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Best Cycling Races Arizona 2024

Best Cycling Races Arizona 2024

Solo gravel rider in Sedona Arizona

The team at Strambecco rates the Best Cycling Events Arizona 2024 based on various factors, including reputation, route quality, location, rider feedback, and the event's or race's overall uniqueness. Strambecco does not list every event.  We strive to identify and review special and noteworthy events, spanning Road, Gravel, and Mountain Bike events and races.

Arizona, known for its diverse landscapes ranging from arid deserts to lush forests, has emerged as a haven for cycling enthusiasts. With a perfect blend of challenging terrains and breathtaking scenery, the state has become a magnet for road cyclists, gravel grinders, and mountain biking aficionados. In this article, we'll delve into the popularity of cycling in Arizona and highlight some of the must-visit locations for each discipline.

Road Cycling in Arizona:

  1. Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway: Nestled in the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway is a mecca for road cyclists. The challenging ascent offers stunning vistas and a rewarding downhill ride. With an elevation gain of over 6,000 feet, cyclists are treated to various ecosystems, from saguaro cacti to pine forests.
  2. Saguaro National Park Loop: For those seeking a flatter yet equally scenic route, the Saguaro National Park Loop provides a picturesque ride through iconic saguaro cacti landscapes. The loop is a favorite among local cyclists and offers a unique blend of desert beauty and wildlife sightings.

Gravel Grinding Adventures:

  1. Apache Trail: The historic Apache Trail, surrounded by the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest, beckons gravel cyclists. This rugged and winding dirt road offers a true taste of the Wild West, with breathtaking canyons, lakes, and desert flora views.
  2. Prescott National Forest: Prescott's expansive network of gravel roads in the National Forest is a hidden gem for gravel enthusiasts. The scenic beauty, complemented by the challenging terrain, attracts cyclists looking for a remote and adventurous riding experience.

Mountain Biking Escapades:

  1. South Mountain Park and Preserve: As one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, South Mountain Park and Preserve in Phoenix provides an extensive network of mountain biking trails. From beginner-friendly paths to technical descents, riders of all skill levels can enjoy this park's diverse challenges.
  2. Sedona's Red Rock Trails: Sedona's iconic red rocks set the stage for visually stunning mountain biking experiences. Trails like the Highline Trail and the Hangover Trail provide a thrilling mix of slickrock sections and challenging descents against a backdrop of towering red cliffs.

The Best of the Best Cycling Events in Arizona 2024:

The Second Annual Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona is a unique desert and mountain gravel experience known as the Hell of the North Desert. The Arizona event is the kick-off to the largest gravel series in the world, the Belgian Waffle Ride Series, a North American series offering some of the world's most highly respected and well-organized gravel events/races in North America.  BWR AZ is the first leg of the Tripel Crown of Gravel, a special competition within the full Belgian Waffle Ride Series lineup that involves participation in BWR AZ (March 1-2), BWR UT (April 5-6), BWR CA (27-28)Innovative production company Monuments of Cycling produces the series.

Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona takes place in Cave Creek, Arizona, on the fringes of the Valley of the Sun.  The event embodies three ingredients that make the BWR events so special.  First, an incredible destination ideal for an early Spring visit.  Second, varied terrain to accommodate an extremely dynamic racecourse, and third, a vibrant cycling community. In a unique collaboration, BWR AZ is teaming up for the prestigious Specialized Cactus Cup MTB event/race to create a thrilling back-to-back off-road cycling extravaganza, the "Duel in the Desert." On consecutive Saturdays, March 2 and March 9, 2024, this combination event of mountain biking and gravel racing promises an unparalleled celebration of cycling prowess, camaraderie, and the breathtaking Arizona landscape in and around the magnificent McDowell Mountains Regional Park. This unique challenge combines the Belgian Wafer Ride's 72-mile unroad gravel racing with the technical mountain biking excellence of the Cactus Cup's 40-mile XC race.  Cyclists daring to conquer both events can earn the prestigious Queen and King of the Desert Awards.


Arizona's popularity as a cycling destination is well-deserved, offering a diverse range of terrains for road cyclists, gravel enthusiasts, and mountain biking aficionados. Whether you're conquering steep ascents, navigating gravel roads, or tackling technical descents, Arizona provides a cycling paradise for riders of all disciplines. With iconic events like Tour De Zona, Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona, and the Cactus Cup Mountain Bike Festival, the state continues solidifying its position as a premier destination for cyclists seeking adventure and breathtaking scenery.

If you have suggestions on other events we should consider or review, please get in touch with us here or send us a note at  Strambecco also rates Southwest's best Road, Gravel, and MTB events.

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