By Bill Plock
Below is the official new release from USA Triathlon announcing the nationwide Triathlon Gravel Series. There are eight events including Colorado’s Stagecoach Gravel outside of Steamboat on July 31st put on by Without Limits Production.
We will take a deeper dive into the vision Lance Panigutti of Without Limits has with his event, but he had this to say about being part of the series. “The Stagecoach Gravel Triathlon couldn’t be more excited to join the fold, as it provides a level of exposure and legitimacy to the endeavor, but the governing structure doesn’t restrict our ability to be creative. This will also be the first season USA Triathlon hosts its own national championship on June 3rd in Arkansas.
Lance Panigutti—I want to amplify that mindset of “embracing the day”, appreciation for the natural environment, and creating experiences that ignite that childlike competitiveness we once felt playing capture the flag at recess.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Building off the rapidly growing trend of gravel-related races springing up around the country, USA Triathlon today announced the eight local multisport gravel events that make up the inaugural 2022 USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series.
Paired with the first USA Triathlon Gravel National Championships to be held June 3 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the innovative 2022 USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series offers endurance sports enthusiasts a new way to experience swim, bike, run multisport racing at gravel events in each region of the United States.
“Gravel cycling is growing incredibly fast and the multisport community is positioned to take advantage of this trend by providing athletes with new and unique race formats and disciplines like gravel triathlon,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “USA Triathlon is proud to partner with local race directors across the country to create this exciting new series. As the National Governing Body for triathlon and multisport in the United States, we fully support gravel triathlon and other gravel multisport disciplines, and we look forward to being a part of its continued growth.”
The USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series spans the multisport season from May through October and features events across the U.S., with races in New Jersey, Michigan, Texas, Colorado, Idaho and California. Race series participants will receive special USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series stickers and awards, as well as recognition on usatriathlon.org and USA Triathlon’s social channels. Qualification is not required to participate in the USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series or the inaugural USA Triathlon Gravel National Championships.
In the leadup to and throughout the USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series, USA Triathlon will share beginner-friendly resources to show how athletes can get started in gravel riding, spotlights on gravel equipment, race reports from athletes and spotlights on local race directors, coaches and clubs who have incorporated gravel into their events, coaching services and club activities, respectively.
Gravel riding is an increasingly popular form of cycling that combines elements of road- and mountain-biking, and consisting mostly of riding over unpaved, non-technical roads. Unlike traditional triathlons where participants race their bikes on paved roads or highways, and unlike off-road triathlons where racers ride mountain bikes on technical, single-track mountain bike trails, gravel triathlons take place on unpaved, dirt roads such as Forest Service roads or canal paths that are non-technical. With fewer vehicles on these dirt and rural roads, gravel riding can offer a safer alternative to road cycling. Because of the varied terrain, riders can use a bike designed specifically for gravel riding, but mountain bikes and road bikes are often used for gravel riding, too.
As gravel triathlon and gravel duathlon (run-bike-run) are new disciplines under the multisport umbrella, USA Triathlon has created a new set of rules specifically for gravel events. To view the Gravel Multisport Rules and Recommendations, click here. These rules and recommendations were established through a working group of race directors and other community stakeholders and was led by Mark Turner, USA Triathlon Commissioner of Officials.
The eight-race Gravel Triathlon Series kicks off on May 15 at the Jersey Gravel Triathlon in Hewitt, New Jersey. Organized by Ready Set Go Adventures, the Jersey Gravel Triathlon takes place at Wawayanda State Park and features a sprint-distance gravel triathlon (500m swim, 8-mile gravel bike, 3-mile trail run) and Olympic-distance gravel triathlon (1,000-meter swim, 25-mile gravel bike, 5-mile trail run) as well as other multisport disciplines involving gravel, including aquabike (swim-gravel bike), duathlon (trail run-gravel bike-trail run), paddle triathlon (stand-up paddleboarding, gravel bike, trail run) and a kids triathlon. Registration is open now.
