What is gravel racing?
Gravel racing sits somewhere between road, cyclocross and mountain bike racing, and tends to take place on open gravel roads, dirt double tracks and snaking singletrack, often with some stretches of paved road to link off-road segments.
Gravel races are rapidly gaining popularity across the world with a variety of formats, each offering a different flavour and designed to suit a range of riding styles. From day-long races over relatively smooth gravel roads to enduro courses peppered with short and spicy singletrack, there’s something to suit everyone.
Gravel races don’t tend to be categorised by ability, so you’re much more likely to see a mass start rather than separate races for ages, genders and bike types. You’re unlikely to find cash pay-outs for podium places at gravel races, but many do have quirky trophies.
Ride whatever bike you like, wear what you like, ride as fast or as slow as you like – gravel is often seen as a much-needed antidote to the unwritten rules spurred from other types of cycling sport.
Thrilling, fun and sociable: as a new discipline, the gravel-racing community has had the opportunity to develop as a 21st century cycling sport independent of historical perceptions and the restrictions of governing body rules (Editor’s note: the UCI has announced an officially sanctioned series of mass-participation events plus a gravel World Championships for 2022).
Everyone is welcome when it comes to gravel racing. Ultimately, gravel races cater for a wide variety of riders and ability levels – perhaps more so than any other bike-racing discipline. If you’re keen, you’re in.
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