The Kettle Mettle Gravel Fondo is the oldest Gravel Fondo in Western Canada. The event is primarily a 1 way event along the Historic Kettle Valley Railway Trail (KVR Trail) and includes railway grade roughly 2.5% climbing and incredibly scenic panoramas of the large lakes, vineyards and orchards. The course includes 19 Trestles and 3 tunnels.
The Kettle Mettle Gravel Fondo event will have three different courses: A short 50km Medio course which isn’t counting a qualifier for the UCI Gravel World Championships, a 100km course which is the official qualifier distance for all men 60+ and women 50+ and the long 138km as qualifier for all men 19-59 and all women 19-49
The 100km and 138km both start on Penticton’s lakefront at Okanagan Lake Park. As most riders stay in Kelowna where pre-race registration, package pickup and the finish line are located. A shuttle bus is necessary to get all riders to the start line in Penticton (from Kelowna). Bicycle Transport is done Friday afternoon / evening at registration / package pickup in in Kelowna
The start in Penticton is at an elevation of 348m above sea and both qualifier distances can be split in mainly three sections The first uphill section which brings riders to an altitude of 1330m (100km) or 1466m (138km). The second part of the course is where riders stay on a high plateau before going down again to the finish line in Kelowna in the last third part of the course.
The longer 138km is essentially the same as the 100km with an scenic extra loop added of approximately 38kms.
The majority of the course is unpaved with only a small paved section just after the start in the first 10k and in the last 10km towards the finish. The views are stunning along the historic Kettle Valley Railway Trail with some tunnels, railway trestles and scenic vistas.
official qualifier distance for men 60+ and women 50+
official qualifier distance for men 19-59 and women 19-49
The course is challenging starting from an elevation of 348m in Penticton to finish at an elevation of 423m in Kelowna using the eastern side overlooking the Okanagan Lake. Both courses have a steady grade road/trail for the first 40km with an average gradient of 2-3% where riders reach a high plateau that is used until the final steep drop to the finish in the last 15km. At roughly half way for the 100km is the Resort of Chute Lake which was primarily a Summer resort and train stop (it also the start line for the Medio Fondo)
The 100km makes a left turn after 77km towards the finish where the 138km makes an extra loop right with the most challenging part of the course following directly after the split for a few kilometres with sections up to 10% grade.
The Okanagan is a region in the interior of the Western Canadian province of British Columbia and is defined by the large lakes and hills in the region. Chief among them is Okanagan Lake that is over 135kms long and of which the cities of Penticton and Kelowna are situated on.
The Okanagan is known for many outdoor activities like watersports on the lake, but also skiing, hiking, mountain biking, cycling and rock climbing. There are also a lot of vineyards and orchards in the hills (commonly referred to as benches) surrounding the lakes
Kelowna is the biggest city in the area with 149,500 inhabitants and will be the host town of the registration and finish line. Penticton is significantly smaller with 33,250 residents but still the third largest city in the region. The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail that is used for the event is one of the top outdoor attractions of the area. It was a former passenger and freight rail line linking many small rural communities to each other. There are also many wineries and orchards that the region is known for.