Inside the Great American Wheel Race: A 3,600-Mile Gravel Adventure

Get ready for the 2024 Great American Wheel Race! Discover everything you need to know about this 3,600-mile gravel bike race across the USA.

Inside the Great American Wheel Race: A 3,600-Mile Gravel Adventure

The Great American Wheel Race is the newest ultra-distance self-supported bikepacking race in the United States. While it's too late to sign up for this year, here's everything you need to start preparing for next year's epic journey. Or, if you'd rather, I'll include the info for tracking the people crazy enough to take this on.

An Unforgettable Route

The inaugural race kicks off at the iconic Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, and ends 3,600 miles later at the Washington Monument in D.C. The route predominantly follows the Great American Rail-Trail, a developing network of shared-use trails on former railway rights-of-way. When fully completed, this trail will span over 3,700 miles across 12 states.

Great American Wheel Race 2024 (official)
3618.9 mi, +111635 ft. Bike ride in Seattle, WA

What Makes This Race Unique?

  1. Scenic and Safer Routes: Utilizing rail trails, gravel paths, and less-traveled roads, the race aims to minimize interaction with vehicle traffic, offering a safer and more scenic experience.
  2. Gentle Grades: Unlike the steep climbs found in other ultra-distance races, the Great American Wheel Race features a relatively gentle grade, thanks to the nature of rail trails. Riders will tackle about 111,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of the race.
  3. Self-Supported Adventure: Participants must be self-reliant, carrying all necessary gear and resupplying only from publicly available resources along the route.

Tracking the 2024 Great American Wheel Race

On Sunday, June 9, 30 people will set off on this amazing route. You can track their progress here.

Ready to Race?

If you’re feeling inspired, now is the perfect time to start training and planning for next year's Great American Wheel Race. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the route and gathering the necessary gear for a self-supported adventure. Keep an eye on the official race website for updates and registration details.

Track this year's riders and start dreaming of your own cross-country journey on gravel paths and scenic trails. The Great American Wheel Race is more than just a race—it's an adventure of a lifetime.