Gravel riders ready? Here are the registration dates for gravel’s biggest events

Events sell out quickly. The 2023 gravel season awaits!

Scenes from the 2022 Unbound 200
(Image credit: Life Time)

'Tis the season — registration season that is! If you haven't planned out your 2023 cycling season yet, you'd best get to it because the biggest gravel events are selling out fast.

To make things a little easier on you, you can find some of the biggest events of the gravel calendar, their event dates and registration details below. 

Get ready, set, register!

Unbound Gravel

Registration: Opens December 1 for the XL, January 5th for the other distances, including the flagship 200-mile event.
Event date: June 2-4
Location: Emporia, Kansas

Unbound Gravel, formerly known as the Dirty Kanza, is a mass-start event that takes place in the Tallgrass Prairie and Flint Hills around Emporia, Kansas, in the middle of the United States. With five race distances on offer and thousands of attendees, Unbound has become the world’s marquee gravel event. 

The famous 200-mile course is a true test of endurance, self-sufficiency and equipment. In addition to needing to fuel oneself for 11+ hours of riding, the sharp flint rocks are notorious for slicing tires and dashing podium aspirations.  Along the way, riders also need to content with the undulating terrain, exposed sun-baked roads, headwinds and, if at all wet, tire-sucking mud. 

For those seeking the ultimate challenge, there's 350-mile option called the XL. There are also a 25-mile, 50-mile and 100-mile options. 

Due to high demand, the event organizers are unable to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate in Garmin UNBOUND Gravel.  Therefore, a random selection process determines who will be allowed to participate in the 2023 event. When registration opens, you're entered into a lottery. Those selected to participate in Unbound 2023 will be notified at the end of January.

FNLD GRVL

Registration: Opened Nov. 15
Event date: June 10, 2023
Location: Lahti, Finland

​​In August, we had the chance to go explore some of Finland's gravel offerings with none other than Formula 1 star Valtteri Bottas, and now you can too!

Bottas, Amy Charity and the team behind SBT GRVL today announced that the much-anticipated (and equally vowel-less) FNLD GRVL event will make its debut on June 10, 2023 and registration is open!

The inaugural FNLD GRVL will be held in and around Lahti on the edge of Finnish Lake Region, just an hour’s drive north from Helsinki. The region is defined by more than 55,000 lakes that dot a forest-covered plateau and also houses the highest point of Southern Finland, Tiirismaa, which tops out at just 223 meters (732 feet), meaning that breathing comes easily and hard efforts can be sustained. 

SBT GRVL

Registration: Opens December 1, 2022
Event Date:  August 20, 2023
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Coming up on its fourth year, SBT GRVL has quickly established itself as one the largest and most prestigious cycling events in the world with some 3,000 registered riders from 24 countries and all 50 U.S. states competing across four routes. 

The premier event is the 142-mile "Black" course, with approximately 9,200 feet of climbing on the famous Colorado "champagne gravel." 

For the toughest of competitors there's also the 'Leadboat' double whammy, in which riders tackle the infamous Leadville 100 mountain bike race and the 142-mile SBT GRVL race in one weekend. 

Like Unbound, the demand for ST GRVL is greater than the organizers and small mountain town can handle, and this a random selection process is in place for all wishing to enter the event. Registrants will be notified on December 9th. 

FNLD GRVL test event in Lahti. Photos by Thomas Maheux

This gravel ribbon is part of the FNLD gravel course

(Image credit: Thomas Maheux)

The Belgian Waffle Ride Series

BWR Arizona: Registration
Event date: March 4-5
Location: Scottsdale, AZ

BWR California: Registration
Event date: April 14-16
Location: San Marcos, CA

BWR Canada: Registration
Event date: May 26-28
Location: Vancouver Island, BC

BWR N. Carolina: Registration
Event date: June 9-10
Location: Asheville, NC

The Belgian Waffle Ride is now entering its 11th season, and is more popular than ever before. It's also making its first trip out of the country, with an all-new event offering in Canada. 

When Michael Marckx created the original Belgian Waffle Ride in 2011 in San Diego, California, he never aimed for it to be a gravel race. He modeled the race after the spirit of the Belgian Spring monuments, meaning long distances and tough, technical terrain. In lieu of cobblestones, however, Marckx routed his participants over dirt sectors. 

As the years went on, Marckx and his participants embraced increasingly technical and off-road terrain. Today, BWR is a series consisting of 4-6 events and is fiercely contested by pro road and gravel racers alike. 

There are several race distances on offer, but all promise plenty of "suffering over sinuous, bone grinding roads fraught with arduous climbs, mud, chocking dust, leg-numbing sleet or heat and winds." 

Mid South

Registration: Waitlist Only
Event Date: March 10-11, 2023
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma

Mid South, formerly known as Land Run, Is getting ready for its 11th edition, and is by many considered to be the gravel season opener.

