By Gabby Henry.
October 8th was the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships. The Women Age Group categories raced 140km, where I ended up with a 10th place finish in the 19-34 category! It was such an amazing and humbling experience to race alongside women from all across the world!
I was incredibly intimidated going into this race. I had no clue what to expect from the Age Group Women’s field, or what to expect from a course unlike anything else I had raced before. The first few miles would quickly split the field with a steep gravel then road climb, followed by a technical downhill switchback section.
I kept my goals simple for this race, don’t crash, and don’t get last! The switchback section had me very nervous even after pre riding. I successfully made it through the descent, but had lost much of the ground I had made going up the climb. As I emerged from the trees I was seconds late from catching onto the wheels of the main group as they rolled onto a section of pavement.
Frustratingly, I was in No Man’s Land, and had anticipated a solo ride for the rest of the 86 miles, but thankfully ended up sharing wheels with women from across the world. For the bulk of the race I worked in a trio with a woman from Iceland, and one from Italy. Later adding a woman from Andorra to our group. Amusingly, all of us were in different age categories (signified by our different colored bib numbers), so we evenly pulled and shared in the suffering of racing and the joy of being out on our bikes in such a beautiful place. Our group split up during the last single track section, before finishing within the castle walls of Cittadella.
This race was truly unforgettable. It was such an honor to get to be a small part of this race and to wear the USA colors.
I can’t thank my parents enough for coming along with me and supporting me. I’m so thankful for the immense support I received from my cycling community back home and friends from all over. From teaching me how to take apart/rebuild my bike, lending me a bike case, training with me, coaching me, offering words of encouragement and support along the way, I couldn’t have done any of this alone.❤️
“Gabby not everyone can say they’ve done a UCI gravel race outside the US! You can and that’s pretty awesome! Congratulations on your race and representing the country with pride! Well done!!”Joe PewetBMC Team President
“Wow! Thanks for the the race recap- it literally gave me goosebumps! So glad you got to get this experience!!”Dori Hornbaker
“Absolutely phenomenal!!!! Wow!!!!!! Holy moly girl 10th place!?!? That’s AMAZING!!!!!! 🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳”Lindsey Freema