Enduro-style gravel grinding in the Lost Sierra
By Kurt Gensheimer
Grinduro! It’s what happens when you mash up a gravel grinder with an enduro. And judging by the hundreds of smiles on October 10, 2015 in Quincy, California, the inaugural Grinduro was a smashing success. Grinduro was a true test of fitness and skill thanks to a 60 mile course with 8,000 feet of climbing amongst some of the most gorgeous terrain the Lost Sierra has to offer. And because Grinduro featured four enduro-style timed segments, riders could exercise their competitive urges while taking it easy and riding with friends in between.
Picking the right bike and tire setup for Grinduro was crucial. Too skinny of a tire and you risked flatting, as several dozen riders did on the final 3.5-mile timed singletrack segment down Mount Hough Trail. Too much tire and you risked getting dropped on the third segment, a six-mile section of rolling pavement where drafting is completely legal.
Further complicating the bike decision-making process were segments one and two; the first a one-mile fire road climb where a light and fast bike was best, and the second, a six-mile dirt road descent with speeds approaching 50 miles-an-hour. Although there were plenty of mountain bikes on course, the fastest times of the day were consistently clocked by riders on cyclocross bikes with a wide gear range, hydraulic disc brakes and tubeless 40c tires.
Grinduro allows any type of bike (non-electric assist of course), and seeing the cross-section of rigs toeing the line was part of what made Grinduro so much fun. This event format blurs the lines between roadies and mountain bikers, with both types of riders coming together in a fun and laid-back atmosphere. And because Grinduro had four timed segments over 60 miles, it was an adventure ride and race all wrapped into one.
Aside from the incredible trails and backcountry terrain surrounding Quincy, this small logging town of 5,000 folks offered the perfect event venue for Grinduro thanks to the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. Each year the fairgrounds plays host to the popular High Sierra Music Festival, offering outstanding camping and RV parking with full electric and water hookups. And thankfully Mother Nature was just as stoked about Grinduro, blessing the event with clear skies and high temperatures in the low 80s all weekend.
Because a world-class event isn’t complete without world-class music, art and food, Grinduro featured a full evening of live music headlined by Mike Watt + Missingmen, handmade frame builders and artistry with the Meet Your Maker Tour and catered breakfast, lunch and dinner by renown chef Chris DiMinno. The lunch was a particular highlight, relaxing under the shade of giant pine trees in the idyllic hamlet of Taylorsville, a hidden gem of riding tucked far away in the Lost Sierra.
What started as a crazy idea two years ago by published author and former pro racer Joe Parkin has come to life thanks to Dain Zaffke and the folks at Giro Sport Design. And of course, the event couldn’t have been pulled off without the know-how of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, the organization responsible for both the Downieville Classic and the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder.
Proceeds from Grinduro go back to the Stewardship, helping fund more trail projects in the Quincy region. Despite boasting 50 miles of new singletrack thanks in part to the Plumas National Forest – Mount Hough District, the Quincy area is still undiscovered by most. But the recently completed Mount Hough Trail is a world-class must-ride experience, descending 3,800 vertical feet over 11 miles. And unlike the rocky rowdiness of nearby Downieville, the Quincy region is approachable for all skill levels.
Grinduro will open a new chapter in bike events, bringing together a wider cross-section of enthusiasts looking for a perfect balance of competition, fun and adventure. It’s most definitely an event to put on your must-do list for 2016.
Learn more at grinduro.com.