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It’s clear Amy Charity can go fast. The former road racer left a career in the financial industry to test her mettle full-time, eventually landing with Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies team. She raced in the 2015 UCI Road World Championships race, and called it quits not long after. Then, just as quickly, the road beyond the road became apparent.
She helped found SBT GRVL (Steamboat Gravel), which was held for the first time in 2019 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It has since become a notable “must-do” race for serious gravel pros and amateurs alike, with its stunning scenery and various course offerings, from the Black Course with 144 miles (100 miles on gravel, and 9400 feet of climbing) to the beginner-friendly Green course (37 miles, 2,000 feet of climbing, 20 miles on gravel).
Charity has taken on the race director role for SBT GRVL, so no one knows the course like she does. “We don’t have any real steep pitches,” she says. “About 8 percent is about as steep as it gets around Steamboat Lake.”
So for drivetrain choices, Charity recommends assessing your strengths and weaknesses and making a decision based on that. But if you’re unsure, err toward a good high gear so you can tick off the miles quickly in between the moderate climbs. “There are a lot of flats and downhills, so you want to be able to have a variety, but you won’t have anything too steep out there.”