The Ladies & Gentlemen ride, the oldest gravel event in Catalonia
It is the classic on the Catalan gravel calendar, even though it only has a record of five years: the Ladies & Gentlemen ride. What started as a Facebook page organizing a gravel ride of around 80 kilometers, is now one of the most prestigious gravel events in Catalonia.
The first edition in 2017 was a direct success. Joan Calvera, founder of the Catalan cycling route builder CycloCat and organizer of the Ladies & Gentlemen ride expected ten to fifteen participants but organized a gravel event for over 120 people.
“It was a clear signal that Catalan cyclists wanted an event like this. We offered a long-distance route in Llinars del Vallès, with little technical diff iculty and with a route that could be followed with a GPX file. We wanted to save on plastic and save the environment, so we did not mark the circuit. Back then, we had to explain to the participants how to follow the route by GPS.”
The event was called ‘The Gentlemen’. Before the third edition, it underwent a name change. Calvera: “Gravel started to become a hype. More and more people, men and women, started to participate more and more often in gravel events. People thought that the gravel event was a ‘men-only’ event, so we had to change the name.”
In order to attract more women to the event, Calvera offers riders in the U-23-category free participation. Teams consisting out of at least 50% women received a 50% discount.
Calvera: “Our goal since the third edition is to be the cycling event with the highest percentage of participation by women. At this point, we have around 40%, which is already higher than in most mountain bike and gravel events.”
In the 2022 edition, which happened in the second weekend of June, a ‘great group of participants’ joined the Ladies and Gentlemen’s ride. “I am looking back on a nice continuation of this event, after numerous editions that were influenced by bad weather conditions and the pandemic. “I hope that we can have more and more cyclists joining this event.”
This story is part of Nafent Magazine volume 2. Read the full story in our digital or paper magazine. Go to our webshop, or buy yours at one of our forty partner’s places.