Enough already with the F1-inspired pit stops in gravel racing, it's time for riders to be self-sufficient again

The spirit of adventure, resourcefulness and inclusivity is diluted to the point where we risk losing sight of the qualities that made the discipline so unique.

Scenes from the 2023 Unbound Gravel
(Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)

A video showcasing the efficient pit stop of Sofía Gómez Villafañe and her four-person crew at the 2023 Unbound Gravel race has been making the social media rounds. In it, Villafañe seamlessly transitions into the checkpoint, entrusting her dirty bike to her crew, who, with the precision of a Formula 1 team, promptly get to work. One member power-washes the bike, another swiftly swaps out water bottles, while a third hands Villafane a fresh hydration pack and stuffs a new ice sock down the neck of her jersey. Meanwhile, another crew member assists Villafañe out of her potentially malfunctioning shoe and into a new one. Villafañe, for her part, quickly dumps trash from her jersey and restocks her gels. In mere minutes, she's back on the course with fresh gear and nutrition to tackle the next 60 miles of the race.

In shorter events, such as last weekend's Mid South race in Stillwater, Oklahoma, half of the riders never dismounted their bikes as they passed through the feed zone. They simply grabbed a musette from their support personnel and were off—any water stop etiquette forgotten.

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.