In our last Team-ORCC video you saw Liam take on the Southern Enduro Champs in Minehead – the main event of his racing season. Now, we're heading to the depths of the Scottish biosphere in Dumfries and Galloway, where I tackled the three-day Raiders Gravel event on my Lapierre e-gravel bike. With the racing now done and dusted for both of our Team ORCC '23 riders, this means the season is nearing an end… But before we wrap up, let's see how gravel racing is on an e-bike!
Is it BETTER riding an e-bike at a gravel event? | Team ORCC '23 EP.06, by off-road.cc
Despite e-bike racing being quite commonplace in mountain bike circles, it is still somewhat difficult to find gravel events – let alone races that accept gravel bikes. Raiders Gravel offers a category for e-bikes, but unlike those who race the three-day event seriously, even the fastest e-gravel bikers won't be rewarded with a podium at the end of the event. Instead, they are taking part in the 'ride' category, which is similarly timed but not competitive.
The fact that there was no podium to stand on didn't diminish my determination to perform at the best level possible, because anything less would have undermined all the preparation earlier in the season. The e-Crosshill was now perfectly tuned at the bike fit, and having followed Chris Opie's training plan for months leading up to the event, everything was falling into place when I arrived at the start line in Gatehouse of Fleet.
The three stages of Raiders Gravel are all relatively similar, offering between 70 and 80km of gravel for each of the three days. This year, the second stage which was also the longest and hilliest, offered three timed segments instead of a full, hard race for the whole distance.
The three stages offered the perfect testing ground for the Lapierre e-Crosshill that has been my bike this season. Rolling on the Continental Terra Speed Trail tyres set up tubeless, the bike remained comfortable over the three days even though some of the terrain was rather bumpy. And the battery? It lasted just about every stage - even though the second day was a little bit of a touch and go...
Even though riding the e-bike came with extra considerations around battery preservation, riding the event in a much more relaxed manner was a great experience. Having to not worry about exhausting myself on the stages, it was a lot easier for me to focus on enjoying the landscapes and the simple joy of riding a bike. That did not mean that my timing was too bad, though, as although the 'ride' category was not race, I did quite well among my fellow riders...
Make sure to watch the full video to find out how it was to attend a gravel event on an e-bike (spoiler, if you have a chance to try it, do it!) - and see how far up I placed!
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