Located in Devil's Elbow, Missouri just south of Rolla, this is a great gravel ride that mixes gravel, singletrack, doubletrack and pavement.
The tiny river town of Devil's Elbow is on the Big Piney and the unofficial parking trailhead is across from the Elbow Inn (do not park at the restaurant itself). The crusty old dive-bar exterior makes it easy to discount as a "biker bar" but as we are all often told, looks are deceiving.
The 25+ mile 'fuzzy' route is being modified into a lollipop route encompassing low-use pavement roads, gravel roads, part of the Kaintuck trail and narrow fireroads. Three tall, steep punches to the gut precisely at the beginning, middle and end-of-middle portions of the ride ensure that you will learn to climb better.
Since this route uses part of the Kaintuck trail a mountain bike or cross bike with seriously burly tires is recommended. Be warned: Stay smart and walk the sharp, rocky sections with your cross bike or be prepared to change a tube or repair a shredded tire.
Wrapping up the ride leaves you wondering what's inside the Elbow Inn... Well, this historic river side establishment is located on old Route 66 and has been around since 1929 - truly a piece of roadside Americana. Their beef brisket sandwich is awesome and they offer a simple and smart choice of cheap beer.
More information can be found on Route 66 Bicycles which is the originator of this gravel route.
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