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Event Series Event Series: TransRockies Race Series

Gran Fondo Badlands 2024

July 6

gran fondo badlands scenery

Updated April 1, 2024

The Gran Fondo Badlands in Canada is a unique road cycling event with the starting point located at the world’s largest dinosaur, a 26.2 meters (86 feet) fiberglass Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Founded in 2011, Gran Fondo Badlands quickly gained popularity when it moved to the Drumheller Valley in the heart of the Canadian Badlands and thanks to the great riding and scenery, including the Dinosaur Trail, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Bleriot Ferry, hoodoos, historical villages, and many bridge crossings. Strambecco rates the event as one of the best road cycling events in the Northwest.

The event offers four distance options from 50km to 162km for riders of all experience levels. No matter what distance you ride, you will see lots of hoodoos, long river and coulee vistas, and the unique “badlands” scenery of the Dinosaur Valley. Take in the scenery, enjoy the ferry ride across the Red Deer River, and pedal up some short but serious hills. Every year, as part of the route, they have the Ferry Hill Climb, a 1km timed segment after you get off the ferry. All riders will be timed on this segment, and a King and Queen of the Mountain prize pack will be awarded for each distance. The event is well supported with aid and water stations and a WhatsApp group specifically for the event staffed by TransRockies to answer any questions.

Drumheller is a town northeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, within easy driving distance of Banff, Calgary, or Red River.  On the edge of town, in Midland Provincial Park, the Royal Tyrrell Museum contains a large collection of dinosaur fossils. Downtown, stairs wind inside the “World’s Largest Dinosaur,” a giant model T-Rex with views from its jaw. To the southeast, the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site explores the Drumheller Valley’s coal-mining heritage. Drumheller has been the filming location for over 50 commercials, television, and cinematic productions. Drumheller is also home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, which hosts Canada’s largest dinosaur fossils. Accommodations around Drumheller include the Canalta Jurassic Hotel or the Ramada Hotel & Suites, however if camping/RV is more your style, check out River Grove Campground & Cabins or Dinosaur RV Park.

Gran Fondo Badlands is now part of the TransRockies Race Series and is operated by the same producer, operating challenging and unique endurance events since 2002. Starting with the TransRockies Challenge mountain bike stage race in 2002, it added the TransRockies Run trail running stage race in Colorado in 2007. The TransRockies Race Series operates 11 events over 40 days annually in Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, and Utah. TransRockies Events feature best-in-class participant support and a fun social atmosphere. TransRockies is based in Calgary, Alberta, and Lakewood, Colorado, and has been operating Gran Fondo cycling events since 2011. It is well-versed with the format and the riders.

Strambecco covers several of their events, including Moab Run the Rocks, Moab Rocks, Moab Fondo Fest, which includes the Gran Fondo Moab and Gravel Fondo Moab, Golden Rush, Gran Fondo Badlands, TransRockies Single Track-6, TransRockies Run, TransRockies Gravel Royale, TranSelkirks Run, and the Golden Ultra.

We consider their races and events some of the best out there.  They have been featured in a handful of our popular ‘Best’ articles, including the best road cycling race events in the Southwest, the best MTB race events in the Southwest, the best gravel cycling race events in the Rockies, the best Mountain Bike Events in the Northwest, and the best cycling race events in all of Canada.

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