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When it comes to ultra-cycling events, it can be very difficult to understand what to expect. The Gravalist events are not like others, and you will get a completely different experience.

In this article, we will explain Gravalist events and what you can expect from entering one. We will also provide some top tips if this is your first-time ultra cycling and tell you everything you need to know. So what can you expect on a Gravalist event.

  • What Are Gravalist Ultra Cycling Events?
  • What Can You Expect From A Gravalist Event?
  • Top Tips For Gravalist Events!

An open road A road in South Africa

What Are Gravalist Ultra Cycling Events?

Let’s get back to the basics and discuss Gravalist events. A Gravalist event is an ultra-cycling event that is done on mixed-terrain roads, and the distance is around 500 km. Gravalist events are limited to only 13 people per event, and they are more of an intimate experience for most.

Gravalist events are not just for beginners getting into ultra cycling. They are also excellent for experts who like to push themselves at shorter distances. They can be done over a weekend and are self-sufficient. 

A dusty Gravel Road

What Can You Expect From A Gravalist Event?

A Gravalist event might be your first ultra-cycling event, or it could be another challenge on your list if you are an experienced ultra-cyclist. Next, we will discuss what you can expect from beforehand to the finish. 


The Race Manual

Once you sign up, the first thing you will read and enjoy is the race manual. This manual will tell you what you need to know about the event you're going to and also come packed with important information for you to complete it properly. 

I highly recommend studying your race manual closely. It is really going to help you and often contains the information you need to get out of a mess. We always try to answer any question we get asked in the race manual.


On The Event, You’re On Your Own

Before the event, we are here to help and answer your questions, but as soon as it has started, you are on your own. We won’t be there to bring you a jacket if you get cold, and if your bike breaks, we're not able to come and help you fix it. 

There are many reasons for this. The main one is that it is your adventure, and to be completed properly, you have to go on this journey alone. These challenges are not just about cycling; they are about problem-solving and your own personal resilience. 

Ultra cycling is about much more than giving everything. You have to be self-sufficient. It’s about knowing your route, managing your supplies, and ensuring you have a place to sleep when needed.


There’s Only A Maximum Of 13 People In Each Ride

Unlike many events with a mass start and hundreds waiting to go with you, the Gravalist events are not like this. We will tell you the route, and when you go to the start, you will see up to 12 or fewer other competitors with whom you will share the adventure. 

These people are going to be the only few experiencing the same journey as you. Some might breeze through the event with no issues. Others might have a harder time, but you are all on the same road. 


It’s Going To Take 1 To 4 Days

500 km is the distance that we like our events to be. We feel it's a great distance to challenge experts and bring beginners into the wonderful world of ultra racing. For most of them, this is going to take 1 to 3 days. 

It’s important even if you plan to take one day to pack for two. If you plan to take two days, pack for four. One of the biggest challenges most cyclists face is estimating how long these events will take to complete. 


It Won’t Be Easy

The Gravalist events are made to challenge you. They are not a walk in the park, they are going to test your mind, body, and spirit. You are going to be riding big miles in tough places, and it’s going to take a lot out of you, the rider.

It’s good to understand that nothing good comes easy. We want these events to push you and take you outside your comfort zone. That’s the place where you are going to learn the most about yourself. 


It Will Be Empowering 

Ultra cycling isn’t just about how quickly you can ride around a course. It’s much more than that. It’s about going on a journey you are first never going to forget but it will also be a test which is going to later empower you after completion. 

Tough times make tough people, and when you reach the end of an event, you will know you have endured an epic challenge. The feeling you will get after you cross the finish line will be incredibly empowering.

A Bike On A Dusty Road

Top Tips For Gravalist Events!

When it comes to getting ready for a Gravalist event, there’s a lot to be thinking about. Here are my top tips for a Gravalist event!

Be Prepared!

Study the race manual, look at other bikepacker's kit lists, check at the route and make a plan, and also train to the best of your ability. The better you can prepare yourself, the more you will enjoy the event and have a better chance of success. 

Learn How To Adapt

One of the most important lessons previous Gravalist event riders said comes in very handy is having the ability to adapt. If something goes wrong, learn how to fix it. If you get lost, get unlost. Open up your ability to stay calm and adapt. 

Never Scratch In The Moment

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to want to give up there and then, but it’s not a great idea. If you feel like giving up, take a step back, consider your options, and make a rational decision. Take some time to think about the options. 

It’s Better To Have It And Not Need It

When it comes to bikepacking, I believe that having the correct kit is vital for success. I highly recommend taking what you think you might need rather than trying to be minimal and only taking essentials.

Food And Drink

One of the biggest challenges you will face when ultra cycling is eating and drinking enough to power yourself to the finish. Test different nutrition strategies and also get into the habit of eating and drinking often. 

A Dusty Gravel Road

A Final Note

Everyone's experience at a Gravalist event will be different. That’s the beauty of ultra cycling. A Gravalist event is a great way to challenge yourself and grow as an ultra cyclist. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Post by Robbie
March 30, 2024