At Movin Mobility, we take great pride in discovering and highlighting the top bike events in Canada for 2023/2024, evaluating these events based on criteria such as reputation, quality of route, locale, feedback from cyclists, and the overall uniqueness of the event or race.
Canada's tradition of road cycling has deep roots, offering riders picturesque routes that span from flat prairie expanses to rugged mountainous terrains. A treasured road cycling destination in Canada is the Cabot Trail, a 300-kilometer circuit through the beautiful terrain of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. It's renowned for its breathtaking coastal vistas, challenging inclines, and tranquil pathways. A standout event that captures our attention is the RBC Gran Fondo, one of the grandest Gran Fondos in North America. This event features a point-to-point route from Vancouver to Whistler, treating riders to exquisite landscapes and a traffic-free journey along the Sea to Sky Highway.
Mountain biking has surged in popularity over recent decades, with British Columbia and Alberta hosting some of the prime terrains. The undulating landscapes of the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Mountains provide endless opportunities for avid riders, with trails ranging from smooth, flowing singletrack to technical descents. The Whistler Bike Park in British Columbia is recognized as one of the world’s most sought-after mountain biking venues, attracting cycling enthusiasts from all over. A significant MTB event on our radar is the TransRockies Singletrack 6, a six-day mountain bike adventure showcasing the finest riding trails across various mountain biking communities in Western Canada. Each year, the race introduces a new route, offering a perfect mix of cross-country trails, scenic views, and thrilling descents, under the umbrella of the TransRockies Race Series, a unique combination of top-notch cycling and trail running events.
Gravel cycling, a relatively new trend in Canada, has quickly gained popularity among cyclists seeking the tranquility of remote locales. The countryside, especially in the prairie provinces and Ontario, is abundant with gravel trails. Events of note include the TransRockies Gravel Royale, a four-day gravel stage race from Panorama to Fernie, BC, and the Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia, a member of the esteemed North American Quadrupel Triple Crown of Gravel Series. The Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo, part of the Gran Fondo World Tour, also stands out.
In summary, Canada is a premier global cycling destination. Its diverse landscapes offer a wealth of cycling adventures for riders of all levels and styles. At Movin Mobility, our dedication to showcasing the top bike events in Canada 2023/2024 guides riders through an array of choices, ensuring they experience the best this magnificent country has to offer to the cycling community.
1) Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo
photo by granfondoguide
The Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo (S2S) stands as a yearly cycling extravaganza set against the awe-inspiring canvas of the Sea2Sky Corridor and the Greater Vancouver Region in Canada, beckoning cyclists who thirst for a distinctive and demanding cycling venture. Participants navigate through gravel roads, singletrack trails, and robust ascents, all while enveloped in the pristine allure of British Columbia.
Tri 1 Events, with a remarkable history spanning 19 years in orchestrating events, and a solid nine years in honing gravel fondos across Western Canada, meticulously choreographs this event. Their acumen ensures a fluid journey right from the kickoff at the starting line to the exuberant post-race festivities. Additionally, they are the brains behind the much-acclaimed Triple Crown Gravel Fondo Series, which houses the Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo (S2S) as one of its jewels. The event has garnered accolades from Strambecco, earning a spot as one of the Top Gravel Events in the Northwest for 2023/2024, and making the list of the Best Cycling Events across the Canadian terrain.
Event & Course Details
The Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo (S2S) event is a magnet for cycling enthusiasts across the globe, encompassing a spectrum of cycling proficiencies. The event offers a choice of three distinct routes catering to various skill levels: the Piccolo/Beginner Fondo (Approx. 25km), Medio Fondo (Approx. 50km), and Full Fondo (Approx. 90km).
The 100K Full Fondo, stretching over an approximate distance of 92kms, presents a route with an elevation gain slightly beyond 1980M. Participants should brace themselves for a few hills and some demanding ascents, albeit none surpassing a gradient of 9%.
Medio Fondo serves as a moderate leap from the Piccolo, and yet remains welcoming to a broad range of cyclists. Much like the terrain of the Piccolo route, this course predominantly showcases flat stretches punctuated with a handful of minor ascents, all set on gravel pathways. Here, the elevation hovers near 900M.
The Piccolo/Beginner Fondo, an inviting gateway for novices to gravel cycling, unfolds a largely flat landscape with occasional modest climbs. Journeying across gravel tracks, riders will encounter an elevation climb just under 500M.
The event's beginning and end are stationed at Logger Sports Park in Squamish, BC. The Full Fondo sets the pace, commencing at 8:00 AM, trailed by the Medio Fondo at 8:15 AM, and eventually, the Beginner Fondo at 8:45 AM. Note, the course wraps up by 2:30 PM. For the competitively spirited, there are various participatory categories: individual, teams of 2, and teams of 4, with team outcomes determined by aggregated times, injecting a thrilling tactical element into the race.
Curious about the most suited bike for this event? While any bicycle can technically suffice, those with thicker tires capable of lower pressure operation, like gravel bikes, cyclocross bikes, and mountain bikes, are recommended.
Post-race, cyclists are pampered with a hearty meal, chilled beer, vibrant music, a commemorative T-shirt, and a shot at a bounty of draw prizes. The essence of the event transcends the race; it’s about fostering community and nurturing a collective ardour for gravel cycling. The Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo (S2S) is much more than a race; it's an exuberant homage to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Canada's western coast. Participants are set to be enchanted by sprawling mountain vistas, boundless rivers, serene creeks, and inviting wide gravel Forest Service roads, each echoing with the allure of exploration.
Lodging Options & Leisure Activities
Although there isn't an official host hotel for the Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo (S2S), Squamish presents numerous lodging alternatives like the Sunwolf Riverside Cabins, Sandman Hotel and Suites, Mountain Retreat, and Executive Suites. For a homier ambiance, an array of vacation rentals are available ranging from quaint waterfront island cabins to modern contemporary residences.
The culinary landscape of Squamish, BC, mirrors its unique coastal and mountainous setting, emphasizing fresh seafood, locally harvested produce, and a burgeoning array of craft breweries and restaurants serving a blend of international and Pacific Northwest culinary styles. This coastal enclave is a culinary enthusiast's delight, offering a fusion of classic Canadian fare and creative gastronomic ventures amidst breathtaking natural vistas. While in town, be sure to visit local favorites such as Salted Vine, Saha Eatery, and Locavore.
Nestled at the northern reaches of Howe Sound, midway between Vancouver and Whistler, Squamish is a quaint township revered as the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada" owing to its spectacular natural allure and myriad outdoor adventures. The region is a picturesque blend of coastal rainforest and rugged mountain terrains, with the iconic Stawamus Chief, a towering granite monolith, standing sentinel over the town. The area's geography is a dream come true for outdoor aficionados. Hiking reigns supreme here, with a plethora of trails including the famed Chief’s Trail leading to the summit of the Stawamus Chief, unveiling awe-inspiring vistas of Howe Sound.
Often hailed as Canada's climbing zenith, Squamish houses some of North America’s prime rock climbing venues, boasting over 2,000 climbing routes. Among the notable ones are The Grand Wall, an esteemed multi-pitch route on The Chief blending crack and face climbing; The Snake, a classic multi-pitch course on the Apron offering a variety of crack sizes; and the Squamish Buttress, often paired with Apron routes, presenting varied climbing experiences culminating in a remarkable crest ascent.
Mountain biking enthusiasts will find their slice of paradise here with world-renowned trails like Diamond Head and Alice Lake networks, offering diverse terrains catering to all skill brackets. Come winter, Squamish serves as a portal to stellar skiing escapades in North America, with Whistler Blackcomb merely a short drive away.
2) Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo
photo by granfondoguide
The Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo, holding the distinction of being the most seasoned gran fondo on Vancouver Island, unfolds a splendid avenue for cyclists to delve into the scenic charm of the Cowichan Valley. Offering routes tailored for every rider skill level, and the choice to ride solo or as a team, the event emerges as an engaging and demanding venture into nature's splendor. Additionally, nestled in a locale celebrated for its outdoor recreational offerings, it beckons as a prime spot for outdoor adventure aficionados to explore all year round. Being a part of the Triple Crown Gravel Series, the event has earned accolades from Strambecco as one of the premier Gravel Events in the Northwest.
The 2023 rendition of the event is slated to commence and culminate in the quaint town of Lake Cowichan, situated along the serene shores of Cowichan Lake. The trio of route alternatives spans a spectrum of lengths and difficulty levels, catering to riders of all calibers. The most succinct route stretches 35 kilometers (22 miles), while the most extended route sprawls across 100 kilometers (62 miles). Primarily tracing gravel pathways, the routes present riders with rigorous ascents, descents, and a sprinkle of technical segments. Participants can enroll as individuals or teams, with team configurations of either duo or quartet riders.
Package collection for the festivity is scheduled on Saturday, May 6th, at Centennial Hall in Lake Cowichan between 2:00-6:00 PM, and on the event's day at the Lowermost Ballfield beneath Hall and Rec Centre from 7:00 AM onwards.
Perched on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island, the Cowichan Valley is revered for its diversified and captivating natural tapestries, embracing forests, rivers, lakes, and mountainous terrains. The event charts several courses that meander through the stunning, rugged topography of the region, brushing past farmlands, vineyards, and other pastoral scenes. During their journey, riders might cross paths with an array of wildlife including bald eagles, black bears, and deer. Recommended accommodations in the vicinity include the Farm Table Inn and the Cowichan River Lodge, besides a plethora of vacation rentals and unique camping sites.
The event's helm is managed by Tri 1 Events, a distinguished event orchestration enterprise in British Columbia. Tri 1 also curates the much-celebrated Triple Crown of Gravel Series, encompassing the Cowichan Crusher Gran Fondo, the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo, and the Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo.
3) Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia
photo by strambecco
This Spring, the esteemed cycling events creator, Monuments of Cycling (MoC), known for the iconic Belgian Waffle Ride California, is introducing its renowned event format to Vancouver Island with the Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia. Inspired by the formidable European one-day Spring Classics, BWR events, known for their unique cycling challenges, have amassed a devoted following. These dynamic, multi-terrain 'unroad' courses are a blend of single tracks, sand, rocks, gravel, water crossings, cyclocross elements, and a bit of asphalt, delivering an unparalleled cycling experience. The team at Strambecco labels the Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia, also termed “The Hell of the Great White North,” as one of the prime Gravel Cycling Events in the Northwest.
The debut of BWR BC is set around Duncan, BC, situated 40 miles north of Victoria, with Cowichan Exhibition Park as the race venue, owing to its closeness to the thrilling single tracks on Mt. Tzouhalem (the Zoo), Maple Mountain, and Mt. Prevost. In crafting this inaugural event beyond the US borders, Monuments of Cycling has collaborated with the well-received Canadian event organizer, Panache Cycling Sports. The anticipation surrounding Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia is already palpable, attracting elite athletes, both current and former pros like Rob Britton, alongside a host of keen amateur riders eager to compete with the best in the sport.
