INTERVIEW: EDITION ZERO GRAVEL — ANDY CHALMERS
In 2016 Matt Hayman stunned the cycling world. A 17-year veteran of the pro peloton, Hayman entered the Roubaix Velodrome with 4-time winner of the race Tom Boonen. With only one top 10 finish from 10 attempts, the odds were stacked against him. As he wound up from over 400m out, the world held their breath. Could he win? Could he take the win "for the good guys of cycling?"
In 2022 you will have your chance to recreate your own Matt Hayman moment as you enter the Waimate velodrome, the finish line for the Edition Zero gravel race.
Established in 2021, initially as a bikepacking weekend, Edition Zero takes inspiration from the biggest events in the world - Unbound Gravel and Paris Roubaix - while maintaining a uniquely kiwi feel. Set in the South Canterbury town of Waimate, it will see over 200 riders tackle everything from the Snack (80km, 900 Vert, 46% Gravel) to the Main (243km, 3.4k Vert, 75% Gravel). The inaugural event, set for 26 November 2022, is designed to both inspire and challenge and is not for the faint of heart.
[Somewhere on the course - a rough sketch]
Last week, we sat down with the Edition Zero founder, Andy Chalmers, to learn more about the premier one day gravel cycling event in the country.
Community and challenge. That is all Andy wants from this race. It's not about the winners - there are no prizes or podiums - it's about the grind to get to the finish line. Edition Zero will be "the hardest day on a bike this side of... well most places. This will not only test your grit and endurance, but your bike handling, nutrition and mind set."
When asked about his why, Andy talked about the state of cycling events in New Zealand as events are getting harder to facilitate on the road. Add to this that New Zealand, for all it's natural beauty and rolling landscapes, has nothing in the one-day gravel race space and Andy believes that organising this event is "the right thing to do."
[Waimate NZ - a true town of possibility]
An avid cyclist himself, Andy set out to develop a race that delivers the unique blend of raw, unbridled, challenge, while fostering a community that supports all those who complete their finishing laps of the velodrome.
While the goal, according to Andy, is not to replicate the feel of Emporia [the epicentre of Unbound Gravel] Waimate has the making of a classic host town. It is set in an idyllic countryside, equal parts inspiring and barren. This is the challenge side of the race.
When asked about the community, Andy replies, "having formulated the idea I sent an email, at 9pm, to the mayor and CEO [of Waimate] with a basic race plan. The mayor got back to me in 7 mins to say they were in." Add to this the velodrome, commissioned in 1891, and you bring the magic of the 'hell of the north' (Paris-Roubaix) to our South Island shores.
[Waimate velodrome at Victoria park, some time ago]
When asked about the outcome, Andy dreams of creating an event that makes New Zealand go, "yeah that's ours." This event should have a positive impact on the cycling community. He wants people to accept the challenge and ultimately, he wants people to enjoy the challenge.
So as you round the velodrome for your final lap, the world holding their breath, we can happily say that this event is run by "one of the good guys of cycling."
With the launch of the NS Host — our gravel wheelset — we are beyond excited to be getting behind an event like this and the people who bring them to life. Its those like Andy who are doing things differently and "letting us ride."