The Grind is a weekly column on all things gravel.
The latest gravel race to launch is dead on arrival: Dead Man Gravel is slated for July 31 in the mountain town of Nederland, Colorado. Situated high in the Rockies at an elevation of 8,000 feet, Nederland is home to both U.S. national road champion Alex Howes and Dead Guy Days, a three-day festival in March with events like coffin racing, costumed polar plunging, icy turkey bowling, and human foosball.
For its part, Dead Man Gravel is positioning itself as one of the highest and most challenging gravel races in the country, with the long course taking riders above 10,000 feet.
There are three different route distances, ranging from the 66-mile Tungsten with 8,300 feet of climbing to the faster, more road-friendly 41-mile Gold to the beginning friendly Silver Course that is half gravel, half pavement.
All the courses start and finish in downtown Nederland.
Race founder Gavin Coombs has a background in professional running, and said he’s attracted to gravel riding for its open, laidback scene, and that he wants to extend the welcome to everyone.
Dead Man Gravel is opening registration to women and BIPOC riders on March 16, followed by open registration on March 23. The race is also working with the nonprofits Ride for Racial Justice and Sharktooth Cycling to help get riders from all backgrounds into the sport.
Ride for Racial Justice will help get several athletes of color a spot on the starting line, personalized coaching, and some basic gear, said Coombs. And Dead Man Gravel will be hosting women-only clinics on riding in remote areas, bike maintenance, and gravel skills.
“I’m so excited to be able to share all that Nederland and the Peak to Peak area has to offer, especially when it comes to having fun riding bikes on our amazing network of gravel roads,” Coombs said. “This is going to be a fantastic event that hopefully helps continue to move the needle for increasing diversity and inclusivity in cycling, and giving people another much-needed summer gravel race event outside of Boulder.”