'Tis the season — registration season that is! If you haven't planned out your 2024 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!
Events in North America
Registration: Unbound is now a lottery-only event. The lottery for the XL is open from December 1, 2023 through December 15, 2023. The lottery for the 200, 100, 50, and 25 routes is open from January 5, 2024 at 12 p.m. CT until January 20, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Event date: June 1
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 contend 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 2024 event. When registration opens, you're entered into a lottery. Those selected to participate in Unbound 2024 will be notified at the end of January.
Event Date: August 20, 2023
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Coming up on its fifth 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.
The Belgian Waffle Ride Series
BWR Arizona: Registration
Event date: March 1-2
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
BWR California: Registration
Event date: April 27-28
Location: San Marcos, CA
BWR Utah: Registration
Event date: April 6
Location: Cedar City, UT
BWR N. Carolina: Registration
Event date: June 21-22
Location: Asheville, NC
The Belgian Waffle Ride is now entering its 12th season, and is more popular than ever before with six events across North America.
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, choking dust, leg-numbing sleet or heat and winds."
Registration: Select categories only
Event Date: March 14-17
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Mid South, formerly known as Land Run, Is getting ready for its 12th 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 conjunction with an ultra trail running event 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.
Rebecca’s Private Idaho
Event Date: August 29 - Sept. 1
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.
Registration: Sold out for 2024
Event Date: April 20
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.
GRASSHOPPER ADVENTURE SERIES
Low Gap: registration is open
Event date: Jan. 27
Location: Ukiah, California
Huffmaster: registration is open
Event date: Feb. 24
Location: Maxwell, California
Lake Sonoma Enduro: registration is open
Event Date: March 24, 2024
Location: Geyserville, California
Ukiah-Mendo Gravel Epic: registration is open
Event date: May 11
Location: Ukiah, California
The Grasshopper Adventure Series in 2024 will mark the 26th year of this California-based series’ existence. The organization describes its “races” as less racing, more challenging yourself on some tough courses in foothills and mountains of Northern California. Still, though, there are podiums for age group categories and competition is encouraged.
While you can sign up for any of these races as a one-off adventure, if you’re feeling competitive, you can race the whole series for points and see who earns the title of Hopper Super Hero King of the Universe (yes, that’s really the title) at the end of it all.
Registration: registration is open
Event Date: May 17-18
Location: Hico, Texas
The official slogan of Hico, Texas is “Where everybody is somebody!” And Gravel Locos could be your very own chance to become a “somebody” in the Lone Star State. Gravel Locos boasts 30-, 60-, 100- and 150-mile routes - and for those who think Texas is flat, think again. The 30-mile route has 1,500 feet of climbing and the 150-mile course has a whopping 7,000 feet of gain.
There are no cutoff times at Gravel Locos, but the event site reminds athletes that if you don’t think you can return before sunset, it is your job to carry lights and supplies needed for nighttime riding.
Events outside North America
Registration: registration is open
Event Date: May 1-5
Location: Girona, Spain
The Traka is a multi-day gravel festival in Girona, Spain that features 50k, 100k, 200k, 360k, and ultra-distance 560k route options. It’s to be noted that the Traka is not a race - it is a non-competitive bike ride whose values are “ethics, camaraderie and respect for the environment,” according to the event website. Participants are allowed to stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to take photos, to nap - whatever! - as long as you resume the route at the location where you stopped.
There are generous cutoff times for the Traka, with the 360k allotting 32 hours for participants to make their way to the end of the course. The 360k and 200k are already waiting list-only for 2024 but the 50k, 100k and the “adventure tour” ultra-distance bike tour of 560k (which only has 200 slots and priority is given to those who have already completed the 360k).
Registration: Opens December 1, 2023
Event Date: April 19-21
Location: Kielder Forest, UK
UK's answer to American gravel racing comes in the form of the Dirty Reiver. Now in its 10th 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 - Worldwide
Grinduro Germany: registration is open
Event date: May 24-26
Location: Hellenthal, Eifel
Grinduro California: registration opens December 1, 2023
Event date: May 9-11
Location: Mt. Shasta
Grinduro Pennsylvania: registration opens December 1, 2023
Event date: June 7-9
Location: Forksville, Sullivan County
Grinduro France: registration is open
Event date: June 28-30
Grinduro Italy: registration is open
Event date: Sept 27-29
Grinduro Japan: registration opens January 31, 2024
Event Date: October 18-20
Location: Not disclosed beyond “Japan”
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 2024, the Grinduro series will feature two US stops and one each in Italy, Germany, France and Japan.
Registration: January 9, 2024 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Event date: June 15
Location: Lahti, Finland
Bottas, Tiffany Cromwell, Amy Charity and the team behind SBT GRVL are taking over the world, one gravel event at a time. Now approaching its second year, FNLD GRVL event will return on June 15, 2023.
FNLD GRVL is 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.
Thank you for reading 20 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