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Over the last few years, Signature have been adventuring more and more into the Gravel racing scene. From races like The Rift in Iceland to ENVE's Grodeo, we have a strong belief in the benefits that this fun, accessible and emerging riding surface is having on the wider cycling community. That's why this year we decided to attend one of the most important gravel races on the calendar — The Traka, based in the countryside surrounding Girona, Spain.

Here, we'll give you the full debrief on the trip, and our thoughts on Gravel racing, and the place it might have in Signature Cycle's future.

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Taking riders to explore roads and places that would be unthinkable on a classic road bike is hugely exciting to us. Gravel truly allows us to push the limits of where a bike can take us, and has opened the door to great travel experiences in the last few years.

We have tested multiple gear ratios, tire setups, and pushed ourselves until we (literally) fell off the bike, only to get up again with more experience and knowledge that we can impart onto out customers when they walk through the door of our Greenwich store. These experiences allow us to know which bikes to recommend, how components perform and what truly is the best gear combination for every type of rider.

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In our search for the next gravel adventure, we stumbled upon The Traka, while on a trip to Girona with Thomson Bike Tours. On that trip we were able to experience the world-class road riding around Girona, as well as get a taste for some of the gravel routes of the Traka. We also bore witness to the transformation that Girona undergoes during this weekend, when most of the world's gravel riding scene descend on the small Spanish city. We knew we had to return to this gravel riding Mecca for ourselves, and take part in the race the following year.

It turns out that The Traka is one of the best and most popular gravel events on the planet. Part of the hallowed "Gravel Earth Series", the Traka has multiple distances across 4 days: 520km, 360km, 200km and 100km. A different distance for all abilities.

The support from the cycling community and industry is unique at The Traka, with one of the best vibes at any race event, including food, drinks, music, technical support. There's even a live stream of the event, allowing family members can track their loved ones from all over the world.

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The course is challenging, with a good amount of climbing and technical descends that will push your skills to the limit, but it is also beautiful, taking you over some of the best gravel roads in Europe. The pace is fast, but there are also various rest stops, with course marshals directing traffic and keeping everyone safe.

To us, The Traka is one of those gravel events that aims to be a true adventure. Traveling to Girona from NYC is not complicated, a direct 8 hour flight to Barcelona and then a taxi ride to the Girona. There are plenty of hotels to stay at, but with over 4000 riders arriving to the ancient city every year, they fill up fairly quickly. The food scene is also one of the best in the world. From simple local tapas to Michelin starred restaurants, there's an option for everyone.

The weather in Girona in May is a perfect spring weather, with temperatures ranging from 55-75 degrees during the day.

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With only one day before the Friday 360km event, our very own Andres took on the start line at 7am. The task was very hard not only due to the jet lag, but also the mud on the course. Girona was blessed with heavy and steady rain for 3 days consistent before the event, leaving an already challenging course now filled with mud, high water crossings and slippery roads. Andres did a fantastic job and finished the 360km event just over 20 hours, crossing the line at 3am on Saturday!

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The main event was on saturday. The 200km challenge had world tour riders from various teams like Movistar, Trek, and gravel teams such as the Pas Normal squad along with the new Colnago Club of Aces, lead by the pro rider Nathan Haas. Even the Olympic medalist Greg Van Avermaet was at the start line. I departed at 7:30am astride the new Colnago G4X along with friends Garrick and Eric (who you might remember from last year's Rift ride), Aidan Duff, founder and owner of FiftyOne Bikes. He was there not only to support his pro gravel team, but also race the 200km distance. 8 hours and 20min later I crossed the line, with a huge sense of satisfaction, enjoying every mile of the event.

To make things more interesting and exciting, we got an invitation from Colnago directly to be part of the launch of their new Gravel bike, the G4-X. We not only had access to test the bike, but also raced it at the Traka, a huge leap of faith that we took with full confidence, due to our belief in the quality of the bikes Colnago has developed over the past years. We also have clear understanding of our bike fitting and we knew Colnago could match our expectations perfectly. For more information and our full thoughts on the bike, click here to read our Bike of the Week, featuring the bike!

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We had an incredible time at The Traka, and are planning on returning for 2025.

For that return, we're beginning to plan a potential travel experience to The Traka, in partnership with Thomson Bike Tours and Team Movistar, but that's just between us! Stay tuned for further announcements.

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