be asked to verify their route via other means. (UPDATE: We may be requiring riders to use a SPOT or Garmin InReach device for safety purposes. We will update more on this later in a rider email. These will be available to rent if this is the case for the duration of the race.)
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.
When: Saturday September 18th, 2021 at 5:00 am.
Where: Starts at South Point Ohio, Finishes in Vermilion, Ohio.
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.
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 Name||City||State||Finish Time or Mile Completed||Place|
|Christopher Hicks||Lewis Center||OH||31:45||4|
|Garrett Allen||Shelby OH||OH||Mile 272||12|
|Terry Wagner||Ashland||OH||Mile 225||13|
|Troy Chipka/Quinn Watson||Ashland||OH||Mile 225||13/1||Tandem Losers!|
|Marshall Beebe||Columbus||OH||Mile 202||16|
|Jill White||Mansfield||OH||Mile 180||17/1||Female Winner|
|Brian Davis||Tallmadge||OH||Mile 176||18|
|Scott Phillips||Cincinnati||OH||Mile 171||19|
|Matt Brownson||Loveland||OH||Mile 170||20|
|Matt Poland||Medina||OH||Mile 160||21|
|Steven Kunsak||Pittsburg||PA||Mile 114||22|
|David Layfield||O'Fallon||IL||4 Days |
|Craig Bickle||Newcastle||OH||6 Days|
|Chris Daiber||Columbus||OH||6 Days|
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.