The Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo takes place annually in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada, and is known for being the oldest gravel fondo in Western Canada and one of North America's most scenic gravel fondos. Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo is a Gran Fondo World Tour - Gravel Series event, part of the Triple Crown Gravel Series, and rated by Stambecco as one of the best Gravel Grinders in the Pacific Northwest and in Canada.
Event & Course Info
The Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo is not only a celebration of gravel cycling but also of the history and scenery of the Okanagan Valley. The event starts in Penticton, beside Lake Okanagan at Okanagan Lake Park, and finishes in East Kelowna. Along the way, participants experience the stunning vistas and landscapes of the valley while pushing themselves to the limit.
The event takes place on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, a multi-use recreational trail once a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The trail, which features a maximum of 2.2% grade, passes through Myra Canyon Provincial Park and offers panoramic views of crystal clear lakes, wildflower-blanketed canyons, historic trestles, and shaded decommissioned railway tunnels.
Participants can choose from three distances: the Medio Fondo (approx. 50kms) for beginners or recreational cyclists, the Full Fondo (approx. 100kms) for intermediate to advanced level cyclists, and the Full Fondo Plus (approx. 138+ km) for the more experienced cyclist. In addition, a two-day stage race covers 112 km from Princeton to Penticton on day one and 100 km from Penticton to Kelowna on day two.
Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo attracts cyclists from all levels of fitness and experience. While the most common bikes at the event are gravel or cyclo-cross, some participants choose to ride mountain, road, touring, or hybrids. It's worth noting that suspension mountain bikes are not necessary for the event, and wider tires with less air and disc brakes are recommended for added comfort and traction.
Upon finishing the event, riders will find that a celebratory gathering awaits featuring a hearty post-event meal, refreshing beer, a commemorative T-shirt, a bottle of wine, and a plethora of raffle prizes. Both individual and team contests are available for every event, with teams comprising either two or four members. The outcomes hinge on the aggregate times of all team riders.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
The Okanagan Valley is renowned for its sun-soaked landscapes, picturesque lakes, and world-class vineyards. This fertile region, often referred to as Canada's wine country, produces award-winning wines amidst a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. Outdoor enthusiasts and wine aficionados alike flock to the valley to indulge in its myriad of recreational activities and savor its exquisite vintages. We highly recommend making a vacation out of the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo event.
Participants of the Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo can find a wide range of accommodations in both the start town of Penticton and the finishing location, East Kelowna. Hotels in Penticton include Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Kettle Valley Beach Resort, while Eldorado Resort, The Royal Kelowna, and Holiday Inn Express are all options at the finish location. In addition, there are plenty vacation rental options in both Penticton and East Kelowna for those that prefer a home-like experience. If you appreciate camping, there are also some pretty unique camping options in the broader area to check out.
The culinary scene of Okanagan Valley is a delightful fusion of farm-to-table freshness and innovative gastronomy, heavily influenced by its bountiful vineyards, producing dishes that perfectly pair with the region's renowned wines. From gourmet restaurants to charming bistros, the valley offers a diverse palate inspired by its rich agricultural heritage and the multicultural tapestry of its inhabitants. Be sure to check out these local favorite restaurants in Penticton and East Kelowna.
The Okanagan Valley is a gem nestled amidst rolling hills and serene lakes making it a playground for outdoorsy people. Situated right in the heart of Kelowna, Knox Mountain offers trails that cater to both casual walkers and serious hikers. The apex of this mountain provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city, Okanagan Lake, and the surrounding valley. The popular Apex Trail winds its way to the summit, allowing hikers to immerse themselves in local flora and fauna. With several viewpoints along the way, it's a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Also, the vast expanse of the Okanagan Lake, with its crystal-clear waters, beckons kayakers and paddlers as the lake offers varied experiences, including serene spots for gentle paddling and open water stretches.
Finally, we have to mention that since September is grape harvest season, it's a prime time to explore the valley's world-class wineries by bike. Embark on a self-guided tour through the wine trails, including popular route the Lakeshore Wine Route.
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 Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo, Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo, and the Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo.
Another top operator in Canada is TransRockies Race Series which puts on the TransRockies Gravel Royale taking place in August, which is one of the best gravel cycling events in the Rockies. We would be remiss not to also mention Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia, by Monuments of Cycling, which is part of the Quadrupel Crown of Gravel Series and another premiere event taking place in the Northwest.
For the multi-sport athletes, TransRockies Single Track 6, one of the best Mountain Bike Events in the Northwest, is worth adding to your bucket list, as well as RBC Gran Fondo Whistler one of the Best Road Cycling Events in the Northwest, while trail runners will appreciate the TranSelkirks Run.