Sea Otter Europe offers two gravel races. The toughest of the two is the challenge of completing 340 kilometres in little over 15 hours
The 145-kilometre Gravel Series Half Pirinexus is 100% gravel philosophy
Of the wide range of events at the Sea Otter Europe Girona Costa Brava bike show, this is one of the most complete due to its tough nature and varied terrain. It offers a route of spectacular beauty with some fast-rolling sections over a total of 340 kilometres that combine gravel (55%) and asphalt (45%), as well as a number of towns. The fourth edition of this race is not competitive and considered a genuine cycling challenge on which riders can reminisce about the cycling feats of the late 19th Century when these long-distance races took place over a single day. Furthermore, the Pirinexus 360 Challenge offers a unique chance to explore the best parts of the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees in Girona on a privileged route that even dips into French territory. From Girona to the Costa Brava, passing over the entire Empordà plain through Sant Antoni de Calonge, Torroella de Montgrí and La Jonquera, entering the Pyrenees in Girona through Camprodon and dipping into French territory via the iconic Coll d’Ares to the municipality of Ceret. On the way back, through a combination of terrain and landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, riders cross La Garrotxa through Sant Esteve d’en Bas to complete their heroics by returning to the city of Girona after a total elevation gain of 3,400 metres. The route follows the Pirinexus trail, a road that symbolises the cross-border union between Catalonia and France to link the Catalan Pyrenees and the Mediterranean by bicycle along unbroken greenways.
The event will take place on Saturday, 9 June, and the main new feature this year is that the route will be travelled in reverse.
The Half version of this event is also resuming this year. The Gravel Series Half Pirinexus consists of a 145-kilometre route with a total elevation gain of 1,000 metres. This shorter version will start at the same time as the full version and will share the same route as far as Torroella de Montgrí.
A range of different bikes for the same race
When Jordi Cantal started riding the 350-kilometre Pirinexus trail alone in the early hours of the morning in the summer of 2014, he had no idea that he would have created a new challenge by the time he finished—late at night—that has now gained legendary status. Now in its fourth year, the event forms part of the Sea Otter Europe Costa Brava-Girona bike show, which will take place in Girona from 8 to 10 June. Any kind of bike can be ridden, although the most suitable are gravel or cyclocross bikes. It can also be ridden on a road bike with 25 or 28 tyres, or a 29’ mountain bike with smooth tyres.
Considering the distance and the various types of terrain, the perfect bike would be one that is comfortable, lightweight, stable and fast-rolling. It should be taken into account that the chosen bicycle cannot be changed at any point during the race.
More information and registration for the Pirinexus 360 Challenge