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Launched by Giro Sport Design in 2015, the third edition of Grinduro was held in Quincy, California, on October 7.
As the name implies, Grinduro is a blend of gravel grinder and mountain bike-style enduro — one long loop of pavement and dirt, with finishing times based not on overall loop time, but solely on four 5-10 minute timed segments designed to reward well-rounded riders.
The course, nestled into California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, delivers 8,000 feet (2,440km) of climbing in 65 miles (104km) and features a mix of smooth pavement, gravel, and hard-packed dirt, with two main climbs, one long valley, and two descents. One descent is on fast, flowing singletrack; the other is 30 miles of sustained descending. Winners are determined based on cumulative time over the timed sections, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere throughout the ride.
Because of the mixed terrain, equipment selection is critical. Cyclocross bikes are most capable, but any pedal-driven bicycle is allowed; electric-pedal assist bikes are not. According to race organizers, the ultimate setup is “probably a disc-brake equipped cyclocross bike with fast-rolling, tubeless clincher tires.” Those using road bikes are encouraged to run tubeless tires at a minimum of 25mm wide; the event website warns that “if you come out on your road bike with inner tubes in your tires, you’re almost guaranteed to end up finishing on foot, if at all.” Regardless of bike and tire selection, mountain-bike shoes and pedals are recommended.
Among those in attendance this year was five-time Olympian Katerina Nash, fan favorite Carl Decker, and defending champions Duncan Riffle and Meredith Miller, lining up with riders from as far away as Japan, Scotland, and Norway.
The 2017 event was presented by Giro, SRAM, and Fabric. Entry fee included a gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinner; racers camped on Friday and Saturday nights without additional charge at “Grinduro Village” complete with art exhibits, a festival, live music from Tijuana Panthers, and late-night music from DJ Coop. All proceeds from the event go to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
Stay tuned to the Grinduro website for updates on 2018 dates and details.