FIgure to file a report here if someone is looking for background on this event. This might be the closest local gravel event (North Aurora) to use as practice with supported rest stops.

Just rode the 25 miles to get a sample of what the gravel would be like on my 28mm road road bike tires. It felt like 50/50 pavement vs. gravel and the gravel was generally category 2 which I'd describe as chunky/loose giving you a little challenge to find a smooth line if there is one. Apparently as part of the usual route is a marshy trek through grasslands under power lines to get to a stretch of gravel road near the start...saw and hear from riders that planned to detour and take the pavement route the event returns on.

Expect wind and maybe cold standing in the wind for the escorted start. Hot coffee greets you at check in and legacy event shirts are inside the event host, Pedal and Spoke. They limited the event to advance reg only (I guess it sold out?) but parking was plentiful in next door to the shop in one of the suggested neighboring lots.

Good camaraderie riding out with the mass start - will be easy to find a group to pace with. Same goes for leaving from the rest stop whether you are continuing on or returning. I wound up focusing on where riders ahead were going but that's no guarantee they are headed the right way or even riding the event. Painted markings on the roadways, but probably not on the gravel.