Spring Gravel Race Cancellations

FasCats -

Just an update to the Race Predictions tip I wrote in December

As I thought, we are seeing the cancellation or delay of large races that require a public health department permit.

The Mid-South in mid-March (Oklahoma) was just cancelled and the granddaddy event the Sea Otter has rescheduled from May in California to September.

The BWR San Diego in May 2nd is rumored to be rescheduled in July (which is going to be hot AF)

That leaves Unbound Gravel on June 5th. Will everyone be vaccinated by then? I doubt it but that doesn’t mean they can’t hold the race…


Thanks Frank. I signed up for a small-ish gravel race in Ohio on May 1st. They forewarned of a potential time trial format, or something that sounded akin to what UnPaved did in Pennsylvania in October. I wonder if the small events will have an advantage in the first half of the year because of the ability to modify their format more than a massive event like the ones you’ve mentioned above?

I think so - the smaller the event the less a public health risk (super spreader event) and I think you’ll those return sooner in a more agile way than the 1,00+ people larger events.

What is the smallish May 1 Ohio race?

Hi John,

It is called the Black Fork Gravel Grinder in Glenmont, Ohio. They are sold out, unfortunately. You might be able to keep an eye out for registration transfer opportunities. Are you an Ohioan like me?

  • Kevin

No, I am in central PA, and it looks like a solid five hour drive from that race anyway.
I am hoping for the Parker Dam Gravel Grinder in May 15. That one is only 2 hours away from me and looks pretty great.

Did you happen to race UnPaved this year? I have a feeling that this race in Ohio might be a similar format to what UnPaved did with the time trial format and staggered starts. I just don’t see a mass start of 400 people being possible by May 1.

Here in the Northeast Rasputitsa is pushing their even to April 30 2022. Guilford Gravel Grinder has moved to July 25.

I’m scheduled for Wilmington Whiteface the first weekend in June, not sure what will happen there.

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I did ride (wouldn’t call is “race”) UnPAved last year. It was on October 11th. They were originally going to do scheduled staggered starts, but they wound up just letting people start any time they wanted after 7:00 a.m. Their hope was that would mean even less crowding and bunching up around the start line. I wasn’t there right at 7:00, but from what I saw it worked well. Riders had to wear a mask to enter the tents at the aid stations, and even there everyone was respecting social distancing protocols.

The race awards were done based on four timed segments (mostly, this was the three longest climbs of the day, plus this one section that is notoriously technical ‘the Longwell Draft Rd’ or the segment they call “The Difference”).

It was a truly fun and gratifying day for me, by far the toughest single day I’ve had on a bicycle. And, my goodness, is it a beautiful ride in October. I highly, highly, highly recommend it to anyone who can make the trip. Great vibe, great scenery, great course. 100%.


Thanks for that overview, John. I love reading people’s stories from that event and seeing the pictures. It really looks like it has it all. Great people, great scenery, great terrain, great weather.

I have an overseas job, but my home base is Washington, DC. UnPaved is definitely one I will drive up to do if I get the chance to be home some October.

Fingers crossed. Unbound notified the 2021 lottery winners. Also opened university housing.

Two smaller events worth an entry are Open Range in KS & Robidoux Quick & Dirty in NE. Robidoux had a 5 star course & event last year. OR was good but there were lots of deep sand roads. Give them a look.

See you all in Emporia in June.

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