Mirroring the essence of BWR events in California, N. Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Michigan, and Arizona, the course in British Columbia is devised to exhibit a challenging 'unroad' multi-terrain route, embracing the unique topographical allure of the location. Three route options are available: the Waffle course spans 136 miles with an ascent of 8500 feet, the Wafer course covers 67 miles with 5000 ft of elevation, and the Wanna course extends over 32 miles with an 1800 ft climb. The courses will feature between 22-50% of “Unroad” segments, tight turns, roots, water crossings, and obstacles, with 1-7 replenishment zones powered by The Feed. For comprehensive race details, the official 2023 Race Bijbel is available, and FasCat Coaching can provide personalized training plans.
Alongside the race, the Unroad Cycling Festival will animate the weekend with live music, a beer garden, an industry expo, family-friendly activities, and diverse food offerings. Accommodation options include partner hotels like Oceanfront at Cowichan Bay, Villa Eyrie, Four Points by Sheraton, and for those keen on camping at the venue, registrations for bikepacking, tent, or van/RV spaces are open. A range of vacation rentals and unique lodgings like a farm with glamping options are also available. The Cowichan area, with its stunning vistas, myriad outdoor activities, culinary delights, and vibrant arts & culture, is worth an extended exploration post-event.
Participants also get a shot at the 2023 Quadrupel Crown of Gravel Series, commencing with the new BWR Arizona, offering a distinct way to immerse in the unroad essence of BWR events/races. Encompassing all the BWRs, the Quadrupel Crown is touted as the grandest gravel series globally, pursued in a points-based omnium format throughout the 2023 BWRs. Riders vying for the Quadrupel honors and prize money can accumulate points from their top four (Quad) races to compete for the victory. The series will honor both professional riders and age groupers.
4) Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo
photo by strambecco
The Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo is a newly inaugurated event spearheaded by Cycling Events Ontario, a non-profit ensemble composed of cycling enthusiasts dedicated to introducing secure and stimulating cycling occurrences in Ontario. Come October, this event, part of the UCI Gravel World Series, serves as a stepping stone for qualification to the UCI Gravel World Championship in Veneto, Italy.
The course options for the Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo encompass a lengthy route spanning 76 miles with an ascent of 4800 feet, and a more condensed route of 48 miles elevating 2800 feet. The layout of these courses has been meticulously crafted in collaboration with some of the region’s seasoned gravel riders, with paramount emphasis placed on rider safety. The orchestrated pathway promises a blend of challenges, with certain stretches favoring power riders amidst open, breezy expanses of broad gravel roads. In contrast, other segments feature short, sharp ascents where climbers can gain an edge. Further, some car-restricted stretches allow riders with superior bike maneuvering capabilities to pull ahead. The entire trail offers a visually stunning ride for all participants. Adhering to right of way principles is integral to the ethos of the UCI Gravel series, which underscores a rider-centric experience in this event.
Sponsored by TREK, the UCI Gravel World Series is an ensemble of UCI-endorsed races conducted globally. With 15-20 qualifying rounds, the top 25% of participants from each age group earn a ticket to the UCI Gravel World Championships, where victors are honored with the prestigious UCI rainbow jersey. This series is modeled on the well-received UCI Gran Fondo World Series initiated in 2011, which paved the way for UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, attracting up to 8000 riders in events and a yearly championship boasting 3000 contenders. Catering to both elite riders and master cyclists as well as cyclo tourists, these events encapsulate long-distance biking races on predominantly unsealed roads and trails, often embarking on an adventurous journey amidst natural splendors. The Highlands Gravel Classic, held in June in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is the sole other event of this series hosted in North America.
Nestled in Ontario, Canada, Thornbury is a quaint hamlet situated on Georgian Bay’s edges, a modest 100 miles NW of Toronto. The town is enveloped by awe-inspiring natural vistas including the Niagara Escarpment, the Beaver Valley, and the Blue Mountains. With its undulating hills, verdant woodlands, and pristine lakes, the locale is a magnet for those with a penchant for the outdoors.
5) Gran Fondo Badlands
photo by cyclingmagazine
The Gran Fondo Badlands in Canada stands as a distinct road cycling affair, with its starting line intriguingly set at the foot of the world's tallest dinosaur statue, a grand 26.2 meters (86 feet) fiberglass Tyrannosaurus Rex. Established in 2011, Gran Fondo Badlands swiftly garnered attention when it relocated to the Drumheller Valley, nestled in the core of the Canadian Badlands. This relocation, coupled with remarkable rides and picturesque scenery inclusive of the Dinosaur Trail, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Bleriot Ferry, hoodoos, ancient villages, and numerous bridge traverses, propelled its popularity. The event has earned a high rating by Strambecco, being recognized as one of the top road cycling events in the Northwest.
With four diverse distance choices ranging from 50km to 162km, the event caters to riders spanning all skill levels. Regardless of the chosen distance, riders are treated to an array of hoodoos, extensive river and coulee views, and the distinctive “badlands” backdrop of the Dinosaur Valley. It’s an invitation to soak in the ambiance, relish the ferry crossing over the Red Deer River, and tackle some short yet demanding inclines. A hallmark of the event each year is the Ferry Hill Climb, a 1km timed stretch following the ferry disembarkation, with every participant's time recorded. The fastest climbers are heralded as King and Queen of the Mountain for each distance, receiving a prize pack. Participants are well-supported with aid and hydration stations along the route, and a dedicated WhatsApp group managed by TransRockies for resolving any inquiries.