The next series race is The Theoi June 18 in Donnelly, Idaho, held at the Tamarack Resort, which sits on Lake Cascade. Organized by Pristine Marketing and Events, the new event on Father’s Day weekend features a 1,000m swim, 40k gravel bike and a 10k trail run gravel triathlon. Other ancillary races during the weekend include a “vertical” gravel climb trial up Tamarack Resort’s main ski mountain and a 75-mile gravel bike race. For more information and to register, visit the event’s website.
Launched in 2018, the Ugly Dog Gravel Tri July 23 in Chelsea, Michigan, is the third event in the series — one of two in Michigan — and features a bike and run course with 90% gravel. Located at Waterloo State Recreation Area and organized by Tris4Health, the event features a sprint-distance gravel triathlon (750m swim, 14-mile gravel bike, 5k trail run) and an Olympic-distance gravel triathlon (1,500m swim, 29-mile gravel bike, 10k trail run), as well as gravel duathlon, aquabike and relay race options. For more information and to register, visit the event’s website.
Set at Stagecoach Reservoir near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Stagecoach Gravel Triathlon makes its race debut July 31 and is the fourth race in the series. The gravel triathlon organized by Without Limits Productions features a course with a half-mile swim, 16-mile gravel bike and 4-mile trail run, as well as a gravel aquabike race and the option to stand-up paddleboard instead of swim in the gravel triathlon. To register and for more information, visit the event’s website.
The first of two California events, the Gravel X Triathlon Sept. 10 in Folsom, California, is the fifth event of the series. Organized by TBF Racing, the gravel event is located at Negro Bar State Park and features a sprint-distance gravel triathlon (500m swim, 18k gravel bike, 5k trail run) and an Olympic-distance gravel triathlon (1000m swim, 36k gravel bike, 10k trail run) with a course featuring nearly 85% gravel. For more information, visit the event’s website.
Sept. 25 features two series events, The Dirty Mitten in Middleville, Michigan, and XTERRA Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California.
Organized by Tris4Health, The Dirty Mitten takes place at the YMCA’s Camp Manitou-Lin and features sprint- (750m swim, 14-mile gravel bike, 3.1-mile trail run), Olympic-distance (1500m swim, 29-mile gravel bike and 6.2-mile trail run) and half-distance (2250m swim, 54-mile gravel bike, 13.1-mile trail run) gravel triathlons as well as relays, aquabikes and duathlons at each distance. For more information and to register, visit the event’s website.
The scenic XTERRA Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California, is organized by Generic Events and features a short course (500m swim, 16k off-road bike and 5k trail run) and long course (1500m swim, 25k off-road bike, 10k trail run) at Crystal Cove State Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. For more information and to register, visit the event’s website.
The final race in the series is the Brick House Triathlon Oct. 23 in Navasota, Texas. The fourth year for the event, the Brick House Triathlon features a 400m swim, 10-mile gravel bike and 3k trail run course at Magnolia Hill Ranch. The event, organized by Trifit-XT, also features an adventure race with a trail run, bike and kayak/stand-up paddleboard. For more information and to register, visit the event’s website.
In addition to the USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series, the inaugural USA Triathlon Gravel National Championships will be held June 3 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Gravel and mountain-biking haven, Fayetteville, will also host the Off-Road National Championships on June 4. Both events will be held in conjunction with the Ozark Valley Triathlon. In addition, the event will also host the first Off-Road Duathlon National Championships. Both the Off-Road Triathlon and Off-Road Duathlon National Championships will qualify age group athletes for the Cross Triathlon and Cross Duathlon World Championships, hosted by World Triathlon. To learn more about the events, visit the Ozark Valley Triathlon event website.
To learn more about the 2022 USA Triathlon Gravel Triathlon Series, visit USA Triathlon’s website here.
2022 USA Triathlon Gravel Series
May 15, 2022 – Jersey Gravel Triathlon – Hewitt, NJ
June 18, 2022 – The Theoi – Donnelly, ID
July 23, 2022 – Ugly Dog Gravel Tri – Chelsea, MI
July 31, 2022 – Stagecoach Gravel Triathlon – Steamboat Springs, CO
September 10, 2022 – The Gravel X Triathlon – Folsom, CA
September 25, 2022 – The Dirty Mitten – Middleville, MI
September 25, 2022 – XTERRA Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach, CA
October 23, 2022 – Brick House Triathlon – Navasota, TX