A New Kind of Gravel Bike Festival in Elbert County

If you love biking, particularly on quiet gravel roads and dirt trails maybe combine it with a family oriented camping event complete with music, food, beer, the Mad Gravel on Memorial Day weekend might be for you. Rattler Racing will host the second annual Mad Gravel race at the picturesque Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch in Elbert County, Colorado on Saturday, May 28th, Sunday, May 29th and Monday, May 30th, 2022.  Mad Gravel is now a full-on 3-day weekend event with a little something for everyone. 

Images thanks to Be Feral Media

Saturday will be a fast and furious circuit race within the boundaries of the Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch. Runners also get to enjoy most of the same course on a 5K trail course before the cyclists take off. Look for some great winding gravel roads, double track, and a mix of twisty single-track sections. Sunday is the biggie. Racers and riders have the option to pick one of three epic routes along the eastern Colorado slope. Monday including a sweet mountain bike course highlighting the great trails within the ranch. Participants will get to take in amazing views of Colorado’s high 14’ers, and enjoy an optimum vantage point of the entire front range.  All three days of Mad Gravel are fully supported with multiple aid stations. 

Images thanks to Be Feral Media

Mad Gravel 2022 has been through many iterations. There aren’t many gravel events where you get to try your hand at a circuit race the day before the big event. Says race director Dave Muscianisi, “In scouting out our mountain bike course last November, we thought portions of that course would be perfect for a gravel circuit. And with a circuit race already set up, how about starting the weekend with a trail run? And, since we have 3 days to work with, let’s get the MGXC mountain bike race going on Monday. Why? Because we can.” 

Images thanks to Be Feral Media

The gigantic grounds of the Scout Ranch not only provide for a closed road circuit race, but there is ample room for camping and live entertainment. Says Dave, “Mad Gravel has quickly turned into a festival, and we’ve already secured a band for Saturday night!  Who knows what other ideas we’ll come up to add to the weekend calendar of events.” Here are some details for the camping options. 

Images thanks to Be Feral Media

This race is one of the first gravel events on the Colorado race calendar for spring of 2022.  When the riding is over, the party commences with food, drink, music, and post-race festivities, all of which await you back at the expansive hall overlooking the venue. Not to miss! Get signed up today at madgravel.com

A Few Questions with Race Director Dave Muscianisi

1. How did you get this facility, it looks incredible? Any fun back story? Any ties to McNeil family?  RME used to do a MTB race out there. When our Course Director Paul pitched the idea to do a gravel race, he created the course in Elbert County not realizing it surrounded the ranch. I reached out directly to the Denver Area Council. One of the board members is an avid cyclist and wants to use the area for a cycling expo in the future. Mad Gravel was born.

2. Dave, how did you get interested in event production? This was never something I had aspired to do until 2014 when I was coaching for a newly created high school cycling team. After going to the first NICA race, I realized these kids could use something more local to get their feet wet. That’s when we started the weeknight Rattler Series. Apparently people liked it. The next step was to do normal XC races, stage races, cyclocross and junior focused events. I still have this wild dream to do the Trans-Colorado, a 7 day stage race starting in Grand Junction and sort of working its way east. 

3. Brief background as a cyclist. MTB racer for over 30 years. While I don’t race as much anymore, I still like to team up and do the Firecracker 50 every year. High School coach and on the Board for HRJC in Highlands Ranch. 

4. Other races and events you produce. The Bear, Fangdango, Mid Week Melee, G3 Stage Race and Mad Gravel. Go to the Rattler Racing website for more information, www.rattlerracing.com

5. What do you love most about what you do? The connection with the community. This sport has given me so much for many years and it’s my way to give back. 

6. What are you most excited about with Mad Gravel. Growth and Potential! Peaceful Valley Ranch and Elbert County have been great to work with and the ability to grow this event is huge. We aren’t limited at all by the venue as the Boy Scouts own over 3800 acres at Peaceful Valley. The facilities are ready to go for serious expansion, and there is plenty of room for camping, other activities and even creating an expo.

7. What makes you smile the most at the end of a race day? Kids coming through the finish line, especially for the first time. And watching the parents watch their kids come through the finish line…:)

8. Where did you grow up and what kinds of things as a kid did you love to do? I grew up in Colorado Springs. My parents forced me to try many sports and I finally settled on soccer. Until in 1986, my dad bought all of us our first mountain bike. Mine was a Peugeot Orient Express. Must have weighed 40 lbs but wow, all those gears! I was hooked. My fitness was always pretty good, but I had no idea how much mountain biking could push you. I did my first race in 1990 in Salida, the first annual Banana Belt Loop. Let’s just say it didn’t go well!

9. Did you always want to put on bike events? What other passions do you have? About 12 years ago, I decided I no longer wanted to work in the IT world. I was a Business Analyst for Canon. It was time to embark on what anyone would do, buy a bike company. I did that for about 6 years but it wasn’t the connection I wanted to have in the cycling community. With a long career in racing, I knew what I liked and didn’t like and felt I could put together a team that could do it even better. With no experience, I decided to sell the bike company and enter the world of race promotion. I haven’t regretted a thing!

10. Family info you care to share. My 18 year old daughter just graduated and raced in the HS League all 4 years. My 12 year old son is heavy into competitive soccer and his dad continues to push MTB on him like a drug. My wife of 25 years still talks to me even after coming up with all these crazy race ideas.

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