So Joost, what’s the Traka 360?

The Traka 360 is a gravel event in Girona, Northern Spain. It was a pretty awesome event. Actually much bigger than I expected! They have a few distance options you can choose from, so you have the 360 & 200 kilometre events on the Saturday and the 100 & 50 kilometre events on the Sunday.

What’s the terrain like?

The terrain is 85% gravel! The 360 course is kind of made up in sections. So the first part was nice flowing terrain outside of Girona before a really high climbing part. The climbing section is where you can see the sea in the background. It was the most scenic part but also the hardest!

By noon we had done half of the climbing. In the middle there was this 70 kilometres of flat gravel before the final 120 kilometres being hilly again. It felt nice to have that middle section to recover, find a group to sit in and work together.

The 200 kilometre course was really made for peloton racing. For real like road racing on wide gravel roads. And then the part of course that they added for us was a bit more adventurous, had a bit of everything. Single track, it had some climbs that actually you needed to walk up because they were just too steep. And some beautiful dissents but that was just a bit rocky and all of that. There was just a bit more adventure, also counting on the fact that the 360 kilometre riders are not going full full gas all the time.

What makes The Traka special?

Seeing Girona flooded with cyclists early in the morning, all illuminated with their lights, leaving town with a police escort is pretty crazy.

Then on top of that, the event is super well organised. It makes it quite easy that you don't have to think about a lot of things because you have these checkpoints. So you can just follow the route, and you’ll meet people constantly so you can jump from group to group a bit. I think that was great.

What I was really happy with is that I didn't want to get into the whole racing, the super competitive racing that happens at the 200k event. The atmosphere (at the 360k) was a bit more relaxed, although also on the on the 360 had some hitters on the front but they're going after after Tanguay right you don't see him anymore because also the track is like made that way that they did that pretty cleverly as they would a pretty steep climb at the start. So at the start, it immediately blows apart and like everyone is on their own basically. So that was quite nice.

Did you change your bike set-up?

No, I was too lazy to do it 😀 So I actually only went with 38mm tire on the back and 42mm on the front. If I do it next time I will maybe go with 43mm or something but I think this was actually fine especially since it's only over one day. How bad can you hurt yourself in one day?

360 km in a day sounds painful whatever the terrain! Have you got any events lined up?

Yeah, I’m doing Bright Midnight in Norway in July which is 1,000 kilometres overall! So that's going to be quite cool, I think. And then thinking about some other races, I'm doing a race in the Alps in September!

To find out more about The Traka head to their website here.

Read more on gravel

Check out our 5 tips on cracking your next gravel adventure with Neil Phillips.