10 Long Distance Cycling Events to Follow in 2024
The global ultra-distance events calendar now spans almost every corner of the world, with opportunities to ride competitively on almost any terrain all-year-round. From single day gravel epics to unsupported long-distance bikepacking races, we spoke to riders about the events they’re most excited to line up at in 2024.
9 February, Morocco
Starting in Marrakesh and finishing in Essaouira on the coast of Morocco, the Atlas Mountain Race takes riders on gravel, single and double track roads and is noted for its limited resupply points and hike-a-bike sections.
The mesmerizing landscapes, rich cultural tapestry and the daunting yet majestic mountains of the Atlas Mountain Race have always beckoned. Initially held back by the wrong bike and cultural hesitations, I've overcome these obstacles and now also have a mountain bike: the Cervelo ZHT-5 hardtail, which I’ll be using to compete this year.
27 April, Mexico
Only in its second year, the Tour De Frankie was the first unsupported, long distance bikepacking race to take place in Mexico – and remains the only race of its kind in the country in 2024. Taking riders on an 800km gravel and all-road route that starts in Mexico City and finishes on the coast in Puerto Escondido, this race is starting to attract some big name riders who want to tackle something a little different.
As a rider of Mexican descent, I’m ecstatic that ultra-cycling has found itself a home in the country of my family’s origin. I’ve raced ultras all over the globe, but I’ve never been to Mexico City or Oaxaca, so I’m stoked to explore it for the first time in the way I know best: via bicycle while pushing my limits.
1 May, Spain
Girona now seems synonymous with “gravel” and The Traka events are the pinnacle of single-stage gravel racing in the area. A new distance for 2024, The Traka 560km offers riders the opportunity to really push themselves on the gravel tracks that Girona is now famous for.
The Traka 560km is a new distance for the event that fits a little more within my wheelhouse than the 360km. I've spent some time around Girona but I'm looking forward to attending what is being called the 'Unbound of Europe.' It will be hilly with a good bit of loose rock, which makes for a fun and challenging track!
1 June, USA
Surging in popularity, the iconic flint hills of Emporia, Kansas, that make up most of the Unbound routes, are now targeted by some of the gravel world’s most influential riders. Last year’s “peanut butter” mud made for an unforgettable race, proving that even the most prepared riders should expect anything to happen.
On paper it looks like a long but fairly straight forward route, but what the GPX files don’t show is the never ending rolling hills and razor sharp stones waiting to slash your tyres. The biggest challenge of the day is managing the inevitable problems that come your way, going in with a reliable but fast setup and quick access to your spares is key.
14 June, USA
The Tour Divide is surely one the hardest bikepacking races there is, with length (over 4,000km), variety of terrain, remoteness and changeable conditions all coming into play. Last year’s battle between Ulrich Bartholmoes and Justinas Leveika made for compelling dotwatching and we’re hopeful for another exciting start list in 2024.
The Tour Divide has been on my bucket list since I purchased my Salsa Cutthroat (named Amelia, after American aviation pioneer and writer Amelia Earhart) in 2021. After a couple of years of bikepacking both recreationally and competitively on her, I feel like it’s time to set out on the ride that she was purpose-built to do.
21 July, France
Gearing up for its 10th edition, The Transcontinental Race (TCR) No.10 will blend TCR history with new and exciting adventures. Starting in Roubaix, France, for the first time, the race will take riders through checkpoints in Slovenia, Bosnia and Kosovo, before finishing on the shores of Istanbul in Türkiye.
It’s always exciting to rediscover the training process and also move into unknown territory. To me each event feels like an artistic expression of who you are. Almost like a painting. You spend years working on it and in that short period of time your able to share it with others. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.
17 August, Kyrgyzstan
Following a mix of single and double tracks and old soviet roads in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the Silk Road Mountain Race offers riders very little tarmac or a chance to recover the body after the long, bone-rattling sections between checkpoints. With plenty of hike-a-bike and limited resupply options, it’s a true test of riders’ grit.
In this rough environment every encounter becomes a party, every climb an achievement and every yurt is a 5 star hotel. I mean it, 4 years after I still remember this plate of lagman (local pasta dish) I had in Naryn. And I want to taste all of this again.
TBC August, Indonesia
2024 will mark the fourth edition of Bentang Jawa, which traverses 1,500km east – west of the island of Jawa. Taking riders through the mystical areas in the southern and central sides of the island, the route goes through forests, mountains and hills that’s sure to be challenging and beautiful in equal measure.
This event ticks a few boxes for me; going to a part of the world I love to ride in, doing a road ultra racing the length of Jawa, and then hanging on the beach afterwards for recovery sounds like the perfect trip. Add in that a couple of my CNCPT Teammates are making the journey too is the icing on the cake.
1 September, Spain
Billing itself as “the wildest gravel race in Europe”, traversing deserts, mountains and friendly local villages, the popularity of Badlands just keeps growing. With an emphasis on sustainability and community, Badlands is more than just a race.
Sure, Badlands is a bit shorter than what I'm used to and the faster pace poses a challenge. My lack of technical off-road skills might make keeping up a hurdle, but I'm ready to embrace the learning curve and enjoy the ride.
24 November, Chile
Passing through “some of the most remote places at the end of the world”, cycling in Patagonia is truly an unforgettable experience. From the famous Carretera Austral to the high altitude Andes, this gravel race offers riders one final adventure at the end of the season.
Across Andes will be on the menu after hopefully arriving in Istanbul. This means that I will spend my whole racing season on gravel bikes with the setup for Chile most likely looking like my Traka one. I am going to miss my mountain bike a little, but there’s 2025...