With the last weekend of cyclocross for the 2021/22 season in the rearview mirror, thoughts turn to gravel riding and racing. Tackling some challenging gravel events is a great way to challenge yourself and build your long, slow, distance fitness over the Spring and Summer.
Whether as a participant or spectator, here are some of the gravel rides and races I'm looking forward to in 2022:
Redlands Strada Rossa VIII
The last 3 editions of the Strada Rossa have been marred - heavy rain and fog in 2019 which created very challenging conditions, then cancelled in 2020 (COVID), and 2021 (COVID again.)
In Spring 2022 as COVID restrictions are relaxed it appears the 8th edition is on track to move forward. The best part of this one might be the legendary post-ride food.
Note: this one is sold out!
The Bay Area Epic
The Bay Area Epic is a different kind of gravel event. Instead of a mass start on one day, participants are encouraged to ride the course and measure their time alone, at their leisure - i.e. a "socially-distanced" group ride.
Pick one of three courses and ride it for time during April 2022, then submit your ride and see results in May. It's self-supported (no outside help) and on the honor system.
This one is free, but supports two charitable causes, if you can kick something in:
Sep. 17, 2022
Like Strada Rossa, the Mammoth Tuff has been cancelled - twice - but appears poised to go off in 2022 in and around Mammoth Lakes, California. If you're unsure about your fitness and the altitude, they've got a series of training camps to make sure you're ready, too.
I sat down with co-founder David Sheek for a preview of the 2021 event, which is still applicable for the re-scheduled 2022 edition. Listen here.
Life Time Grand Prix
Events throughout 2022
Yes, Life Time catches some flack for "corporatizing" gravel events that used to be grassroots. No one can deny, however, that Life Time is bringing lots of exposure to the sport, and that's a good thing.
In 2022 there's a new Grand Prix series consisting of 6 events and $250,000 in prize money, including the Unbound Gravel, the Leadville Trail 100, the Big Sugar, and more.
One of the promised benefits is live streaming coverage, so stay tuned for that.
I hope you are healthy and riding - see you out there at these events!