June 24, 2023
For the second consecutive year, the road to the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships will run directly through Fayetteville, Arkansas! The second annual Highlands Gravel Classic returns to Fayetteville on Saturday, June 24th, 2023, and registration is open to gravel cyclists of all levels.
Featuring a course that winds through the miles upon miles of canopy-covered roads just east of Fayetteville, the 2023 Highlands Gravel Classic has once again been included on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Gravel World Series calendar. As the only Gravel World Series race in the country and one of only eighteen in the entire world, the Highlands Gravel Classic in Fayetteville, Arkansas is the only opportunity to qualify for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships in the United States! Athletes from acround the world will be competing at gravel events spread over 4 continents, including the Highlands Gravel Classic, aiming for a spot in the UCI Gravel World Championships 2023 in Italy.
Due to its status as a qualifying event, organizers of the Highlands Gravel Classic anticipate a significant increase in participation in the race for 2023 as gravel cyclists from around the country look to secure their place at the start line of the World Championships! Riders will have the opportunity to qualify for UCI Gravel Worlds by finishing in the top 25% of their age category at any of the events in the Highlands Gravel Classic (or at any of the other events in the Gravel World Series). Both professional and amateur gravel cyclists are invited to register for the Highlands Gravel Classic 2023, regardless of skill level.
The race will take riders through a course with incredible views of the breathtaking Boston Mountain range of the Ozark Mountains - aka the Highlands! - and the irresitably rideable gravel roads that intertwine them. Participants are in for a treat, and can look forward to competing on a seemingly endless maze of gravel roads that changes constantly as you progress through the rural backcountry of the Ozarks. The Highlands Gravel Classic will offer two course distances, both comprised of 95% gravel roads. The longer 66-mile “Highlands” course will act as the qualifier for men ages 19-59 and women ages 19-49. The slightly shorter 52-mile “Farmlands” course will be the qualifier for men aged 50+ and women aged 60+.
The “Highlands” course is a winding journey covering 66 miles, beginning and ending at a charming private farm just outside of Fayetteville. With miles of gravel roads surrounded by a lush awning of natural woodlands, riders will encounter over a dozen climbs as they make their way through the remote backcountry of the Ozark Mountains. The most arduous climb stretches a full 2.9 miles (4.7km), with the highest point of the day reached at 2,200 ft on a sprawling ridgeline 33 miles into the course - all with views of the Boston Mountain range rolling across the skyline. The “Farmlands” course isn’t too much shorter - 52 miles - and utilizes many sections of the “Highlands” course, but with a cut through at 24 miles to join back for the finisher. Moderate elevation and undulating gravel roads are commonplace in the Ozarks, but the rolling hills combined with sweeping vistas create breathtaking views of the farmlands that dot the rural landscape.
2023 UCI Gravel World Series Calendar
|23 Apr||La indomabile||Berja, Spain|
|29 Apr||Swartberg 100||Prince Albert, South Africa|
|30 Apr||Gravel Fondo Limburg||Valkenburg, Netherlands|
|06 May||Gravel Challenge Blaavands||HukBlavands, Denmark|
|13 May||3 Ride Gravel Race||Aachen, Germany|
|13 May||Seven Nannup||Western Australia|
|20 May||The Gralloch Dumfries||Galloway, Scotland|
|17 June||Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo||Blue Mountains (ON), Canada|
|18 June||Wish One Gravel||Millau, France|
|24 June||Highlands Gravel Classic||Fayetteville, AR, USA|
|15 July||Gravel One Fifty||Veenhuizen, Netherlands|
|22 July||Gravel Adventure||Świeradów-Zdrój, Poland|
|19 Aug||Gravel Grit 'n Grind||Halmstad, Sweden|
|26 Aug||Houffa Gravel||Houffalize, Belgium|
|02 Sept||La Monsterrato||Quattordio, Italy|
|10 Sept||Ranxo Ponts||Ponts, Spain|
|01 Oct||Gravel Brabantse Wouden||Oud-Heverlee, Belgium|
|7-8 Oct||UCI Gravel World Championships||Veneto, Italy|
While Fayetteville has been a worldwide destination for spectators and competitors of elite-level road racing for many years, the recent addition of the Highlands Gravel Classic has opened Northwest Arkansas up to a whole new sector of cycling enthusiasts and expanded options for competitive amateur gravel cyclists. We expect to see competitors from across the country and around the globe coming to ride and compete on our scenic gravel roads with increasing frequency as the sport picks up participants and fans!
For additional event information and to register for the 2023 Highlands Gravel Classic, visit highlandsgravelclassic.com. After you're signed up, start making those plans for a memorable weekend of gravel riding in the Ozarks and the opportunity to qualify for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships!
The Highlands Gravel Classic is organized by All Sports Productions - who promotes the annual Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race along with many other road, mountain bike, cyclo-cross and gravel races and fondos in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area.