Sunshine always brings the best out of anything and it certainly did that at Raiders Gravel on Sunday.
Overall, the Senior races were as predicted, with Alistair Brownlee and Mikey Mottram finishing first and second respectively again, another puncture robbing us of the chance for a sprint finish. That put the pair in the same places on the final podium, with Metheven Bond on the third step.
And finally, on the last day the top three women got to fight it out head to head for stage honours in their race. Amelia Mitchell, Danni Shrosbree and Maddy Nutt trading blows until the very end of the 74.5km stage.
In the end Shrosbree took the stage win, taking just six seconds out of Mitchell in the final run-in to the viaduct finish. However, Mitchell’s overall advantage was huge and good enough for her to top the podium, with Nutt taking second and Shrosbree managing to move into third after her opening day puncture disaster.
But anyone who’d been out on the trails of the Galloway Forest Park or around the event village in Garries Park knows it’s about so much more than those riders winning the overall. It’s about everyone, Raiders Gravel is about community.
“This is my first gravel race so I just wanted to complete,” said Arran Moffat form Edinburgh. “On day one I was just looking not to get a cramp, I didn’t get a cramp and then I transferred to the race group as I was just racing people in the fun group so I thought I might as well give it a bash.
“The gravel is really varied, there was some super rough stuff and some really nice super fast gravel, this is pretty much the best gravel I have ridden in Scotland.
“Loved it, I’ll be back next year!”
For Cat and Richard Ridgway 2023 is their second visit to Raiders Gravel. “We came last year on rented bikes and loved it so much we went away and bought bikes, so we had to come back with our new bikes.” And they did so well they ended up winning the Mixed Team category, though they didn’t quite come to Gatehouse with that intention.
“We’re trying, I think we came second last year, but we thought the competition would be a lot more with higher numbers. We had a very good first day and we think surprised ourselves with how well we’d gone.”
And both approved of the slight route changes for the 2023 event, Richard adding; “I preferred it this year where we dropped down to that railway with the chunky ballast which we didn’t like, and the alternative this year was very nice.”
“It’s nice to have a bit of variation,” Cat added. “It was a good mix, the Clatteringshaws loop was really amazing and having the non-timed road sections was brilliant because you could just chill out and focus on where you were racing. We loved it!”
Jack Brammar fell in love with gravel riding London to Paris Gravel last year and signed up to Raiders Gravel “for a nice chilled three day event.
“I probably went out a little too hard on the first day, day two was more enjoy it, sit back take in the scenery and then today’s been brilliant, not getting tied up with setting off at a rate of knots on the first climb, remembering to look at the beautiful scenery and realise how lucky we are to have this around us.”
And the event village? “It was brilliant a really nice atmosphere to have everyone together in the evening, it was nice to sit around and enjoy some live music and bring everyone together share stories.”
See you next year? Register your interest for 2024: raidersgravel.com/pre-register
Official results are available at: raidersgravel.com/results