If you’re a seasoned gravel grinder or a newbie who’s nervously just signed up for your debut gravel event, at the end of the day – gravel riding and racing is about adventure, discovering the roads less travelled and having a blast while at it.
Of course, there’s your general guidelines to preparing for any two-wheeled event that include; choosing the right equipment and tyres, making sure you have suitable clothing for all conditions, practicing nutrition before race day (what works for your gut and, most importantly, what doesn’t), and obviously, training. This all depends on your personal ambitions.
If you’re in it for a bit of fun with some mates, then you’re going to still want to train and up your off-road skills sufficiently, to get through with a smile on your dial and to avoid that dreaded crawl to the line that could have you scarred enough to throw the towel in right then and there.
If you’re at the other end of the spectrum and are looking to put in a competitive performance, then training for a longer period of time, with a little more structure and handling practice will be king. So, you’re left crossing the finish line content and ready for more.
Tip: If you’re feeling a bit behind the eight ball in the skills department, then hit the trails with an experienced mate, glue yourself to their wheel when you hit some technical sections and let them guide you. You’ll likely surprise yourself at just how much you can learn and improve from others.
One thing that really differentiates gravel riding, is that while it still offers a fitting platform to get competitive and shred hard, there’s really a much greater depth to it. Gravel riding is about exploring. Endless adventures. Epic scenery. Traffic-free kilometres. Meeting like-minded people on the bike, then toasting beers together afterwards. It’s a truly special scene to be part of and the beauty is – anyone and everyone is welcome.
All in all, participating in a gravel event is all about having a good time. Making memories. And not taking things too seriously. Leave that for the Tarmac and just let rip.