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Gravel

Ashton Lambie, Dave Wiens among Wild Horse Gravel starters this weekend

Gravel race held at a western ranch has new courses and a new format this year.

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Wild Horse Gravel, the first of Outside Events’ two gravel races this season, kicks off Saturday at the High Lonesome Ranch on Colorado’s western slope, and the start list includes world champion and world record holder Ashton Lambie, six-time Leadville Trail 100 winner Dave Wiens, national marathon champion Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz htSQD) and Miami Gravel winner Hannah Shell (Vantage Freight).

Past winners include Pete Stetina, Kaysee Armstrong, Kristin Legan, and Conor Mullervy.

Shimano’s very first public showing of its GRX gravel group was at Wild Horse Gravel in 2019.

Shimano launching its GRX gravel group to the world at Wild Horse Gravel.

Wild Horse Gravel and Crooked Gravel were launched in 2019 as part of Roll Massif, which has since changed its name to Outside Events now that Outside owns the races (as well as VeloNews, CyclingTips, Peloton, Pinkbike, Beta, and many other outdoor media titles).

The people behind the events remain the same, however, with Chandler Smith and Scott Olmsted heading up the team that also puts on Tour of the Moon in the Colorado National Monument, the Copper Triangle, and five other events in Colorado and New Mexico.

After two years of using a timed-segment format, Wild Horse Gravel this year is a straight-ahead race, with $5,000 in cash on offer for the women’s and men’s podiums on the longer of the two course options.

Unlike many gravel races that start and finish in towns if not cities, Wild Horse Gravel is based in the country at the High Lonesome Ranch, which is 10 miles from the nearest town of De Beque, population 518.

The snowcapped Grand Mesa serves as a backdrop for Wild Horse Gravel.

Most racers camp on site in tents or vehicles. Live music, a beer garden, swimming, food trucks, and a country cookout are all part of the weekend’s festivities on the ranch.

Riders with a good shot at the podium this weekend include Ashton Lambie (Gravelnauts-Lauf), Dave Wiens (Topeak-Ergon-Canyon), Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz htSQD), Hannah Shell and Jake Magee (both Vantage Freight), Chris Schroeder (Dimond Factory), Karen Jarchow (Revel-Pearl Izumi-Shimano), Nick Gould (Mazda-Lauf), Sunny Gilbert (Blue), and Jessica Cygan and Tess Amer (both Mazda-Lauf).

The 65-mile course features 5,300 feet of climbing and is almost entirely on gravel. The high point of 8,185 feet is reached with a brutally steep climb that pitches over 20 percent. There will likely be some walking…

There is also a 30-mile course.

VeloNews will be at the event reporting on the action and the gear. Posts may be delayed, though, as there is hardly any cell coverage and very weak WiFi at the High Lonesome Ranch.

Kristen Legan and Dani Arman at the 2019 Wild Horse Gravel.