SALSA – Most folks may not realize that you grew up in the East. How did it feel to be back riding bikes again in that neck of the woods?
JAYP – One of the reasons I went to unPAved was to ride in an area where I learned to ride bikes. It's been a long time since then and it felt absolutely amazing to return. The lushness of the hardwood trees, the bit of humidity and the low rolling hills brought back a lot of feelings of my early MTB years. Central PA is a beautiful place. I'll admit I was looking forward to the fall colors but with the wet year they had the leaves started to hit peak color a week after the event. I might have to go again to make sure I see them this year as I know what scenery they can provide!
SALSA – Describe the course from the 120-mile route you rode in October?
JAYP – It's really a great course. There is an unexpected amount of climbing that is often too short to settle in but too long to put in a quick, hard effort to get up. Not too steep though. The foliage is thick but more canopy-like so you can see into the woods, and I was blown away by the amount of running-water streams. There were a few nice vistas that rewarded the climbing and overall just a nice balance of a challenge.
Not necessarily part of the course but one should know this is Mennonite and Amish country, which gives it its own unique character with well-maintained farms, beautiful barns and their unique form of transportation—horse and carriage.
SALSA – What was a highlight from your ride at unPAved?
JAYP - The whole visit was a memory shaker but a highlight for me, once again, is being around the entire gravel community. The ride finishes at an amazing community center that provides comfort in all forms—riders can enjoy a post-race meal, hang out, share stories and make new friends.
SALSA – You know from experiences around the world that there is a wide variety of road types and road surfaces that all get lumped under the word “gravel.” How would you describe the roads and road surfaces of this event?
JAYP – To me, this is the real beauty of riding different gravel events. The gravel at unPAved is what I would describe as groomed gravel. The road surfaces are very good and there’s no real washboard. The gravel size is on the smaller side and also what I would describe as tight. It's not the big, loose, rocky stuff, except for that one road—that one 4x4 road that is MTB-worthy. I hope they don't remove it, as it is the road you will always remember (but don't fear, it's not all that long).
SALSA – For folks coming to the unPAved event for the first time, do you have any advice that would help them have a successful day and complete the event?
JAYP - We were lucky with a bit of an overcast, cooler day. If it is hot and sunny, hydration will be an issue because it’s always humid. I know from living there in the past how that can affect somebody, even with the great aid stations along the route. The other thing to note is there is no cell service. So, if you’re one of those folks that needs that, be aware and be prepared. Lastly, the descents are super fast and fun but they do have some quick turns in them. I consider myself a good descender and this did stand out to me, so tuck it the back of your head.
Piqued your interest in unPAved of Susquehanna River Valley? Watch this video from the route and make plans to ride it in October.
Registration for the 2019 unPAved of Susquehanna River Valley gravel event opens March 17th at 7 AM. See you in Pennsylvania!
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"I do not train,” Jay Petervary says. “I ride my bike a lot because I love to!" Jay first discovered cycling post-college, but was immediately prepping for a 500km multi-sport event. He’s logged many races in 18 years, everything from cross-country mountain bike to a cross-the-country time trial. Nowadays he rides for adventure, the longer the better.