The inaugural Rocks, Roads, & Reggae event was one of the best times I had on a bike in 2017. It was also my first, and only chance to meet Shawn Smith. More than just a super fit professional mountain bike racer that was faster on an MTB than almost everyone there on a gravel bike (and then went on to do the whole 100 miles in one go), Shawn was a huge part of the local cycling community. Tragically, Shawn was killed recently while out on a training ride after being hit by a pickup truck. Needless to say, Shawn’s wife and 13 year old son are devastated along with the local Gainesville, FL riding community. As Atomik Carbon CEO Wayne Lee put it, “this one really hit close to home.”
Along with the unveiling of Rocks, Roads, & Reggae II, Atomik Carbon has announced that proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to Shawn Smith’s family. Like last year, the ride has two options – a single 100 mile ride on Saturday only for $30, or that same 100 miles as an out and back, split into two days (about 50 miles per day), with an overnight stay at O’leno State Park for $100. Meant as a social ride rather than a race, riders will have the option of carrying all their gear with them, or “slackpacking” as Jayson calls it – which is riding to the camp ground and having your gear dropped off ahead of time. Registration won’t open until October, so consider this your save the date for December 8-9, 2018. If you haven’t been, this is a perfect time to visit North Florida for some picturesque gravel adventures.
Want to help out Shawn’s family in the mean time? Along with a number of local fundraisers, there’s also a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of Shawn and his family.