'Freight Trains of Fun': Pace groups are now a thing in bike racing

The Gorge Gravel Grinder introduces pace groups to create an inclusive, supportive riding environment

Scenes from the 2023 Gorge Gravel Grinder
(Image credit: Adam Lapierre // Gorge Gravel Grinder)

The experience of gravel racing is often likened to running a marathon. As a mass start event, the front end of the pack is an all-out race contested by professionals. For the rest of us in the middle and back of the pack, the event is a personal challenge.

Today, gravel racing is becoming even closer to that marathon experience with the introduction of pace groups at the upcoming Gorge Gravel Grinder race in Dufur, Oregon In April.

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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.