transrockies gravel royale
(Photo/TransRockies Race Series)

Inaugural ‘Gravel Royale’ Will Pit Cyclists Against the Rockies in Epic Stage Race

The TransRockies Gravel Royale spent a year lost in the COVID-19 scrambler. Now, riders poise for takeoff at the inaugural race.

On Aug. 22, gravel race riders will line up at British Columbia’s Panorama Mountain Resort for a long-delayed start. They’ll spend the next 4 days touring some of the Canadian province’s most picturesque gravel routes in the TransRockies Gravel Royale stage race.

This year, the event kicks off after COVID-19 shut down most activity in British Columbia last August. As of this writing, cyclists worldwide can still register to ride. And as of April 1, the Canadian government no longer requires a negative COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated international visitors.

Course and Camp Details

“After 2 years of planning, we can’t wait to bring the legendary TransRockies stage race experience to the gravel community,” said Aaron McConnell, president of TransRockies. “This part of British Columbia is so perfect for a wilderness gravel experience.”

The course will trend south across 252 miles and a staggering 23,000 feet of climbing southeast of Revelstoke in the Canadian Rockies. Scenic stops along the tour include Nipika Mountain Resort and the Village of Canal Flats. The finish line will be in Fernie, a charming mountain town nestled below the Three Sisters.

TransRockies will handle camping amenities geared toward making riders comfortable between the four stages. The race organizers will haul riders’ gear and luggage, set up tents, provide showers, and prepare meals. Each night, massage and “athletic therapy” will be available with mechanical support and a bike wash. Nightly entertainment will include music, snacks, and a campfire.

“People hang out for hours after the races and just hang out and talk about their day and celebrate the things that went well and laugh about the things that didn’t go so well,” said pro mountain biker Emma Maaranen. “It’s pretty incredible. I haven’t been to races like that in years and years that have such a community feel to them.”

No Shortage of Gravel

In all, TransRockies says the course is 84% gravel roads for a total of around 210 miles. Riders should expect a low technical threshold of entry — the race organizer says it designed the course so that “any experienced road rider would have no technical concerns.”

Maps, detailed stage descriptions, requirements, and more are all available on TransRockies’ website. Registration is open but limited, according to the site. But if you don’t get in under the gun, you’ve still got plenty of options: The TransRockies Race Series operates 10 events over 32 days annually in the American West and Canada.

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Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson is a staff writer at GearJunkie, and several other All Gear websites.

He has been writing about climbing, cycling, running, wildlife, outdoor policy, the outdoor industry, vehicles, and more for 2 years. Prior to GearJunkie, he owned and operated his own business before freelancing at GearHungry. Based in Austin, Texas, Anderson loves to climb, boulder, road bike, trail run, and frequent local watering holes (of both varieties).