GB'24 | GUIDELINES
‘Gravel Birds Ultracycling’ is not a race or competition. It's simultaneously a personal challenge and a collective cycling adventure. An opportunity to face your own physical and emotional limits while other adventurers are doing the same. Individually, in community. We will not provide any kind of cash or prizes and we will collect and publish riders’ results and times only for information and recreation purposes.
We aren't responsible for any interpretation that our event is a race. However, we are aware that some riders will give their best to complete the route the fastest as possible, which sparks enthusiasm within the community (including us). Anyway, we will seek for a balance and democratic event coverage. In self-supported ultracycling we admire and respect both slower and faster riders.
ROUTE PROFILE AND ELEVATION GAIN
The 'Gravel Birds Ultracycling' event has two routes: 'Gravel Birds 750' and 'L'Abetarda 270'. The second has a shorter distance and a lower degree of difficulty, consisting of an inner loop and sharing a large part of its course with the bigger route. Both routes start and end in Castro Verde. The 'Gravel Birds 750' route has approximately 7,500 meters of elevation gain and it is around 75% off-road. L’Abetarda has 3,000 meters of climbing and it is around 65% off road.
Regarding the elevation gain, the data is an average of the information provided by the route planning apps 'Komoot' and 'Ride with GPS'. These are the official numbers of the organization as they are closer to the terrain reality. Route planning apps use digital terrain models that are supported by modeling tools with an accurate level of precision. Cycling computers and GPS devices used in cycling activities have a lower level of accuracy and tend to overestimate the elevation gain data and then influencing cyclists' general perception of elevation gain.
In the first two editions of the event, several participants recorded, through their cycling computers and GPS devices, climbing numbers up to 11,000 meters of elevation gain for the 'Gravel Birds 750' route. Indeed, this is a significant difference compared to the official numbers. Therefore, you must adjust your expectations to what is your perception of elevation gain might be, which is normally shaped by the data estimated by your GPS device. Regardless the debate about the climbing numbers, there is something 100% certain: you will not face a 'mountain' challenge and reaching high altitudes (the highest point of the route is 577 meters above sea level), but 'Gravel Birds Ultracycling' is not a walk in the park (or in other words, a ride in the plains). It is an authentic rollercoaster!
FEE AND 'GRAVEL BIRDS' PACK
The value of the fee is 200€ for the 'Gravel Birds 750' route and 175€ for the 'L'Abetarda 270' route. Includes GPS tracker rental and live map service by 'Follow My Challenge', briefing session (with dinner), Manual/Road-Book/GPX, CAP, accidents insurance (according with the Portuguese law for amateur sporting events), brevet card and free camping at local campsite in Castro Verde. The value of the fee of 'L'Abetarda 270' is similar to the bigger route, because the organization has basically the same costs with all riders.
APPLICATIONS AND REGISTRATION
There are 99 places available for 'Gravel Birds Ultracycling' 2024. The second stage of the applications will be open until December 31st 2023 (23:59 local time). The link to the form is available on the main page of the website. In addition to the usual personal data, the form also includes questions that will allow us to check if you are aware of the type challenge that you will face and if you are with us concerning the principles of self-supported ultracycling events. We will share the results - via email - of the applications in the beginning of January.
The payment of the fee is the final step in order to complete the registration. To secure your place you will have to pay the fee between January 7th and January 16th. After the payment, you will receive a confirmation and welcome email from the organization.
Registration in the 'pair' category is done individually (each member of the duo must fill the form individually). Then, you can complete the registration/pay the fee for both or separately. Later, you can join together as pairs (if both are selected) or to participate individually (if only one is selected and you maintain your intention of participation). The key dates (local time) for the 'Gravel Birds Ultracycling' application and registration period are:
Applications | until December 31st (23:59) 2023
Publishing the Results via Email | January 7th 2024
Fee Payment | between January 7th and 16th 2024
ARRIVE TO CASTRO VERDE
The closest airport are located in Faro and Lisbon. 'Funcheira' is the closest train station to Castro Verde: just 30 kilometers away. Faro train station is 1h30m away from 'Funcheira'. In Lisbon you will find more flight options and 'Lisboa-Oriente' train station is 2 hours away from 'Funcheira' station. Don't need to dismount your bike in InterCity trains. In Lisbon you can also store your bike bag with our friends/partners.
A 'cancellation insurance' is available (for extra 30€) which gives you the possibility of obtaining a 100% refund of the fee (200€/175€) if you face specific circumstances that don't allow you to participate, namely a physical injury or illness, an unexpected unemployment situation or the death of a next of kin. The fee with the cancellation insurance is 230€/205€ (200€ + 30€ = 230€ for Gravel Birds 750; 175€ + 30€ = 205€ for L'Abetarda 270). We will not refund you if you don't have a 'cancellation insurance'. However, if we sold out the spots available we will move your registration to the next edition (according to specific conditions). We can check all information here: Refund Policy.
SELF SUPPORTED APPROACH
This is the main differentiating characteristic of this sport in relation to traditional cycling. Unsupported ultracycling seeks the essence of cycling through the spirit of adventure, independence and autonomy, as well as equality of circumstances among all participants. It's about your experience and challenging your own limits. So makes no sense to receive help from your family/friends with food, accommodation or mechanical support. Participants in the pair category can help each other. Sum up, you can only use the commercial services available to the public. In other words, the services that are available to all participants. Drafting is not allowed: you cannot ride on the wheel of other participants (except your fellow pair), cyclists or vehicles, thus obtaining aerodynamic advantages. In the L'Abetarda 270 route, participants are allowed to help each other and to ride in group along the route.
ACCREDITATION AND BRIEFING SESSION
Attendance at the accreditation, as well as at the entire briefing session is mandatory (Friday May 10th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm local time). In addition to the accreditation of participants and delivery of the tracker/CAPs, the purpose of the session is to deepen and clarify questions about the rules and spirit of the event, as well as to share last-minute instructions about the participation, departure and route. Furthermore, it will be the only opportunity for all participants to be together. Although it precedes the departure of the adventure, it is a moment of celebration. You must take your bicycle to be checked by the organization. Then, the briefing session will start at 8:00 pm.
Helmet, reflective vest (during the nights and poor visibility conditions), frontal and rear lights (including a backup kit), emergency blanket. The organization assures personal insurance for accidents (expenses for treatment, repatriation, disability and death). Presence at the accreditation and briefing session is mandatory for all participants on Friday evening (May 10th). This mandatory items will be checked during accreditation and we will not allow anyone who does not have all these items to participate (without any refund of the fee).
TIME LIMIT TO COMPLETE THE ROUTE(S)
The event will last 6 days for the Gravel Birds 750 route and 3 days for the L'Abetarda 270 route (maximum time to complete the route). The arrival/finish point in Castro Verde will close at sunset time on Thursday May 16th (Gravel Birds 750 route) and at sunset time on Monday May 13th (L'Abetarda 270 route). The time limit for reaching the Check Points across the route will be proportional to the total time limit.
It's not the end of the world if you complete the route beyond the time limit and we will look for a solution in each case. However, it is important to be aware that in this scenario you will be riding the route outside the context of the event and the organization's insurance will no longer be valid. The insurance also won't be valid if you leave the route.
The event was designed to have a diverse a diverse type of participants, from those who will push until the limits to those who want to enjoy the experience and the territory: 'slow is okay'.