Cloud Gravel Invitational PRESENTS
Welcome to the page for the Cloud Gravel Invitational - a gravel bike ride in one of the most amazing settings in the U.S.
For those who would like a challenge of mountains, high elevation, gravel and forest service roads, amazing scenery, wildlife, and ruggedness of southern New Mexico, this might be the ride for you.
June in the Sacramento Mountains is typically beautiful, with temperatures usually ranging from 73-44 F (23-7 C). Since the month is typically before the monsoons start in July, the average rainfall is about 2.5” for the month. June us known as the warmest month in the Cloudcroft/Sacramento Mountains area. That being said, weather can be on the cool side, sometimes so being prepared for all temperature ranges is wise. Ride elevation varies between about 6,500 ft- 10,200 ft, so that means you are closer to the sun, shorter on oxygen, and dehydrate faster — please keep that in mind when making your plans!
Since we plan the ride to take place on the Longest Day of the year (closest weekend to it) there should be about 14 hours of daylight each day of the weekend. It is a ride, not a race, but we do understand anytime two or more cyclists get together, someone is racing. To that end, we will keep informal time for everyone’s ride. BUT, for those who don’t want to race, and want to see spectacular surroundings like nowhere else, you will have ample time to do so! You won’t be disappointed! The only time restriction is being in by sunset.
Camping is free in the area via dispersed camping in the National Forest. But, it is definitely traditional off grid camping, so plan accordingly. There are also several nearby towns with hotels, and several full hookup campgrounds that do charge, if you need that.
It is an invitational ride, which means we will limit the number of riders who can participate, as the roads will still be open to the public. If you haven’t already been invited, use the registration form to secure your spot.
The original planned route is about 55 miles with about 5,500 ft of climbing, but we will have a longer route of about 90 miles with 10,500 ft of climbing, and a 2-3 day bike packing route with about 185 miles with more than 17,500 ft of climbing for those interested.
There is no cost to participate in this invitational ride, but in honor my my wife, KimJoy Ovard, who has FrontoTemporal Dementia, we will collect donations to be given to the Association of FrontoTemporal Degeneration and/or the Alzheimer’s Association. A donation is NOT REQUIRED to participate in the ride, but is encouraged.
We’ll also have a 4-mile hill climb challenge Sunday morning, June 20. (About 1,250 ft. Elevation gain in 2.5 miles, then turn around and come back down).
Rider check in
55 & 90 routes depart
Course closes/Last sweep
Hill Climb starts
• Dispersed camping within the Lincoln National Forest is free and is on a first come/first served basis. At the start/stop line there should be enough room to accommodate all riders, but the forest is open to anyone who may want to camp there as well.
If the area does fill up, there are several other dispersed camping areas along the forest road in and out so you won't be more than a mile or so up or down the course. There is a 3-day time limit on camp spots in the forest.
The camping spots are perfect for tent camping, or small trailer/RV boondock camping.
•••Remember dispersed camping is primitive with no facilities. If you bring it in, you pack it out. Check the burn status before starting any fires (and only with safe fire practices) •••
• There are other camping options in the area, with paid campgrounds which have all amenities - but summer in the mountains is a peak time for tourists, so those tend to fill up, so make your reservations soon if you want to go that route.
• If a hotel/motel or bed and breakfast are more to your liking, the villages of Cloudcroft and Mayhill are only a short drive and both have great American-owned mountain inns.