The Ins and outs of gravel grit laguna

Q & A with Route Coordinator

In the lead up to Gravel Grit Laguna, we caught up with route coordinator Nick Buckley to get the inside scoop on this year’s ride. Spoiler alert  – it’s set to be an absolute cracking day on the bike!

Nick, did you work on Gravel Grit in 2017?

I sure did, and it was awesome! The weather was fantastic, and we had a great turnout of super keen riders who loved the dusty conditions.

It was Bicycle Network’s first ever off-road event, and we got some really great feedback from the riders, as well as some handy insights to help us go bigger and better in 2018.

It was simple, riders wanted more gravel and less grit (we may have been a little ambitious with the climbing in 2017).

New additions to Gravel Grit 2018

“The extra loop features a mega fast descent, a creek crossing, some technical turns and a punchy little climb to wrap it all up.”

What have you changed for 2018, and how does it compare to last year’s ride?

Well for 2018 we’ve got two options for riders – 67km or 76km – which you can choose on the day depending on how your legs are feeling. The extra loop features a mega fast descent, a creek crossing, some technical turns and a punchy little climb to wrap it all up.

Gravel Grit 2018 finish site at the Great Northern Trading Post

The main thing we’ve changed is the start and finish locations. Our partners at Cyclist Magazine kept raving about this little pub in the sleepy town of Laguna called the Great Northern Trading Post. Once we saw it for ourselves, we knew we had to make this our main event site!

The new site means a more picturesque event village and gives us access to some even more incredible riding tracks. This includes a really fun section of road at the beginning (with a police escort), a sweet climb into the Onley State Forest, and opens up one of the best gravel descents in the area to finish off with. I like to think of this as the “Goldilocks” descent – not too steep, not too technical, but just right!

What bike do you think is best for the route?

Personally, I think the weapon of choice should be a gravel bike or similar. The route is rough in sections, but also has a few short sections of fast gravel and tarmac. I rode the route on a MTB and it’s certainly doable, just a bit slower on the tarmac sections.

If you’re feeling brave, you could give it a crack on a road bike with wide tyres (more than 28mm), but it would be rough going in sections. I certainly wouldn’t recommend using your best wheelset if you did.

Choosing a bike to ride on gravel

“My favourite part of this year’s ride is the last 20km back into Laguna; sweeping valley floors and crunchy gravel.”

Scenic gravel riding in the Hunter Valley

What else can we expect to see on this year’s ride?

This year’s route is one of the most varied I’ve seen. It has the stunning rainforest scenery and challenging climbs that riders loved last year, plus we’ve introduced some riding through the spectacular Hunter Valley and quiet backwater lanes that we missed out on in 2017.  

My favourite part of this year’s ride is the last 20km back into Laguna; sweeping valley floors and crunchy gravel.

Finally, the finish site at the Great Northern Trading Post is an absolute cracker! The views from the pub are unreal, and we have your back with a finish line BBQ and cold beer waiting when you cross the line.

Now it’s over to you!

There you have it, the inside word straight from the route coordinator himself. Thanks Nick!

Are you ready to take your next adventure off-road? You won’t want to miss out on all the fun of Gravel Grit Laguna on Saturday 27 October – you can enter below, or get more information from the event website.

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