Gravel bike racing is coming to Pueblo

Cyclists ride on an off-road trail that is part of the route of the Gravel Locos events that will be coming to Pueblo in October 2022.

Cyclists ride on an off-road trail that is part of the route of the Gravel Locos events that will be coming to Pueblo in October 2022.

Fabian Serralta is on a mission.

The founder of Gravel Locos wants to put Pueblo on the map as a destination for gravel biking and, while he’s at it, help a local volunteer fire department.

Gravel Locos is organizing four cycling events in Pueblo in October, including a a 30-mile, out-and-back noncompetitive ride, and 65-, 105- and 170-mile races on Pueblo’s myriad of ranch, farm and other rural gravel roads.

Pro riders will compete in the 170-mile race alongside anyone else who thinks they can take on the distance and 14,000 feet of elevation gain.

Gravel, as the sport is often referred to, takes riders along unpaved, gravel roads — hence the name — on road bikes with fatter, more puncture-resistant tires.

Said by cycling’s world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, to be the sport’s fastest-growing discipline, it is also one of the most democratic, with pros who have raced the big European road tours lining up with newcomers for mass-start races.

Pueblo, gravel goldmine

“Pueblo is like this goldmine of gravel that most people don’t know about,” Serralta told The Chieftain on a snowy March day, nearly seven months before he brings a Gravel Locos event to Pueblo.

“It is amazing gravel. It’s really nice. You can come into the city and park and within a few miles, you’re on some beautiful gravel roads. You can do some great routes, come back, have lunch in the city, and experience Pueblo from a different perspective, start seeing it as a cycling gravel destination,” he said.

“That’s our hope: to get folks excited about Pueblo and transform it into a destination for gravel, a destination for recreation, not just a place you go past as you go elsewhere,” he said.

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That fits well with the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce’s mission, which includes “bringing events like this” to the city and county, said Chamber vice president Donielle Kitzman.

“Not only will this event promote visitation and traveler spending throughout our community, but it will also highlight the amazing outdoor recreation options Puebloans have to enjoy year round,” she said. “We are excited to host an event like Gravel Locos in Pueblo.”

The chamber was key in bringing gravel to Pueblo, Serralta said.

“I found out through a contact that the chamber wanted to have an event here, so I came out in January and met chamber members and the mayor, and it was a perfect fit,” he said.

“Then, I got to meet the volunteer fire department at Red Creek, and their need is huge. They don’t even have an indoor bathroom, and they have a wide area to cover,” he said.

He expects to raise at least $80,000 for the volunteer fire station in the western part of Pueblo County, at the Gravel Locos event. He also expects participants to be dazzled by both Pueblo and gravel after riding the Pueblo routes.

“This is some of the best gravel I’ve seen, and I’ve been all over the place — California, Montana, Texas, Scotland, Vermont. These roads out here are amazing and it’s a great way to get the city known for something other than steel or whatever. This is really a great destination,” he said.

Volunteer fire department will help out and be helped

Gravel takes riders out into “the middle of nowhere,” Serralta said.

“There are few to no cars, which helps to make gravel safer than road riding, but that’s also what makes it potentially dangerous,” he said.

“Out there in the middle of nowhere, often you don’t have cell reception, and there really aren’t many homes where you can go knock on the door and get help. So if you get hurt or something happens, your best chance is that the volunteer fire department will come and help you.”

Serralta set up Gravel Locos and organized an inaugural event last year in Hico, Texas, a small city about 1 ¾ hours southwest of Dallas in what Texans call “hill country,” after learning that the local volunteer fire station had a very old fire truck and a station in need of expansion.

The event raised over $80,000 through donations and entry fees, allowing Gravel Locos to purchase a new fire truck for the volunteers, Serralta said

“The one they had was something like 30 years old and it just fell apart,” Serralta said. “So we bought them a brand new one — a Dodge.”

When the event returns to Hico in May, Serralta said he expects to raise enough money to be able to extend the fire station.

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The Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce will have a “Visit Pueblo” booth at the Hico race to promote registration for Gravel Locos’ race in Pueblo on Oct. 1, and attract visitors to come to the city and county, Kitzman said.

Sign up and donate

Registration is open for the Pueblo Gravel Locos at It will close once 1,500 people have signed up.

Entry fees start at $75 for the 30-mile out-and-back ride, and go up to $185 for the 170-mile race.

In addition to the registration fee, participants are invited to donate to a fund to help improve the Red Creek volunteer fire department, which will be providing assistance to riders during the race and needs improvements to its station – including an indoor toilet.

Karin Zeitvogel can be contacted at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Gravel cycling is coming to Pueblo with large event in October