After catching their breath following two stage races in two weeks, BC Bike Race organizers are looking back at a successful debut of BCBR Gravel Explorer and looking forward to 2022.
2021 marked the first running of the Gravel Explorer, a five-day gravel stage race held in B.C.’s Southern Okanagan region. Following the motto “Everywhere a gravel bike can go,” the event mixed a wide variety of terrain, both between stages and within each days racing. Paved surfaces, gravel paths and forestry service roads and even a healthy injection of the regions smoother singletrack combined for five exciting days on the bike.
“Day one, oh man, the singletrack! I think it was a good ratio of paved climbs to dirt roads, but the singletrack was super beautiful,” said Lucas Strain, who finished third overall in the pro men’s race. “I feel like that of all the days, I feel like this is a unique race because of what this type of course is!”
BCBR Gravel Explorer – The Terrain
The inaugural BCBR Gravel Explorer brought out a wide range of athletes. At the front, endurance pros of all kinds battled out for the win. Amity Rockwell (Easton) used her years of pure gravel racing to win the women’s race while Canadian mountain biker Cory Wallace brought his year’s of endurance and stage race experience to win the pro men’s race.
Throughout the field, riders dove into the challenge. Fall Okanagan weather, and views, contributed to making the Gravel Explorer’s debut a memorable one as much as the constantly changing terrain.
“The Downhill was probably the funnest thing I have ever done, dirt in my mouth, bugs in my teeth, it was awesome! This has broadened my experience and opened my eyes to what more you can really push yourself to do,” said Holly Schellengerg, the 30+ women’s winner. “For sure it was an adventure race!”
BCBR Gravel Explorer returns for its second edition Sept. 25-29, 2022. Registration is open now with limited availability.
If five days on the bike doesn’t sound like enough of a challenge, you can follow in the tire tracks of Cory Wallace, Karsten Madsen and two other intrepid riders and double up. Race the Gravel Explorer then switch bikes for knobbier tires and roll right into the BC Bike Race mountain bike stage race for the “Devil’s Double:” 11 days of racing in the Okanagan!
If you missed the BCBR Gravel Explorer as it happened, catch up on all five days of racing: