Schiff and Roberge win Gravel Locos 150
Carolin Schiff takes three-up sprint to win women's title in Hico, Texas
German Carolin Schiff sprinted from a four-rider group to win the women's division at Gravel Locos 150, while Canadian Adam Roberge took a solo victory on the men's side.
Schiff, who won the 200km The Traka in late April, edged women’s defending champion Marisa Boaz at the line, with Justin Barrow’s stretch leaving her in third. Katie Kantzes faded at the end for fourth, just five seconds behind the podium trio, who finished in the overall top 30.
The four women stayed together most of the day, with the final separation in the sprint where the lunge for the line came after 7 hours, 54 minutes, 7 seconds. Schiff was surprised to take the win but counted it as a good lead in for Unbound Gravel next week.
"What??? 252k‘ of gravel racing with an average speed of 32.3 km/h and 2,000 climbing meters made me suffer a bit. Good preparations towards Unbound Gravel on June 3rd," Schiff wrote on social media.
In the men's field, the lead group contained around 25 riders with 100 miles to go. It was not until the final five miles that a crash disrupted proceedings, and Roberge broke away for a solo win in 7:12:11. Paul Voss led a group of 10 riders across the line for second place. Ivar Slik outsprinted Alex Howes for the final spot on the podium.
Roberge had mixed emotions about his victory, calling it “especially great” since the Hico race is where he began his gravel career in 2021 when he finished third behind winner Ten Dam.
“The convergence of top-tier Gravel racers from around the world, coupled with the impeccable GRAVEL quality and length of the gravel course, created a race characterized by relentless fluctuations in pace—alternating between moments of deceleration and lightning-fast bursts,” the reigning Gravel Worlds 150 champion wrote on his Instagram feed soon after the race.
The large men's lead pack marked each other across the rolling climbs, totalling 6,705 feet of elevation gain on the day, but the biggest ascents of Loco Hill and the 3B’s behind them.
One of the contenders who failed to be part of the fray in the final 5km was Payson McElveen, who crashed out of the contest and sustained a concussion, separated shoulder and lots of cuts and bruises that landed him in hospital. He was in a group near the front that included defending GL 150 champion Jasper Ockeloen, and a touch of wheels also took down Ockeloen, who managed to finish 1:22 back in 13th place. Howes, who finished fourth, skidded around the crash and finished fourth.
“Sucks to take out the defending winner when we were in such a good position,” McElveen shared on his Instagram feed. “I want to apologize to Jasper, who I took out in the crash when I overlapped the wheel in front of me. I was having a ton of fun throwing some late moves with him.”
While he took the start line and finished ninth overall at Unbound Gravel 200 last year, even though his recovery was far from complete, this year’s injuries will keep him sidelined from the event.
For a second consecutive year, the Texas native’s objectives to make the podium at Unbound Gravel and in the season-long Life Time Grand Prix off-road series have been pushed completely off kilter.
In March 2022, the two-time Midsouth winner broke two bones in his hand and his collarbone at Midsouth, eventually disrupting his run at the Grand Prix.
Local fire department also a winner
While individuals grab the attention with top times at Gravel Locos, the local fire department has a string of 'victories' as the beneficiary of the event. In the first year of the event, race proceeds were donated to the Hico Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a new command fire truck, valued at approximately $85,000. In 2022, proceeds from Gravel Locos went towards adding 3,000 square feet to the old fire station and renovations of the entire station, which totalled approximately $120,000.
This year, race organiser Fabián Serralta arranged to purchase each of the 32 volunteer fire fighters in Hico a new fire suit.
"There are hundreds of other volunteer fire departments across our nation in the same poorly-funded situation as the Hico VFD. It’s my hope that other promoters will do whatever they can to help them," Serralta said.
"After all, it is VFDs that provide first responder services in the many rural areas that we all ride gravel in. If we need help while riding gravel, 9 out of 10 times it’s a VFD responding."
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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp for several minor league teams. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road and gravel rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).