Weekend gravel recap: Ro3, Grinduro, Gravel Locos, Paydirt, and Wild Horse Gravel

May 20 was a busy day for gravel racing, with many riders putting in a last effort before Unbound Gravel.

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On May 20, why not gravel race?

That’s what a few thousand people did last Saturday, and by the looks of all the photos coming from Arkansas, California, Nevada, Texas, and Colorado, it was a stunner spring day across the United States.

As gravel continues to boom across the country, organizers still manage to add unique flair to their events, whether in terrain choice, format, pay out, or post-race party.

Here’s a snippet of five of last weekend’s biggest events — if you like what you see, be sure to bookmark them for next year — sell-out is imminent.

Rule of Three, Bentonville, AR

1/3 gravel, 1/3 tarmac, 1/3 singletrack. In the self-proclaimed cycling capitol of the world.

It was year three for Rule of Three, and it finally didn’t rain! The trails were perfectly tacky and the gravel was rolling fast. Hometown hero Crystal Anthony (Liv Racing) took the women’s win, coming in 17 minutes ahead of her Dutch teammate Tessa Neefjes. Australian Ella Bloor was third.

In the men’s race, Taylor Lideen blitzed to first, 10 minutes ahead of cyclocross national champion Curtis White. Olivier Lavigueur was third.

Full list of results here.

Grinduro, Mt Shasta, CA

For those interested in the “perfect party-to-race ratio,” Grinduro was the event.

The weekend-long festival began with an optional prologue stage on Friday before Saturday’s main event. Grinduro stands apart from nearly every other gravel race with an enduro format. There are four stages, including a gravel descent, road time trial, gravel climb, and a singletrack stage.

Justin Peck, Michael van den Ham, and Ben Frederick made up the pro men’s top three, while Caroline Dezendorf, Serena Bishop Gordon, and Maude Farrell were the top three elite women.

Also — California is the second of six global Grinduro events in 2023, so don’t fret if you missed it. Pennsylvania, Wales, Italy, and Japan are coming up this summer and fall.

Full list of results here.

Gravel Locos, Hico, TX

Perhaps the most ‘traditional’ course, Gravel Locos was just shy of 160 miles of fast, rolling gravel. Race organizer Fabian Serralta always attracts a deep pro field, and this year was no different.

However, this year’s field included more international riders than ever before, as many of them came to the US early to prepare for Unbound Gravel in two weeks.

The men’s podium — and top ten even — was mostly international with French-Canadian Adam Roberge taking the top step, German Paul Voss in second, and Dutch rider Ivar Slik in third. Alex Howes was fourth, and Norweigan Simen Nordahl Swendsen was fifth.

Germany also scored top honors in the women’s race with Carolin Schiff winning the three-woman sprint with Marisa Boaz and Justine Barrow. Katie Kantzes and Laura King were fourth and fifth.

Full list of results here.

Stetina’s Paydirt, Carson City, NV

Last week, we reported on the Shimano Women’s Paydirt Challenge, in which only women were eligible for the race’s $5,000 prize purse. The competition turned out to be fierce, both on the race course and off.

By time, Sarah Sturm won the 72-mile race, finishing 16 seconds ahead of Heather Jackson. However, Jackson won a tire toss, and thus a 20 second time bonus that put her four seconds ahead of Sturm overall.

Flavia Oliveira Parks, Anna Yamauchi, and Lauren Cantwell rounded out the five-rider podium.

Full list of results here.

Wild Horse Gravel, DeBeque, CO

Wild Horse Gravel is all about family fun, Western Slope style. Set at the High Lonesome Ranch, the event brings people to a little-known part of Colorado that happens to have incredible gravel riding.

EF Education-EasyPost rider Lachlan Morton made a surprise appearance at the event and narrowly took the win ahead of Matt Pike. Tyler Jones was third.

The women’s race could be a harbinger of things to come in the Life Time Grand Prix — LTGP athletes Deanna Mayles and Leah van der Linden went 1-2. Western Slope local Sparky Moir was third.

Full list of results here.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.