Gravel Grinders are becoming the newest way for cyclists to torture--ahem--enjoy the sport. Done on unpaved and muddy backcountry roads, gravel races are unruly challenges that guarantee a mess.
There are miles and miles of unpaved roads throughout the U.S. that are now being taken advantage of by cyclists. With a team spread throughout the country, we are sharing a few of our upcoming favorites throughout the country.
Here are a few of our favorite spring gravel grinders throughout the country.
April 21st in Hastings, MI
Offering four race lengths for any level of skill, the Barry-Roubaix offers grueling roads with 80% rolling gravel roads, with a few paved in between. And dependent upon the unpredictable Michigan weather-- you might even enjoy some snow and ice on this race.
June 2nd in Emporia, Kansas
Dirty Kanza began in 2006 when two cycling enthusiasts realized the way they'd been riding all their life-- throughout the gravel roads of Kansas-- was unheard of in the cycling industry. Throughout the Flint Hills of Kansas, the Dirty Kanza 200 offers a Dirty Kanza Bible each year to prompt it's riders to choose the best of race for them. The Dirty Kanza 200 boasts it's difficulty and even warns riders they will suffer the consequences of their own decisions.
April 29 in Newburg, WI
Running on open roads, this race offers no entry fee and a 63 mile ride to warm up for the season. Ride through the picturesque farmland of Wisconsin, this ride offers 10 miles of dirt and gravel!
Cross Mountain Crusher
April 28th in Deleware County, New York
Telling riders it's "not a race," but truly a test of the human body, Cross Mountain Crusher is a 55 mile race that includes a 5000 foot elevation gain up Cross Mountain. Some portions of the ascent include 20% grades of incline, making it a tough climb that's early enough in the spring to offer a trainer for many other summer races.
The Fools Classic
April 7th in Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Offering variety every year with different routes, the Fools Classic offers views of huge spanning farms, pre-revolutionary war homes, and picturesque travels throughout a beautiful yet difficult course. Throughout rural Pennsylvania, this historic spring race yields a few steep hills and river valleys, making it a great first gravel grinder for the spring season.
April Fools Gravel Camp
April 6-8th in Benton, Kentucky
Gravel Camp offers not only a fun race, but also the opportunity to camp out and party in the woods. This includes catered breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as camping throughout the beautiful Land Between the Lakes and ending at Ken Lake campground. Looking for a casual 30 or 60 mile ride with camping, a few libations, and load of fun? This is your race.
Hilly Billy Roubaix
June 3rd in Core, West Virginia
There are jokes to be made about the name, but the 70 miles of this backwoods adventure are no joke. Offering trails through steep and slick climbs, bike-swallowing mud, and gravel roads with ruts spewn about, this ride ends with a bluegrass, beer, and pizza party to top off the race.
April 15th in Newberry, Florida
Covering more than 207 kilometers of unpaved and paved roadways, the Strada Bellamy rides along the Old Bellamy Road-- constructed in 1820's and includes 23 unpaved chunks of road. Taking it's inspiration from the Strade Bianche held in Tuscany, this offers the toughest ride in Northern Florida.
Dirty Fury Stage Rush
May 5-7th in Jacksboro, Texas
This 3 day gravel grinder is done in stages of 84 miles on Friday, 110 miles or 59 miles on Saturday, and 103 miles or 42 miles on Sunday. Offering at least 75% of the roads unpaved on each of the legs, this race won't be easy but it'll be fun.
The Triplets n Twins
April 1 in Endee, New Mexico
Enjoy a wonderful taste of the Southwest with the open range, no help, 100% dirt gravel adventure. Wondering how it got it's name? With a 42 miler, 64 miler, and 80 miler, each distance climbs one, two, or three crazy steep climbs!
April 28th, 2018 in Elbert, Colorado
With 100km and 50km rides, the winding, rolling gravel roads travel north of Monument and west of Elbert, Colorado. Offering a way to wake you up from your winter slumber, Encierro Velo rides through the mountains of Colorado and offers a way to test your courage.
Montana Gravel Challenge
April 13-15th in Missoula, Montana
The decision to combine the Montana Hell Ride and Rocky Mountain Roubaix came the event of the Montana Gravel Challenge. Offering three stages, with the first all gravel, stage two offering a huge climb, and stage three is the classic Rocky Mountain Roubaix, but even longer this year.
Volcano Fire Road 120K
June 9th in Veyo, Utah
Starting with a downhill short warm-up, the Volcano 120K takes no time hitting the dirt and beginning the climb towards Enterprise Reservoir. With a break of pavement between mile 22 and mile 40, you'll be ready for the fast and fun descent past the Pine Valley Wilderness. To top of the entire race? Some local favorite treat: Veyo Pies.
May 5th in Chino Valley, Arizona
A 115 mile out and back from Chino offers 70% gravel roads throughout the Prescott and Kalibab National Forests. Passing by the Gateway to the Grand Canyon and free beer (to those over 21), the Chino Grinder is a great start to the gravel rides throughout Arizona.
Oregon Coast Gravel Epic
May 5th in Waldport, Oregon
Throughout the mountainous and remote coast of Oregon, this is the first in the Oregon Triple Crown Series. Climbing throughout the Siuslaw National Forest with 6,500 feet of elevation gain, it offers about 40% gravel for the ride.
Lost & Found Gravel Grinder
June 2nd in Portloa, California
7,000 feet of elevation gain over 100 miles at 80% of the roads being dirt makes this awesome ride an adventure in the high sierra. This ride takes you through alpine valleys and towering mountains that are some of the best California has to offer.
Gran Fondo Leavenworth
May 20 in Peshastin, WA
This course is designed to give riders a glimpse into the rustic forests of the Washington Cascades. Riding along forest service roads, this 87 miler climbs over 9,400 feet, so plan accordingly. The popular destination town of Leavenworth, WA offers a fun after race spot to enjoy a bit of Dutch history.
King Ridge Dirt Supreme
May 19th in Duncan Mills, CA
With two options offering to omit the climb to Occi, the King Ridge Dirt Supreme offers a crazy ride outside of Sacramento, California. The first option includes a slow burn and a dirt climb up to Salt Point and offers a 8,176 foot climb over 80 miles. The second option omits the biggest climb but still offers a solid 62 mile ride with the Kruse dirt climb and Salt Point dirt descent.
Canyon Belgian Waffle Ride
April 15th in San Marcos, CA
Last but not least... the most unique cycling event in the country. The one day cycling race offers a pre-ride Belgian waffle feast and a two-day expo on the Friday and Saturday before. The ride boasts a "lavish Belgian feast, before, during and after." Some specifics include 140 mile ride and a 68 mile ride, 13 categorized climbs and over 13,000 feet of climbing for the longer ride. The dirt sections total over 40 miles of the race as well as 14 water crossings.
There's a few of our favorite spring rides throughout the country. From the flatland of the Midwest to the mountains of the Rockies to the coast of Oregon, there are rides to warm up your legs and shake off some of the winter freeze.
Have you ever gone on a gravel grinder? Did you love it? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know!