Tough Mudder

Riding gravel plus through Oregon gumbo

Shhh ... I'm going to share a little secret. Perhaps the best gravel in Idaho isn't even in Idaho. It's across the border ... in Oregon.

This year, 3T is giving away an Exploro Team bike as second prize for the story that best embodies Rapha’s Festive 500. Lucky rider! To show what the bike is all about, we’ve been tackling the Festive 500 ourselves, riding on a variety of terrain. Our first ride was on road, the second on mixed … you can see where this is going. Our final ride would be on gravel, running 2.0, 650B tires on the Exploro. Good thing, too.

Even more so than mixing saddle time with holiday events, perhaps the hardest part about the Festive 500 is rolling with whatever mother nature throws at you. Gravel in winter can be hard to find here in Idaho. In fact, we drove all the way to Oregon to find ourselves some prime grit. Extremely remote, untainted by light pollution, and with miles of ranch land gravel, the Owyhees are one of the most pristine regions in America. But they have a flaw. They are all but impassible in spring conditions.

While we started on ice, we closed with sunshine and warm temperatures. This threw a few more challenges in the way of an early thaw. Mud, mud, more mud…mud with gravel…mud with grass…greasy, grimy, stick-to-your-guts mud. End of the day, we still found our 90 miles, completing the Festive 500.

Congratulations to all who completed the Festive 500. As my son says, “…everybody is a winner.” And let’s have a special shout out to all the families and friends who supported their riders. Because without their support, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t happen.

With that, here’s the story in pictures. The Owyhees are a special place, so bear with us as we overindulge with the visuals.

Happy New Year!