Dorset Gravel Dash 100 Announced

Gravel racing* hits the UK (*it’s not a race)

by VecchioJo   February 18, 2014  

The Dorset Gravel Dash 100 is a one stage, one day, largely off-road 100 mile romp across the west county organized by Swanage based webshop Charlie The Bikemonger. Taking place on the second bank holiday in May, that’s Sunday 25th, the reliability trial (it’s not a race, okay?) starts and finishes at The Red Lion in Swanage with coffee and bacon sarnies for the Grande Departe and music, beer and a BBQ at the finish.

The 100 miles in between will feature not just gravel but a mix of dirt, mud, some tarmac sections, chalk, technical riding and grassy bits with the halfway point being the 899 foot high chalk scarp of Bulbarrow Hill. Climbing is estimated at about 8,000 feet overall, so it’s a pretty lumpy route over the Dorset Downs then.


Considering the name and the mix of terrain a Gravel Racer would be the ideal machine to tackle the Gravel Dash and as Charlie The Bikemonger is a Salsa dealer he suggests their Warbird gravel bike as the ideal vehicle (other gravel racers are available), but if you haven’t got one of those yet then a cyclo-cross bike is probably the next best bet, a mountainbike would also be just fine.

The route will be supplied via a GPX file about a month before the event for you to plug it into your GPS or mark it down on your OS map.  There will be no markers or arrows on the route, nor will there be any marshals or food stops so you will need to navigate it yourself and be self-supporting nutritionally, sportive fans look elsewhere. There are separate categories for normal people, those who want to make it even harder by riding single speed, and those who want to make it harder still by riding fixed. There are also categories for tandem bicycles and this year’s off-road trend of fatbikes. Whichever way you choose to get round you can expect stunning scenery, varied terrain and a massive day out.

Entry to the Dorset Gravel Dash 100 is £45, which includes camping for the weekend, or £35 without. Camping is provided at California Barn on the hill above Swanage where you get toilets, cold water, a fire pit with a DJ, and big views across the sea. Unfortunately there’s only room for 100 campers but there are plenty of local alternatives available for the overspill.

If riding 100 miles isn’t enough for you then you can also take part in the Single Speed Gathering happening the same weekend. There’s a party on the Friday and then an off-road ride on the Saturday that will most likely involve some pubs along the way, and one at the finish. 

Entries are now open here

www.charliethebikemonger.com/

19 user comments

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Why did they organise this on a weekend when I am working Crying This looks great Crying

posted by SideBurn [731 posts]
18th February 2014 - 11:48

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Great. More bike shops should organise stuff like this.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [642 posts]
18th February 2014 - 13:18

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tandems! Wahey, I'm in.

posted by localsurfer [151 posts]
18th February 2014 - 19:34

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That does sound like a lot of fun. Chances on a road bike (no, not serious)?

posted by racingcondor [105 posts]
18th February 2014 - 21:40

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Why do you have to wear a helmet (which it states at least 3 times) if "it's not a race" and it's not the law of the land?

I've never worn a helmet in over 40 years of cycling. I don't own one and I'm not going to buy one for this event. I'm out.

Fucking 'elf and safety' muppets get everywhere.

posted by Joeinpoole [115 posts]
19th February 2014 - 0:10

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Joeinpoole wrote:
Why do you have to wear a helmet (which it states at least 3 times) if "it's not a race" and it's not the law of the land?

I've never worn a helmet in over 40 years of cycling. I don't own one and I'm not going to buy one for this event. I'm out.

Fucking 'elf and safety' muppets get everywhere.

For God's sake- aren't there enough pro-/anti-helmet threads on this site without trying to start another one?

posted by Otis Bragg [71 posts]
19th February 2014 - 1:32

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Otis Bragg wrote:

For God's sake- aren't there enough pro-/anti-helmet threads on this site without trying to start another one?

Clearly not. Otherwise event-organisers would get the message that many (if not the majority of) recreational and experienced cyclists don't wear helmets.

Does the proprietor of any pub or restaurant that you visit insist on you wearing a helmet before you are served alcohol? Why not? After all, 65% of head injuries reported by hospitals have alcohol as the primary cause. Head injuries due to cycling are *incredibly* rare by comparison.

This event is right on my doorstep and yet I am apparently excluded by some arbitrary ruling, supposedly intended for 'my own safety', on the need for an expensive piece of foam to be worn on the head despite no evidence whatsoever that it actually achieves anything.

posted by Joeinpoole [115 posts]
19th February 2014 - 2:57

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As best I can tell, this will cost me £35 to turn up and....ride my bike on paths I already can, using my own GPS, no map, route markings, support, etc.

Sorry, but £35? For the organiser doing *nothing* for me?

£35? Really?

This whole 'not a sportive' but charging sportive-level fees is the new Emperor. And he's got no clothes.

...I'm sure it will sell out. Power to the guy's elbow an' all, but this is getting ridiculous.

(meanwhile, I think I'll go plan a 100-mile route using any one of a dozen free online tools, and use the £35 I've saved to buy a massive pub lunch and dinner on the ride).

...and before someone says 'go organise your own ride and see how hard/easy/fulfilling/whatever it is' - I have: https://sites.google.com/site/whitchurchprimarypedal/ - £10 to enter, 100km of hilly lanes, free cake, excellent route marking at every intersection, police- and council-approved, marshals, technical support, free Cake, CTC £10M insurance for volunteers, FREE CAKE.

And yes, 'it's not a sportive' as well.

And helmets are not compulsory.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [362 posts]
19th February 2014 - 9:28

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Looks amazing

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posted by jimmythecuckoo [1185 posts]
19th February 2014 - 21:07

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Amazed we can ride anywhere near 100 miles without having to venture on a road in this country...looks awesome.

Will we see the first non road rage incident with a 4x4 proclaiming the cyclist shouldn't have been there as they don't even pay gravel tax? Thinking

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [111 posts]
20th February 2014 - 21:41

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Feel free to celebrate your right not to wear a helmet. Sincerely it's important that this is never taken away.

However when I'm organising an event I'm ultimately responsible for you on the day. I want zero casualties, no rescues, no ambulances, and no whinging letters in the press.

CharlieTheBikemonger.com
Purveyor of damned fine cycling provisions

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posted by Charlie The Bik... [14 posts]
31st March 2014 - 9:35

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It's not so bad, your £35 gets you.
Bacon sandwich and coffee at the start
We will have a broom wagon sweeping up anyone who blows up, so you know you will get home.
You get a t-shirt.
We are insured too.
I'm working on it, but you will no doubt also get a goody bag.
The prize stash is being worked on this week. But we can expect some nice stuff from many of my suppliers.
If you are camping... It's a bargain at an extra tenner for a bank holiday weekend.

Your event sounds great, but I bet you have a lot of volunteers and unpaid labour. This is the first gravel dash, next year it will be no doubt be different and maybe costs less, or even cost more.

However normally I am with you on this. When wiggle turn up and plough my local trails with 2000 bikes, I moan. But £35 does not go far nowadays, and the sportives and this event are a great way to explore an area, meet people and it's not much for a day out.

CharlieTheBikemonger.com
Purveyor of damned fine cycling provisions

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posted by Charlie The Bik... [14 posts]
31st March 2014 - 9:47

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See my comment else where on the page... In brief. It's an important freedom that we have and should fight to keep (not wearing a helmet). But I am in charge on this one, "yes the fact of the matter is I am a dictator, but it am also the guy who writes the cheques and deals with all the crap"... Frank zappa quote.

CharlieTheBikemonger.com
Purveyor of damned fine cycling provisions

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posted by Charlie The Bik... [14 posts]
31st March 2014 - 9:51

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Charlie The Bikemonger wrote:
It's not so bad, your £35 gets you.
Bacon sandwich and coffee at the start
We will have a broom wagon sweeping up anyone who blows up, so you know you will get home.
You get a t-shirt.
We are insured too.
I'm working on it, but you will no doubt also get a goody bag.
The prize stash is being worked on this week. But we can expect some nice stuff from many of my suppliers.
If you are camping... It's a bargain at an extra tenner for a bank holiday weekend.

