The Gravel Unravel is now a three-race series through the Hoh Rainforest, the Sol Duc Valley and the mountains above Quilcene in May and June. (Roger Burton)

The Gravel Unravel is now a three-race series through the Hoh Rainforest, the Sol Duc Valley and the mountains above Quilcene in May and June. (Roger Burton)

Gravel Unravel expands to three-race series

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula Adventure Sports’ Gravel Unravel is now a three-race gravel series all over the rugged mountains and lush forests of the North Olympic Peninsula with registration open for all three races.

Originally called the Quilcene Gravel Unravel, the race has been expanded into one based in the Hoh Rainforest, another in the Sol Duc River Valley and the third in the Quilcene area with three different distances for each event.

The Hoh’ly Roller event is set for May 1. It begins at the Hoh River west of Olympic National Park and has three routes — 26, 44 and 66 miles — through the rainforests west of the park. These are challenging routes with between 3,300 feet and 8,800 feet of total uphill climbing.

Though the Hoh’ly Roller event has the shortest races of any of the three, the courses are the most challenging, race organizers said.

“We have been told by test riders that the climbs on the long course are ‘the most challenging climbs of any event in the region — by far,’ ” according to a race flier.

The Sol Grinder will be held June 5 and will begin in the Sol Duc River Valley just west of Lake Crescent. It has races of 35, 55 and 77 miles with uphill climbs between 3,900 for the shortest race to 9,200 feet for the longest.

Sol Grinder goes through forests of Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and cedars, crossing the Sol Duc River and many of its tributaries. The short and long courses go through the “Keyhole,” a passageway blasted through the spine of the dividing ridge.

The new Quilcene-based race is now called the Bon Jon Pedal Bender and will be held June 26. It begins in the town of Quilcene and has races with lengths of 32, 55 and 80 miles. The climbs range from 4,100 feet to 8,900 feet over Bon Jon Pass and through the woods northeast of the Buckhorn Wilderness.

In the Bon Jon Pedal Bender, wild rhododendrons are expected to be in full bloom. The long-course riders get to climb Bon Jon Pass not once but twice.

Riders can sign up for just one event or all three. The majority of the races are on gravel roads. There will be competitive and noncompetitive Gran Fondo-style divisions. E-bikes are allowed in the noncompetitive division.

If people register for multiple races at the same time, they will get $5 off each additional race after the first. There is no discount if people register at separate times.

The events will include RFID timing (including chip start time if wave start requirements for COVID-19 are still in effect at the time of the race), a well-marked course, course marshals, on-course snacks and medical support, mechanical support, post-race food and a refreshing beer for participants older than 21. Racers will also receive swag.

To register for one or all three of the races, people can go to www.bikereg.com/gravel-unravel. Fees range from $60 for the short course to $80 for the long course with fees of $35 for juniors younger than 18 for the short course. There are men’s and women’s categories and masters (age 45-plus) categories for men and women.

To look at course maps, participants can go to www.tinyurl.com/ GravelUnravelSeries.

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