This June will mark the third annual Grounded Nebraska ride & festival outside of Lincoln, NE. We asked Grounded NE founders Susan Cronin and Cait Dumas-Hein to tell us about how and why this uniquely welcoming and community-oriented gravel event got started. Read on to hear all about it!


The Making of Grounded Nebraska

It started in 2019 with two colleagues sharing a desire for all within the cycling community to feel seen, heard, and like they belong. Co-founders Susan Cronin and Cait Dumas-Hein began conceptualizing a gravel event by drawing on research, discarding outdated ideas, and adopting a handful of inclusive practices from fellow events.


Almost three years of learning, listening and hard work paid off, and in 2022 in Roca, Nebraska (population 214), Grounded Nebraska was born.

A Weekend of Camping, Community & Connection



Colloquially calling themselves “adult summer camp, but with bikes,” Grounded Nebraska offers affordable camping, complete with showers, food, hay rack rides, and other camp-like experiences all on-site, allowing the riders to immerse themselves in the weekend.


And, that doesn’t even include biking. 



On the three route distances you can choose from — 100, 60, or 25 miles — you could run across the ever-enchanting gravel fairies sprinkling you with good vibes and unwavering moral support in the loneliest parts of the course. Or receive the five-star aid station treatment (did someone say mocktails?!). And you might just spot a disco dancer or two on the side of the road.


Saturday night brings the opportunity to gather and celebrate the shared challenge of the day, complete with a community dinner and a movie screening under the stars. 


Cycling is For Everyone:

First and foremost, Grounded Nebraska operates from a place of inclusion. Sure, gravel lends itself to a welcoming atmosphere, but for Grounded, there’s a difference between saying, “You’re welcome here” and “We built this for you”.



Inclusive practices such as an external advisory board, three gender categories, a scholarship program, a published trans athlete policy, and diverse marketing and representation garner attention from the national cycling community. 


“The reason I love it so much is because it’s so much more than a bike race. While people show up to challenge themselves, it’s much more about showing up to be in community and to spend time with the people you enjoy,” reflects Grounded Nebraska board member, Izzy Sederbaum.


Intentional touch points throughout the event weekend such as gender neutral bathroom signage and size inclusive merch work to ease friction points prevalent for minority groups engaging with the cycling community. 



Ride, Race, or Party Pace:

For some, cycling is all about landing on a top podium spot, going shoulder to shoulder with their fellow competitors, while others are racing themselves and celebrating the win of crossing the finish line. Others are the party pacers who come for the fun and sun, bringing the high vibes, and Grounded encourages it all.


Coining the phrase “Party Pace World Championships,” Grounded celebrates their last rider in style as well as providing an equitable cash podium, featuring 20% more for the women and non-binary categories for the speedsters of the group. 


The idea: Come as you are. Grounded Nebraska will celebrate you. 


Grounded Nebraska will be held June 28-30, 2024, and registration is open in all distances and categories.