Located northeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Drumheller is a town easily accessible from Banff, Calgary, or Red River. Situated at the town’s periphery, in Midland Provincial Park, is the Royal Tyrrell Museum, boasting a vast assemblage of dinosaur fossils. In the town center, a colossal model T-Rex, known as the “World’s Largest Dinosaur,” towers with a viewing platform within its jaws. Southeast of the town, the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site delves into the coal-mining legacy of the Drumheller Valley. Drumheller has been the chosen locale for over 50 advertisements, television, and film productions, also housing the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, the hub of Canada’s most extensive dinosaur fossils collection. For lodging, the Canalta Jurassic Hotel or the Ramada Hotel & Suites are viable options, while the River Grove Campground & Cabins or Dinosaur RV Park cater to camping/RV preferences.
Now under the umbrella of the TransRockies Race Series, Gran Fondo Badlands is managed by the seasoned producer responsible for orchestrating challenging and unique endurance events since 2002. Beginning with the TransRockies Challenge mountain bike stage race in 2002, it expanded to include the TransRockies Run trail running stage race in Colorado in 2007. The TransRockies Race Series now oversees 11 events across 36 days annually in Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, and Utah. The events under TransRockies are lauded for top-notch participant support and an engaging social ambiance. With bases in Calgary, Alberta, and Lakewood, Colorado, TransRockies has been proficiently organizing Gran Fondo cycling events since 2011, making it adept with the event format and participant needs.
6) TransRockies Singletrack 6
photo by strambecco
The TransRockies Singletrack 6 stands as a six-day mountain biking journey, epitomizing the finest rides across diverse biking locales in Western Canada. Every year, the race unveils a fresh route, presenting a unique blend of cross-country trails, breathtaking views, thrilling descents, and the finest singletrack trails that British Columbia has to offer. TransRockies Singletrack 6 has earned its place as a must-experience event, with Strambecco ranking it among the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Northwest and one of the Best Cycling Events in Canada.
Though full route maps are provided below, notable areas covered include Fernie, Crowsnest Pass, West Bragg Creek, and Canmore. Riders can anticipate a specially crafted stage route that encapsulates a spectrum of marathon cross-country loops with timed descents, tailored to accentuate the unique features of each stage locale. Over six consecutive days, participants will traverse diverse singletrack trails, ascending to high alpine, coasting across arid, desert-like terrains, and eventually descending through dense rainforests. For a condensed adventure, there’s the ST3, a 3-day alternative. The festive vibe in each host community offers both riders and their supporters an engaging experience, with an array of activities for both biking enthusiasts and casual visitors, all set against some of Canada’s most picturesque, hospitable, and inviting regions. A specially curated accommodation package is also on offer, providing a hassle-free and time-saving option for participants.
The year 2023 heralds the seventh rendition of the TransRockies Singletrack 6 adventure, while simultaneously marking the 20th anniversary of the event, formerly known as the TransRockies Challenge. This milestone edition will revive the original 2002 route from Fernie to Canmore, featuring the same host communities from the inaugural year of the TransRockies Challenge, but infused with the communal, fun-centered ethos that Singletrack 6 has become synonymous with recently. While some stages may evoke nostalgia among repeat participants, the route composition has been consistently refreshed and refined. A participant from last year's event raved, “Every facet of the race was simply splendid! The towns were delightful, trails exhilarating... somewhat challenging at moments... and the support was unparalleled,” - a sentiment echoed by numerous athletes.
Positioned in the southern interior of British Columbia, the Kootenay Rockies region, bordering Alberta and the United States, is a treasure trove of natural splendor, encompassing four National Parks (Yoho, Glacier, Mt. Revelstoke, Kootenay) and over 75 Provincial Parks. As you wander through this area, the majestic Rocky Mountains along with the Purcell, Selkirk, and Monashee ranges of the Columbia Mountains unveil a visual feast.
Since its inception in 2002, TransRockies has been a persistent presence in the Kootenay Rockies region, forging connections within major mountain biking communities. Under the banner of Kootenay Dirt Epic 8, these communities encompass Fernie, Kimberley, Rossland, Nelson & Kaslo, Golden, Revelstoke, Cranbrook, and Invermere/Panorama. Riding through these terrains, one is enveloped in stunning mountain and valley vistas. The mountain biking trails in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies are undeniably among the most pristine and captivating.
TransRockies Singletrack 6 is a brainchild of the TransRockies Race Series, the seasoned entity known for orchestrating challenging and distinctive endurance events since 2002. Commencing with the TransRockies Challenge mountain bike stage race in 2002, the portfolio expanded to include the TransRockies Run trail running stage race in Colorado in 2007. The TransRockies Race Series now hosts 11 events spread over 36 days annually in Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, and Utah. TransRockies Events are known for top-tier participant support, a lively social milieu, and are home to some of Strambecco’s favorites like the TranSelkirks Run and Gran Fondo Badlands.
