Gravel Locos Hico returns in 2023 with four-course options through the heart of Texas heartland. Hico is about 70 miles Northwest of Waco. Routes range from 29.7 to 155.8 miles and up to 8,200 feet of elevation gain. The first and second courses are non-timed and non-competitive, whereas the longer two options are competitive. All courses start and finish at Hico City Hall, are primarily gravel, include grades that reach 20%, and uniquely include several water crossings. The event is also noteworthy for the number of celebrity adventure racers, including Peter Stetina, Ted King, Laurens ten Dam, and many others. You can expect over 1,000 participants in what has become a popular Texas event.
GL30 La Pequena is the shortest of the two non-competitive routes. It is a total of 30.5 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain. This course has the highest percentage of gravel at 84% and one aid station at mile 18. This course loops through the town of Fairy, with dairy farms and rolling hills along the way. Warning, at about mile 25, there is a cycle cross challenge where riders must dismount to cross the Bee Creek bridge.
GL60 La Mediana is the longer of the non-competitive routes. This course is 62.7 miles and over 3,600 feet of elevation gain. Riders start with the GL30s for 1.5 miles but move onto a gravel country road. At the 8th mile, participants will see the North Bosque River crossing, an unpaved river crossing with loose rocks. GL60s share an aide station with GL30 at mile 18, and GL60s have another at mile 37. GL60s will also have to prepare to dismount to cross Bee Creek and be ready for a wet, slippery crossing of Gum Branch.
GL100 La Gran Piedra is new in 2022 based on 2021 rider feedback. You asked for it, and they delivered. GL100 is a timed and competitive course that covers 109 miles with 5,000 feet of elevation gain. This course includes the water crossings of GL30 and GL60 but then adds the three hills of this area known as “3 Bs,” including “Loco Hill.” Four aid stations along the course will help you survive these climbs.
GL150 La Loca is the longest and most challenging of the courses. Cyclists travel 155.3 miles, where 112 miles (72%) is gravel, and gain 8,200 feet of elevation. The ride starts the same as the others, but after the North Bosque River crossing, the GL150s will travel south through the town of Iredell. As riders head towards Loco Hill, prepare to learn that Texas is not a flat state. There are four or more aid stations to keep you hydrated and fueled as you ride.
Hico, Texas, has a variety of restaurants but is best known for Koffee Kup Family Restaurant, which serves chicken-fried steak, strawberry pie, and other custard pies. There are several hotel and camping options in the area. Check out the Gravel Locos site for accommodations recommended by even the organizer.
Gravel Locos events include Gravel Locos Hico, TX, and now Gravel Locos Pueblo (Colorado) The settings are very different, but the purpose of the entire race series is to help Volunteer Fire Departments nationwide. Presenters and sponsors are incredibly thankful for the local men and women who work to keep their communities safe.