I have plans to do a week-long ride on forest service roads along the Continental Divide. But I'm a roadie with a road bike, and also a bike commuter with a gravel-ish bike I turned into a commuter bike. Though my commuter bike was sold as a gravel bike, it was more marketing than function. But it did make a great commuter bike with a rack and panniers and lots of lights.
But COVID-19 put an end to commuting. It's all work from home now. So I converted my “commuter bike-gravel bike” to a useable gravel bike.
The gearing was still a bit tall for me. Unfortunately the bike industry doesn't seem to want to make derailers that will handle large cassettes and work with road-style brake shifters.
Again, it's Russ to the rescue. His Path Less Pedaled Cave of Bad Ideas YouTube channel reviewed a new derailer by a company named S Ride that magically works with Shimano Ultegra 11-speed brake-shifters and will handle huge cassettes.
Now I have a bike that may be ready for serious gravel roads and some hills. As an old roadie this new thing feels a little odd ,and a little heavy, but what the heck. It works; it’s a bike, and let’s go!