7) TransRockies Gravel Royale
photo by gearhub
Hosting 350 riders for a remarkable journey through the Canadian Rockies, TransRockies Gravel Royale stands as a hallmark event in the Transrockies Race Series. Over the span of four days, participants will traverse 407km (252 miles) and ascend 7500m (25,000 feet) on a route that comprises 84% gravel roads. This event has been acclaimed by Strambecco as one of the premier gravel cycling events in the Rockies and among the Best Cycling Events in Canada. However, the 2023 edition had to be called off due to wildfires blazing through the Canadian Rockies.
Event & Course Details
Across four days, cyclists will cover 407km (252 miles) and scale 7500m (25,000 feet), riding predominantly on gravel roads. Each day, or racing stage, is meticulously marked with designated crews and checkpoints stationed to assist participants as required. Two checkpoints per stage are equipped with hydration and nourishment to keep riders fueled. Stages kick off at 8 am and are to be wrapped up within 8 hours, with checkpoints providing updates on progress. Every day of the TransRockies Gravel Royale unveils breathtaking vistas across high mountain passes along with potential encounters with local wildlife. It's important to note the advice on the event's website about carrying bear spray and a folding saw for protection. Here's an outline of each course:
Day One – Stage 1 – The Tegart Pass route commences from Panorama and leads to Nipika, spanning 81km (50 miles) and climbing 2,100m (6,900 feet). Tegart Pass is generally clear of snow from October to June, setting the stage for an August adventure, though riders might encounter logs and rocks. The uphill ride is a double-track with certain stretches requiring riders to dismount. Downhill segments offer single-track sections which might be too steep for some riders, urging caution especially as it's just the inaugural stage!
Day Two – Stage 2 – Miller Pass maintains the ride within Nipika, covering 83km (51 miles) with an ascent of 1,500m (4,900 feet). Known for its challenges at North Boundary, this route has limited visibility and stream crossings between Miller Pass and Albert River FSR, potentially necessitating dismounts. This stage also features a rough downhill double-track section requiring moderated speeds.
Day Three – Stage 3 – Riding through Little Elk Pass from Nipika to Canal Flats extends the journey to 108km (67 miles) with a climb of 1,500m (4,900 feet). Riders should be vigilant of logging truck traffic along this route. A downhill segment on this course houses drainage ditches that could pose hazards at high speeds.
Day Four – Stage 4 – Hartley Pass stretches from Canal Flats to Fernie, posing the greatest challenge with a distance of 135km (84 miles) and the highest climb of 2,400m (7,900 feet). The course also encompasses high stream crossings, urging caution, especially on bridges. The final descent necessitates watchfulness for potholes and uphill vehicle traffic.
TransRockies Gravel Royale is open to 350 riders with three race formats on offer: 2-Day, 3-Day, and 4-Day Royal Flush. Registration for this coveted event opens annually in September, with half of the early bird spots earmarked for female riders. The registration fee encompasses breakfast and dinner on race days, tent camping for registered nights, luggage transportation, hot showers, race timing, and results. A grand banquet awaits all participants and supporters at the end in Fernie, celebrating the racers and the best times across all categories. Registrants are also gifted a TransRockies Gravel Royale Starter Jersey, a belt buckle, and Finisher Shirt. Additional services available for purchase include a Mechanical Package, Massage Package, Solo Tent Upgrade, and transportation options across various stage locations.
Area Lodging & Activities
The majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains have stood as Canada's crown jewel for countless years, offering a blend of stunning natural beauty and challenging terrains. TransRockies Gravel Royale honors this tradition by welcoming gravel racers to four distinctive communities, each a symbol of the nation's rich culture, welcoming hospitality, and adventurous spirit. Panorama Mountain Resort is a cherished destination for athletes all year round, offering a quaint village atmosphere at the mountain base, serving as an idyllic center for adventure enthusiasts. Over at Nipika Mountain Resort, sustainability and adventure go hand in hand. The resort offers breathtaking views of the Kootenay and Cross River valleys alongside a robust 100-kilometre trail network, making it a haven for cross country skiing and mountain biking aficionados. Canal Flats, a village steeped in history yet looking towards the future, is situated between the robust Columbia and untamed Kootenay rivers. With its burgeoning tech scenes, Canal Flats showcases progressive growth while cherishing its adventurous origins. Lastly, Fernie, a cherished location from the TransRockies’ past, stands as a global hub for mountain biking enthusiasts. Encircled by the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies, its extensive trail network and all-year biking possibilities make it a coveted destination for cycling enthusiasts. Don’t forget to explore the official lodging options available for each stage.
The essence of TransRockies Gravel Royale extends beyond racing, encapsulated in its vibrant camp life. After an exhaustive day on the trails, the camp morphs into more than just a spot for respite—it blossoms into a sanctuary of friendship, ease, and tranquility. Ready tents, prepared meals, and a specialized bike wash station ensure both riders and their bikes are refreshed for the adventures that lay ahead. Registered Massage Therapists are at hand to alleviate the day’s strains, while premium offerings from Gu Energy Labs along with an assortment of fresh fruits and snacks guarantee racers are adequately nourished. As evenings settle in, the camp metamorphoses into ‘Chillville’. A concoction of drinks, snacks, music, and a hearty campfire lays the foundation for recounting the day’s exploits, hearty laughs, and the forging of enduring friendships.
The backbone of any esteemed race is its support framework, and the TransRockies team ensures nothing is overlooked. They warmly welcome racers at the finish line with refreshments and ensure their luggage is ready and waiting. The TransRockies Mechanic Team is perpetually ready for action. The shower truck, though with a gentle reminder to save water, stands by. Round-the-clock medical support and a range of meal options cater to diverse tastes, encapsulating a support system that allows racers to solely concentrate on their ride.
