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How do you find new challenges when you’ve raced in nearly every major cycling event? Is riding still fun, or does it become a chore?

We chatted with Ted King, a WorldTour pro turned gravel grinder, podcaster, entrepreneur, and now tour guide for inGamba’s inaugural N2 three-day tour, along with fellow former pro Laurens Ten Dam. The mileage will be high, the elevation will be staggering, and those along for the ride will have an unforgettable experience.

How are you?

I’d be a fool to complain. I’m doing great. We’re in Majorca for the week, and the riding has been amazing.

You’re gearing up for gravel racing season and also leading a tour with inGamba in April. How did that come about?

I go back a long time with inGamba’s founder, João Correia. He and I were teammates in 2010 when we were both still racing for the Cervélo TestTeam, and we stayed friends over the years. In the last couple years, my riding seemingly has only picked up, and I’m doing longer and longer distances. He knew that I love doing crazy long events, going for long distances on gravel. And Laurens Ten Dam and I have been friends since our WorldTour days as well, when he was racing for Rabobank and I was racing for Liquigas-Cannondale. And João came up with this idea to do the N2 ride in Portugal in three days.

You have a pretty intense racing schedule this season as well, so does this three-day block help?

It’s going to be awesome, to be honest. I’m working with a coach and I suggested it to him, saying, ‘Hey, this is completely outlandish to fly to the other side of the Atlantic and do this thing, but the actual logistics make perfect sense.’ I’m starting the season with Levi’s GranFondo and Sea Otter in California, then flying directly to Portugal for the N2 ride, then going to Girona in Spain for the TRAKA in early May, which is a really long gravel race. The TRAKA was really important to me, but it wouldn’t make sense unless I could fit something else in. So when the idea for doing this tour came up, it sounded like an ideal way to prepare—and have fun! Even my coach agreed that the two would work well together, and to have a little bit of time in between just actually makes it a really, really nice chunk of training and racing.

What does recovery look like? How do you travel and ride?

Years of experience definitely help! And maybe it’s all relative? For this trip, for example, it sounds like a lot but really, the GranFondo is on a Saturday, Sea Otter is a full week later. Those are two one-day races and are pretty easy to recover from. The N2 trip starts almost immediately after Sea Otter, but truth be told, it’s only three days. You can suffer through three days, no problem! Then, I have a week in Girona to recover. The TRAKA will be challenging, but right after, I’ll fly straight back to the States and do a two week recovery and training block before I do Gravel Locos and Unbound. So they’re not as stacked on top of each other as they seem—that’s over the course of a couple months, compared to a WorldTour race like the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia. There is a method to the madness! And for me, the amount of time in between races is actually kind of perfect.

Are you doing other work when you’re in a season like this? I know you have a lot of projects on the go.

Racing has become the focus this year, though I’m still doing other things. I still have a podcast and then my wife Laura and I, started another podcast with our friend Stu, which has a slightly different format doing more question answering as opposed to just one-on-one interview style.


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So we’re calling it a comeback?

Yeah, I don’t know what to call it. It’s a comeback to seriousness. It’s a circle back to seriousness. Or maybe it’s just catching up with the times because gravel has gotten so serious. I think I was one of the early racers who shifted from road to gravel in the US, and now I feel like I want to catch back up with where it’s gone and how it’s grown.

You’ve just begged the question: What is the spirit of gravel in 2024? Has it changed? Is it still there? Was it ever there?

It definitely was there. What we have to come to embrace is that the spirit of gravel changes. It’s fluid. The seriousness and the professionalism that’s come in is for a select cohort. It’s not for everyone. Yes, there is a ripple effect that emanates out from the front of the field to a lot of other participants and racers. But I think there’s still plenty of really fun races. If people show up at the big races and they don’t like that vibe, what’s great about gravel is there are so many different events that have a different feel, a different competitiveness, a different demographic. So I’m a believer in what gravel represents and that ultimately is putting more people on bikes, happily.

Earlier, you mentioned that Laurens Ten Dam was on a different team than you back in the day, but you were friends. This makes me think about the spirit of gravel, the spirit of racing in general: Was it common in road racing to be friends with racers on other teams?

For sure. In fact, you could be better friends with people on other teams. You aren’t as worried about team dynamics. You’re not worried about fighting for a spot for a certain race, you’re not worried about trying to impress them. And in some ways, you have more in common with other riders who are similar to you, versus your teammates. You see it at the end of the race, especially a sprint stage. The winner has his arms in the air. And two seconds later, all the other sprinters are congratulating them, because they all are in that same boat. It reminds me of boxing or MMA, which I don’t really watch, but in general, somebody gets beat up. And then the person who just won the fight is giving a hug to the guy who they just beat the crap out of seconds later.

The N2 ride is coming up. What are you particularly excited about? What should people signed up be excited about?

Selfishly, I’m excited about the distance and the speed that we’re going to be carrying. It’s no joke to cover 200-plus kilometers per day. That is going to be awesome. And what’s great about this particular trip is we have a whole handful of guides. So if you can ride up front for the first hour, that’s great. If you find yourself sliding back and falling a bit behind, we have guides and sag cars to shuttle you to the finish if needed.

I've been on enough different cycling trips to know that inGamba's trips are just the best of the best. It's the best level of service, it's the best level of on-bike support, it's incredible food, it's great wine, it's great mid-ride stops, it's tremendous service on your bikes.

Ted King

For anyone who’s never done it, it is the epitome of professionalism. It is the tip-top number one cycling tour group out there offering an opportunity and inside glimpse into pro life. It’s an experience that no one is going to get with any other cycling tour group.

And really, some of the best times on these trips are at the dinner table. That’s what I love about racing gravel, where you finish a race and everybody is communicating about the same struggles that you go through throughout the day, enjoying that recovery together. At the dinner table on these trips, you’re talking about the day, what was great. When this happened. The challenges you faced. How it was crazy when the crosswind came rushing across the field. And finally, it’s a slightly truncated trip: It’s not your typical week-long tour, so I think we’re going to pack a lot into this shortened period of time.

Join us in Portugal!
Molly Hurford

Molly is the author of Fuel Your Ride, and a Precision Nutrition-certified coach. Her writing has appeared in many leading publications, including Bicycling Magazine and Outside. When she's not writing or coaching, she loves ultra-running and racing on trails, riding bikes, or hiking with her mini-dachshund DW.