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One of 2021’s most exciting new gravel races is adding a second event and location to the calendar in 2022.
Gravel Locos, which debuted in Hico, Texas last May, will host two gravel races in 2022: the Hico event on May 14, and a new race in Pueblo, Colorado on October 1, 2022.
While the setting will be different —Pueblo is a city of 112,000 residents at the southern end of Colorado’s Front Range while Hico is a community of 1,500 in Texas’ Hill Country — much of the structure will be the same. This is because Gravel Locos founder Fabian Serralta is committed to a set of non-negotiables at his events.
The first is creating a relationship with a local charity and then supporting that organization financially.
“100 percent of registration donations in addition to a check from the organization will benefit a local charity in Pueblo,” Serralta told VeloNews. “The nonprofit will be selected by the City and approved by us, just as it was in Hico.”
Then, it’s making sure that the race is accessible to all types of riders with four distances, ranging from the 30-mile GL30 to the 169-mile GL150. On each route, support is ample. Serralta puts no less than five aid stations on course, uses 20-30 SAG vehicles, and in Hico last year, he provided porta potties exclusively for women.
Serralta’s near-obsession with making his events comfortable, inviting, and safe for all stems from the fact that he’s been the last rider out on course — more than once.
“I always think about it from my perspective and my fitness level,” he said. “I have given up at an event and it doesn’t feel good. These races are for someone who wants to finish and wants to know there are support services out there. Even if an event is hard, people want to finish it. I want to make sure there is help out there for them.”
His Facebook inbox is frequently filled with messages from people who have been in the same scenario, and they serve as further validation that he will never skimp on support at Gravel Locos events.
Nevertheless, in the short time that he’s been in the race production business, Serralta has also created an equally strong loyalty among the other end of the race — the pointy one.
The success of the inaugural Hico event last year was buoyed by an abundance of support and social media coverage from pro riders. Before the event had even launched, pros like Ted King, Pete Stetina, Jess Cerra, and Alison Tetrick were promoting the event on their social media channels. After the race, even more — like eventual winners Laurens ten Dam and Emily Newsom — were singing its praises.
Serralta said that the pro support has been integral to his own knowledge of how to put on an event (he cites King as a mentor), as well as to the overall welcoming vibe at his race. He only asks that the recognizable riders make themselves available for selfies and handshakes and that they participate in extra fundraisers for the charity partner. It worked so well for everyone in Hico that he already has a firm commitment from many pro riders to return, as well as come to Pueblo in October for the second event.
Registration for Gravel Locos Pueblo will open in mid-February, with roughly 3,000 rider spaces available.