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Gravalist Race Manual

This is all there is to being a Gravalist. This guide. Just you and your own limitations.

The manual aims to cover everything you need to know, it is your responsibility to read and understand it. Routes might change and there might be errors, in which case do not complain to friends, or lambaste the contributors on social media or email us. (actually no one is manning this inbox).


The manual aims to cover everything you need to know, it is your responsibility to read and understand it. Routes might change and there might be errors, in which case email us at Here you’ll find the rules. Rules help keep you safe, and keep growing a community we respect and love. You might be a team member or you might be a race winner, you might be a dotwatch or even a trail runner yikes. 

Hopefully you are sweating about what you're about to commit to, we know that we are. What else do we do with all the times when we are not feeling lost, our lungs filled with dust from long and quiet gravel roads?You might remember these experiences forever. So please ensure you make it memorable for someone else.You need to be safe, and it starts by being respectful and not entitled out there. “Coming home to loved ones must always be the ultimate goal.” 

The Gravalist Company
🗣️ “Graval list” 

Rules help keep you safe and keep growing a community we respect and love. You might be a team member or you might be a race winner, you might be a dotwatch or even a trail runner yikes. Hopefully, you are sweating about what you're about to commit to, we know that we are. What else do we do with all the times when we are not feeling lost, our lungs filled with dust from long and quiet gravel roads? You might remember these experiences forever. So please ensure you make it memorable for someone else. You need to be safe, and it starts by being respectful and not entitled out there. “Coming home to loved ones must always be the ultimate goal.”

⚠️ Please Remember

This is confidential!

Do not share this doc or this link or add it to social media

If you have a question check it on this manual

If no answer, maybe there is no answer, don’t panic

Try not, but if you have to send an email to

Rude emails will be deleted

Emails with answers covered in the manual, will be de-prioritise

This is self-supported. ‘embrace it’ and remember ‘trail always provides’

👯 Contributors

This is open source, just like the corrugation on the gravel roads we ride, it's bumpy, and some roads are not for everyone.

Gravalist is an open-source project, meaning the approved contributors can edit any of the documents, and the value of what is created is dependent on the community. Open source is a term that originally referred to open source software (OSS). Open source software is code that is designed to be publicly accessible—anyone can see, modify, and distribute the code as they see fit. Who is the owner? The Gravalist Company.


📜 Rules

We believe that it’s important for every race to have a set of rules. It’s vital to remember it is not a race in our eyes, it's just a bike ride. This is an event where people get to enjoy ultra cycling and be in a small group of people. Next, we are going to tell you what we expect from you when it comes to being on a Gravalist ride. They are a very standard format when it comes to bikepacking and ultra cycling races but we are going to run through all the details in this document. 


  • All forward movement along the course must be self-powered. Drafting is discouraged, except for Groups/Touring. 

  • You get a route GPX file which must be followed but you are free to ride the route your own way - race it or tour it, your choice.

  • Food, drink and belongings must be carried by you or acquired unplanned en-route. Accept no help that others couldn't also receive along the way.

  • Stops cannot be booked in advance. We recommend that you see how the ride goes along the way and try to book on route with options you have researched prior. 
  • You are responsible for your own safety and logistics.


  • You are entirely responsible for your own ride. Unfortunately we are not responsible for you and cannot bail you out of situations if you get too cold or your bike breaks. 

  • It is compulsory to ride with a satellite tracking unit like the Spot Gen3 or Gen4, or the Garmin Inreach. (If you don't want to purchase one, you can rent one at

  • Riders must ensure their tracking devices (SPOT or other) are operating correctly at all times. It’s the only way we know where you are and how to find you.

  • Travel insurance, cycle helmets, and lights are mandatory, and we may check compliance. We generally don’t come to the events but every so often we might drop in.

  • You must have valid liability, death, accident and health insurance during the event, covering emergency extraction. This can’t be just holiday insurance.

  • Respect and be aware of other road users, especially on descents and blind corners. Many riders after doing countless hours on the bike struggle with this but you must be respectful.
  • Follow local traffic laws, including the use of headphones and lighting requirements. 


