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How long can we keep up with… Gravel racing pro Peter Stetina

why did pete stetina switch from racing road bikes to gravel bikes
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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?

pete stetinas paydirt gravel race explained

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.

willow creek flats sträva segment where you can race against the pros

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.

sträva comparison times for peter stetina

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?

deathstar poster for stetinas paydirt gravel bike race in carson city nevada

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.


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4 years ago

Very cool video and such a beautiful ride.

A short Pete story. At last years DK, my wife and I were reconing the 100 route when we came across the Trek car. Pete was fixing to ride a portion of the course. We stopped to say “hello” and to wish him luck. Pete was gracious enough to give us a few minutes of his time before his ride. Nice guy!

I have enjoyed watching his video’s and been keeping up with him since he joined the gravel scene and now he’s created a event. How cool that is.

Great interview and good luck Pete in future events.

4 years ago

I can’t decide what I dislike most… riding on dirt… Strava… or facial hair on bike racers. Oh well, something to ponder on my nice, smooth road ride.

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