Life Time launches the $ 250,000 Grand Prix Gravel and MTB Series

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Forty runners. Six off-road events. Up for grabs $ 250,000.

Life Time, owner of events such as Unbound Gravel and Leadville Race Series, has just announced the Life Time Grand Prix, an elite-level series made up of the company’s six major off-road events. Three are gravel races, three are cross-country mountain bike races, and there are $ 250,000 in prize money up for grabs.

This was stated by Life Time’s president of media and events, Kimo Seymour VeloNews that the series aims to offer elite riders the opportunity to further their careers in the changing landscape of professional cycling in the United States.

“After many years of declining participation, we are experiencing a wave of growth, both in the amateur and professional fields, particularly in our gravel and mountain bike events,” said Seymour. “We want to grow this to the point where non-endemic sponsors want to get involved, and that’s when you’ll know that cycling is coming from somewhere in North America. This is the only way to get to a point where people can make a living doing this. ”

In its inaugural year, the Grand Prix will be open to 20 women and 20 men.

The series consists of six Life Time events:

  • April 7-10: 70-mile mountain bike race at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California
  • June 4: 200 miles of free gravel in Emporia, Kansas
  • July 9: 70-mile Crusher in the Tushar in Beaver, Utah
  • August 13: Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Leadville, Colorado
  • September 17: 40-mile Chequamegon MTB in Cable, Wisconsin
  • October 22: 100 miles of Big Sugar Gravel in Bentonville, Arkansas

A prize pool of $ 250,000 will be split between men and women through the top ten finishers in a points system. At the end of the Life Time Grand Prix, the top five runners’ finishes in the six possible events will be counted, giving competitors the option to skip one event or drive all six of them and take points from their best performances. The riders with the most points at the end of the series will be the winners.

Big Sugar Gravel will be the last Grand Prix event (Photo: Andy Chasteen)

Seymour said the decision to include both gravel and MTB events was meant not only to highlight races in Life Time’s off-road portfolio, but also because that’s what athletes and the cycling industry have said they want. .

“As we talked about it, we asked a lot of people for their input and guidance,” Seymour said. “We have talked to people from all over the industry, including athletes, sponsors and the media and have received a lot of feedback from people. Many people have said, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to include different types of events?’ It’s a different skill set to drive 40 miles at Chequamegon than 200 miles at Unbound and do well. If we did three ultra gravel races, we could probably pick the winners. This will create some mystery. Someone who really kicks Unbound’s ass might be fighting in Leadville. We wanted to level the playing field a bit for the pros. ”

Seymour said the decision to limit it to 40 runners was driven by Life Time’s commitment to providing opportunities for all runners.

“Four of those six events have sweepstakes,” Seymour said. “We couldn’t have hundreds of slots for professionals. It would not be fair for the thousands of people who are drawing to enter the lotteries. We want to be honest with everyday athletes ”.

Participants in the Grand Prix will be selected based on a number of criteria, including the race track record, their interest in the Life Time Grand Prix, and how the rider is helping to grow cycling in the United States. Seymour said the most important qualification is how the rider represents the sport in general.

“We will be looking for people who are really great ambassadors of the sport right now,” he said. “We want people who will become great ambassadors for the series, Life Time and those events.”

The events included in the Life Time Grand Prix can rotate every year. Individual events offering prize grants will continue to offer their prize grants in addition to the Life Time Grand Prix prize.

While the sizable Grand Prix prize pool represents an avenue for the professionalization of cycling racing in the United States, Seymour hopes the racing series will do even more for athletes than putting money in their pockets. As we’ve seen with cyclists who have won Unbound Gravel, the opportunities that follow a win at one of the Life Time events multiply over time as the cycling industry model evolves to include more sponsored private athletes.

“Through the Life Time Grand Prix, we are thrilled to offer an opportunity for professional cyclists to reach their potential nationwide and for cycling enthusiasts to be able to engage with those athletes,” said Seymour.

Interested riders can apply on until December 6th. The admitted runners will be notified by December 10th.

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