The Grinduro is a race, and we are not too much into racing, but man, the GRINDURO looked like such a fun event, and a great way to spend a long weekend exploring California's remote Sierra
Words by Dave Koesel. Photography by Marc Gasch. Video by Giro/Grinduro
GRINDURO WITH DAVE ZABRISKIE
Fun in the Sierra
Typically our XPDTN3 trips follow a loose course map or general direction and often plot the actual path as we go. For the Grinduro event, we need a bit more familiarity with the layout and pre-race guides and ample signage ensured we wouldn’t wander too far into the vast maze of forest service roads.
Check the 2016 official Grinduro video to get a glimpse of what it was all about:
Quincy, CA is far removed from the urban landscape of SoCal and the bulging communities surrounding the Bay in NorCal. The remote location made for a several hour drive the day before for most participants and on-site camping was a communal event. Riders shared everything from pre-race course and set up tips to campfires and refreshments.
Final preparation on gear, tire, and clothing was made at first light
After clarification of the ground rules and the last few sips of espresso we were off. As an “Enduro” style event there wasn’t a mad rush to race away from the start line; in fact we casually rolled away from the campground and onto the day’s first and largest climb, the last couple km of which would be timed. It was the perfect scenario to get warmed up as the sun peered through the pines and riders shed the morning layers of warm clothes.
Good morning Quincy
Warming up on the first climb before the "Hough 'n Puff" timed climb
The short lung-busting climb up over 2500m of elevation was over quickly and riders who completed the segment gathered to cheer on the individuals as they rolled into the Stage 1 finish. An aid station provided breakfast of beer, bacon, and bottles along with gels, energy bars and any bicycle service needed.
Koesel and Zabriskie enjoying the casual pace
After the first uphill segment, we had more casual miles to log to get to the first fire-road downhill. From the top of the hillside, Mother Nature continued to show off her work.
You could spot Zabriskie from a mile with that colorful helmet
The relaxed pace up the first climb during the untimed portion allowed for sight-seeing and conversations not typically afforded during a race format. Once we hit the timing mats though, the competitiveness was palpable
No lactic acid today...
Temps had warmed the air to summer’s comfort but the signs of the pending winter season were already evident at the higher elevation
Wild forests and big tree in Plumas
Perfect double track roads market the first part of the race, where every rider had the opportunity to warm up before the first timed steep and short climb .
Taking it easy.
There was no rush at the food stations, no rush to get on the bike again. The beauty of this racing format. Socializing.
Fast and flat out on the first descent of the day, "Big Grizzly"
The midpoint of the Grinduro came just after the fast, flat, paved TT segment.
Organization and crew is fantastic at the Grinduro, cool vibes!
Riders battled hecklers and their anerobic threshold before enjoying a gourmet recovery lunch prepared by the Grinduro crew
Getting ready for the Indian Creek Time Trial
The versatility of the event’s timed segments matched perfectly with the EXPLORO’s go-anywhere, do everything personality. Air pressure adjustments were made for each of the segment’s surface conditions and some of us even opted to drop the saddle height for the last singletrack section. Once the times had been recorded for the last segment, riders made their way back to the Grinduro headquarters to hit the showers, swap stories, and compare times. As the results were being calculated we were again treated to a warm meal and fantastic entertainment.
Can you say "F-L-O-W". Last downhill was "E-P-I-C"
Our XPDTN3 team is always seeking new adventure and looking for the next destination to explore but the unique character of this event and commraderie promoted by the format might have us make this an annual stop.The surrounding area could easily create the perfect backdrop for 3 days of riding. We left satisfied with the result but eager to venture out into the hills and Sierra Mountains in Plumas County and learn more about the cycling opportunities in this old Gold Rush era mountain town.
The Mattson 2 on stage, yeah!