  • The spirit of the race is a commitment to autonomy and self-reliance and the integrity to uphold the values of equality and fair play in order to truthfully test an endeavour.
  • It is fine to go off course to resupply or for emergency reasons (mechanical or medical). Riders must return to the exact point of departure from the route to recommence their ride and not miss even a meter of the race route.
  • Maintain evidence of your ride with a GPS file from a cycle computer or have it logged on your phone with an application such as Komoot or Strava.


🛍️ Mandatory

Packing List

For your multi-day, unsupported bike package race, it's essential to have the correct gear. If not this is not only going to be an awful experience but you could find yourself in some very challenging situations. Everyone’s kit list is going to be different but there are essential things that we do not want you to go into this ride without. These are what we class as must have equipiment and should be in your kit no matter what.


1. A SPOT Tracker or equivalent with SOS feature for emergency communication (A Spot Gen3/Gen4 or similar device (not Garmin Track Me) for reliable tracking and emergency communication)

2. Coghlans Disposable Feet/Hand Warmers or similar to keep your hands warm in cold weather. 
3. A Fleece Beanie to keep your head warm in cold weather. A cycling cap isn’t a solution, must be a beanie.

4. An Emergency Survival Foil Bag to provide shelter and warmth in case of an emergency. We recommend taking a couple if you do not plan on camping gear.

5. Helmet will be required to be worn when ever riding. Not just at the start then clipped on to a bag.
6. Front and Rear Lights. Use lights from good brands, test beforehand the run times and also two rear lights is better than one incase it breaks. 
7. A Navigation Device with GPX file loaded. We also recommend adding the route to an application on you phone such a Komoot.
8. A fully charged Phone with connectivity and that can work where you may be riding. You might need to change the sim card if you don’t have a data plan for abroad. 

9. A First Aid Kit with essential supplies to handle any minor injuries. We would look for anti septic wipes, bandages, and plasters, as a minimum. 

10. A Multi-Tool with lots of functions. We expect it to have Allen keys, a chain breaker, torq keys, and anything else you are going to need. 
11. Water bottles or a hydration system. It’s important not to underestimate the amount of water you are going to need on a long section in the sun without resupply. We have seen this mistake made many times. 
12. Energy bars or snacks. We highly recommend starting with the foods you like ready instead of stopping at the first shop you come to.
13. A Rain Jacket or poncho for those terrible days where the weather just wont leave you alone. Although your cycling clothing might be water resistant there’s a limit to how good it can be.
14. Extra layers of clothing as appropriate. Don’t underestimate the drop in temperature at night. Although it may be warm enough for riding, is it warm enough for fixing your bike.
15. Sunscreen and Sunglasses are vital for skin and eye protection. High SPF and consistent layering goes a long way.
16. Insect Repellent for any nasty insects you might come across on a trip. Try not to get too bitten as it will make you uncomfortable.
17. A Map or an Application on your phone which is going to be sufficient.
18. Cash in local currency incase you they do not take cards. This is more common than you might think in our destinations.
19. Identification Documents (ID, insurance card, emergency contact info) in a waterproof pouch hidden away somewhere safe.


🥇 Classification: Solo vs. Groups and Touring


Solo: Strict Rule enforcement.

  • A solo rider wants to win the race. Alone. Only a solo rider can be called a winner of the race
  • You cannot win the race if you do not qualify based on the guidance of this manual
  • If any solo rider receives outside assistance from another rider in the race, then this rider will be moved into the Groups/Touring category
  • If you are helped, you will be moved to the Groups/Touring category. If you help, do so with a conscience and tell the riders as soon as possible.


Group/Touring: Flexible.

  • Group/Touring riders can ride together,  and share resources.
  • No support is allowed from outside.
  • Resources are not to be shared with anyone outside the group.
  • Follow rules and category of solo riders
  • Emergency assistance, even if momentarily, will have you moved into the pair/group/touring category, you will need to declare this support
  • If you have prepared anything for your journey along the route you will be required to start in this classification


📝✍👉✅  Registration and Race briefing


It’s self supported. We mean it. Don’t expect someone to answer your questions, the night before or on the morning of the event. Partially designed as part of the experience. If that does not make you excited then feel free to enter fully category events with entertainment and prizes.

