June 16, 2023
This is a gravel cycling weekend with a difference because it’s based around doing our new 100 mile (160km) gravel challenge. We’re running it on the closest weekend to the summer soltice to maximise the daylight hours. I realized early on that there’s so much gravel riding around here that it would be easy to put together a really long ride. In fact, I reckon I could devise a 200 mile route, but I don’t think anyone would want to do that!
The route is remarkable. It crosses an amazing diversity of scenery – there’s no endless grovelling along featureless farm tracks to make up the distance; everything on this route you’ll enjoy riding. The scenery includes ancient oak forests, gorges, lost valleys, limestone plateaux and rolling fields. The trails are a mix of gravel roads, medieval cart tracks, packhorse routes and singletrack, with less than 10% on road. Surfaces also vary including smooth hardpack, gravel, uneven bedrock, smooth forest trails, looser stones, everything you can think of really apart from sand and mud. Of course there’s climbing to be done and sometimes it’s not easy, but there are also sections which are fairly level and the miles tick by quite easily. Rideability will vary from rider to rider, but for me it’s 99.5%+ rideable, and I’m not blessed with particularly great technical skills.
I’ve gone for a balance of riding. Of course, doing 100 off road miles in a day is challenging and to make it work, some of the ride has to be quite easy. But it also has to be interesting, so it’s peppered with sections which are more demanding – that might be some twisty woodland singletrack, challenging surfaces, technical descents (nothing extreme though). There’s some asphalt, but under 10%. There’s also the wonderful countryside you’ll be riding through with regular viewpoints which are the perfect excuse for a rest.
The route is a figure 8, which gives you an opportunity to bail, fix your bike, replenish your supplies and eat back at our HQ.
You’ll arrive on Friday in time to sort your bikes out and get everything ready for your big adventure. There might even be time for a short ride. Early on Saturday morning you’ll enjoy a generous breakfast and we’ll set off on the big ride. There will be a food stop on the first loop at a local restaurant, then at the half way stage we’ll call in at HQ where more food will be waiting for you. Then we’re out on the second loop where there will be another food stop before getting back to St Antonin. Back at HQ there will be a vast mountain of pasta waiting for you – you’ll need it!
The ride is guided and we won’t leave anyone behind. We can’t ride too slowly or we won’t cover the distance, but it’s not going to be a testosterone fuelled rampage across the French countryside! It’s a good idea to have a GPS as back-up, either bring your own or rent one from me.
To be clear, this isn’t a huge organised event with marshals and signing. It’s just a very long, small group ride.
There’s nothing planned for Sunday – most people will be too tired to do much anyway! One of the best markets in France is on our doorstep, so a leisurely stroll and a bit of people watching is just what you need. It’s also the end of your weekend and you’ll be heading home, but if you want to extend your stay, there’s no problem if we have rooms available.
We can accommodate vegetarians and vegans on this weekend, just let us know when you book.
Is €325 per person based on 2 sharing a room, less if more of you share a room. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to book: First you book 1 person in 1 room, then go to the extra services area to add more people.