For a gravel cycling aficionado, the TransRockies Gravel Royale presents an unparalleled opportunity to traverse the Canadian Rockies in a new light, to bask in the hospitality of its close-knit communities, and to foster memories resonating with the excitement of the journey and the warmth of freshly forged friendships.
8) RBC Gran Fondo Whistler
photo by CBC
One of North America's premier and extensively celebrated Gran Fondos, the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler, is set to mark its 14th anniversary in 2023. Distinguished by Strambecco as one of the pinnacle road cycling events in the Northwest and among the crème de la crème of cycling events in Canada, this event stands apart due to its point-to-point trail from Vancouver to Whistler, offering breathtaking scenery and an unobstructed, vehicle-free route along the Sea to Sky Highway. The adept team at RBC Gran Fondo ensures a top-tier experience from inception to finale.
Event & Course Details
The RBC Gran Fondo Whistler is a dream for road cycling enthusiasts, offering a blend of challenge and picturesque allure, set in the captivating backdrop of Vancouver, Canada. The journey begins amidst the verdant expanses of Stanley Park in Vancouver, stretching 76 miles onwards to Whistler Village, painting a picturesque narrative of nature's grandeur. As cyclists traverse the iconic Lions Gate Bridge and the renowned Sea-to-Sky highway, they are treated to unmatched scenic delights before reaching their destination at Whistler. The juxtaposition of the vast Pacific Ocean and towering mountain ranges, alongside glimpses of the Sunshine Coast, offers a visual feast.
The event unfolds through three primary categories, with the signature Gran Fondo route leading the charge. This conventional route measures 76 miles, challenging participants with an ascent of 7,546 feet, commencing at 7 am with five well-positioned rest stops for replenishment. A nostalgic spin is the Classic Bikes Category, where riders on vintage bikes—those manufactured before 1987—can tackle the standard Gran Fondo route. Embracing the same distance, this 6,234-foot climb melds a sense of yesteryear with endurance challenges.
For the adventure-seekers, the Forte route, covering 95 miles and an awe-inspiring elevation of 10,170 feet, sets forth at 6 am. This trail ventures beyond the standard Gran Fondo pathway, introducing an additional 2,871-foot Category 1 climb up the North Shore’s Cypress Bowl Road towards the Cypress Mountain ski area, followed by an exhilarating descent reconnecting them with the Gran Fondo entrants en route to Whistler.
The Medio route, a more accommodating choice spanning 34 miles with a 2,740-foot climb, originates and concludes in Whistler, making it suitable for families and riders of varied expertise. The welcoming of e-bikes ensures inclusivity.
Furthermore, the event hosts a team-centric challenge, the St. Regis Cup Teams Race, with distances mirroring the Gran Fondo. Teams of 5-8 riders champion the spirit of friendship and vibrant competition.
A dedicated lane devoid of traffic accompanies riders throughout, a unique occurrence yearly, shared with over 5,000 participants. The path is enlivened by a robust support from volunteers, spectators, live bands, and DJs. The meticulous support is noteworthy, with abundantly stocked rest stops, roving mechanics, and the distinctive Classic and Forte categories, catering to every cyclist’s preference.
The conclusion of the ride marks the beginning of revelry. Whistler's Celebration Plaza morphs into a celebration hub from 10 am to 5 pm, adorned with live music and culinary indulgences. For the younger attendees, the CyclingBC’s HopOn initiative offers engagement, while Alta Classe extends a luxurious VIP experience, inclusive of massages, for post-ride relaxation.
In its essence, the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler transcends being merely a ride; it’s a yearly pilgrimage that embodies the very soul of cycling enthusiasm.
Lodging & Activities
Nearby Both Vancouver and Whistler abound with lodging options, making it tempting to extend the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler event into a weekend escapade. The meticulous organization of the event by the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler team stretches to offering diverse travel services for participants requiring transit to and from Vancouver/Whistler, particularly for the VeloSpoke Bike Expo on Friday and the event wrap-up on Saturday. VeloFix stands as the official mechanical support ally, assisting in getting your bike ready and packed up post-event for shipping. Vancouver also houses other local bike shops like West Point Cycles, The Original Bike Shop, and Obsession.
Vancouver, a city revered for its natural allure including mountains, the sea, and the expansive Stanley Park, extending over 1,000 acres, is a haven for visitors. It flaunts stellar dining, retail, and entertainment offerings in a congenial, safe, and eco-conscious setting conducive for walking and cycling. A broad spectrum of hotels and vacation rentals are available to suit various preferences. Don't miss exploring Eater's recommended restaurant pit-stops while in town.
A mere two-hour drive northward lands you in Whistler, a preeminent mountain resort, guaranteeing a memorable experience with its pedestrian-centric village and plethora of activities. Suggested hotels encompass Summit Lodge, the Listel Hotel, and Crystal Lodge, while the vicinity also offers a rich selection of vacation rentals for those seeking a homely ambiance, along with distinctive camping options in the broader Whistler region. The mountain township boasts a vibrant culinary scene appealing to all palates, warranting a visit to some of its famed spots.
The dawn of September in British Columbia brings forth a harmonious meld of late-summer warmth with soft whispers of the forthcoming autumn, presenting an idyllic period for outdoor aficionados to delve into the natural splendors of Vancouver and Whistler.
