Yeah, I know. I just wrote about the 10,000, which Axletree is bringing you in just a couple of weeks. Here’s the counter-argument.
There are a host of rides out there which are described as “self-supported”. The 10,000 is a new addition to the club, which includes rides such as the Trans-Iowa. However, here’s the beef: they’re not self-supported. When they say “self-supported”, they mean “eat and drink whatever you can carry on your bike and whatever you can buy at a Casey’s.” It’s that latter half that is problematic.
If self-supported meant ‘carry what you can carry’, then I’ve got it. Anyone can compete in that circumstance. But when it means “eat what you can buy at a Casey’s”, then it basically takes a rider like me and renders us unable to compete on a level field. When most riders go into a Casey’s (or equivalent), they’re buying pizza, sandwiches, and a whole host of ‘real food.’ At a Casey’s, for me, I can drink beverages, and can eat nuts and (plain) potato chips. Maybe some jerky (if they have natural-ish jerky, which isn’t guaranteed). Try finding a food that doesn’t have gluten, dairy or oats in it, at a Casey’s.
So saying that a ride is “self-supported” in what is now the accepted definition of that term in the gravel scene means that it’s self supported, except that you can eat pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches, ice-cream sandwiches, or whatever else you can shovel in while stopped, if you’re a person fortunate enough to have a traditional diet. It’s like saying that you can only eat what you can carry, or what Pizza Hut serves. Telling me that I can only ride with what I can carry on the bike (that won’t spoil when it’s hot out), plus nuts and chips…it’s just not the same. And you cannot sustain a ride indefinitely without real food.
I haven’t solved this one yet.