The innovative new eight-race 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.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (January 25, 2022) — 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.