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Gritfest: Your chance to tackle a gravel stage race

Joe Robinson
15 Mar 2018

Set over two days, Gritfest pits you against some of Wales' best off-road trails

Gravel riding is the unstoppable beast that keeps growing and it is here to stay. Canyon launced its Grail and Trek released the Checkpoint. The Tour de France is tackling a gravel climb this year and none of us can get enough of Strade Bianche. 

Joing the trend, Gritfest is a two-day timed off-road ride that pits riders against some of the gnarliest yet most beautiful trails Wales has to offer, based in the quiet Cambrian Mountain village of Cilycw.

Taking place on 23rd and 24th June, the race will cover 125km mixing timed and nuetralised sections with around 40 per cent of the course against the clock. 

Day one will tackle 80km with a gruelling 1,600m of elevation. Three sections will be timed with the first being an undulating 10km stretch that finishes with a snaking descent.

The second section accounts for the toughest part with 500m of elevation within 20km with the same amount of techinical descending.

The third will be the most enjoyable as riders drop 400m into the valley basin of the Cambrian Mountains. 

To finish day one, riders will then be treated to trails and roads never used previously in any cycling event. Thankfully this accounts for a neutralised zone allowing competitors to soak in their surroundings.

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Although the second day is just half the length of day one at 45km, that doesn't mean that riders will be able to escape the pain.

Again, there are three timed sections centred around the Cwm Rhaeadr forest including a techincal descent that twist and turns riders down 500m into a former lead mine.

After a brief respite, riders will race 5km through the Caio forest in a section that could see the race won or lost.

Of course, if you like riding gravel and not racing, you can ride around at your own pace taking in the breathtaking scenery and just enjoying getting down and dirty.

Organisers welcome all types of off-road machine but suggest those looking to race for victory take part on gravel-specific machines. 

Beyond the riding, Gritfest will be hosting live music among a wealth of activities throughout the weekend. Full catering will also be offered along with camping facilities from the Friday through to the Monday. 

If you think this is right up your street, be quick to join as there are only 30 spaces left.