2022 was the year when time flew by, seemingly quicker than in years past. Yet despite the breakneck speed of time, I managed to squeeze in some incredible rides in amazing places with friends. Coming up with a list of top 5 gravel rides from the year was more difficult than I first imagined. About a dozen memorable rides came to mind after scanning through my Strava and Instagram feeds to recollect the best, but how could I narrow the list down to just five?
This had me thinking… what makes one ride better than another? Why did these 12 rides stand out over the rest? Is it possible to quantify the level of stoke from a given ride? And if so, would it be possible to reference this equation to make 2023 even better? A simple formula would be needed that could capture the most important elements of a great ride. After much thought, here are those elements:
GOODWILL – Meaningful interactions with people or creatures. Those visited or there for support. Camaraderie.
ROADS – Travelled terrain. Surfaces covered. Quality of dirt. Trail diversity.
ATTEMPT – The challenge, suffering, or danger involved.
VIEWS – Scenery, structures, and establishments visited.
The GRAV Score is my best attempt to objectively rank my favorite gravel rides from 2022. For me, the best rides are those that involve meaningful interactions, premium and diverse terrain, a real challenge, and memorable sights. To see exactly which rides ranked the highest for me in 2022 I’ve calculated all the GRAV scores to see which ones topped the list. To calculate an overall score for each ride, I assigned the 4 elements a score from 1-5 and added them up for total possible score from 4 to 20. Listed below are my top 5 scoring rides of the year with the newly established GRAV Scoring System.