Many of the big gravel races on the calendar didn’t all start that way. Many events start with humble beginnings, and the experience ignites a fire that fuels exponential growth.
Here a few events that haven’t yet exploded on the scene, and you can ride them before they do.
I don’t have much to say about this race due to the website being mysterious, yet terribly intriguing. From Laurens ten Dam beinh quoted as, “I thought I’d done some hard things in my life before, but this smashes everything” to Emma Pooley stating the race was “the most beautiful, challenging, and happy experience I’ve ever had on a bike,” this is one for the toughest of riders.
Designed by photographer Camille McMillan, Further is a 500-kilometer, unsupported adventure race. The race is a series of timed segments over road, gravel, and mountain biking/hiking terrain. In between the segments, the rider may ride whichever way they choose.
Location: Pyrenees, Spain and England
Date: August 26, 2022 & September 17, 2022
The Peacham Fall Fondo
This event was started by a retired WorldTour rider, previous winner of Unbound Gravel and an all-around top-notch guy. And no, it’s not Ted King.
This is actually Ian Boswell’s cycling event, and it’s just what you’ll be in the mood for by fall. This is not a race, and there are no results. The only prizes are for people who find garden gnomes on course that are holding little wooden rakes.
The fall colors are spectacular, and the hardpack gravel roads are smooth and luxurious. Also home of the best aid station of any gravel race I’ve been to —you can eat slices of fresh baked pie at the midpoint!
Plan on an enjoyable day in the saddle, a tough lumpy course, and a quality community event.
Location: Peacham, Vermont, USA
Date: September 24, 2022
Distances: 50 Miles
It doesn’t get any more Pacific Northwest than this. Prepare to ride through a tunnel of green in this burly gravel adventure.
Located south of Seattle, Washington, at the base of the Olympic Peninsula, mother nature can be very active here in mid April. 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing in a day that will charm you on and off the bike.
Location: Olympia, Washington, USA
Date: April 2023
Distances: 100/50/30 Miles
The Skull 120
The terrain doesn’t get more diverse and chunky than the Skull 120.
Located ~ 2 hours southeast of Bend, Oregon, “America’s Gnarliest Gravel Race” gives you the full service gravel race experience. Camp in the park the night before and enjoy a legit meal and awards ceremony after, the hospitality is top-notch.
Starting in the high desert at ~ 4,000 feet of altitude, the route sets out from town on gravel and doubletrack roads on public and private land, and into the alpine above 7,000 feet elevation. Expect to see a little bit of everything – dust, rocks, snow, agriculture, and a procession of dazzling spring wildflower meadows.
Date: June 2023
Distances: 120/60/30 Mile
Location: Burns, OR, USA
The Rift Iceland
It’s not common to see photos of a bike race that stops you in your tracks, but the content coming out of this race is simply jaw dropping. Insert yourself into any Mars or volcano movie, and you will be at the center of the plot. 200 kilometers of other-worldly landscape, and a generous and welcoming community.
Location: Hvolsvöllur, Iceland
Date: July 23rd, 2022
Distances: 200/100 km