The most demanding course and third leg of the 6-part Southeast Gravel Series, the Race to Valhalla takes place in early May, which is the best time to ride in the Carolinas. Temps are cool to start and shouldn’t get too hot later in the day. The route is made up of long gravel roads with no traffic and includes one long climb that starts from the scenic Lake Cherokee and winds up a steep gravel road to the summit. The long route comes with 73 miles and 7300 feet of elevation gain. The short course comes with 48 miles and 4700 feet of elevation gain. Strambecco rates the event as one of the best gravel grinders in the Southeast.
The Start/Finish is on the beautiful Main Street in Walhalla. The race is in conjunction with the Mother’s Day Art Walk Festival, which offers a great opportunity to bring the family and spend the weekend. Nestled in the shadows of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in the Northwest corner of the state and cradled by the cool waters of the Chattooga River, Walhalla has all the necessary components for a quintessential outdoor weekend outing, including lots of hiking options. The City of Walhalla will be the terminus of South Carolina’s longest pedestrian and bicycle trail, The Palmetto Trail. The newly constructed Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park will provide miles of world-class mountain bike trails.
Although there are ample hotel options, this event offers great camping options at Oconee State Park and South Cove County Park. Both offers are very close to the start.
The six-part Southeast Gravel Series, produced by Southeast Gravel, runs from March to August and include the Gravel Battle of Sumter Forest, Saluda Redbank 100, Race to Valhalla, Greenwood Gravel Grinder, Tryon Gravel Gallop, and Kershaw Gold Rush. Southeast Gravel organizers hold a high bar in regards to their event productions with a commitment to: provide a safe, fun, and challenging event – score everyone and provide instant results – make pictures available to share on social media – have delicious food and beer – provide GPS and signs for directions – ensure participants want to compete in a future event.