What a party. Unfortunately, Grindro fell directly in the shadow of Mexico so while it was an adventure, the convenience of cellphone service, drinkable water and power made it feel a little less adventurous. I flew from Chihuahua to Sacramento at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning and Robbie picked me up at the airport in the evening in the rented luxury RV. Camping in any form is a must at Grinduro and with temperatures in the low 30s at night an RV was the way to go. We rolled into an empty lot late Thursday after almost hitting a two bears on the windy road into Quincy.
Friday was spent exploring and we stumbled on some amazing trails. After randomly picking directions and riding through a cow field we found ourselves navigating down a gravel road that turned into the Cascade trail system. The singletrack was amazing, especially on gravel bikes.
Saturday morning rolled around and we casually lined up at the start. No stress, no fuss. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of Grinduro there are four timed segments and your time on those segments determines placement. There’s a mile long climb, a fast gravel descent, a rolling pavement section, and a tricky singletrack descent. In retrospect a hardtail MTB would probably have been a wiser choice.
It’s a bike handlers event with over half of the overall time based on descents and just a few minutes of based on the timed one mile climb. The road section all depends on the group your with. Hang out at the regroup, grab a whisky handoff and wait for the leaders to roll in then grab their wheel and hold on. Unfortunately a series of flats kept me out of the fastest group.
The rest of the sixty mile ride is a food/beer/pedal party with a mandatory lunch stop at the end of the road TT. After lunch and a full belly of wraps and beer you make your way up the longest climb of the day. Take your time, you’re not on the clock.
The only advantage is making it down the timed trail before 500 other riders have totally blown it out. Congratulations you made it to the bottom in one piece! Or not. There were definitely a fair share of accidents, fortunately nothing too major but anytime you have 35mm tires, rock gardens, whoops, and a creek crossing, things will get weird. Don’t finish yet though!
The best part of the day is at the ol’ swimming hole on the way back to town. There’s floats, a beach, a bar, and ice cold water to jump into and rinse off all the dust. If you speed back to the campground you’ll enter a ghost town until people finish up at the river. Relax. Now hit the photo booth and start swapping stories.