Gravelaide returns with an even bigger dose of Vitamin G for this year’s event. Cyclist sneaks off into the hills beyond Adelaide to sample the three gravel courses on offer come Sunday, March 18.
Images: Kane Naaraat
The dust may have settled from the WorldTour opener at Tour Down Under but Gravelaide is just about to kick it up again. The brain child of a group of gravel-minded Adelaide cyclists, Gravelaide is now into its third incarnation and continues to push new boundaries.
Gravelaide comes in three simple sizes: short, medium, and long. The short route is an introduction, sampling all the surfaces and skills required while keeping the distance short. At just 67 kilometres, the route is littered with rolling hills along mixed surface roads, including sandy sections, pinchy gradients, and plenty of amazing views. Easy gearing and 32c tyres – tubeless if you can – are recommended to make it through the course within 3-5 hours. The short course will challenge the uninitiated and novices but if you’ve had some experience off-road or have ridden similar events like Gravel Grit then you’re likely to feel more comfortable with the medium option.
The medium course is the original Gravelaide long course and while it’s been relegated to the middle sibling it still features plenty of challenges.. Again, riders will be treated to mixed surfaces but with some added technical climbs, technical descents, and sweet flowing roads. We’ve been assured the descents aren’t hair-raising or sketchy but care should be taken. As you’re manoeuvring your way around the 102km route make sure to soak up some the views and enjoy the flowing sections. We’ve been told it’s epic.
The team from Gravelaide recommend 32c tyres as a minimum and suitable gearing to get you up and over double digit-gradient climbs. Expect to spend 5-8 hours on course. Remember the route’s second half is harder than the first, so save your legs and don’t expect any negative splits.
The big bertha long course will test all that dare to challenge its 168km route. It’s is a seriously long but highly rewarding day out on the bike. The route deviates from the medium to include a few extra loops and more technical sections where opportunities will exist to take a shortcut but what about those Imperial Century bragging rights? The route is 168 kilometres and includes more than 2,500 metres of climbing. Finishers are expected to take between 7-9 hours to complete the full loop and will be gently pushed all the way thanks to plenty of on-course fuel stops including a pub lunch on the banks of the Murray and burgers at the finish. That should be enough to get more enthusiastic and trained riders around the course.
We’ve had our experience with gravel at our Gravel Grit event, but this is the first time Cyclist will attend Gravelaide on Sunday, 18 March at Mount Torrens. Join us for any distance and we guarantee a challenging yet rewarding day out with some like-minded riders.
Date: Sunday, 18 March, 2018
Location: Mount Torrens, South Australia (50 minutes from Adelaide)
Distances: Short 67km, Medium 102km, Long 168km.