Founded by Wendover native John Hernandez and West Desert buffs Becky Spillman Benson and Bobby Kennedy, Salty & Stupid Cycling, LLC has announced that they will host, together with USA Cycling, Wendover’s first-ever gravel races this year: the Salty Lizard 100 in May and the Stupid Pony in October. Along with the races, the company plans to host healthy living initiatives aimed at Wendover’s youths.
Gravel racing, where participants ride long distances on dirt roads, is the most popular new genre of cycling in the US, with the number of rides and races exploding across the country. With the Salty Lizard 100 and the Stupid Pony, Salty & Stupid Cycling hopes to both give Wendoverians a taste of human-powered competition and also give back to the community. Both rides will donate a portion of their proceeds to Wendover’s and West Wendover’s high schools and elementary schools and the company is partnering with Free Bikes 4 Kidz Utah to host a “bike drive” where people can donate used kid’s bikes at Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City to get refurbished and distributed to Wendover kids the night before the Salty Lizard 100.
“We want to introduce people to the beauty of the West Desert but also showcase the town – Wendover has some of the nicest people on the planet,” says company co-founder, John Hernandez, who taught and coached sports at Wendover High School for nine years. According to Salty & Stupid Cycling’s social media manager, Bobby Kennedy, “Wendover’s this jewel of gravel riding with fantastic roads, zero traffic, and absurdly pretty views wrapped up in a really vicious rain shadow. There’s nowhere else within two hours of the Wasatch Front where you can ride all year round on dirt.”
The inaugural Salty Lizard 100 (May 15-16) will feature three lengths of race, with 100-mile, 60-mile, and 40-mile options and age group categories for women and men, as well as singlespeed and tandem open categories for the 100-miler. The course takes in dirt roads southwest of West Wendover and the Silver Island Mountains Scenic Back Country Byway. For the second year, the Stupid Pony (October 2-3) will start in Eagle Mountain and participants will ride on the Pony Express National Historic Trail all 200+ miles to the Wendover Airfield Museum in a single sitting. Stupid Pony registration is capped at 100 spots with 10 free scholarships.