Photos: Megan Hannah
For anyone who has ever wondered if so many of the former pro road racers who skipped class to jump into the gravel game can find a way to keep busy in a routine lacking a full calendar of training camps, you need look no further the exploits of former Cannondale/Liquigas team rider Ted King.
In addition to his year long calendar of gravel races, helping to run his Untapped energy supplement business, Ted has become an event promoter as well. Besides the King Challenge charity ride that takes place in New Hampshire, Ted and wife (and fellow gravel racer) Laura are the team behind the Rooted Vermont gravel event. Of course, when they both aren’t busy trying to make the world a better place for more cyclists, they are also the devoted parents to their young daughter Hazel.
We had the chance to sit down with Ted for a few minutes to find our more about the Rooted Vermont event that takes place on July 29-31 in Richmond, Vermont.
FIVE MINUTES WITH TED KING
1. What are the roots of Vermont Rooted – is it of your & Laura’s creation?
I was regularly asked when I would start an event when I lived in California (2016-2017), but then when Laura and I moved to Vermont we really felt like the questions came in frequently. Laura was in the midst of changing jobs and was interested in taking on something more entrepreneurial like event management, so the timing was right for that. We also brought in one of Laura’s best friends, Kristin Motley, and so the three of us are the owners of the event.
We really wanted to help showcase the community we felt right from the second we landed in Vermont. It’s warm and welcoming and sincere. We thought the broader gravel community really shares these foundational ethos and wanted to share the local roots that we were putting down with the greater gravel community.
2. How would you describe the goings-on at the event?
Of course I’m biased, but Rooted Vermont feels like what’s right about cycling. It’s fun, it’s as competitive (or not!) as you’d like, it’s welcoming to the newbie or hard charging racer, it’s a way to show off our local community of Richmond, Vermont, it’s just a weekend that’s dedicated to having a good time on the bike. We have a Friday evening welcome party right in town, there are all kinds of rides and skills clinics and coffee and beer and maple syrup events throughout Saturday during our expo, and Sunday is race day. There’s a 48 mile or 82 mile course with a fitting level of challenge to each. Then an absolute feast at the finish.
3. It seems more women are really embracing gravel of late.
I’ve watched Laura and Kristin put on a 50 and then 100 women gravel clinics each of the past two years. Even from the sidelines, there’s something incredible about witnessing the camaraderie of a group of sharing the experience of finding a friend or hopping an obstacle on the bike that I’ve really never witnessed previously. Which says a lot given my previous two decades on the bike. That’s not to say it can’t happen in men’s cycling, but it certainly happens in a different way given how men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Why is it happening? Beats me but it’s awesome.
4. You and Laura ran a women’s clinic last summer, what was that all about?
The Cannondale video from the women’s clinic is pretty moving and demonstrates some of the special stories that came out of the women’s clinic. The clinic is certainly the building blocks for achieving parity–equipping women first with the skill set: mental, emotional and technical. The women’s clinic was free; we had 240 applications and 100 entrants. 50% Vermonters and 50% out of state.
5. With Mullet Protocol what differentiates RV from other events?
Rooted Vermont is there for every kind of cyclist. With Mullet Protocol we celebrate the riders at the front, the riders at the back, and everyone in between. The full weekend of activities offers time to escape or plenty of time to spend together with old friends or making new friends. There’s nothing that is an afterthought so from the exquisite food to sponsor activations to course design to communication to the expo, the entire event is showing off what we love about our local Vermont community and sharing that with the entire gravel community.
ROOTED VERMONT DETAILS
Entry to Rooted Vermont in 2022 will open on November 1, 2021 and will run until November 15, 2021. Registrants will be chosen using a random selection process with a field limit capped at 1000 participants.
Rooted Vermont is excited to announce that 50% of its participants will reserved for women* during its 2022 random selection process. Women’s participation in gravel cycling is growing exponentially in Vermont and nationally. With the support of Cannondale Bikes, Rooted Vermont has hosted several well received women’s clinics that offer an entry point to the sport of gravel cycling and a growing network for budding community leaders. Equal female representation in gravel is a historic moment, one worth celebrating and one that will require the continued support and ongoing work of everyone in the gravel community.
*We use the term women in the broadest definition to include cis, trans, or any significantly female-identifying persons.
* Inclusive Community Atmosphere
* In furtherance Rooted Vermont’s 50% women announcement for 2022 and in support of mission to promote an inclusive community atmosphere, Rooted Vermont is offering the following: Category for non-binary or gender non-conforming athletes (This was available in 2020, 2021 as well). Category for paracyclists – new for 2022 (The Rooted Vermont courses are suitable for a standard bicycle or tandem, not a hand or recumbent bike).
Rooted Vermont Scholarship Fund: $10,000 to be allocated
Applications are now open for the Rooted Vermont Scholarship Fund. Cyclists eligible for funding should identify as a youth or as someone historically underrepresented in cycling based on race, gender, or identity and for whom access to Rooted Vermont would otherwise be inaccessible without funding. Applications will be accepted through November 10th