The event, which takes place annually in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada, is known for being the oldest gravel fondo in Western Canada and one of North America’s most scenic gravel fondos. Kettle Mettle 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.
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.
The event 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.
The Kettle Mettle 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. For those who complete the event, a post-celebration includes a post-event meal, cold beer, souvenir T-shirt, wine bottle, and many draw prizes. There are also individual, and team competitions for all events (teams of two and four), and the results are based on the combined times of all riders on the team.
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, Sea2Sky Gravel Fondo, and the Cowichan Crusher Gravel Fondo.