My 1x: Grinduro! My 1x: Grinduro!

My 1x: Grinduro!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Words and main photo: Emily Kachorek

Simply put, the inaugural Grinduro was one of the best days I have had on a bike in a long time. The event was held in the Sierra Nevada in Quincy, California, in unseasonably warm weather. Organized as a package deal, in addition to the ride/race, the weekend included camping, gourmet meals, live music by Ray Barbee, as well as the famed Mike Watt, and a handmade bike display hosted by the "Meet Your Maker" group in Northern California. A completely new style of event, the Grinduro combined a 60-mile gravel road course (which included 8 miles of sweet downhill single track and 8,000 feet of climbing), with the multiple short stage race format of a mountain bike enduro. As I was still dealing with a few lingering injuries, my plan was to take the timed sections pretty easy, enjoy the ride, rad company, and try to capture the scene as I had the opportunity to take over the WTF Kits Instagram handle for the event.

My custom painted Squid Rattlecan. Photo: Emily Kachorek

My handmade Squid Rattlecan is what I race in UCI cyclocross events on all year, and it also proved perfect for the Grinduro. I swapped out my race wheels for a set of clinchers with Challenge 38 Pro Series Gravel Grinder tires and rode my SRAM hydro Force 1 group exactly as it was set up for Providence: a 40-tooth chainring paired with an 11x32 cassette. My wider file tread tire choice proved ideal. Despite a very steep long climb toward the end of the ride, which many were forced to walk, I was able to ride the entire course. By the way, when a hill is called a “grade” instead of a “hill,” take note, it is going to be steep! In hindsight, with the wide variety of cassette options, I would have swapped out my 11x32 for an 11x36 cassette to make the climb more fun.

Photo: Zach Cunningham

With no pressure to ride even remotely fast between the four timed stages, the atmosphere was relaxed and spirits high all day. Everyone chatted up the climbs and lingered at the rest stops. All and all, I think I remember a buddy telling me that we spent about three hours hanging out off the bike mid-ride. One of the highlights of the day was hanging out at the bottom of the timed 6 mile section of ripping singletrack watching friends finish up the last timed stage and then riding straight to the river to swim before heading back to the Fairgrounds.Photo: Daniel Slusser

The hard ride didn’t stop everyone from enjoying the company of friends and s’mores around the warmth of the fire while listening to amazing live music from DJ and Sierra Nevada well into the night. The "Meet Your Maker" group hosted a chill Poker Ride on Sunday morning that included feats of strength at various points along the way. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around I wasn’t ready for the weekend to end. Judging from the social media posts I came across, the Grinduro afterglow was strong for others as well. I absolutely can’t wait until next year.That's me second from the left. Photo: Emily Kachorek

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Mountain goats at the finish were gnawing on bikes. Photo: Daniel Slusser 

Stage 4 was rough! Photo: Emily Kachorek

Read more My 1x stories from: Open the Road Gloucester, Gloucester GP CX Race, riding and racing in Indiana, The JAM Fund Grand Fundo, German National TIme Trial Champs, 70.3 Ironman® U.S. National Champs, and the Dirty Kanza 200.

Learn more about SRAM 1x Force 1 and Rival 1 groups in the video below.

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