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Dirty Reiver organisers launch Gravel Rocks training weekend in October

Mike Hall will be on hand to dish out expert advice plus two group rides around Kielder Forest

The rise of gravel racing has been one of the more interesting trends in cycling the past few years, a style of racing that originated in the US with events like the Dirty Kanza, Trans Iowa and Barry Roubaix, and as most things born Stateside, it has spread to Europe.

Now, the organisers behind arguably the UK’s first true imitation of a US gravel race, the 200km Dirty Reiver, which was held in Northumberland back in April, have launched Gravel Rocks, a weekend of gravel training.

Gravel training? Yup. It's the first time we've ever heard of a training weekend targeted directly at gravel racing.  With a couple of rides in the Kielder Forest and Mike Hall and Lee Craigie on hand to dish out some expert advice on all the vital aspects required to survive a long-distance gravel race, the weekend is focused on prepared cyclists for gravel events just like the 2017 Dirty Reiver 200. I could have done with some of this before struggling through the inaugural Dirty Reiver this year. Boy, was it tough!

- What bike for the Dirty Reiver 200km race? 

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Mike Hall will be at the Gravel Rocks weekend to dish out expert advice (photograph Rod MacFadyen)

The aim is to help any cyclists wanting to race next year’s Dirty Reiver, and other gravel events, with advice on preparation, both the bike and rider, training, nutrition, bike setup and, probably most important of all, the mental approach required to get through a long day in the saddle. 

Taking place on the weekend of 22-23rd October 2016, the event costs £145 and includes a full programme with two group rides of up to 5-hours, evening seminars with Mike Hall and Lee Craigie, accommodation at the Calvert Trust on Saturday night, breakfast and an evening meal, nutrition during the rides, product samples and a limited edition Gravel Rocks memento. Oh, and you get an entry into the 2017 Dirty Reiver 200 race.

- Surviving the Dirty Reiver 200km gravel race 

All abilities will be catered for with the group rides based on ability, and the rides will be fully supported with group leaders and a support vehicle. 

If you like the sound of it, head over to now and get entered, but be quick, places are limited to just 50 riders. I’ll see you there.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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