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When it comes to any cycling event, especially ultra cycling, the key is to have the best preparation possible. Our riders often ask us about the amount of planning that goes into an event. 

The short answer is a lot, and in this article, we want to discuss all the things we do not just to give you a great route but also to give you an amazing experience. We are going to be discussing:

  • Step One: The Right Destination And Local Expert
  • Step Two: Tell And Create A Story
  • Step Three: Fundamentals
  • Step Four: Test And Fine Tune
  • Applying To Be A Pathfinder



Step One: The Right Destination And Local Expert

When it comes to our Gravalist events, we work very differently from others. We don’t just pick a destination and use applications to create a route. What we do is a little bit more special. 

The regions we pick need to be special. We want epic roads, challenging gravel terrain, and some tricky trails, as well as history, special landmarks, and the underlying culture of the region. 

We use a local expert who knows the region well and gets them to design the route according to our specifications. We believe there’s no substitute for this, and no matter how good applications can be, having someone who knows the area better than anyone else is the key. 

We also use route pickers who are part of the ultra-cycling community. Knowing how to plan a short route is one thing. Knowing how to plan a 500 km route is another. So much more is involved, and more fundamentals are needed for a successful adventure. 

A lot of the routes are designed by our ultra-cycling staff here at the Gravalist! With us being in many different parts of the world and all incredibly passionate about making epic routes, we love getting out and creating something special.


Step Two: Tell And Create A Story

We believe that each route designed should tell a story. Not only should it tell you about a region, but it also must take you on an adventure. A good example is one of our new events. We take you through not just incredible places but through stories and legends. 

We also want to create your story. Although 12 other cyclists are riding the route, not everyone will have the same experience. We want you to come away from the ride and be able to tell each other about your journey and challenges. 

When it comes to ultra cycling and adventure riding, the value isn’t in where you finish the race, but in the journey, you have along the way. The story is never forgotten when distance and elevation can be easily achieved. 


Step Three: Fundamentals

On our adventures, we can take you to some of the most epic places in the world, but we must ensure you get certain fundamentals. Here’s what you need to know.

Resupply And Repair

You won't get very far without the opportunity to resupply on an adventure. Not only do we look for places that are good for resupply but also have shops with long opening hours and a bike shop every so often. 


For some riders, 500 km is enough to do in a single hit, but for others who want to enjoy the experience a bit more, they will take it slower. Having hotels and campsites on the way makes it perfect for easy stopping and the required rest for many.


Next, we have terrain, and here at the Gravalist, we aim for 60% off-road and 40% off-road. Although in some countries this is an easy task, in others, it can be much more difficult. Finding the right routes on public land is challenging.


Step Four: Testing And Fine Tune

Once all the routes are put together, they must be tested. We send the local experts to test the routes themselves to enjoy what they have created and ensure that nothing is too challenging, too easy, or inaccessible. 

Then, after they have ridden the route, we need to fine-tune it. Where can it be better? What things do we feel the need to remove? Is it good for beginners but challenging for experts? These are all the questions we ask ourselves.

Once the fine-tuning has been done, we finalise the route and get it up on the site ready for you, the amazing riders who come to our events. It’s an exciting process but needs a lot of attention.


Applying To Be A Pathfinder

Here at the Gravalist, we are always looking to expand and take our riders further out of their comfort zones on amazing adventures. If you liked this article and think this is going to be a process you could complete for us, then you must contact us. 

Pathfinders do not work for free, and we have a rewards system that will pay you when you design a route. Please get in touch with for more information or check out the route builders guide and the route submission form for more details.

Post by Robbie
Apr 11, 2024 4:23:31 PM