Ghost of the Gravel race/fondo

While it is a bit of a sore spot for me (Bob) but ever since the floods and the inconsistent weather, there has not been a bucket race in the Calgary area since Bow Cycle put on the Bow80. But marathon mountain bike races are restricted by many things. What’s the big thing now?  Gravel races! They offer a little comfort from the highways for many people and take you new places.

That race , the Bow80, had a charm and dastardliness to it that it made 200 plus people sign up for it in two hours months ahead of it. The majority just riders who wanted to say they did the Bow80 and had international competitors come to take part. The frightful wondering if you were in the right spot in the early part of Tom Snow, the painful climb up Jumpingpound, the exhilarating speed while cross the Ridge and hearing the crowd and smelling the Spolumbos as you neared the finish made for a special race. But…floods and weather and, to be honest, the time and money required to pull it off made it difficult to continue.

The race that wasn't

The race that wasn’t

So where am I leading with this though? The Ghost of the Gravel! Shawn and the Deadgoats took an epic ride they did for fun (?!) and have turned it into something special. Leaving out of picturesque Water Valley, the Ghost of the Gravel offers a challenge to all riders and something to say “I did that!” On the Scary Ghost route, you have 110 kilometres of continuous gravel, 6800 feet of climbing and breath-taking scenery. The Friendly Ghost route is a little less challenging but still offers much of the same but with only 76 kilometres of gravel. Fully supported, cash prizes,draw prizes, Red Bull and BBQ to finish!

Ghost of the Gravel

2018 Ghost of the Gravel

What else do you get, well this year Cannondale is sponsoring the race and bringing a unique competitor in Phil Gaimon (actually racing, not just showing up). The technical guide is available here.

What do you need to do? First sign up . Worried about what bike? We will suggest some options

  1. Gravel bike. If you have it. This is exactly what they were made for
  2. Cross bike, switch out the tires to something bigger and smoother (no rules here) and maybe a bigger chainrings. Don’t forget to throw on some bottle cages if this is your race bike.
  3. Road bike. Go as big as you can with tires and avoid the tubulars. This is gravel we are riding on not asphalt.
  4. Glenny bike. If you don’t know don’t worry you don’t have time to make one.
  5. Mountain bike. You’ll be comfortable

Then, get out there and ride. Enjoy yourself, push yourself! And get involved in the next thing that is already here.