Ride like an Illinoisan

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It’s rough out there, and I like it!

The Rough Road 100 departs Morris, Illinois on April 1 this year and claims to be – The Midwest Classic – and I’m all in favor. With its nine gravel sectors this 100k spring race/ride is everything you want in a classic, except maybe it’s not in Europe.


I’ve started my cycling season with this ride almost every year since it started in 2014. I’ve done both the 65k and 100k distance depending on my fitness. And being fit to ride, let alone race in early spring is no easy thing living in the Midwest. At some point like it or not you’ve got to get on your bike outside which means training in ugly weather. Which is good because April 1st on Rough Road 100 day, it can mean snow, wind, rain, cold or sunshine. Which in my opinion is a big part of the challenge. Getting fit and then sharing the whole ugly experience with your friends. Good stuff.

I’m pals with the founder of the ride Craig Patnode and a few years ago I created a Rough Road 100 print. Well since I’m always looking for new things to do I created this image for 2023. The Rough Road 100 | Jersey Cycling Art Print.


Rough Road 100 watercolor by valenti framed

I’ve been working with watercolors a lot in the last couple of years now and making some poster prints with them. I still create my digital design images but the unpredictable nature of this event, a wild, messy, less than perfect image was called for. Watercolor painting is like that. You think you know what’s going to happen and then it doesn’t. Happy surprises most of the time if you just go with the flow. Hmmmm, sounds like a bike ride to me.


Well I hope you like it, the new print that is and I hope maybe you consider the Rough Road 100, you can register here. Time for me to get back to outdoor training, once the snow melts again. Don’t you just love the weather we have here, “Ride like a Flandrien” – my butt, I say “Ride like an Illinoisan”.

Vive Le Velo!

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Michael Valenti is "The Veloist" - He is an avid cyclist and artist known for his Cycling Art work. Each year Michael chases the Pro Peloton at the Tour de France and other major cycling events. He is available for event and corporate cycling related projects as well as personal commissions for art.

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