Ever feel like escaping the well-worn Alpine climbs of the Etape du Tour or Marmotte? For cyclists in search of fresh adventure, Further - a new multi-day race this August in south-west France - may just fit the bill. Promising he allure of gravel trails, camaraderie and a festive atmosphere, it's got the backing of French outfitters Cafe du Cycliste as well as Mason Cycles and Hunt Wheels - and it might just be the cycling highlight of your summer.
Further is the brainchild of photographer Camille McMillan, born - in her words - from "a lifetime of preoccupation with bike racing and riding and more latterly a conviction that the new discipline of adventure cycling has untapped depths and connections to non-cycling cultures and traditions."
Combining a mixed-terrain bikepacking race with a festival/rally, this first edition will take place from 23 - 26 August 2019 in the Ariège department in south-west France.
If you've been enviously eyeing up some of the latest crop of gravel/adventure rides like the Dirty Reiver or the Trans Alba Race, Further could be the first, or the next, step you've been looking for.
"The Ariège is wild but, if you look deep and across departmental borders, it's surrounded by cycling history and French culture," say the organisers.
"Combine race and rally and you get a festival. High profile racers from the adventure and endurance world will be joined by cyclists searching a new perspective on the sport and any kind of culture that can be associated with it, in a unique and relatively unexplored place. Cuisine, music, cinema and imbibing together in the great outdoors, with the base camp being hosted by Pyrenean adventure specialists, Zero Neuf Cycling."
Entry to this first edition of the race is by invite only, but it's intended to be an inclusive event - anyone is welcome to get in contact if they would like to join. The rally, on the other hand, is open to all and just requires a sign-up on the Further website so numbers can be catered for and pre-rally news can be delivered.
Together with Mason Cycles and Hunt Wheels, Café du Cycliste are proud to support what promises to be an innovative first edition of an imaginative event.
For Rémi Clermont, Café du Cycliste's Co-Founder and Creative Director 'supporting Further was an obvious choice: "First of all, because we like new initiatives that aim to promote cycling in France and second of all because, just like our clients, we appreciate an adventure into the wild."
Well, who doesn't like an adventure into the wild? As long as bikes are involved and there's coffee on hand, count us in.
Find out more at https://frthr.co/.