Photo Credit: Jussi Oksanen

Though it only debuted in 2022, the Life Time Grand Prix has already become a fixture in American cycling. The series’ rapid establishment is equal parts piggybacking on the success of already established events, capitalizing on the US’s strong XC scene and the burgeoning gravel discipline, and creating a unified points structure that glued together each of the individual races into a stronger, comprehensive whole.

2023 Life Time Grand Prix - Events

The 2023 Grand Prix is even grander, with the included events bumping up to seven total, comprising three mountain bike dust-ups and four gravel grinds. The expanded series began with six events, divided equally between mountain and gravel, and a mystery slot placeholder, which ended up being The Rad’s 110 miles of gravel.

April 22

Sea Otter Classic: Fuego XL


Monterey, CA

Mountain bike

June 3



Emporia, KS


July 8

Crusher in the Tushar


Beaver, UT


August 12

Leadville 100


Leadville, CO

Mountain bike

September 16

Chequamegon MTB Festival


Cable, WI

Mountain bike

September 30

The Rad Dirt Fest


Trinidad, CO


October 21

Big Sugar


Bentonville, AR


2023 Life Time Grand Prix - Riders

The field also leveled-up, adding 10 more saddles to bring the count to 35 men and 35 women. The overall classification is decided by points, which are awarded on an inverted descending scale across the top 35 placings for each event: first place nets 35 points; 35th place nets one point. In the event of a tie breaker, the final event – Life Time’s own Big Sugar Gravel – will determine the overall winner.

The Grand Prix also comes with a grand purse: $250,000 total, with equal payouts to the men’s and women’s fields. The Lifetime Grand Prix is the biggest off-road series in America; fittingly, it has the deepest off-road bankroll we’ve ever seen.

Of the 70 competitors in the Life Time Grand Prix, a solid 10% are First Endurance athletes, and two more FE riders, Flavia Oliveira and Whitney Allison, are competing in some of the events as privateers without a spot in the official Grand Prix. 

Burke’s Take on Grand Prix Athletes

To preview the whole series (and whet your knobby tire appetite), we kept Crusher founder, FE Sponsorship Director, and gravel godfather Burke Swindlehurst off the bike for an afternoon to give us his take on each of the First Endurance athletes competing in 2023.


With an 8th place overall finish last year and a very strong showing at UNBOUND (6th), Rob is certainly a contender for a 2023 top-five – if not the series win outright. His palmarès on the road includes GC wins in the climbing-centric Tours of the Gila and Utah. Though he doesn't live at altitude, he is a proven performer at elevation, which will help him in several of the Grand Prix events. He also began with MTB racing as a junior, so I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him contending for a podium placing at Leadville as well.

Key Races: UNBOUND, Crusher, Leadville



Zach is a true dark-horse for top placing in the overall series standing. His background as a MTB’er will serve him well at events like Sea Otter and Leadville. His history at Crusher – where he surprised everyone in 2018 by taking the win, backing it up with a 2nd place behind Peter Stetina in 2021 – has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he can climb with the best in the business.

Key Races: Sea Otter, Crusher, Leadville



Griffin has had standout performances in gravel racing over the last couple of years with podiums at previous editions of BWR San Diego, Kansas, and Utah; a win at Rebecca’s Private Idaho in 2022; and 3rd in last year’s Crusher. He’s a strong climber with a proven history of  performing well at altitude.

Key Races: Crusher, Leadville, The Rad



Alex was another top-10 finisher in 2022, bagging 9th overall and earning two top-fives at Chequamegon and Big Sugar. His experience in the WorldTour (including five Grand Tour finishes and a US National Championship) makes up a palmarès as impressive as any rider’s in the series. Having spent the last several seasons as part of  EF Education’s “Alternative Calendar” squad, Howes has hit the podium at both UNBOUND and Crusher as well as 5th place in Leadville.

Key Races: UNBOUND, Crusher, Leadville 



In 2022, Hannah finished 7th overall, missing out on a top-five by two paltry points. Her background and expertise on the MTB, coupled with her proven history at performing at the longer events at altitude (she won Leadville 2022) makes her a very serious threat for the overall in the Grand Prix.

Key Races: Sea Otter, Crusher, Leadville 



With 3 grand tour finishes under his belt, in addition to 3 podiums at the US Professional Road Championships, Keil has the depth necessary for the long, hard 6+ hour events. His time in the WorldTour and his 20th overall in the inaugural Grand Prix prove that he also has the staying power to maintain consistency across an entire season – don’t be surprised if he climbs the ladder this year.

Key Races: UNBOUND, Big Sugar, The Rad 



From national champs to the WorldTour, Ruth’s background and success in road racing makes her suited to the longer events. Typically, I’d look for her to shine at UNBOUND – although her recent shoulder injury may put her participation there in question. She was 4th in the Crusher last year as well, showing she can climb with the best of them.

Key Races: UNBOUND, Crusher, Big Sugar

Burke’s Take On Privateers


Like many in the emerging gravel space, Whitney got her start in road racing, and her accomplishments on the road include sprinting to 2nd place on stage one of the Colorado Classic in 2019. On the gravel side, she’s a 2x winner of BWR Utah and has twice finished 4th in the UNBOUND 200, where you can bet she’s determined to find the podium in 2023.

Key Races: UNBOUND, The Rad, Big Sugar



Flavia’s history as top-shelf road racer (7th in Rio Olympic Road Race) matched with her climbing abilities (Climbers Jersey at Giro Rosa) means she’ll be one to watch for taking the women’s win at Crusher.

Key Races: Crusher, Leadville, The Rad

April 20, 2023 — Burke Swindlehurst

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