Thousands of racers make the trek to the remote location of Stillwater, Oklahoma, to contest the infamous red clay roads in either the 50-mile or 100-mile race.

While the racing within the peloton is fierce, perhaps the biggest competition, however, comes from the weather and the consequent road conditions. Every year, the race is defined by the state of Oklahoma’s red dirt. If dry, the red roads are hard packed and fast. If wet, the clay turns to thick, soul-sucking mud that’s barely rideable and is known to destroy many a drivetrain.

The gravel races is held in in conjunction with an ultra trail running events and those with energy to burn can sign up to do "the double": a 50K running race followed by a 100-mile gravel bike race the following day. 

Mid South Gravel race

Mid South's red clay

(Image credit: 241 Photography)

Rebecca’s Private Idaho

Registration: Open
Event Date: August 30 - September 3, 2023
Location: Ketchum, Idaho

Rebecca’s Private Idaho is the brainchild of celebrated endurance racer Rebecca Rusch. Nicknamed “The Queen of Pain”, Rusch a professional athlete, entrepreneur, filmmaker, author, philanthropist and firefighter. She's got seven world champion mountain bike titles to her name along with a long list of national and world titles in whitewater rafting, adventure racing, orienteering and cross-country skiing.

Yet, despite being a racer at heart, Rusch’s main reason behind launching her Rebecca’s Private Idaho gravel event in 2013 is showcasing her chosen home in central Idaho many, many miles of scenic, unpaved roads. 

A challenging event, RPI is a race for some, a ride for others and a great party for everyone. It's well-recognized as one of the world’s largest and most popular gravel cycling races.

The event consists of a four-day Gravel stage race and several one-day gravel grinders ranging between 18 and 100 miles. 

Barry Roubaix

Registration: Opens December 3rd, 2022
Event Date: April 15, 2023
Location: Barry County, Hastings, MI

The Barry Roubaix is one of the oldest gravel races in America and was started long before the gravel name had even taken hold. 

“There’s a lot of hypotheticals out there as far as what really started ‘gravel’ racing in the area,” Scott TenCate, Barry Roubaix Co-Race Director, told Cycling Weekly.

"But here in Michigan we have very cold winters and coming into the spring, a lot of the mountain bikers couldn't ride the local trails, because we had the freeze thaw that was going on. And so they were finding alternatives to being able to ride single track and from the stories that I've heard, it kind of started to migrate towards ‘Let's ride some dirt, gravel, seasonal roads'...that kind of stuff."

Nowadays, the Barry Roubaix is among the biggest gravel races in the world with 4,000 cyclists traversing the rolling Michigan terrain every year.

The Barry Roubaix offers four course options ranging between 18 and 100 miles,  $40,000 in awards cash and prizes and a big afterparty for all. 

Dirty Reiver

Registration: Opens December 1, 2022
Event Date: April 21-23, 2023
Location: Kielder Forest, UK

UK's answer to American gravel racing comes in the form of the Dirty Reiver. Now in its 9th year, the Dirty Reiver is the biggest gravel event in the UK and held in the Kielder and Wark Forest on the border of England and Scotland.

Big forests, lots of hills and endless k's of unpaved trails make the perfect location for a gravel event, which takes its participants to new vistas and areas of the wooded region year after year. 

The mass-start event offers challenges of three lengths, 65km, 130km or 200km —all held exclusively off-pavement.

Grinduro: Germany, California, Pennsylvania, Wales and Italy

Grinduro Germany: registration is open
Event date:
May 5-7
Location:
Hellenthal, Eifel

Grinduro California: registration opens early 2023
Event date:
May 19-21
Location: Mt. Shasta

Grinduro Pennsylvania: registration opens early 2023
Event date: June 16-18
Location: Forksville, Sullivan County

Grinduro Wales: registration opens early 2023
Event date:
July 7-9
Location: Machynlleth

Grinduro Italy: registration opens early 2023
Event date:
Sept 15-17
Location:
Tuscany

Started in Quincy, California, in 2015, Grinduro is one of the most unique racing formats one will can do on a (gravel) bike. 

In short, Grinduro takes its format from the enduro racing of the mountain world. In this racing format, the race is made up of several timed downhill sectors. The transfer and uphill section in between the stages do not count towards your time. 

And so, Grinduro is one long loop of pavement and dirt, where finishing times aren’t based on overall loop time, but on four timed segments.

While the racing can be taken serious by some, an equally big part of the Grinduro experience takes place off the bike.Camping, live-music, food and a bike festival are all part of the weekend — a formula that caught on globally. There have been Grinduro events in Japan and Canada, Scotland, Wales and Germany. In 2023, the Grinduro series will feature two US stops and one each in Italy, Germany and Wales. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1