Summer '16 Minnesota Gravel Events

Gravel racing season traditionally has been in the Spring and Fall but with the growing popularity of "riding gravel", Summer events have seen an increase in number in recent years.  In addition to established Summer gravel events, several new ones have been popping up over the last year or two.  By now, some of these events may be close to the rider cap while others still have plenty of room available if you want in.

Image Credit: Jim Smith

The Dirty Lemming is a Summer gravel tradition put on by Jim Smith in Watertown, MN.  This year's running of the Lemmings will be on July 30th.  Two course options include 100 km and 100 mile routes.  This is a free event limited to 100 riders, postcard registration is required and there may be a handful of spots remaining.

Image Credit: Tour de Save Facebook Page

The Cannon Valley Velo Club is holding its 13th annual Tour de Save on July 30th at the Spring Creek Soccer Fields in Northfield, MN.  In addition to the 10, 25 and 62 mile road routes, there will be a 46 mile gravel road ride.  Online registration is available until 6:00 pm the day before the ride.  Registration fee is $25 and a fundraising goal must be established.  Updates for the ride can be found on the Tour de Save Facebook page.

Image Credit: grittygoose.blogspot.com

The Gritty Goose Gravel Grinder is back for its second year in 2016.  It's a free ride that takes place on gravel roads near Monticello, Maple Lake and Buffalo on August 20th.  There will be two route options this year, 70 miles with almost 2,000 feet of climbing or 50 miles with almost 1,500 feet of climbing.  Online registration is now available.  "You'll have to ride it to find out why its called the Gritty Goose."

 The Heck Epic is a two-day (August 20-21) bikepacking staged event that starts in Two Harbors and travels North to Ely where you will camp for the night before returning back to Two Harbors on day two.  Distance covered will be about 205 miles.  Online registration is now available until August 15th or a rider cap of 80 is reached.  Entry fee is $100 and covers a hot breakfast buffet on Sunday when in Ely, camping facilities in Ely and a pint glass filled with beer at the Friday night registration meeting.  Updates for the Heck Epic can also be found on the Heck of the North Facebook page.

Image Credit: Fiddlin' Fifty Facebook Page

The Fiddlin' Fifty Gravel Grinder is a 50+ mile unsupported free gravel ride on August 27th in Balkan TWP that will venture mostly through the Superior National Forest north of the Laurentian Divide.  There are no stops along the way for food or water so come prepared.  Afterward there will be a potluck for those cyclists that would like to bring a dish to pass.  Postcard registration is open until August 20th.  Cards should have your name, address, and e-mail; age is optional. Send to: Fiddlin' Fifty, c/o Scott Dahlquist 6479 Colombe Rd. Chisholm, MN 55719.  Updates can be found on the Fiddlin' Fifty Facebook page.

The River Valley 100 returns for its third year on August 28th taking cyclists through the scenic river valleys around Mankato in South-Central Minnesota.  This free event consists of both paved and gravel route options and is non-supported.  For those looking to ride gravel, a 100 km gravel ride and 100 km gravel race are available.  The gravel race details ares still being worked out but there will be a neutral roll out until out of town.  Registration is required and space is limited to 200 riders total (100 rider cap for the gravel race).  There are two ways to register, online or by mail.  Deadline for gravel racing registration is August 23rd.  Updates can also be found on the River Valley 100 Facebook page.

Image Credit: Joshua Stamper

The Gravel Conspiracy is an adventure ride taking place on gravel, dirt and Forest service roads along the North shore.  Dates are September 9-11.  "The tentative route will be to start from around Silver Bay and ride to Ely via double track, dirt roads, and gravel.  Second day will see us on a big loop west of Ely, and then returning to town for a 2nd night. This really simplifies the logistics.  The last day will have us rolling back to Silver Bay."  Registration is required and for more information visit The Gravel Conspiracy FAQ page or contact gravelconspiracy@gmail.com.

The Back Forty is an 80 mile gravel grinder taking place September 10th in Denmark Twp. just North of Hastings, MN.  This isn't your normal gravel ride.  It would probably be best to visit the website and read the full description of the ride and its rules of competition.  Registration is free and can be done by sending an email to the event organizer. Updates may be found on the Back Forty Cycling Facebook page.

Image Credit: Derek Chinn

The Inspiration 100 is a 100 mile gravel race in its fifth year and starts in Garfield, MN on September 10th.  This is a free race and registration is done by postcard only during the month of July.  Registration is capped at 150 racers.  "The 2016 Inspiration 100 will be the final time this event is held. Let's go out strong!"  Updates can be found on the Inspiration 100 Facebook page.

Image Credit: Drew Wilson

From the gravel enthusiast that brought you the Dickie Scramble comes an event entering its 3rd year that showcases the beauty and challenge of gravel roads in the Root River Valley around Lanesboro, the Tour of Filmore"77 of the hardest and most rewarding miles of gravel in southern MN."  There will be grilling and a party at the finish and camping is available near the start the night before.  Registration is open until the start of the event and can be done by stating you are going on the Facebook Event Page or sending an email to drew@cyclocarbon.com.
These events are unsupported (except Tour de Save) so bring everything you will need to get you to the finish.

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