Nearly 150 cyclists will test themselves against Mother Nature’s wrath at this weekend’s new Okanagan Graveller gravel race at Big White Mountain.
The two-day event features three distances, with the “Big Okanagan Graveller” weighing in at 198 kilometres of mixed terrain.
“Cyclists should expect wet conditions this weekend. But that’s what makes this first-time event so epic and challenging for novice and elite gravel bike racers,” says Jodi Merckx, founder of the event. “We’re excited and thankful to bring this new event to the Okanagan and the traditional Syilx territory.”
The event will feature an open (or elite) division where racers in the men’s, women’s and non-binary categories will vie for prize purse of C$7,500.
One of the riders who will be looking to claim a share of the prize money will be the 2022 Unbound Gravel 200 third-place finisher, and former UCI WorldTour professional rider, Ian Boswell from Bend, Ore.
Boswell rode in the Okanagan Granfondo in Penticton, in 2011 and returns to the Okanagan this time to race one of the newest, toughest gravel cycling courses in North America.
Gravel riding combines the endurance-testing lengths of road races with some of the rugged terrain you might see in cross country mountain biking or cyclocross.
Gravel bikes are halfway between traditional road bikes (drop handlebars and rigid fork) and mountain bikes (slacker geometry and bigger tire clearance).
The event begins Saturday morning and continues on Sunday.
Full details and a schedule of events can be viewed at okanagangraveller.com.