A new race series, the 307 Gravel Series, is set to take cyclists onto Wyoming’s unpaved back roads this summer.
To kick off the three-race series, cyclists are participating in this Saturday’s High Country Classic, which starts and ends at Golden Prairie Bakery on the open plains west of Laramie.
Race director Jake Marlow said the 46-mile race is about half gravel, half pavement and follows a mostly out-and-back course.
“As many miles as I could possibly get in there are on gravel,” he said.
As a perk for hungry cyclists, the bakery is one of the race’s sponsors.
“If there’s anything I’ve wanted more of in a bike race, it’s pastries,” he joked.
Marlow said a family of physical therapy clinics — High Country Physical Therapy, Hands on Physical Therapy and Windy City Physical Therapy — took over organizing a single gravel bike race before one race blossomed into a three-race series this summer.
Gravel racing is one of the newest trends in cycling, during which races take place on gravel roads or a combination of riding surfaces. Cyclists use bikes made specifically for riding on gravel as well as cyclocross, road and mountain bikes with gravel-specific tires.
For cyclists, gravel riding offers routes free from traffic, stoplights and other development. Bikes are more versatile, and the discipline has taken on a mellower vibe than riding on roads or trails.
Marlow said many gravel races are called “grinders” because they’re long and a little slower than riding on pavement.
“People like to suffer in the best way possible,” he said.
The High Country Classic is a good introduction to the sport, he said, because it’s shorter than a lot of races.
“We wanted to do something that was accessible to people with a variety of skill levels,” he said.
The 307 Gravel Series is scheduled to continue at the Bates Creek Grinder on Aug. 21 near Casper and the Mormon Canyon Epic on Sept. 18 near Glenrock. Registration is open for both races.
For more information about the series, go to www.bikereg.com/48550 or find the series on Facebook or Instagram.