Dirty Reiver 2023

I got the email through from Focal Events this morning about Dirty Reiver 2023 - is anyone else going to try to get a place? I got the notification through about advanced entry for Etape Loch Ness but didn’t fancy it this year even though it’s my local event. What was the Loch Ness 360 has now become the Loch Ness Festival 100 Miler, accompanied by more than a doubling in price to £175… A trip to Kielder and £75 for the Dirty Reiver looking like a great value proposition now.

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Yes I’d like to go back :+1:t2:

Gonna switch things up this time and go for fastest moving pace rather than trying to do it non-stop (completed that last year :rofl:)

I also think my Scott Spark will be better than my Diverge……

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Yep, will be my third time. FYI in the (recent) past entries have always sold out within a few hours of opening, so definitely put the entry day in your diary with a reminder the night before.


Cheers, have set a reminder already. Must be good if you’re going back for a third time, what distances have you done?

Intriguing, someone commented in the 2022 thread that they felt over-biked with a gravel bike using 650b wheels and 2.25 inch tyres. Did you feel roughed up on the Diverge and want some extra comfort on the Spark? I’d be planning on using my Orbea Terra with 38c Vittoria tyres that actually measure about 40c on the rims, which is the maximum I can use.

No not especially. I ran 38 pathfinders the first time and 42’s the second. Both were fine.
I just think a full suspension XC mtb would be quicker over any kind gravel at the speeds I’m doing.

I ride Salisbury Plain a lot which is a similar breakdown of gravel type I’d say and my fastest rides are from the Spark rather than the diverge!

For fatugue reasons alone over that kind of duration I think leaving suspension at home in the shed is silly :slight_smile:

I’d also get a slight improvement in gearing which would help winching up the hills and have slightly more confidence on the fast descents if it’s windy.

That was the worst party for me this year- having to drag the brakes because I felt like my wheel was going to get swiped out by the gusts!


200km both times. Yeah it’s good - really big and properly competitive at the front, with domestic pros and ultra-endurance racers duking it out. Standard gravel mullet race with a party in the back though, and even a lot of high calibre folk turn out to ride it a lot slower than they’re capable of and just enjoy the fun. Great atmosphere overall. It’s very much our version of Unbound.

Was my ‘A’ event in 2021 (rescheduled to September that year) and I did 8:34 which was good enough for top 50. Was hoping to get under 8:30 and push for 8h in 2022 but it was my ‘B’ event and I had some other training hiccups (including return to international travel for work) so I was just over 9h - similar power but a few kg heavier that time - also 8:30 would not have been good enough for top 50 finishers this year.

It’s a ‘B’ again for 2023 and I’ll hope to finally break 8:30 with a stretch goal of 8h.


I’m planning on doing the 130 and “racing” it. Sounds like, so long as you register in the first couple of hours, you’ll get a place? Hoping it’s not one of these iPhone things where the spots are gone in minutes as we already have accomodations booked.

Is it all fire roads? Woudn’t think of not bringing my gravel bike, but I don’t want to be overbiked either.


Yes I’ve heard similar sentiment from a few folk. It’s not about being under-biked, it’s about comfort over the duration and still being able to put down the power in the last 50km. I think in terms of the fastest finishing times a gravel bike is absolutely the quickest tool for the job, but it might not be the most enjoyable, particularly if you run into postural endurance issues towards the end. I can do that distance and more on a gravel bike with no positional fatigue for a day out or a training ride, but it’s always an extra challenge when you’re not waiting for mates at the top of hills, stopping for photos, taking an hour for lunch, and just generally giving your posterior chain a chance to properly relax and let go on a regular basis.

Wind was strong last year indeed!

That’s pretty much exactly what the fastest finishers will ride (with variance in brands of course). If it’s what you ride on the forestry tracks around Sneck / Great Glen then it’s probably what you want for the Riever. I always find the “which tyre should I run” threads (particularly in the DR facebook group) really frustrating because recommendations are coming in from such a wide range of abilities, riding styles, and goals. It’s much more useful to me to ask “would you ride the same tyre for this as you would for ____?”

In the case of the Riever I’d say it’s mostly the same as any maintained forestry estate you’ll find in most of Scotland. Primarily fast and smooth with a few sections of rougher stuff. Same tyre choice as I use in and around Glasgow, Aberfoyle, etc. and maybe one notch less beefy than what I’d use for the Badger Divide. If the duration at the Riever is a stretch for you then you might consider increasing tyre volume a bit from what you normally use, but I wouldn’t buy a new bike to make it fit!

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Not that bad, thankfully (at least not from past experience). I think I was finger-on-the-trigger last year and had a little panic because I needed to refresh a few times, but I got there in the end and places didn’t run out for a good couple hours more at least.

I think they’re changing the route this year but it has been like 95% gravel fire-roads yes.

Just to caveat- my Spark has a triple and only weighs about 13kg so it’s pretty quick. I can do my little 18 mile “tempo loop” on the back lanes around here at 19.5mph on it on 2.25 Rocket Ron’s. . (Road bike is about 21.5mph and Diverge is in the 20’s depending on tyres).

As Dylan Johnson is showing with his little experiments lately- it’s only really on road sections that a gravel bike truly pulls ahead of mtb type setups.

The reason for picking the Diverge so far has been to try and keep all the weight on the bike and not have to stop. But now I’ve done that challenge, I’ll be happy to wear a camelbak and stop for food a couple of times. (I ended up wearing a camelbak anyway this time around and regretted it. Combined with a Gabba jersey I got way too hot! :rofl:).


I’ve been using it as my motivation to train after coming back from two broken legs and then getting fat in 2021 so I’m hoping to really move my time/pace along a bit this year.
As a 90+ kg Crit racer it’s fun to be out of my comfort zone :rofl::rofl:

Here’s my random vlog….

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Haha yes those types of Facebook threads are superb. I used to do a lot of running and the ‘what shoe for x race’ was always an entertaining one. I’m happy using my setup for a lot of local stuff but there’s always some white knuckle moments where you’d prefer a mountain bike. There was a gravel race at the Glenurquhart Highland Games earlier this summer and the winner (Gary MacDonald, Nevis Cycles) had 650b wheels with Vittoria Terreno Dry 47c tyres on and was the only person in the top 5 not to flat on the roughest stuff I think, it looked a nice setup.

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Cheers for sharing, will give it a watch during my next TR session :grin:

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Watched the video, really enjoyed it and the AK chimp. Great effort, but I have a burning question - did you just piss on the bike or did you not piss for over 10 hours?

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:rofl: Thanks.

I can hear-by confirm- I did not pee :scream:

Looking for a gravel race in Europe in early 2023, this looks pretty cool!


Holy $hit. How much fluid did you take on during the ride? I’d literally have been leaking out.

2l camelbak and 2x 750ml bottles.

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You’re a legend, congrats on the ride and the no pee achievement :rofl:

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