Who can race?

The Shimano Gravel Muster will provide an incredible experience in the heart of the Outback. You’ll ride some solid kilometres in the saddle and then kick back and relax with old friends and new in the afternoon and evening…

So who’s suited to this type of escapade?

  • Riders – who love life on two wheels and where they can take you – irrespective of how fast you ride
  • Adventurers – who are tired of riding the same gravel roads, tired of attending the same events and doing the same thing as everyone else.
  • Explorers – who want to visit far flung lands, and travel through landscapes that will challenge them and change them (into someone even better).
  • “Crazies” – who want to roll around in the dirt and leave the rest of the world behind.

If you fall into any of these categories and are remotely interested in doing something new – then get on board. Riders enter the full deal – the four stages, and travel together throughout the duration. We can very confidently say that this will be a life-changing experience for anyone bold enough to take it on.

The people

The Gravel Muster is a niche event with a friendly vibe. Riders get to know one another by riding together in the morning and socialising in the afternoon. The event attracts riders of all speeds and abilities, yes – the flyers up the front are some of the best riders in Australia, but the mid-field is made up of weekend-warriors who enjoy their riding and are not too caught up about their watts, average speed or finishing place.

Many riders come solo or with groups of friends for a new and unique experience in a part of Australia they have not visited before. They enjoy the racing and then enjoy a few beers with friends afterwards.

The riding

On a 1 to 10 scale of difficulty where riding a couple of km to the shops is a 1 and the Alpe d’Huez stage of the TdF is a 10, then this event probably settles in around a 6. This, of course, depends on your fitness, preparation and willingness to keep on going when the going gets tough, but all in all it’s solid but not a death march!

All stages are mostly flat so it all comes down to the road surfaces and the weather. The roads are basically well-made dirt roads, wide, flat and fast in a 2WD or 4WD car. They are graded each year and when the event is held should be generally smooth with only small amounts of loose gravel on top and few corrugations. Like any dirt road – some sections are champagne and some are unforgivingly rough (and choosing the right line is a huge advantage) – that’s part of the adventure of riding gravel and what keeps us coming back for more!

Oh and traffic… nah!… you’ll likely go for a couple of hours at a time before you see another car. It’s just us riders, the sun above, the gravel below and the shimmering horizon out in front. Ah the serenity!

The weather

The climate in Alice Springs in August is not nearly as hot as you’d imagine and is ideally suited to riding – with cool mornings warming up to ~25 degrees in the middle of the day. It is likely to feel quite cool in the morning so we recommend wearing a few layers (or arm / leg warmers) and taking them off as the temperatures climb.

  • Average daily max 25° C in the shade
  • Mean 9am temp 16° C in the shade
  • Average night min 8.3° C

There is often a bit of breeze around in the afternoon – which helps to cool you down and blow the odd fly away.

The Landscape

The landscapes in Central Australia have a magical lure about them. This is a poetic place where time seems to stand still and you catch yourself gazing over an endless horizon far, far in the distance. Dawn and dusk have a dreamlike golden colour about them and set the scene for the day ahead. It’s a place that can appear confronting at first but gets under your skin the more time you spend here – it’s a much gentler, more nuanced landscape than most people imagine.

The landscape has plenty of subtle variety each day, with a flat shimmering horizon on Day 2 and 4 and a mountainous backdrop on Day 1 and 3. It’s a vast place where a quick glance would say there is nothing there but if you immerse yourself in the terrain for a few days you’ll realise that’s far from the truth. You just need to slow down to see it.

Ride it. Race it. Experience it. Can you Muster it?