Just how fast will a pro World Tour roadie be on the gravel? We headed out to Occidental, California, to race former road pro Peter Stetina on the forest roads that inspired him to change his pavement-focused event to Paydirt, a unique gravel experience in the Nevada mountains.
Pete’s arguably the first pure “pro gravel racer”. For some, that means he’s out to ruin the sport by bringing road racing tactics and attitude to the casual camaraderie we all love about gravel races.
But is that true? Along the warmup route to the race, we chat with him about why he made the switch, how his training has adapted, and what we can expect from Paydirt later this year.
How long could I keep up? What was his advice for me? How bad did he pummel me? And how did I get my revenge for his shenanigans? It’s all right here in this video.
How much faster is Pete than Tyler?
While Pete had shared the day’s overall (and humorously named) route with me, he kept the segment a bit of a secret and got the jump on me. If you hadn’t made it that far into the video, the race segment starts at 9:03.
Our race was the Willow Creek Flats: Dirt to Start Climb segment, one where you’ll find some very fast people owning the top 10 spots on Strava (I’m 329th as of this post). As of the date of our race in mid-February, our efforts put us in 1st (Pete) and 3rd (me) for 2020. Surprisingly, as of this post going live on March 23rd, those rankings still hold! Come ‘n’ get it.
But there was a big difference between our actual finish times, speeds and output. Pete finished almost 2-1/2 minutes faster than me, averaged 4.6mph faster, and put out a crap ton more power. Considering he probably weighs about 40 pounds less than me (and has been racing pro at the highest level for years), the results aren’t surprising. I only need to get about 25% faster to keep up. Except that this day was supposed to be an easy recovery day for him.
Wanna race Pete for yourself?
Registration for Stetina’s Paydirt is now open, and the event is scheduled for September 19, 2020, in Carson City, NV. You’ll want to download the segments to your Wahoo before hand, as those are the timed bits used to award prizes. Those, and the extracurricular off-the-bike challenges they’ll have to help you cut a few seconds off your times!
Huge thanks to Wahoo and Bike Monkey for making this video possible. They covered the travel, lodging and other expenses associated with producing this video.