Sandwiched between the glistening Pacific Ocean and the formidable Coastal Mountains, Vancouver is a jewel enticing the adventurous spirit. Popular pursuits include cycling around the iconic Seawall of Stanley Park. Spanning over 5.5 miles (8.8 km), this trail presents sweeping vistas of the city, mountains, and ocean. The well-preserved path, surrounded by age-old cedar trees and the gentle lapping of waves, offers a tranquil yet invigorating setting. For maritime enthusiasts, a kayaking adventure in English Bay is imperative. The bay’s tranquil waters are inviting for both novices and veteran paddlers. Additionally, embarking on the “Mother Nature’s Staircase”, the Grouse Grind, is a rigorous 1.8-mile (2.9 km) climb up Grouse Mountain. While it’s a leg-intensive exercise, the summit unveils breathtaking views of the city, complemented by a relaxing gondola descent.
Transitioning northwards to Whistler, you'll find alpine allure that transitions into a haven for mountain bikers as summer melts the snow away. The Bike Park features trails catering to all proficiency levels, from gentle green trails for novices to demanding black diamond trails challenging even the adept riders. The Peak-to-Peak Gondola adventure, bridging Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb, stands as the world's loftiest lift of its ilk, unveiling awe-inspiring views of the valleys, woods, and lakes beneath. Finally, trail running enthusiasts will find joy sprinting through the alpine meadows. Especially by early September, with snow mostly retreated, the meadows burst with vibrant colors. The High Note Trail, commencing from Whistler Mountain's summit, is a trail runner's delight, offering challenging terrain amidst picturesque alpine scenery with the iconic Black Tusk looming in the backdrop.
9) Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo
photo by granfondoguide
The Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo, held annually in the picturesque Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada, holds the distinction of being the first gravel fondo in Western Canada and is regarded as one of the most scenic gravel fondos in North America. The event is a notable feature in the Gran Fondo World Tour - Gravel Series and is a part of the revered Triple Crown Gravel Series. It has been recognized by Stambecco as a top Gravel Grinder both in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
Event & Route Details
The Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo is not just a tribute to gravel cycling but also to the rich heritage and enchanting scenery of the Okanagan Valley. The race kicks off in Penticton, near Lake Okanagan at Okanagan Lake Park, and concludes in East Kelowna. En route, cyclists are treated to the breathtaking sights and landscapes of the valley while challenging their endurance.
The event is staged on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, a multipurpose recreational pathway once linked to the Canadian Pacific Railway. The trail, with a gentle maximum grade of 2.2%, traverses Myra Canyon Provincial Park and provides sweeping views of pristine lakes, meadows adorned with wildflowers, historic trestles, and cool decommissioned railway tunnels.
Participants have the choice of three distances: the Medio Fondo (around 50kms) for novices or casual cyclists, the Full Fondo (around 100kms) for intermediate to seasoned cyclists, and the Full Fondo Plus (around 138+ km) for the adept cyclist. Additionally, a two-day stage race spans 112 km from Princeton to Penticton on the first day and 100 km from Penticton to Kelowna on the second day.
Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo welcomes cyclists of varying fitness levels and expertise. Although gravel or cyclo-cross bikes are the most common, some riders opt for mountain, road, touring, or hybrid bikes. Notably, suspension mountain bikes aren't essential for this event, but it’s recommended to have wider tires with lower pressure and disc brakes for enhanced comfort and grip.
Upon completion, cyclists are greeted with a festive gathering featuring a hearty post-race meal, chilled beer, a commemorative T-shirt, a bottle of wine, and a wealth of raffle prizes. Both individual and team contests are part of the event, with teams consisting of either two or four members. Results are based on the combined times of all team riders.
Local Lodging & Activities
The Okanagan Valley is famous for its sun-drenched landscapes, captivating lakes, and premium vineyards. This fruitful locale, often dubbed as Canada’s wine country, crafts award-winning wines amidst a backdrop of outstanding natural splendor. It’s a popular destination for both outdoor adventurers and wine connoisseurs, offering a plethora of recreational pursuits alongside exquisite wine tastings. It's highly recommended to extend the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo experience into a vacation.
Riders participating in the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo will find abundant accommodations in both Penticton, the starting point, and East Kelowna, the endpoint. In Penticton, hotels like the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Kettle Valley Beach Resort are great choices. In East Kelowna, Eldorado Resort, The Royal Kelowna, and Holiday Inn Express are welcoming options. Moreover, numerous vacation rental options are available in both towns for those seeking a homely ambiance. For camping enthusiasts, the broader area offers some unique camping spots to explore.
The Okanagan Valley’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of farm-to-table freshness paired with innovative cuisine, heavily influenced by its rich vineyard culture. The valley’s diverse dining establishments range from high-end restaurants to quaint bistros, all inspired by its agricultural roots and the multicultural blend of its community. Don’t miss out on exploring the local favorite eateries in Penticton and East Kelowna.
Nestled amidst rolling hills and tranquil lakes, the Okanagan Valley is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Knox Mountain, situated at the heart of Kelowna, presents trails suitable for casual strollers and avid hikers alike. The summit of this mountain offers awe-inspiring panoramic views of the city, Okanagan Lake, and the surrounding valley. The renowned Apex Trail leads to the summit, letting hikers delve into the local flora and fauna, with multiple viewpoints along the way making it a favorite among both locals and tourists. Moreover, the expansive Okanagan Lake with its crystal-clear waters is a haven for kayakers and paddlers, offering both calm inlets for gentle paddling and open waters for a more adventurous experience.
