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Event Series Event Series: Triple Crown Gravel Fondo Series

Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo 2025

May 4, 2025

gravel cyclists at triple crown series
Last Updated May 15, 2024

The 2025 event date is not yet updated — The Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo 2025 is the oldest gran fondo on Vancouver Island and is an excellent opportunity for cyclists to explore the natural beauty of the Cowichan Valley. With routes for all levels of riders and the opportunity to participate as an individual or part of a team, the event is produced by Tri 1 Events, a premier event production company in British Columbia. It is a fun and challenging way to experience the great outdoors. Plus, the event takes place in an area known for its recreational activities, making it a great destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts to explore year-round. The event is part of the Triple Crown Gravel Series and rated by Strambecco as one of the Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Northwest and one of the Best Cycling Race Events in Canada across all categories.

Event & Course Info

The Cowichan Valley is located on the eastern side of Vancouver Island, and the area is known for its diverse and stunning natural landscapes, including forests, rivers, lakes, and mountains. The Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo 2025 features several routes that take riders through the beautiful and rugged terrain of the region, passing by farms, vineyards, and other rural landscapes. Along the way, riders will encounter various wildlife, including bald eagles, black bears, and deer. The event will start and finish in the town of Lake Cowichan, located on the shore of Cowichan Lake, and will feature at least 75% minimum or more gravel roads or trails.

The three route options vary in length and difficulty, with options for all levels of riders, with the shortest route around ~35 kilometers (22 miles) long and the longest being ~100 kilometers (62 miles) long. The routes are primarily on gravel roads and feature challenging climbs, descents, and some technical sections.  The event has several participant categories, including individual and team, with teams consisting of two or four riders.

The Piccolo or Beginner Fondo, approximately 25 kilometers long, is designed for beginner to intermediate cyclists, providing a manageable yet scenic ride around the area. The Medio Fondo extends about 55 kilometers, also beginning and ending in Lake Cowichan, and is suitable for those who have some cycling experience but are not looking for an overly demanding course. For more seasoned riders, the Full Fondo covers roughly 95 kilometers and challenges intermediate to expert cyclists with its longer distance and more complex terrain, making it ideal for those seeking a rigorous ride. All routes start and conclude in the picturesque setting of Lake Cowichan, making them a perfect choice for cyclists looking to explore the beauty of the region while testing their endurance and skills. The Medio Fondo and Full Fondo each have one aid station available for participants.

For the Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo 2025, the best type of bike to use is one with fatter tires to allow for lower pressures, enhancing comfort and performance on gravel. Suitable options include gravel bikes, cyclocross bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, touring bikes, and even road bikes or e-bikes, although road bikes might be less comfortable due to high tire pressures and hard gearing. Specific recommendations for tire sizes and gearing for each bike type will be provided to racers for the event.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

Where to Stay in Lake Cowichan

It’s highly recommended to make a weekend out of the event, as Lake Cowichan is a wonderful place to visit for athletes, families, and supporters. There is no official lodging partner for the event however, favorite options in the area include the Farm Table Inn and the Cowichan River Lodge. For those that prefer a more home-like experience, there are also plentiful vacation rentals available from log cabins to modern lakehouses as well as unique one-of-a-kind camping opportunities.

Dining in Lake Cowichan

The culinary scene in Lake Cowichan, Canada, is quaint and reflects its small-town charm, featuring a selection of cozy cafes and local eateries that offer a variety of comfort foods, including fresh seafood and homemade dishes. This lakeside community also enjoys access to locally sourced ingredients, which are prominently featured in its casual dining spots. Local favorites include Jakes at the Lake, Lakeside Sushi, and JV’s Diner.

Outdoor Activities in Lake Cowichan

Nestled on Vancouver Island, Lake Cowichan boasts an array of outdoor activities that make it a prime destination for athletes seeking adventure and challenge. With its mild weather in May, this picturesque location offers the perfect backdrop for engaging in a variety of sports.

Kayaking on the waters of Lake Cowichan emerges as a top activity as the lake, known for its crystal-clear waters, offers extensive routes ranging from calm, scenic paddles to more challenging long-distance excursions. Athletes can explore the vast shoreline and the secluded coves that are only accessible by water. Local outfitters provide rentals and guided tours, making this an accessible option for both novice and experienced kayakers alike.

For runners seeking a scenic yet challenging route, the portion of the Trans Canada Trail that passes through Lake Cowichan is an excellent choice. This trail offers diverse landscapes, including lush forests and river crossings, with well-maintained paths that are ideal for a high-energy workout. The trail’s flexibility allows runners to choose their distance and difficulty level, providing a customizable experience suitable for training or leisurely runs.

Mountain biking enthusiasts will find their thrill on the Cowichan Valley Trail. This route promises an exhilarating ride through a mix of terrains, from gentle slopes to rugged paths, surrounded by the natural beauty of the forested areas. The trail is part of the larger Great Trail network and is well-marked, offering varying levels of difficulty to accommodate different skill levels. The combination of natural obstacles and breathtaking vistas makes it a memorable ride for any mountain biker.

Related Events

Tri 1 Events, a premier event production company in British Columbia, produces the event.  Tri 1 produces the popular Triple Crown of Gravel Series, which includes Cowichan Crusher Gran Fondo, the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo, and Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo.

Another great gravel event to consider this Spring in the NW region is the Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia, which is part of the highly respected North American Belgian Waffle Ride Series.

For the multi-sport athletes out there looking for other premier races and events in BC, Canada, and the broader Northwest region, be sure to check out our other sport guides below:

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