Understand the Gravalist events are very different to others you are going to find in the ultra cycling community. We only allow 13 people per event to go in, they are all close to 500 km, and they are designed to not just challenge you, but take you to epic places. 

We are also not there to help you in anyway. You take yourself to the start, check in, then the event starts at the allocated local time. We are not there on emails or phone. You are on your own and this is your journey to complete. We are not going to hold your hands, the only way you get the satisfaction of completing it is by doing it yourself. 

Required Documents to start

1. Insurance (include extraction and repatriation) It is the rider's responsibility to confirm with their insurer that their level of coverage includes competitive events, as standard travel insurance may not be sufficient

3. Signed Rider Agreement

4. Proof of paid entry 

Try and have these across at least a month before!

📍 The Route(s), gpx/gps file

Help us keep the routes private!

We’ll share routes about 2 weeks before the start date which should give you plenty of time to read through it and make a plan for your ride. It will not be signposted on the route you must use a GPS device. Understand the route can change at anytime. At times unforeseen issues can occur and we might update it or if it’s on the ride you might have to find a detour around any obstacles. As event organisers we understand that things can change at any time and although the route is tested on the day anything can happen. Any changes that are going to occur we will tell you as we know and give instruction on how to move forward. 

❤️ Your Support/Loved one

Feel free to send this to your next of Kin. (they can read it over your shoulder, avoid link sharing).


A note about ‘Max’, Why do I want to do this?

Once upon a time, there was a young man named Max who had a deep passion for cycling. He had always been fascinated by the incredible feats of endurance and strength displayed by ultra-cyclists, those who could ride hundreds of miles without stopping. Max dreamed of one day joining their ranks.

At first, Max's friends and family thought he was crazy. Who in their right mind would want to cycle for days on end, with little sleep or rest? But Max was undeterred. He knew that the sense of accomplishment and the thrill of pushing his body to its limits would be worth it.

So he began training. Every day, rain or shine, Max would hit the road, pushing himself harder and harder with each ride. He clocked countless miles and climbed countless hills, all in preparation for the ultimate test of his abilities: an ultra-cycling event.

The day of the event arrived, and Max was filled with nerves and excitement. As he pedalled off into the early morning light, he felt a surge of adrenaline and determination. For the next several days, Max cycled through sun and rain, over hills and mountains, with little more than a few hours of sleep each night.

But as difficult as the journey was, Max never lost sight of why he was doing it. He was doing it for the sheer joy of pushing himself to new limits, for the sense of accomplishment that came with finishing something so incredibly challenging.

And in the end, Max emerged victorious. He had completed the ultra-cycling event, and he felt like he could take on the world. It was a moment he would never forget.

So why does Max do ultra-cycling events? Because there's nothing quite like the feeling of achieving something that once seemed impossible. Because the thrill of pushing oneself to the limit is worth any amount of discomfort or pain. And because, at the end of the day, there's no greater feeling than knowing you've accomplished something truly amazing.





We highly recommend sharing your journey with others while you are on your adventure. This helps inspire others and builds the ultra cycling community further. You can do this through instagram, twitter, facebook, and many other platforms. We do ask through the process of the ride to think about what you are posting and when. If you are having issues we highly recommend solving them before posting. An example being if your bike is broken fix it before you tell everyone about it. 

The reason we say this is because the minute you post with problems people are going to want to help you and you can’t have any outside help others don’t have access to. Plus it’s easy to lose concentration on the task at hand and sit in self pity. Keep it positive!We do ask if you post of the race to follow it with the #Gravalist so we can follow your journey and also share it on our platforms. We appreciate there’s a lot of people that like to keep their experience personal and we don’t expect any posts.


Applying The Gravalist Manual To Other Races

Yes, but we require you to ask permission beforehand by emailing This is our property and without our permission you cannot copy or replicate this closely in anyway. Our manuals are unique to our events and won’t always work for others. 



We are currently independent but as we are going are open to the idea of sponsorships. If you are a company or person looking to add value to what we do we would love to hear from you. We can offer good exposure and have huge plans for growth in the future. If you are a sponsored athlete and want to link the brands with the Gravalist somehow please contact us also so we can work together more closely. This relationship building can help not just you but the Gravalist. 




Why should I enter this race?

To quote the mountaineer George Mallory when asked, "Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?" answered with the retort, "Because it's there". There is something special about combining racing with being self-sufficient. A simplicity, where you realise that all you need is your bike and a few cans of coke to be content. Try it for yourself. 


What is self-sufficient? 

It’s you against the bike. No outside help from supporters (or competitors). Any deviation from this rule will result in immediate disqualification. You are to provide your own food, drink, bike maintenance and transport. You can only move from point a to point b on your bike (or pushing your bike). If you leave the route for any, you are to return to where you left off before you can continue again. 


But how can my supporters support me?

Your supporters can dotwatch along the way, send you off with kisses at the start and give you an ice cold one at the finish line. To be clear, no supporters along the route, as it can be a fine line between a friendly wave and a vital can of coke. 


What if my tracker isn’t working?

If we cannot follow your dot due to technical reasons, it is your responsibility to prove that you were self-sufficient and following the organized route. Use photos, receipts, Strava, Garmin, social media. Always show your integrity and honesty, in keeping with the spirit of the race.


Where do I eat and drink?

All riders have the responsibility of researching the route, and planning stops (and back ups) in advance. Always take the opportunity to refill your bottles and bags – ask Ryan W. who managed the last third of Sedgefield with one peanut. 


Where do I sleep?

In a bush, in a ditch, in a five star hotel, or not at all. The choice is yours, however no bookings can be made before the start of the race, in the spirit of being self-sufficient. 


What kind of bike can I ride?

The choice is yours, from fixie to dual-sus MTB. The organizers cannot be held responsible for any pinch flats or saddle sores. (The route has been recced by a rider on a gravel bike).


Is there a set route?

There is a set route which will be sent to riders in a GPX file. All riders will need a GPS device to follow along. Deviation from the route may result in disqualification. If you abandon the route for any reason, you must restart the ride where you left off.


Can I ride with my mate?

You are welcome to enter as a pair and use that to your advantage (or disadvantage when the sense of humour failure starts). Solo riders cannot benefit from group riding or drafting (from other bikes or vehicles), and should aim to keep their distance from other riders to prevent this. 


What if I can’t finish?

It is your responsibility to hitch a ride, call an uber or call your mom. Kindly let the organizers know timeously if you decide to scratch from the race, before we send out a search party. 


What do I get if I win?

As is traditional with bikepacking races, there are no prizes. You get the feeling of a job well done, and all the Strava bragging rights. Maybe someone will buy you a beer?


How do I know if I’m good enough?

We recommend training your body for long days in the saddle and fueling effectively. Long training rides with a fully packed bike will prepare you the best. Racing snakes will attempt to finish in one go; the lanterne rouge will be sleeping in a real bed and hoping to finish in the 3-day time limit. We have seen a wide variety of riders, and hope to make bikepacking racing accessible to more. 


What if I have a medical emergency?

All riders must have proof of medical cover, which includes emergency extraction if necessary. SPOT trackers are compulsory which all have panic buttons for this very reason. 

Because of the vast distance covered by the route, there will be no medical services provided by the organiser. Familiarise yourself with local ambulance and police numbers before leaving.


What if my bike breaks?

Fix it yourself or walk with it to a bike shop or local mechanic. You may catch public transport to make repairs but you may not use private or chartered transport. You must then RIDE back from the point of repair to the point at which the transport was taken in order to continue.

Only human power can be used to propel you towards the finish line and while your bike is serviceable, so no skipping of the route is allowed. Skipping anything about 500m is grounds for you to be moved the the pair/touring category