Lastly, the month of September marks the grape harvest season, making it an ideal time to explore the valley’s world-class wineries on a bicycle. Venture on a self-guided tour along the wine trails, including the popular Lakeshore Wine Route, to truly experience the essence of this magnificent valley.
Important accessories for cycling events
Participating in cycling events, whether competitive races, charity rides, or sportives, requires not just physical preparation but also the right gear and accessories to ensure performance, comfort, and safety. Here are essential accessories you should consider for cycling events:
1. High-Quality Helmet
- Safety first. A lightweight, well-ventilated, and certified helmet can protect you in case of falls or collisions. Consider aerodynamic designs for racing.
2. Performance Cycling Kit
- A high-quality cycling jersey and bib shorts with proper padding can significantly enhance comfort over long distances. Look for materials that wick away moisture and have a good fit.
3. Cycling Shoes and Pedals
- A good pair of cycling shoes paired with compatible pedals will improve your pedaling efficiency. Make sure they're well-fitted and comfortable for long rides.
4. Hydration System
- Hydration packs, water bottles, and cages are essential, especially for longer events. Ensure you can carry enough water for the event's duration, and consider electrolyte supplements for replenishment.
5. Nutrition and Energy Supplies
- Energy bars, gels, or chews can provide the necessary fuel during your ride. Test them during training to see what works best for your body.
6. Spare Tubes, Puncture Repair Kit, and Multi-Tool
- Be prepared for potential mechanical issues. Carry at least one spare tube, a puncture repair kit, tire levers, and a multi-tool with the essentials for quick fixes.
7. Portable Bike Pump or CO2 Inflator
- A compact bike pump or CO2 inflator is crucial for inflating tires after a repair, ensuring you're not stranded with a flat tire.
8. Cycling Gloves
- Gloves can prevent blisters and improve grip. Consider padded gloves for comfort on rough terrains or long rides.
9. GPS Bike Computer
- For tracking your speed, distance, and route. Some models offer navigation features, which can be helpful in unfamiliar routes.
10. Sunglasses or Protective Eyewear
- Protect your eyes from the sun, wind, and debris. Look for lenses that offer UV protection and enhance visibility in different lighting conditions.
11. Weather-Appropriate Clothing
- Arm and leg warmers, a waterproof jacket, or a wind vest can be invaluable for dealing with changing weather conditions.
- Protect your skin from sunburn during long hours outdoors, even on cloudy days.
13. First Aid Kit
- A basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers can address minor injuries or discomforts.
14. Identification and Emergency Contact Information
- Carry ID and emergency contact information, especially in events where you might be riding in remote areas.
15. Bike Lights
- If your event starts early in the morning or ends late in the day, ensure you have front and rear lights for visibility.
Selecting the right accessories for your cycling event can greatly impact your performance and enjoyment. Always test your gear during training to ensure everything works well together and suits your needs.
How to win in any racing
Winning a cycling event requires a combination of strategic preparation, physical conditioning, mental resilience, and tactical racing skills. Whether you're aiming for a podium finish in a road race, time trial, criterium, or mountain bike event, here are some essential tips to increase your chances of success:
1. Structured Training
- Follow a structured training plan tailored to your event's demands, focusing on endurance, power, and speed. Incorporate interval training, long rides, and recovery days to improve your overall fitness and performance.
2. Know the Course
- Familiarize yourself with the event course beforehand. Knowledge of key segments, climbs, descents, and technical sections allows you to plan your effort and tactics effectively.
3. Nutrition and Hydration
- Optimize your nutrition leading up to the event and have a hydration and fueling strategy for race day. Practice your nutrition strategy during training to ensure it works well for you without causing gastrointestinal distress.
4. Equipment Preparation
- Ensure your bike is in top condition. Choose the right gear and equipment for the specific event, including tires suited to the terrain and weather conditions. Consider aerodynamic benefits in your equipment selection for road events.
5. Positioning and Pacing
- Start in a good position to avoid getting boxed in or having to expend extra energy to move up through the field. Pace yourself wisely, conserving energy for critical moments of the race.
6. Drafting and Group Riding Skills
- Master the art of drafting to conserve energy. Stay close to other riders without overlapping wheels. Improve your ability to move within the peloton and position yourself advantageously for attacks or sprints.
7. Tactical Awareness
- Be tactically smart by reading the race, anticipating moves from competitors, and knowing when to attack, chase, or sit in. Understanding the dynamics of the peloton and individual competitors can give you a strategic edge.
8. Mental Toughness
- Develop mental resilience to push through pain and fatigue. Stay focused, maintain a positive mindset, and use visualization techniques to prepare for the demands of competition.
9. Race Experience
- Gain experience through participation in various events. Each race provides learning opportunities about tactics, effort management, and how to handle different race scenarios.
10. Rest and Recovery
- Adequate rest and recovery are as crucial as the training itself. Ensure you taper properly leading up to the event and get enough sleep to allow your body to arrive at the start line in peak condition.
- If you're part of a team, work together to control the race, protect your designated leader, or set up key moves. Team tactics can significantly influence the outcome of an event.
- Be prepared to adapt your strategy based on race developments, weather conditions, and how you feel on the day. Flexibility can be crucial to overcoming unexpected challenges.
Winning a cycling event isn't just about being the strongest rider; it's about being the smartest and most prepared. Combining diligent preparation with smart racing tactics and mental toughness will significantly enhance your chances of success.