Like with all good stories, there is an origin, and the beginning of this story is great. In 2021, F1 driver and cycling enthusiast (and a pretty damn good one at that) Valtteri Bottas visited the US and raced SBT GRVL, one of the biggest gravel races in the US, and was impressed. Impressed enough that he mentioned to Betsy Welch, a cycling journalist at Velo, that he wished he had something like SBT back in his hometown of Lahti, Finland.
Amy Charity, founder of SBT, took this as an invitation and reached out and asked if he was serious and wanted to chat about the idea. And the rest, as they say, is history, or at least the beginning of what just might turn into the hottest ticket in European gravel. This past weekend, the inaugural FNLD GRVL race was hosted by Valtteri, Amy, and Tiffany Cromwell to thumbs up from racers around the world.
We had the good fortune to be both in on the ground floor and sitting in the front row, hosting a couple of shakeout rides, coffee and happy hour beverages at the expo, and an aid station out on course on race day. At the expo, we hosted a custom jersey design contest, where riders could design a jersey utilizing our configuration tool, and after a review by our panel of judges, we’ve selected 7 winners (playing off Valtteri’s F1 number of 77).
To summarize the weekend: it was great, we definitely recommend putting it on the calendar next year and hope to see you in Lahti in 2024.
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