How to get started, finding a group and Landyachtz's favourite rides


Getting started with gravel!
Your guide to enjoying your time on the trail

We all started somewhere! We remember walking down trails, feeling nervous about an unfamiliar singletrack trail or not knowing what we are getting ourselves into. By taking things at our own pace with a push from one another, we have been able to learn and develop.

Start with easy, flowy trails and work your way up to more challenging terrain. It takes time, practice, failures and a whole load of patience but it all pays off.  

Ruckus at XFondo

Sharpen your skills

The XFondo certainly puts you up against some technical riding - singletrack, bumpy descents and steep climbs - and finding routes that will help you prepare for these moments is key to help build your confidence.

Head to trails that you find challenging, walk over parts with your bike to see how it will roll over, hop on and give it a go! But when in doubt, dismount - there is no shame in walking. 

Training pays off 

There are so many different training plans out there! We found that a mix of intervals, (on the road, trainer or better, gravel trails, especially the ones with some elevation), and longer rides on the weekend gave us both the strength and stamina needed for XFondo.

Throw in some strength workouts too to help your arms get through the tough descents! Join a training group near you to help you stay motivated and accounted for (some suggestions below!), be consistent and keep it fun. 

Gravel rider

Nutrition is key

There is no doubt that eating and drinking whilst riding gravel is hard work. We all love our hydration vests - it’s so much easier to drink through the straw than reaching for a bottle as you’re ripping along trails! Open up your snacks wrappers, fill your bike bags with easy to grab candy and set alerts on your bike computer to remind you to eat and drink.

Stick to foods that you and your body likes, now is not the time to experiment with a new gel! Have a good mix of sweet and savory - a pickled gherkin has been known to revive us during races!

Get a feel for the race

Take a look at the profile of your chosen race including total distance and elevation. You will likely be able to recreate similar profiles using routes near you!

Deep dive Strava, make the most of route planning apps or ask your friends what they recommend to help you mimic the race profile.

Knowing what the race feels like will help you on the day with pacing, expectations and mental strength to get through!

Le Mans start

Toe your mark, get set… 

It can feel daunting lining up at a race, especially if it’s your first time. Likelihood is that most people are feeling the nerves! Line up with your friends, or find a friendly face, and remember we’re all here to have a good time and finish no matter how long it takes us.

The “le mans” start of XFondo (running from the start line to grab your bike) is chaos, but trust us that running is not mandatory.

Don’t get caught up in other’s paces - gravel races are hard, you want to conserve your energy for the duration and finish with an eagerness for another - if this is your first time, know your limit, stay within it! (The only benefit to having less women at the start line is shorter bathroom queues so take advantage…)  

Be ahead of the game 

Have everything, and we mean everything, ready the night before. You don’t want to be doing any prep in the morning! Nutrition, hydration, bike, kit, race numbers, post race bag: everything should be ready.

Load the route to your bike computer (and phone- chances are you won’t have cell signal later if you get lost), know the event timings, and parking availability. That way, in the morning you just have to wake up, eat, race!  Then, the fun begins!

 - The Ruckus Racing team

Watch 'Repurposed': gravel riding in British Columbia

7mesh's Chris Hatton takes you on a tour of some the best our backyard has to offer

Looking for new friends to ride with?

Check out some of the awesome gravel groups around these parts
Squamish Gravel CC & Women's
Glotman Simpson
TaG Cycling Gravel
Croissant Club
The Last Drop
Gravel Buddies
Ruckus Racing
Ruckus Racing
BC riding
Noa Deutsch's Gravel Collective
BC riding
BC Gravel facebook group

Gear guide 101:
All terrain

So you wanna ride the fun stuff? Great.

Check out our all-terrain gear guide so you can hit the trails like a probie.

Landyachtz Greater Vancouver gravel guides

Plus ride for free with Landyachtz weekly! Learn more
Homestead Hammer

Distance: 40 Km
Elevation: 600 m
Time: 3 Hrs
Difficulty: 3 Burritos
Terrain: 2 Spice

Squamish Sampler

Distance: 43km
Elevation: 700m
Time: 4hrs
Difficulty: 4 Burritos
Terrain: Hot

Fisherman's trail
Fisherman's Trail

Distance: 56 Km
Elevation: 800m
Time: 4 HRS
Difficulty: 3 Burritos
Terrain: Medium

Hyannis ride
+ plenty more rad spots

Landyachtz know the best places to ride in our backyard, including locations in Poco, Port Moody and Bowen Island.

XFondo Whistler:
we ride as one

Challenge yourself to tame the trails this June

We'll get you dirty but not bloody

XFONDO & The Resort Municipality of Whistler is grateful to be on the shared, unceded territory of the Lil’wat People, known in their language as Lil̓wat7úl, and the Squamish People, known in their language as Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh, and respects and commits to a deep consideration of their history, culture, stewardship and voice.

Forecast Coffee logo
Arbutus Routes logo
Landyachtz Bikes
7mesh logo
Hornby Organic logo
Dilawri logo
Ass Savers logo
RMU logo
Blackcomb Springs Suites
ABUS logo