Betsy Welch
March 5, 2020

How can a first-year event become a Monument? In 2019 the SBT GRVL race became one of the most popular in the country by offering cash payouts and striving for gender parity.

Many beloved North American gravel races share a similar origin story: a handful of participants follow a poorly-marked course, have the adventure of a lifetime, and come back the next year with friends in tow. Year after year, participation numbers climb, the event becomes more organized, and sponsors sign on.

For 2020, SBT GRVL is a Monument of Gravel.

In 2019, the SBT GRVL race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado bucked this trend and sold out its inaugural edition in under a week. For 2020, the event sold out 2,500 spots in 25 minutes. What was the event’s secret sauce?

Payout and parity.

It’s no surprise that SBT GRVL became one of the country’s top gravel events in its first year; the founders of the Colorado race were armed with a wealth of experience in both bike racing and the outdoor industry. According to co-founder and former professional road racer Amy Charity, this collective wisdom gave them a leg up.

“We created a race that all of us wanted to do,” Charity told VeloNews. “We cherry picked what was awesome about the Dirty Kanza and other races, and then asked ourselves what else we wanted.”