The Rad Dirt Fest is produced by Life Time Events, the Leadville Race Series owners, and Unbound Gravel (formerly Dirty Kanza). Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in Colorado, the event takes place annually on the last weekend of September. In 2023 there are three new routes to choose from: The Frijole at 40ish miles, The Anteloop at 65ish miles, and the Stubborn Delores at 120 miles. The exact routes have not been announced, but you can expect significant elevation gain for each with mostly fast and clean gravel. The routes offer breathtaking terrain and scenery in this southern Colorado region bordering the San Isabel National Forest and Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area. The route profiles below are illustrative from prior year events and will be updated when the race organizer finalizes the routes. Registration for the event opens in February.
The event takes place in and around Trinidad, Colorado. This small city sits at 6,000 feet elevation in the Purgatoire River valley of Southern Colorado, close to the New Mexico border. Trinidad is a classic old-west town with a strong mountain vibe and vibrant outdoor culture, including 1,500 miles of gravel roads spidering in every direction!
Life Time Events’ inspiration for Rad Dirt Fest starts with their passion for creating events that enrich the lives of participants and community event hosts. They believe the future of cycling and running is direct, where it is safer for the athletes and easier on the body. In Trinidad, they found a community well equipped to host a large-scale event and a desire to develop the town and surrounding area as the next big outdoor recreation locations. In recent years the town has made sizable investments in developing its recreation infrastructure. In 2019, the city of Trinidad, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, Great Outdoors Colorado, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, purchased 19,200 acres of private land to become Colorado’s newest and second largest state park, Fishers Peak. Now managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, plans are underway to build a network of trails for bikers, hikers, and equestrians.
Life Time recently announced the inaugural Life Time Grand Prix for other high-quality events! The series feature 6 of the most iconic cycling events and the best cyclists in off-road cycling. The challenge combines mountain biking and gravel riding disciplines. The events are all around the country, including the Sea Otter Classic, UNBOUND Gravel, Crusher in the Tushar, Leadville Trail 100 MTB, Big Sugar Gravel, and Chequamegon MTB. The biggest prize purse in U.S. cycling, $250,000, will be split evenly between men and women. Each series event will be streamed live and on-demand on FloBikes, part of the FloSports network.
Best Gravel Events in the Rockies for 2023
Route map for Stubborn Delores by Timmy Brosious on plotaroute.com
Route map for The Rad – Anteloop by Michael Melley on plotaroute.com
Route map for The Rad – Frijole by Michael Melley on plotaroute.com