The 2019 edition of the Lauf Gritfest gravel race is almost upon us! The organisers have now released full details of the new course, complete with some suitably intimidating nicknames for section and profiles that look challenging on the way up and fun on the way back down.
[Full disclosure: We are media sponsor for Lauf Gritfest so deeply biased, but we loved the event last year anyway]
The event is taking place in Mid-Wales on the 22nd and 23rd June, with the first day offering up three timed special stages amongst around 100km of distance and day two treating tired legs to another three special stages but a slightly shorter 60km of riding.
All timed stages are off-road, as is most of the overall route but it includes plenty of private land and some cheeky descents that'll please the mountain bikers and a climb that organiser Matt has nicknamed K2, for obvious reasons...
Of course, in between both days, there will be proper camping, showers, catering and even plenty of evening entertainment for riders and families - the band and beer tent certainly got things kicking last year.
Special Stage One - Rotor Riot
Lauf Gritfest 2019 kicks off with the Rotor Riot, a 7.5km stage with 190m of climbing throughout. It is an undulating stage, with the bulk of the climbing early on and leading into fast, flowing sections with fun sections through what feels like absolute wilderness. No roads, house or any sign of habitation in sight. The finish of SS1 is also the location of a feed station, to top up on energy levels.
Special Stage Two - Brooks Behemoth
After just 4.5km of neutral section on a quiet road, riders will climb up to a mast where Stage 2 begins. Brooks Behemoth is an apt name, giving the distance and climbing. 19km with 450m of climbing, it is by far the most challenging stage of the event. Taking riders through Tywi Forest it finishes with a flat out descent. Feed 2 welcomes riders who will no doubt be tired after the tough stage.
Special Stage Three - Effetto Dam Buster
The final stage of Day 1 and overall a downhill stage, with 100m of climbing through the 6.8km distance. Given the start is at 410m elevation it should mean a fun, frantic stage for all, skirting around Llyn Brianne reservoir. The finish line, on top of the dam wall, a mere 270m elevation, adding up to 370 metres of descending in total.
Special Stage Four - Lezyne Ladder
Kicking off Day 2 and starting just a few kilometres from base, it will be sure to wake the riders' legs up. It's the only stage that is predominantly climbing in the whole event, which will suit the climbing goats. Rising up through Caio forest in steps, including some technical riding and bumpier sections before finishing on fire roads, with 4.1km total distance and 170m of climbing.
The organiser's favourite stage, simply due to the mix of incredible scenery and flowing riding. After an absolute beast of a climb that is thankfully un-timed, riders start the stage at 400 metres elevation and stay up high throughout with no significant climbs but lots of undulations to begin and a furious descent to finish the timed section. 9.1km with 180m of climbing.
Special Stage Six - Ritchey Rush
For many riders the stage at Cwm Rhaeadr was a highlight of the 2018 event, so riders will be happy to know that it returns for 2019. Almost the same with just one new section. As with the 2018 event, the fact that Cwm Rhaeadr is known for its superb mountain bike trail is not something riders should worry about. A twisty 5.3km with 195m of climbing.
Pedalling wins prizes!
There will be an overall winner's prize for all stages, regardless of category or gender as well as standard overall category prizes for the complete race. With the likes of Lauf, Rotor, Ritchey, Lezyne, Effetto and Brooks sponsoring, the fast boys and girls should be guaranteed some top schwag.
Entries are almost sold out, but you can head to the site for more details:
You might also like: