Montana's newest and coolest gravel road cycling race
Okay, we got our first two done. This August will be the 3rd Annual Tour de Gravelly and we are definitely onto something big. The net gain is over 6,000 feet. That's one hell of an uphill. The net drop is over 4,800 feet so after a huge uphill you get a white-knuckle downhill.
Get ready for a cycling adventure of a lifetime.
Check out our course description below.
1 – Easy
2 – Moderate
3 – Difficult
4 – Very Difficult
5 – Holy Shit!
Start: Lion’s Club Park in Ennis
Finish: Vigilante Station on Forest Service Road 100 in the Ruby Valley
Total Mileage: 57 miles
Road Surface: 10.5 miles pavement followed by 47 miles of gravel road
Elevation Gain: 4,650 feet over the first 40 miles
Elevation Loss: 3,112 feet over the final 17 miles
Route Description (five mile segments)
First 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 4,941 – Lion’s Club Park in Ennis
Finishing Elevation: 4,903 – Along Varney Bridge Road
Course Rating: 1
Gain/(loss) of elevation: (38)
Notes: This segment is entirely pavement. It parallels the Madison River and it’s built for speed.
Second 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 4,903 – Along Varney Bridge Road
Finishing Elevation: 5,055 – Near a PO Box (#19) on Gravelly Range Road
Course Rating: 1
Gain/(loss) of elevation: 152
Notes: This segment is also entirely paved road. It’s also built for speed. If there’s a southern wind, it will be apparent on this section. You’re heading due south the entire way.
Third 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 5,055 – Near a PO Box (#19) on Gravelly Range Road
Finishing Elevation: 5,646 – Two hundred yards up the first steep incline
Course Rating: 2.5
Gain/(loss) of elevation: 591
Notes: Half a mile in the road turns to gravel and remains gravel to the finish line. The road is in good enough condition for a standard car (sedan) to travel on though Cottonwood Road would be slippery if there is rain. The uphill begins and there’s a clear view of the immense hill that must be climbed.
Fourth 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 5,646 – Two hundred yards up the first steep incline
Finishing Elevation: 7,269 – About a mile into the Beaverhead Deerlodge National ForestCourse Rating: 5
Gain/(loss) of elevation: 1,623
Notes: A Holy Shit! rating may actually be an understatement. This section is steep, unforgiving, and often a rough road as it climbs and climbs and climbs up and into the National Forest. When driving, we kept our Isuzu Trooper in second gear the entire way. You’ll need your granny gear on your bicycle.
Fifth 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 7,269 – About a mile into the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest
Finishing Elevation: 8,060 – Near Crocket Lake on Road 290
Course Rating: 3Gain/(loss) of elevation: 791
Notes: This segment features vast open areas on the Gravelly Range Road. This section is a steady climb up. There is no shade or a break from the constant grade. The road is rough in a couple areas, but you will not have any real speed going into these areas since it’s all uphill.
Sixth 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 8,060 – Near Crocket Lake on Road 290
Finishing Elevation: 8,646 – Open area near Mile 22 of the Madison Marathon on Road 290
Course Rating: 3.5
Gain/(loss) of elevation: 586
Notes: This section continues up and up on Road 290 (Gravelly Range Road). It’s the second half of the Madison Marathon route which runners always say is the toughest part of the marathon due to its long and frequent uphills.
Seventh 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 8,646 – Open area near Mile 22 of the Madison Marathon on Road 290
Finishing Elevation: 9,017 – Near Mile 10 of Madison Marathon Route; View of Snowcrests
Course Rating: 4
Gain/(loss) of elevation: 371
Notes: This segment passes Clover Meadows (a privy is available) and the road skirts the ridge lines of the Gravelly Range. The elevation is likely to start kicking in as the uphill grade continues. However, there are a few flat and even slight downhill sections on this leg just before Clover Meadows.
Eighth 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 9,017 – Near Mile 10 of Madison Marathon Route; View of Snowcrests
Finishing Elevation: 9,341 – Few hundred yards short of Monument Ridge (highest point)
Course Rating: 5
Gain/(loss) of elevation: 324
Notes: This section is entirely above 9,000 feet in elevation. It parallels the ridge lines with tremendous views of the Snow Crest Range. There are long stretches of open and uphill grades. This section finishes just short of Monument Ridge which is the highest point on the route at 9,587 feet. Black Butte Mountain comes into view on this leg.
Ninth 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 9,341 – Few hundred yards short of Monument Ridge (highest point)
Finishing Elevation: 8,579 – Cottonwood Road; About two miles in
Course Rating: 3.5
Gain/(loss) of elevation: (762)
Notes: This leg goes up and over Monument Ridge and the downhill begins. It starts with a very steep downhill grade. The 3.5 rating is to allow for adjusting to downhills and the need to be more cautious on the road due to loose gravel and rocks. It won’t be easy. This includes the turnoff onto Cottonwood Road which will be a hard right at an intersection of three roads. Black Butte will be on your left after you turn.
Tenth 5 Miles
Starting Elevation: 8,579 – Cottonwood Road; About two miles in
Finishing Elevation: 7,205 – Open area on Cottonwood Road; Many cottonwood trees
Course Rating: 3
Gain/(loss) of elevation: (1,374)
Notes: Cottonwood Road is packed dirt as opposed to gravel. If there is rain before the race, this will be problematic. The road is very steep and windy like a roller coaster. There are numerous sharp turns and blind corners. The packed dirt will be easy to ride on and to gain speed, but care should be taken.
E**leventh 5 Miles**
Starting Elevation: 7,205 – Open area on Cottonwood Road; Many cottonwood trees
Finishing Elevation: 6,414 – On Road 100 in the Ruby Valley; Valley bottom
Course Rating: 3
Gain/(loss) of elevation: (791)
Notes: This is a steep and constant downhill to the floor of the Ruby Valley. Cyclists will arrive to Forest Service Road 100 and will turn right to the finish line. This road is gravel and relatively flat. There are two privies on this segment if needed as well as a creek if you want to cool off.
Last Leg (less than two miles)
Starting Elevation: 6,414 – On Road 100 in the Ruby Valley; Valley bottom
Finishing Elevation: 6,229 – Finish line at Vigilante Station
Course Rating: 2
Gain/(loss) of elevation: (185)
Notes: This is just a two mile final run to the finish line. It’s flat and entirely gravel that is relatively loose and dust will be raised by any passing vehicles. The finish line will be on the road at the gates to Vigilante Station. The post-race party will be inside the compound. Beer and other drinks on us!