Island Gravel Epic

Island Gravel Epic

Gravel Adventures - Vancouver Island Adventures

Gravel Adventures

I woke up before the sun even began to think about rising, at 4 in the morning. My body was buzzing with excitement as I got dressed and prepared my bike for the big day ahead. I set out at 4:30AM on quiet roads, my only companion the dim glow of my headlight.

I rendezvoused with my three companions, Liam, Owen and Kyle under the Lions Gate Bridge at 05:00AM, all of us equipped with our fully loaded gravel bikes and ready for the 240-kilometer adventure ahead. We chatted excitedly over a quick coffee, fueling up for the day ahead.

The first 30 kilometers to Horseshoe bay Ferry terminal were easy riding but filled with excitment and chatter. The journey was challenging, with steep hills and sharp turns, but the thrill of adventure kept us going.

As I boarded the ferry and felt the boat begin to move, I couldn't help but feel a rush of excitement for the day. The journey ahead was going to be incredible, and I couldn't wait to see the challenges we would be faced with.

Nanaimo - Cowichan Valley Leg

After arriving in Nanaimo we made our way to the start of a gravel trail - a mix of logging roads that grew narrower and more challenging with each passing kilometer. The roads eventually became single track, with steep ascents and descents that tested our skills and endurance.

Just as we were navigating a particularly gnarly descent, disaster struck - one of our tires went flat. We all stopped, and with a tire plug in hand, we worked quickly to seal the tire and get back on the trail. We took the descent with a bit more caution as we still had 170km+ to go.

Cowichan Valley Trail Network

We descended into the Cowichan Valley and made our first official stop of the day: a small gas station, refilling our water bottles and grabbing a bite to eat. From there, we tackled the Valley trail, tearing across an amazing network of trails for the next four or so hours. There was never much undulation until we reached the Saanich hills.

As the day wore on, the trail grew more and more challenging. With some steep ups and downs, we realized that we were running late. With just 45 kilometers and 80 minutes until the last Ferry we dug deep and worked as a team to ensure we made the final ferry of the day. In the end, it was a team effort that brought us back to the terminal, panting and exhausted but grinning from ear to ear.


Distance: 240km

Elevation: 2700m

Time: 10.5hrs

Water Consumed: 8liters

Gummy Candy Eaten: 50+

Flats: 2