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Canada's original gravel racing event Kettle Mettle returns to the Okanagan

Plus, the absolutely new and fantastic Sea 2 Sky Fondo to debut in the Lower Mainland Oct. 1

Canada’s oldest gravel racing event Kettle Mettle is set to return to the awesome Kettle Valley Trail in the stunning Okanagan Valley on Sept 16th and 17th as part of Western Canada’s Triple Crown of Gravel.

The one-day 138km+ full fondo plus distance is the marquee event of a weekend that also includes a 50km Medio and 100km full fondo distance.  This year they are also featuring a 2-day stage race event.

Growth of Gravel

Dean Stanton had been putting on sporting events for years when, more than a decade ago, he stumbled upon a burgeoning scene exploding on the Great Plains of Kansas dubbed Dirty Kanza and worked to establish Canada’s first gravel racing event (Paris Ancaster is older, but not an official gravel race).

In 2013 Stanton participated in a U.S. gravel event and decided to bring gravel to Western Canada. After some in-depth research, he decided that the Okanagan would be the perfect place to host a gravel fondo event.

Back in the day, Stanton says the event was 85+ per cent mountain bikes, but as we have come to learn, gravel cycling is exploding and there are very few mountain bikes at this point.

Kettle Call

“When we first started, nobody even knew what we were doing,” Stanton says. “And then I guess the industry, the bike industry started paying attention and growing it out. I see it as a very different way to ride your bike. You're getting away from it all. There’s a lot less traffic. And just getting out more into nature. It's more like mountain biking in that sense.”

Stanton says participants come to Kettle Mettle from across the country, and the United States.

“It’s a pretty far-reaching event with the average age about 45 to 50,” he says. “The vibe is different than that of a road race. It's more like trail running or mountain biking, in that it's much more of a community feel. A casual vibe, focusing on riding gravel, getting out into the wilderness and having fun.”

"And, of course, with all of Stanton’s gravel events, there will be a beer garden and plenty of opportunity for serious story swapping following the rides."

Triple Crown of Gravel

As gravel riding grew, so did Stanton’s lineup of events. First, he added the Cowichan Crusher, held every May in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. And, this fall, Stanton is launching a new gravel event in the Lower Mainland on the logging roads around Squamish, BC.

“We have a new gravel fondo set for Oct. 1 in Squamish,” Stanton says. “This will be our inaugural year even though we've been trying for a couple of years as well. It’s going to be using a bunch of forest service roads up there and it’s just stunning. So it's pretty exciting.”

The three distances for the Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo include a 25km piccolo/beginner fondo, a 50km medio fondo, and a 90km full fondo.

The Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo will weave its way through lush forests, and coastal gravel roads with some steep punchy climbs. Expect West Coast scenery at its finest.

Whether new to gravel or an experienced rider, there is something for everyone at these awesome gravel cycling events of the Triple Crown of Gravel including the legendary Kettle Mettle and the new Sea2Sky.  We try hard to be 80% or higher as a proportion of gravel to pavement at all our events.

To save 10 per cent on registration (which goes up on Aug. 15) for Kettle Mettle use the coupon code: KMGOT

To save 10 per cent on registration for Sea2Sky use the coupon code: Sea2SkyGOT

 

For full event information, check out the websites. We’ll see you out there.

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