Previously known as the Kootenay Gravel Grinder, The Lost Elephant explores the bikepacking paradise of the East Kootenay region. The organizer commented that the original intention wasn’t to make it harder, but they did.

Local bike enthusiast Frank Gilmard will be the sole Fernie rider at the Cranbrook start gate this Saturday at 7AM. Frank commented on Facebook, “We ll be eating some dust on dirt roads this weekend and if you get bored of watching the Tour De France and want to follow some dots, check the link to follow the race!

This is a damn tough course. It’s likely the toughest 500+ km route that you’ll find while still being called gravel grinding or bike packing, both names being used loosely in this case.

The route explores the Kootenay Rockies and Purcells of the East Kootenays. The route offers monster alpine passes, to a descent that leads you right through a lift accessed bike park. Over 10,000m of climbing and even a couple natural hot springs to help the recovery.

Re-supply stops are fairly frequent, but the climbing never stops. Good luck Frank!

Follow Frank and the other riders here.

Fernie is in the crosshairs of several long distance bike events. Last week we announced that the 550km TransRockies Classic will be returning to Fernie in 2019, following a five year hiatus. Every June the Tour Divide passes through Fernie as riders battle the Great Divide Route, the world’s longest off-pavement cycling route from Banff to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The third annual BC Epic 1000km started in Merritt this month and ended on the front steps of Fernie City Hall. The Trans Canada Trail also has a large following of long distance riders.

What ever your chosen distance, get out there and give it a spin!

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