This Saturday, September 9, while top racers will be in Nebraska for USA Cycling’s first Gravel Nationals, West Coast gravel cyclists and segment-hunting racers will gather in Susanville, CA for the Lassen Adventure Ride.

Susanville and the gravel roads near Lassen National Park await cyclists on September 9. photo: courtesy

The ride, put on to benefit the Lassen Land and Trails Trust, is a 97% gravel ride that approaches the edge of the scenic and volcanic Lassen National Park in the southern Cascades. The ride offers three different distance options: 94 miles “Full Squatch” with 4200 feet of climbing, 63 miles “Half Squatch” with 2600 feet of climbing, and 40 miles “Short Squatch” with 2200 feet of climbing.

Here’s how the event promoters describe the new ride:

So, you want everything? How about the best of everything? Lassen Gravel Adventure Ride has it ALL! We have all kinds of surfaces from primo smooth gravel to technical 2-track roads and everything in between. There are challenging climbs, fast flats and smile inducing downhills. This is not a race, but an adventure ride, so enjoy the spectacular scenery as you cruise through pine forests and beautiful mountain meadows. As you ride along the Susan River, you’ll pass through two incredible, historical train tunnels on the Bizz Johnson Trail! The long course will take you near the shores of two serene, high altitude lakes. We have 3 different courses to fit into all levels of riding and several well stocked rest stops. You might be thinking “Oh sure, another one of those 60% pavement, 40% gravel rides”. Not our ride! The Lassen Gravel Adventure Ride is 97% GRAVEL. This is one you don’t want to miss!

The ride will have stocked aid stations, a post-ride meal and even camping options.

Never heard of the event but want in? There’s still time to register, but you need to sign up by Thursday, September 7 on BikeReg. Can’t make this year’s event? The promoters expect it to be an annual fundraiser, so it can make your bucket list for 2024.

While the ride is not being marketed as a race, and is not implementing full race timing, the promoters know some gravel cyclists are competitive and will have three timed segments, not unlike Grinduro or Gran Fondos:

There will be 3 marked STRAVA segments on the Full Squatch Course. If you want to compete, here is your chance! Ride hard on each segment and share your times (verified by STRAVA) for each of the 3 segments with the Ride Directors. Special Award goes to Top Male and Top Female riders.

The promoters have released a rider’s guide here, with details for registered cyclists, but those of you worried about the “Spirit of Gravel” or marginal gains might have additional questions related to equipment, so we asked:

  1. What tires are recommended? Resident Expert Mark Kovacic uses 38mm Continental Terra Trail tires. (Dylan Johnson fans might want to go wider “Why would you ever run 38s for any race ever”)
  2. Are aerobars allowed? “Feel free to use what is comfortable for you” the promoters say, but remember, it’s a ride, not a race.
  3. Are headphones or speakers allowed? No speakers or headphones are allowed as all of this ride takes place in remote areas with abundant wildlife, and as a courtesy to other riders.

The Lassen Adventure Ride reminds us of the early days of the Lost and Found Gravel Race in 2014, an event that brought cyclists into a new area and raised funds to protect the land. If exploring a new area, before an event gets packed and prices go up, is your jam, see if you can squeeze this new fundraising ride into your weekend’s plans.

See you there?

More info: