Top 6 European Gravel Fondo's in Late Summer and Autumn 2018
Get your fix of Dirty Drop Goodness in the fastest growing genre in cycling, with maximum smiles for miles!
Interest and demand for gravel cycling events in Europe is growing rapidly, and countries like Germany, Belgium, Finland and Italy are leading the way.
From it roots in the flint hills of Kansas to Europe, the “Gravel Fondo” is a new frontier.
As Dorothy said, in arguably one of most greatest films in cinema history, the Wizard of Oz - “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore ….”
So if you're looking for adventure, getting off grid, into nature and escaping the hustle and bustle of cars and modern life, here’s our growing list of “Bucket List” rides in Europe for late Summer/Autumn 2018!
VOTEC Gravel Fondo
October 13-14 2018, Black Forest, Germany
The event that and kick-started the European “Gravel Fondo” genre back in 2016, this two day challenge will take you on an adventure, deep in Germany’s Black Forest.
So what is a Gravel Fondo you ask?
Well it’s a whole lot of Gravel and Endurance much like it's cousin the Gran Fondo. Gravel bikes define an entirely new style of riding, part road, part off-road by design these new Genre of drop bar bikes provide the means to satisfy the cravings of a growing number of “Gravel Fondo Fans”. They are looking for well supported challenging events on sublime backroads, with cool climbs and jaw dropping vista's. Cars and tarmac are not really invited. Afterwards beer, music, camping and more!
The VOTEC ride is not a race, however it features several Strava sections to get your competitive juices flowing and everyone gets to sample exquisite Black Forest Gateaux at the finish line.
The first day of the supported ride serves up 75 km and 2,000 metres of climbing, while the second day is a bit shorter and sharper with 50 km and 1,500 metres of climbing. The routes are mostly gravel with a bit of asphalt to get you going, the forest, climbs and scenery is to die for.
Around 100 pioneers took part in the very first Gravel Fondo in October 2016. The event was staged at military barracks at the foot of the Freiberg, and this area didn’t just serve as the start and finish location but also accommodation and party venue.
VOTEC themselves design and manufacture a range of gravel specific bikes and offer a selection of their own gravel bikes for hire at the event.
You are missing something truly special if you miss the all original ground-breaker.
For more information, please visit: https://www.gravelfondo.de
September 22 2018, Annecy, France
The event is a unique alpine gravel challenge in the HC “Haute Category climbs based in the Haute Savoie region of the French Alps near Annecy.
The courses were designed to honor the memory of the Resistance, men and women, who bravely fought, and donated their lives, on the Glières Plateau during the Second World War, made famous on Stage 10 of this year’s Tour de France.
With the incredible panorama of Mont Blanc as the backdrop, the two supported routes, the Resistance (130km) and the Petite (90km), take on the ascent of the Col de l'Arpettaz and the "Gravel Hors Categorie" part of the Route de la Soif.
The ride is not a race, but features Strava sections including the climbs of the Col de l'Arpettaz: Hors Classe, Thirst Road, Col des Glières and the “Ten Tests”. Between the timed sections take a few moments, and tip your cap at each monument, to honor the memory of those who fought and lost their lives, for freedom.
For the more adventurous, there is a 3 day “Tour de Resistance” bike-packing adventure, at altitude, where a rugged spirit of self-sufficiency and fondness of Mountain Refuges will provide an incredible adventure.
If you urge to escape on your bike into the wild and lonely Alpine places, far away from the madding crowds this is for you and you won’t be disappointed.
For more information, please visit: http://www.laresistance.cc
The Dirty Boar Gravel Ride
September 8 2018, Ovifat, Belgium
Belgium is famous for cobbled climbs, but there is a lot riding to found off-road that is challenging and beautiful. The inaugural Dirty Boar was held in 2017, it sold out 300 places months in advance. The 2nd edition of the Dirty Boar is back again!
After the ride, all participants get a free beer and a pouch of famous Ritchey Fritjes (French Fires - with Mayo and/or Ketchup).
For more information, please visit: http://www.dirtyboar.be
LtD Gravel Raid
September 28-30 2018, Hellenthal, Germany
The LtD Gravel Raid, is a new cycling weekend full of adventure, hosted by no other than pro cyclist and gravel fondo rider Laurens ten Dam!
In the Eifel region of Germany, Laurens ten Dam will take on stunning routes with a combination of asphalt and gravel, with two routes of 110 km and the full 140km route.
Following the same Gravel Fondo format, there are marked time segments where you can race and go hard. Then regroup with your friends, fuel up, and gear up for the next segment, putting the good times into racing and kicking back and enjoying the stunning views. The three times sections include a climb, descent and flat section across a range of prize categories for men and women.
Laurens ten Dam loves to ride, but he also loves the outdoors, camping and good food, so expect race day breakfast buffet, Lunch and Post-ride dinner buffet prepared by pro cycling nutritionists to be amazing.
Afterwards chill and refuel with quality gourmet food, drinks, music, and a festival vibe. The entrance fee also includes and a spot on the Camp Site.
What could be better? Good roads, good vibes, gourmet food, super chilled laid back people with a festival feel?
This is sure to be one crazy, fun filled weekend, don’t miss this!
For more information, please visit: https://www.ltdgravelraid.cc
Lumberjack Gravel Ride - Summer Edition
August 3-4, Kortessem, Belgium
Get ready to eat some dust during summer, as the event showcases the greatest tracks in Belgian Limburg. Three courses of 75, 150 and a demanding 300km are ready to satisfy your gravel craving.
Cafe Coureur, the hosts, are a Belgian based bicycle shop and café.
For more information, please visit: https://www.cafecoureur.cc/collections/lumberjack
Piggy Road Gravel Ride
November 4 2018, Florennes Belgium
The Piggy Road Gravel ride is based on roads that were the home of pigs in the medieval period, You'll discover a beautiful landscapes, abbeys, castles and local specialities along the way.
There are two routes, the Little Piggy Road 50km and the Piggy Road Adventure of 90 km.
Afterwards there is live music, lots of food, special beer, a curiosity shovel, and an atmosphere of madness!
Also included are feed stations, an event T-shirt
Register early as these is a maximum of just 300 riders.
For more information, please visit: http://bhea.be/evenements.html