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The Nordic Gravel Series is returning for its fifth season in 2023 with six events spread across the gravel roads of Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
The series returns with its original ethos — “we call them social and all-inclusive events,” says founder Maarten Patteeuw — as well as a few new twists.
Next year, in addition to its non-competitive events (which always have three distances on offer), the series will offer two “full-blown races,” Patteeuw says.
The competitive add-ons are a result of community demand.
“As we’ve been riding with the community and tens of thousands of riders throughout Finland, we’re also listening to their thoughts and needs,” Patteeuw says. “In that way, we want to safeguard the social aspect of the events and will continue to do that. But the race aspect, that can be combined in a good way, in a positive way. I think we’ll see 20-30 percent racing and the rest enjoying a good day out. I’m not afraid that will change too much of the atmosphere of the events.”
The atmosphere of the Nordic Gravel Series has always anchored around a “weekend concept,” with a warm-up ride on Friday, the main event Saturday, and a post-ride event Sunday.
All Nordic Gravel Series events are self-guided, with GPS routes made available two weeks prior to each event. The shortest distances will be marked. At each event, there will be three to four timed segments with both day and series winners in open men’s and women’s categories.
The Nordic Gravel Series events in Bergslagen, Sweden and Jyväskylä, Finland will host the competitive gravel races alongside the social events; these timed races will be over distances of 160-180k.
The Nordic Gravel Series kicks off May 12 with an event in Oslo, Norway. The June event is on Kimito Island in Finland, one week before Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas’ inaugural FNLD GRVL. Patteeuw says his event was scheduled with Bottas’ in mind so that visitors to Finland might be able to participate in both.
Registration opens Friday, November 11 for the Jyväskylä event and Sunday, November 13 for Lahti.
More information can be found here.
Nordic Gravel Series calendar 2023
- May 12-13 — Oslo (Norway): A two-day gravel adventure with an overnight in the forests and mountains around Oslo. This event offers both a one-day option of 150km and a two-day option of 280km. It is hosted and catered by the Vélochef Clubhouse.
- June 3 — Kimito Island (Finland): This event starts and finishes at the unique Söderlångvik Manor in Dragsfjärd. The 150 km route goes around the southern part of Kimito Island and passes historical landmarks, like Dalsbruk and Västanfjärd, Kimito and Dragsfjärd churches. The terrain is hilly and undulating, with a glut of small gravel roads passing through wilderness-like forests. Route distances of 40, 85, and 150 km.
- July 1 — Uppsala (Sweden): Founded in the early Middle Ages, and boasting a beautiful historic center, Uppsala is also surrounded by gravel roads. Expect routes of 50, 110, and 180 km through scenic and forest landscapes northwest of the city. Located 30 mins north of Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.
- July 29 — Jyväskylä (Finland): The Jyväskylä region is surrounded by lakeland nature and four national parks, a great setting for a summer gravel event. Add UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the most instances of Alvar Aalto architecture in the world, and the title of Sauna Region of the World and you know this is an event not to be missed. Distances of 50, 110, and 170 km.
- August 26 — Bergslagen (Sweden): Bergslagen, located in central Sweden, is characterized by historical villages, connected by excellent gravel roads spread out amid vast forests, streams, and hills. Today, Bergslagen Cycling boasts the largest cycling area in Sweden, with over 4200 km of cycle routes. Routes of 60, 116, and 160 km.
- September 23 — Falling Leaves Lahti (Finland): Falling Leaves Lahti has become the traditional closing event of the Finnish gravel cycling season. As part of the NGS calendar for the fourth consecutive season in 2023, a set of redesigned routes for all distances gives return riders something to look forward to. The area offers scenic gravel roads surrounded by fields and forests, a good amount of forest roads, and more challenging trails. Distances of 50, 100, and 160 km.