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The 2015 Lost and Found gravel race was a resounding success. Come along for the adventure via our report and photo gallery below.

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It's easy to feel small in this region of the California Sierra. © J. Bromley / Cyclocross Magazine

It’s easy to feel small in this region of the California Sierra. © J. Bromley / Cyclocross Magazine

In 2014, over two hundred cyclists took a gamble and headed to the Sierra Buttes mountains in Northern California for the inaugural Lost and Found ride in attempt to find gravel gold and raise money for the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Most were rewarded for their efforts, and left rich in experience and scenery and a new-found respect for the rocky, hilly Sierra terrain.

In the days and months after the adventure, participants recalled wild tales with friends and family, and shared knowledge of how best to prepare for such an adventure. And when registration opened for the 2015 Lost and Found event, the number of adventure-seekers more than doubled.

More than 400 racers came out for 2015 Lost and Found gravel race, stretching back to the waters of Lake Davis. © Cyclocross Magazine

More than 400 racers came out for 2015 Lost and Found gravel race, stretching back to the waters of Lake Davis. © Cyclocross Magazine

The number of professional cyclocross racers certainly more than doubled. Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant), Caro Gomez Villafane (Vanderkitten) and Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes) committed to return, seeking revenge from tough rides in 2014. Other top cyclocrossers, including Ben Berden (WCup), Cody Kaiser (Lange Twins), Nicole Duke (SRAM), Courtenay Macfadden, Anthony Clark (Squid), Scott Chapin (Santa Cruz), Lance Haidet (Raleigh Clement) and Gavin Haley (Hincapie), were intrigued by the tales of miles and miles of scenic roads and climbs, and packed their bags for the long trip to Lake Davis.

Lance Haidet and Tobin Ortenblad ready for 100-miles of gravel. 2015 Lost and Found gravel race. © Cyclocross Magazine

Lance Haidet and Tobin Ortenblad ready for 100-miles of gravel. 2015 Lost and Found gravel race. © Cyclocross Magazine

Scanning the bikes of participants on the start line, it appeared as if the average tire size and low gear cassette cog nearly doubled as well. Gone were most of the narrow 32c tubular and clincher cyclocross tires, as the smart money didn’t bank on repeating Brent Prenzlow’s tubular-laced good luck and careful descents, and certainly wanted to avoid repeating Ellen Sherrill’s 2014 quadruple whammy.

Most bikes featured 38c or 40c tires, typically mounted tubeless on wider rims. Wide-range cassettes of 11-36 and 10-42 were commonplace. 2014 knowledge was shared, and racers this year came prepared.

Upping the Ante

Armed with course knowledge and better equipment, racers were better prepared this year to battle the course conditions and fellow racers.

What 100-mile Pro Men defending champion Jared Kessler wasn’t prepared for was to defend his title while battling a virus. He initially hid it well. Ortenblad had Kessler in his sights, and didn’t want to let the admittedly impatient racer escape this year.

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