Fancy lining up alongside the likes of Mathieu van der Poel, Peter Sagan and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot at next year's UCI Gravel World Championships?
You may just be in with a chance, thanks to a brand new gravel race launched this week.
Taking place in South-West Scotland on 20 May 2023, The Gralloch is the first UK event to form part of the TREK UCI Gravel World Series.
Organised by the same team behind the successful King's Cup Gravel Festival and Raiders Gravel, The Gralloch is open to all-comers. The top 25% of racers in each category will qualify for the Gravel World Championships in Italy next October.
Racing aside, The Gralloch will welcome cyclists of all abilities to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.
The Gralloch will start and finish in the Dumfries and Galloway town of Gatehouse of Fleet, some 160km (100 miles) south of Glasgow and 50km (32 miles) south-west of Dumfries itself.
Riders will tackle around 110km (68 miles) taking them north on a hilly route into the Galloway Forest Park. Almost entirely off-road and with around 2,000m of climbing on some of the UK's best gravel trails, it's set to be a tough day in the saddle.
"Gralloch", from the Scottish Gaelic "grealach", is a word for the entrails of a dead deer, which we hope is not a portent of the challenge in store...
"Talking to people at our other events we realised the British gravel cycling community was crying out for a UCI level event to fulfil the demand from an ever growing number of competitive riders," said Malcom Smith, co-founder of RED:ON.
"We wanted to create a challenge worthy of the status, and after riding in the area we realised the Galloway Forest Park is home to some of the best gravel trails in the UK, and knew we could provide a course the riders can both enjoy and create exciting racing.
"The gravel is about as good as it gets and the scenery adds an extra dimension which will take riders breath away, if they have any left!"
While riders are likely to be concentrating on their ride, they will be visiting one of Scotland's most beautiful areas, a largely undiscovered gem, among the rolling hills of the world renowned Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.
As a UCI Gravel World Series event, riders will race in their age and gender groups with the top 25% able to qualify for the Gravel World Championships.
Organisers RED:ON have a proven track record in delivering cycling participation events. In gravel cycling they have organised and run two editions of the King's Cup, which incorporates the British Gravel Championships. And last August they were responsible for the four day Raiders Gravel event which, like The Gralloch, is based in Gatehouse of Fleet and the Galloway Forest Park.
The team has also been instrumental in running UCI Gran Fondo World Series events in the UK, giving the company considerable experience and knowledge in delivering UCI racing events.
"We have the experience to make The Gralloch an outstanding event for gravel riders of all abilities, from newbie racer to professional, and we envisage growing the event over the coming years," said Maximilian Wussler, co-founder RED:ON.
"We are hugely grateful to the Dumfries & Galloway Council, South of Scotland Enterprise, Forestry and Land Scotland for their assistance. After organising Raiders Gravel in Gatehouse of Fleet last year we are certain the community will once again prove amazing hosts and build a fantastic atmosphere for all participants. We would like to thank them and the Gatehouse Community Council for their welcome."
Entry to The Gralloch is open now with an early-bird rate of £64 until midnight on 1 January 2023.
For more details and to register, visit www.grallochgravel.com.