Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Dorset Gravel Dash

By Paul Errington
03, Jun, 2014

Satisfying a craving for gravel, in the UK

I don’t remember how I discovered gravel racing, its not as though the UK has a huge scene… until last weekend it had no scene at all. I guess probably an article featured in XXC Magazine or one of the ultra racing forums probably brought gravel to my attention. Some people cannot imagine anything worse than ‘grinding’ long sections of hilly gravel road but to me it struck a chord and I wanted in.

My first event was in 2012, the Dirty Kanza 200 in Kansas, 200 miles starting and ending in Emporia, Kansas. I met amazing people and got a taste for the gravel scene. The following year I went to Iowa to take on the well-respected Trans Iowa, famed for its long distance at 325 miles and often brutal riding conditions. Trans Iowa tested me but again I was inspired by the people I rode with and the whole feel of the event.

This year other events conspired to keep me from the US and another gravel race, but luckily in 2014 gravel came to the UK, the Dorset Gravel Dash 100. The event was hardly local, in fact I have driven to events in Europe that took less time to get there, but when some one has not only spent time but also stuck their neck out to put on something new, as a rider you need to make the effort to attend and show support.

Charlie the Bikemonger … the man, the organiser, the legend … those who favour one gear over many will of heard of, if not met Charlie. Running a bike shop out of Swanage, Charlie has always pioneered so it was no surprise he was the man to step up and launch UK gravel. Swanage is nestled down on the south coast, the town sits on the sea surrounded by steep hillsides.  It was the start and end of the Dorset Gravel Dash 100, specifically the Red Lion pub. Now in my mind all great events should start and finish at a pub!

The ‘race’
Firstly the ‘Dash’ was not a race ... lets make that clear, though it was however ridden as quickly as possible by all that rode it.  91 ish miles in distance (100 if you count wheel spins too) the course covered a lot of bridleway gravel, some road , some trail and the occasional bike swallowing puddle!
The start was a fairly comfortable 8am and being able to start and finish an event not only the same day but with time for an afternoon pub lunch was novel.
I don’t think I have ever seen such a diverse selection of bikes line up for an event before … thin, fat, geared, singlespeed and even fixed!  Most boxes had been ticked.

Continue reading how the 'race' went over on my blog. 

  • Google+

In pictures

No Comments

Share your thoughts about this article.

Daring Deeds

The Tour Divide story - Part 1
Rich and Tom take on the Tour Divide
Handcycle Britain Interview
An interview with Mel Nicholls
Rich and Tom Siepp Pre-Tour Divide ride
Rich and Tom's kit list and pre-amble for their Tour Divide route ride
The Proof of the Pudding
make sure you test your equipment

More from Deeds

News

Mel Nicholls’ Handcycle Britain World Record Attempt
Follow Mel on her LEJOG World Record Attempt
Nat Spring: 40 Day Wellbeing Challenge
Nat Spring's journey to recovery
Pedalling the Parks
1600-mile cycle ride across the UK’s National Parks
Ireland To Asia: A Year On My Bike
Tales from Sean Hoban's journey to Asia

More from News

Develop

New Sonder Transmitter: Q&A with Neil Sutton
We catch Sonder Bike Guru Neil to quiz him about the new Transmitter
The Squalline Story
Developing our new run/ride showerproof shell
Bags more packs in our range
New packs for you to put your kit in
Gripping Developments In Gloves
A whole new glove range: the inside story

More from Develop

Spotlight

Dragon’s Back Race Kit List
Detailed kit guide for running the Dragon's Back Mountain Race
The Highland Trail 550 2019
Stu Taylor returns to the Highland Trail
Taking on the Dragons Back 2019
5 days of mountainous running in Wales
Surviving 24hr bike races - Strathpuffer
Surviving 24 hours on a bike in northern Scotland

More from Spotlight

Kudos

More from Kudos

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness

CLOSE

By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions