Baffled by Gravel Cut of time

I’ve entered The Gralloch gravel race ( ) , and I appreciate that it’s not a sportive, and it is part of the UCI Gravel World Series, but copy and paste from the web site “The ambition is for the Series to attract all, from professional elite riders, through older competitive riders to those who just want to finish.”

So my grippe is that this week they announched the start and cut off times (via e-mail and they facebook page)

Which is cool, as a 53 year old, I will be starting @ 11:50, but it’s the cut off times that has me annoyed

Everybody has to be at the cut off times at the same point, so somebody 2 years older than me will have 45 minutes more to reach the first cut off … and the younger (19 - 39), which is what I presume will contain the winner of the race (2 pro’s in it already) will have more time to get to the cut-off

Also seems a bit weird to have to 19-39 group starting in the middle, surely they will be charging throigh the field

Just wondered what peoples thoughts were, there is a little outrage on the FB page, but just wondered what peoples thoughts were / if people had any suggestions

Pedal fast? :rofl:

I kid. So 17.8 kmh needed to meet the cut off. If it’s nice double track and a good sized field then that’s easy peasy. Get a mechanical though and you’re in trouble.

It’s not very inclusive for the less fit more leisurely crowd in that age bracket I grant you.

I’m 43 so I’d also be in that start pen. I’ve not yet entered though I was considering it…

14.3 kmh for the second cut off, assuming you pass cut off 1 as they’re about to close the course. So cut off 1 is a kind of a sorting/truncating exercise I guess.

Yeah I’m not particually worried about the cut off for myself (as long as I don’t have a mechanical) , but I don’t so this matched up to the web sites claim of "through older competitive riders to those who just want to finish.

My main thought it was that it starts a) the pros b) the ones that will have to

behind everybody else, which isn’t normally the way it’s done is it, usually on a mountain bike race I wait for a safe place to pass, I can see people thinking twice about that (there will be people in the 11:05 group who won’t make the cut-off, what the pro’s starting at 11:45 will need to pass)

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Multiple cut off times for the different age groups would be to confusing/ complicated as long as they have based the cut off times on all groups it shouldn’t be a problem. Its the same with any event that I’ve done there has just been one cut of time regardless if you were in a group that set off at 6:30 or 9:30.

Where else do you really place the 19-39 M age group. Theyve given the most time to the likely slower age groups by setting them off first. But given the likely speed of the 19-39M’s, they’ve not set them off after the likely 2nd fastest age group (40-55M) to minimise the impact on that group. There will however, be some unavoidable impact as I know some very fast folk in that bracket. Three folk that I know in that bracket have entered the Gralloch, finished something like 3rd, 7th, and 14th in most recent local open tt (actually Ive just looked 14th is in the 55-59 age bracket and he was over 2mins faster than me for a 10 in the 45-49 bracket :muscle: :joy:).

17.8kph for a competitive gravel race doesn’t seem to strenuous at all.

The Kings Cup Gravel Championships averaged over 30kph last year.

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Ones in Norfolk , ones in Scotland, the first climb in the Gralloch equals 4 laps of the Kings Cup (40 Miles) in climbing hight

But that wasn’t my point

When on the web site it says

“the ambition is for the Series to attract all, from professional elite riders, through older competitive riders to those who just want to finish.

I would have taken to be those who want to finish, not those who want to finish in a competative time, otherwise it wouldn’t have been “through older competitive riders”, it would have just been “from professional elite riders, through competitive riders” (also removed the older)

How so ? Multiple start times isn’t confusing, why should multiple cut offs, if you have a yellow number you won’t be allowed through after 13:30, if it’s blue 14:00

You’ve never organised an event then, trying to control one group with a cut off of one time but, allowing a rider of another group to go through as they have a later cut off time is confusing/complicated for every one; there’s a reason events aren’t commonly set up this way.

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If you don’t make the cut-off, can you still do the rest of the event, just not timed? Or do you actually have to stop riding?
Since most fondo’s arent on closed roads i think they don’t have any legal ground to stop you riding your bike.

Who’s making it personal :exploding_head:

I haven’t ever done an event set up that confusing
/ complicated way. Is “I” personal?

Enjoy the event and dont worry about cut off etc.

Stop riding, there is a broom wagon

That seems harsh for a an event that’s also for “people who just want to finish”

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Apologies, I over reaction when you said

As thats not the case …

But yeah, like you say just enjoy the event, I was in the top 10% of the last one, so not seeing a issue for this one, just wondered what people though in this forum and the cource is being reviewed as hard (it is a quialifyer for the world champs) but people have entered with the intention of just getting round, feeling sorry for them


Really? They have 2.5 hours to go 28.8 km on almost entirely firm gravel (according to webpage). I have a hard time believing the cutoff time will restrict anyone unless they have the absolute worst luck. Correct me if I am wrong, but my envelope math puts it at 11.5 km/h. Even if someone has a mechanical that takes 30 minutes to fix, they still have 2 hours.

My thought is you should lie about your age.

My second thought is how will they stop you from starting at 11:00?

And, my final thought on this matter is: it’s gravel. You can ride any course for free any time. There is no traffic. That’s the charm of gravel.

I’m also entered in this event. Releasing this so late is baffling and will put some people off unfortunately.
I dont understand why they would have enforced cut off times. If you dont want to race it just ride to the finish?

Also having the ‘faster’ group setting off after a few groups doesn’t make sense possibly putting riders in unnecessary danger trying to get past slower groups that are already on the course.

Permit time lengths is a big factor, along with the cost of paying for any police officers, city workers, etc. …not to mention the time / expense / inconvenience of having volunteers out there all day.


It’s the UCI Gravel World Series that purports to ‘attract all … (including) competitive riders who just want to finish’, not the race though, or at least that’s how it reads to me on the website. Under ‘The Race’ section it says “The Gralloch is a race, a one-day gravel classic and the first UCI Gravel World Series event ever hosted in Britain.” Even Paris-Roubaix has time cuts that sees racers swept up in the broom wagon. I struggle to see why (on the FB page) there’d be outrage, running even more start groups with varying cut-offs seem like a logistical nightmare. Looks like a cool place to race though, best of luck!

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You’ve got to hit 10.8 km/h average to hit the first cut off. Then 11.67km/h by the last cut off. I’d say that’s pretty generous.

Riders are likely to be in mixed groups.
“You, 3rd from the back, sorry you can’t go through anymore” ist just not great. Or catching up to someone and saying, “10 minutes to cut-off”, only to hear, “oh, I have an extra 5”. One cut-off time is logistically easier, both for riders and marshalls.

Also - looks like the vet40-54 men have 5 minutes less than the senior men. Can’t really see that making a massive difference. Especially as this could well be the largest group, with the most drafting etc.

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Bit of an odd one this. I’ll be in that last group and although 17km/h shouldn’t be too much of an ask, even with the very little training I’ve managed this year, the cut-off is a bit out of place given the average speeds you need to keep after you get past the first checkpoint, particularly when you see that the first ‘stage’ has the most climbing per km.


Maybe an extra 15 minutes would have made it a bit more even: