Diederik Deelen is as likely to be found at the sharp end of UCI gravel races as he is to be wrenching on bikes at his local shop.
This summer was a particularly event-filled season, with races from Finland to Girona. Catch the highlights in his own words below.
I've done a mix of the UCI races, the Gravel Earth Series and some individuals like FNLD and Steamboat.
It has been a hectic year with many new destinations in combination with my work as a mechanic at The Service Course.
The highlights, start, of course, with The Traka. It's great to see how this race is becoming the biggest gravel race in Europe, all here in Girona.
And to finish third in the 360 was an absolute dream that I thought was impossible.
Both Iceland and Finland were incredible countries that I had never visited before. From volcano and moon-like landscapes to forest trails.
I've had a fairly steady season which I'm super happy with. I achieved very good results in the UCI Gravel races in Ranxo and Millau — 12th and 7th — all while the level is getting higher every year.
New to the calendar this year was the Gravel Earth series. A series of gravel events around the world that emphasized sustainability and passion for the sport.
I participated in: The Traka 360 — 3rd (Spain), The Rift — 13th (Iceland), and Bergslagen — 10th (Sweden)
The series finale, was here in Spain (Cardona). I managed to finish 8th on a super hard course covering 180km and 3,370 meters of elevation gain.
Thanks to some good result I reached the podium and became 3rd overall in the series.
The season ended in Italy with the World Championships. This year I was in the age group that started with over 150 people.
I felt good, but exploded on the first climbs.
After dropping back quite a few places, I picked myself up again and managed to ride a decent final and finished 16th in my age group.
Overall it was a great year. I already can't wait for the next one.
I’m hoping to focus more full time on gravel racing and explore more next season.