If you are looking for a gravel challenge in 2020 then look no further than this list of ..... events that are perfect for popping that long distance gravel cherry as well as for the seasoned adventure athlete! From 'gravel-duros' to untimed sportives, there is something for all gravel racers and riders in the UK in 2020.
Gritfest - 20th-21st June 2020, Llandovery
OK, so if you don't have an entry already you won't be able to ride this event in 2020, the whole thing sold out in record time. Even with extra places created the event sold out again.
Gritfest consists of multiple enduro-style timed gravel segments as part of a larger loop over the two days of racing. There will be around 80km of riding with a chunky 1900m of climbing on the first day, before a marginally more mellow 50km and 1200m for tired legs on day two. The Cambrian mountains provide the rugged backdrop and stunning scenery as well as some top-notch riding. Good luck if you are riding, for everyone else, put it on your 'to-do' list for 2021!
Yorkshire True Grit - 19th to Sunday 21st June 2020, Yorkshire
Yorkshire True Grit is described as the ultimate off-road cycling adventure, a challenge that will take you across the stunning North York Moors using a combination of public bridleways and private tracks. Our Jon went along in 2018 year and popped his gravel bike race cherry (amongst other things), you can read all about how he got on here.
2019 saw the race move slightly east to Hutton-le-Hole, a North Yorkshire village which means new routes, new trails and new fun! In 2020 the race moves back to its 2018 location with the base camp and Event HQ based in a field nestled between Sutton Bank and Boltby Bank. 2020 again offers three different length rides to enter, 60, 40 or 20 miles or if you are feeling really fruity you can ride the 60 miler on the Saturday and then either hit up 40 mile or the 20 mile ride on the Sunday....
Dirty Reiver - 17th-18th April 2020, Kielder Forest
Dirty Reiver will once again take to Kielder Forest with a choice of 130 and 200km routes around the stunning wilderness that is England’s largest man-made woodland. There are few places as expansive and remote as Kielder Forest, and it’s the ideal venue for a long distance gravel event. Miles of logging tracks provide challenging terrain to ride, with bike and tyre choice key to long-distance comfort and necessary durability to get to the finish.
Again, this is another sold out event for 2020, the lucky riders getting an entry will traverse up to 200km of gravel forest access roads that service the vast areas of forest covering the border region of England and Scotland.
The Distance - 22nd-23rd August 2020, North Yorkshire
Entries are opening soon for the 2020 edition of the Distance! It's a gravel race with a twist, the organisers call it ‘self supported with benefits’. From a single start point, each rider will visit a series of checkpoints throughout the day. How you get between the checkpoints will be dependent on your rate of progress and the style of riding you choose. From adventure bike style roads to mountain bike trails, there are up to three route options at every checkpoint and your arrival time will determine which route options are open to you. Simply the faster you are the further you ultimately ride… or as the organisers say, the more sociable you are the shorter the distance to the comfort of camp!
You'll be filling out 'brevet' style card and you'll need to pack overnight gear and a shelter - it sounds epic!
Eroica Britannia - Summer 2020, Derbyshire
This event is for you if you love a bit of retro! The three-day festival draws thousands of riders in a throwback gravel event and there are not just retro bikes there's a full complement of kit too. Usually a three-day festival, 2019 saw the ride take place over one day instead with a 'Nova' event the weekend before for all those who don't have a retro bike to pull from the garage.
Watch this space for the plans for 2020 - for more info just click here, Jack from road.cc rode the event back in 2018.
Grinduro - 25th July 2020, Wales
2020 sees Grinduro organisers take the race to six different corners of the world with Australia and Switzerland and Canada new to the series. We've also learned that Wales, rather than Arran, Scotland is confirmed as a new location with only the Californian race returning from last year.
The riding of each event takes you on an 80km loop with a respectable 1800m of climbing. Though officially it’s a race, there’s not too much racing to be done. Similar to mountain biking enduro, there are four timed stages where it’s 'no pain no gain' and you have to give it your all for about 7 to 12 minutes. The rest of the route lets you stick to the Grinduro “maxin’ and relaxin’” mantra of riding at your own pace, enjoying the spectacular views of Arran as you trundle along to the next stage. But along with the riding, you also get food, drinks, goodies, awards, a party and even some free brazing demos.
The Welsh version of the race takes place in July, the exact location is still to be revealed.
Ridgeway 100 - 12th September 2020, Oxfordshire
Traversing the South Downs Way, the Ridgeway 100 event gives riders a choice of routes, 107, 75 or 47km in a sportive style. If you fancy something shorter, in a one day format then this could be the even for you. Taking place in September it gives you all year to get ready for it too!
Dunoon Dirt Dash - 26th-27th September 2020, Dunoon
Markus Stitz and Charlie Hobbs team up to bring a new (in 2019) gravel bikepacking event on Scotland’s Adventure Coast in September. The Dunoon Dirt Dash is a self-supported bikepacking event on the Cowal Peninsula near Glasgow, split over two days with an overnight camp on 26-27th September 2020. There will be some very fine gravel riding, camaraderie, camping and castles. The Dunoon Dirt Dash will send 150 riders on a scenic 81 mile (131km) course with 2,750m of climbing including singletrack, gravel paths, forestry roads, public roads and cycle paths.
These guys also organise the Dorset Gravel Dash, and the Wales Dirt Dash, a self-supported event in the Brecon Beacons - both look amazing event to take part in.
Gran Fonduro - September 2020, Tweed Valley
This event, organised by the makers of the Tweedlove Festival is another MTB style event where Gran Fondo meets Enduro. There are scant details on the web at the moment but this event is likely to take place in the Scottish Borders (of course) and in Septemeber 2020.
You can expect 60 and 100km long courses with 'enduro stage' style timed sections around the trails of the Tweed Valley.
Is there anything you think we have missed? Are you attending a great gravel challenge this year? Let us know in the comments below so we can add it to the list!
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