Canadian Cycling Magazine

Look­ing Ahead

Big Red Gravel Run

- Au­gust 10, 2019

W “e have this part in the ride called the Oa­sis,” said Martin Ran­court, co-founder of the Big Red Gravel Run. “We send peo­ple into a forested area, usu­ally on sin­gle­track, very tech­ni­cal. We’ll plug it into a sec­tion of the race where peo­ple aren’t ex­pect­ing it. They will find them­selves in the Oa­sis, but it’s not re­ally an oa­sis. It’s sort of like hell. It equals out the moun­tain bik­ers, the road rid­ers and all-ter­rain rid­ers.”

While the Oa­sis may make Ran­court and his fel­low or­ga­niz­ers seem a lit­tle cruel, they are ac­tu­ally try­ing to build a fun ex­pe­ri­ence, com­bin­ing rid­ing, some ad­ven­ture and good food. The Big Red Gravel Run started as an event for 40 peo­ple in 2017. It grew to 70 this past year. The “win­ner” was given a small tro­phy from a thrift store. The lanterne rouge got a Camel­bak vest with a large water reser­voir.

In 2019, 150 rid­ers can par­tic­i­pate in one of two routes: 60 km and 130 km, which is 90 per cent gravel. Ran­court rec­om­mends a wider tire be­cause rid­ers will face sand, the red gravel by the river and sin­gle­track. “You need a bit of stud on your tire,” Ran­court said. “This is not like a Land Run or Dirty Kanza that have long straights for miles at a time. This is a funkier event.”

The twisty roads are in Har­ring­ton, Que., 130 km from Mon­treal and about the same dis­tance from Ot­tawa. Par­tic­i­pants can opt to camp in the area the night be­fore the event. They should def­i­nitely stay over af­ter the event so they can en­joy the catered bar­be­cue, beer from a lo­cal mi­cro­brew­ery and each other’s sto­ries from a big day of rid­ing. That might be the Big Red Gravel Run’s real Oa­sis. ( bi­gred­grav­el­run.squares­— MP

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