Picture this: it’s the dark, dusty, distant era of mid-2015. Your brake cables are still on the outside. Gravel racing is wild and gritty and uncorporatized. It’s the weekend—it seems like there were a lot more weekends back then—and you’re on your bike in the wilderness, plotting routes through your home state of Georgia and into neighboring Alabama for kicks ‘n grins.
Was that just us? Picture it anyway. Picture us with big muscles.
So there we were, a little obsessed. Eventually, our obsession revealed a ton of gravel along both sides of the border. Though the roads mirror one another, they’re like night and day. Georgia gravel guides meticulously along ridgelines, meandering up and down for a smooth ride. Alabama says, good luck with that, suckers! We’re careening straight down this ridge and back up the other side, creek be damned. Both are a blast, and neither is better than the other, despite what the old-timers say.
We explored the Southern countryside endlessly, studying Google and Gravel Maps, flexing our huge pecs and quads. Eventually, we discovered loops that straddle the border, 50% in each state, showing off the best of both. That’s how Border Wars was born. The name comes from years of bad border jokes and old codgers claiming that the trees lean more toward one state or the other. For us, this one’s all “border” and no “war”—other than the battle between you and the gnar.
OK, but why is it THAT weekend?
We want to put on a cool local event. Our date is kind of close to another cool local event, and we wish it didn’t have to be. But the spring/fall gravel event calendar is packed out, and it’s mostly thanks to the big, corporate, formulaic events that pull a lot of top pros who frankly can’t afford not to do them. Unfortunately, that means it’s unavoidable that we’ll run up against other good events.
If you’re an out-of-towner with a flexible schedule, there’s a silver lining—two weekends of awesomeness! But if you can only choose one each year and you decide to alternate, or if you just go to the other one, we completely understand. Not a problem. We love that event.
OK, but why is it $85?
We also understand that you wish you didn’t have to choose, and that the overcrowding of the calendar and the overpricing of the irresistible behemoth events is forcing that reality. We, too, wish it were different.
However, we’ve occasionally heard it said that events like ours, the small local ones, should lower our entry fees to correct this. We hope you understand that local events sometimes operate at cost, and are often paid in part out of the organizers’ own pockets for love of the sport. Entry fees cover some—but not always all—of the cost of putting them on.
We’d never blame you for participating in the big events (they’re fun!), and we fully understand that you may be able to do only one or two destination rides per year. We also frankly agree with you that the gravel scene is getting too expensive. But please look at the big picture before asking your little local organizers to suffer as a means of reversing issues that are caused by the big guys.
Border Wars and Independent Gravel are proud to be the little guy, and we plan on keeping it that way. We offer a unique event, and we promise a big bang for your 85 bucks. Really big, we like to think. We’ve spent hundreds of hours scouring the border roads of Georgia and Alabama, and we work with local friends and contacts to provide a stellar party. Our sponsors are brands we’re proud to promote, who add value to the sport and improve the local economy. We know you’re going to get your money’s worth, win, lose or just ride. And you won’t end up with a scrapbook full of unused drink tickets as souvenirs—at least, not from Border Wars.
Note on the Border Wars name: We are fully aware of the horrible atrocities continuing in Ukraine and the escalated Israeli–Palestinian conflict, as well as the threats to Taiwan and the ridiculous high number of ongoing armed conflicts all over the world. We are also aware, on even a local level, the issues going on for water rights within Georgia and Alabama itself. The Border Wars name is meant to be tongue-in-cheek and is 100% about the difference in gravel between the two states, which is vastly different. We love Alabama just as much as we love Georgia and really all the states. We are 100% against any conflict, particularly those killing and injuring the innocent. Border Wars is meant to be fun. If you feel differently or offended by the name, we apologize in advance, and hope you enjoy any of the hundreds of other events out there to choose from.