Gravel riding is gaining momentum every year and, if you’re in B.C., there’s a solid list of events where you can try out the new racing format.
Canada’s western-most province has an endless network of gravel paths and backroads to explore. If you’re looking for an event to guide you off the beaten path, try these B.C. gravel events in 2019:
Rock the Ridge – Pitt Meadows – April 28
As the longstanding B.C. road event, Race the Ridge approached its 20th year of blitzing the provinces top teams through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, organizers decided a change was in order. For 2019, the race is heading off-road as the 75 km Rock the Ridge gravel ride. The full distance Open Men and Open Women categories will compete for cash prizing, while a 50 km open ride will provide an alternative for youth, under-17 and those looking to dip their toes in the waters of gravel racing without committing to the full distance.
Event Website: http://www.localride.ca/our-races-landing
Kettle Mettle Dirty Fundo – Penticton-Kelowna – September 21
For the sixth edition of the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fundo, organizers have offered three different distances to make sure everyone feels able to participate. There a Medio Fondo 50km option, Full Fondo 100km, and the Full Fondo Plus 130km big event. Showcasing the historic Kettle Valley Trail in the hills above Penticton, there’s stunning views, wineries, and wooden railway trestles all along the route.
Event Website: Kettle Mettle Facebook
Ride For Water Gravel Grind – Chilliwack – May 4
Exploring the Chilliwack Valley while raising funds for the Run For Water charity, providing drinking water projects in Ethiopia, Ride For Water Gravel Grind offers two route options. For 2019, the event is offering substantial cash prizing for the top three men and women. Top racers get a full $1,000, second $500 and third $200 in the full distance event.
A 66km main course, takes riders along the scenic Cultus Lake before turning back to Chilliwack, and makes for a great introduction to gravel riding. The 155km Epic course continues on towards Chilliwack Lake, and aims to satisfy more experienced riders looking for a proper adventure.
Event Website: runforwater.ca/ride
Cowichan Crusher – Duncan – June 24
The second event in the Triple Crown of Gravel, Cowichan Crusher rolls out from Duncan, on Vancouver Island, towards Lake Cowichan on gravel roads, logging roads, and sections of the Cowichan Valley Trail, which is now part of The Great Trail. There’s a 50km and 100km option, with organizers promising the shorter option will be a more beginner friendly course in the events third year.
Event Website: cowichancrusher.com
RELATED: Top gravel riding tips
Golden Ears Gravel Fondo – May 25 – Port Coquitlam
50km Medio Fondo and 95km Full Fondo. Now in its second year, Golden Ears Gravel Fondo is putting the Fun in Fondo, with a scenic gravel route and beer gardens after the finish line.
Port Coquitlam, Golden Ears Valley and Pitt Medows. Part of “Triple Crown of Gravel, with Cowichan Crusher and Kettle Mettle Dirty Fundo
Event Website: goldenearsfondo.com
Don’t see your favourite event on this list? There’s more of these popping up all the time, and some long standing local events that fly under the radar. If there’s one you think people should know about, tell us in the comments below.