Your event sounds great, but I bet you have a lot of volunteers and unpaid labour. This is the first gravel dash, next year it will be no doubt be different and maybe costs less, or even cost more.

However normally I am with you on this. When wiggle turn up and plough my local trails with 2000 bikes, I moan. But £35 does not go far nowadays, and the sportives and this event are a great way to explore an area, meet people and it's not much for a day out.

Yup - we have 20 or so people giving their time for the day. Next year I'll be using the Air Cadets or similar as marshals - most of our marshals this year wanted to ride it.

It's good to see you offering various bits of value, however for the price - which let's face it is at the steep end of most Sportives/events like this - I still cannot get over the omission of any sort of on-course support, marshals or signage.

Not to reverse-engineer your budget, but if you have 100 people turn up that's £3,500 for a BBQ, a van with a bike rack and £60 CTC affiliate insurance.

Plus some T-shirts.

Personally, I'd forego the T-shirt for course marking and a halfway Cake stop. But maybe that's just me.

Maybe make the T-shirt a paid-for memento - I'm sure if it's stylish and good quality cotton you'll sell loads. Having ridden that far and with a cool logo, I'd pay for that.

If you are interested, I'll have about 200 freestanding stick-in-the-ground course marker arrows you can hire after the 18th for a not-excessive sum Wink

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [362 posts]
31st March 2014 - 11:13

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£10? You utter brazen shyster. There are events out there that cost a tenth of that, and I'll bring my own cake thank you very much. http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/14-330/

posted by Mr Agreeable [111 posts]
31st March 2014 - 12:36

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Mr Agreeable wrote:
£10? You utter brazen shyster. There are events out there that cost a tenth of that, and I'll bring my own cake thank you very much. http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/14-330/

Oh, it's one of THOSE rides. So what about Beard & Sandals duty? Hedgerow Bedding fee? plus the exorbitant cloth/metal badge tax, should you manage to do the 200k without being accused of StravaEPO Smile

Ahem.

Half the net cash is for the school, the other half for the club to put on child/family events throughout the year.

WILL NO-ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

www.PrimaryPedal.org.uk - half the places already gone. Get in quick!

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [362 posts]
31st March 2014 - 14:29

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There are not 100 people, 40 something so far. I'm working with a sub £1500 budget... And reckon I will be a few hundred down afterwards.
The guys who tend to do 100s are fully sat nav'd up, so there is little need for course marking.
When first planning this I didn't want to over promise, or attract folk who can not ride without support, so initially this is advertised with little extras and support.
I'm also a scout leader, and we do intend to have a food /water station, staffed by my scouts.
I'm pre-riding it the weekend before with some subtle course marking kit. Marking up 100 off road miles and then removing the markers is a massive task, easily negated with sat nav. Having said that do they mark up the grande divide? Maybe it's marked up, I don't know.

Sincerely, thanks for feedback.

CharlieTheBikemonger.com
Purveyor of damned fine cycling provisions

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posted by Charlie The Bik... [14 posts]
31st March 2014 - 20:39

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Joeinpoole ... "Not to reverse-engineer your budget, but if you have 100 people turn up that's £3,500 for a BBQ, a van with a bike rack and £60 CTC affiliate insurance."

Yep that is making a load of assumptions, totally reverse engineering the budget, and trying to make it look like a rip. I would rather you shut up. I was too polite earlier.

I'm not going to run through all the costs you have overlooked (such as the farm rented for a bank holiday of camping)

Also this is not like your event, it's not your event. This is based around a different cycling ethic where self sufficiency is involved, and indeed a big part of the challenge.

CharlieTheBikemonger.com
Purveyor of damned fine cycling provisions

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posted by Charlie The Bik... [14 posts]
3rd April 2014 - 8:51

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Charlie The Bikemonger wrote:

Yep that is making a load of assumptions, totally reverse engineering the budget, and trying to make it look like a rip. I would rather you shut up. I was too polite earlier.

[Event organiser loses shit needlessly after it had ended OK klaxon]

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [362 posts]
3rd April 2014 - 9:42

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