The first year of the Grinduro was a lot of fun, so we knew that we wanted to go back. Early Friday morning we loaded up our buddies and pointed the van to Quincy. One unlucky passenger was subject to blackmail photography and another had to suffer through a poorly made Whole Foods "burrito". We made it through our first world problems and arrived at Grinduro HQ ready to party, or ride.
After getting set up, we registered for the "race" and prepped our bar bags full of "nutrition" and goodies for the next days ride.
The evening views were already enough to make the trip worth it. The sky lit up in purples and pinks, stars twinkled and everything was all right. We fired up the stove and threw together hot totties, enjoyed the sound of the wood mill behind us and watched a good amount of riders arrive late into the night.
The next morning we woke to frozen shoes and went straight to the Coleman Stove for some camp coffee. Percolator was steaming, and the sun was rising. It was going to be a beautiful day. Right before the 8:00 am sendoff we stripped off our warm clothing, revealing our spandex/wool supersuits, and saddled up for the official Grinduro 2016 Start Line.
The ride starts with a long climb that leads right into the first timed segment. We started at the front of the pack and ended the stage pretty quickly. After that it was only another 12 long miles up the climb to the start of the second stage - a downhill gravel road section.
Matt decided that the second stage wasn't really his forte, so he flatted to conceal his true time. While taking his time to properly fix and boot a sidewall tear, he had the chance to say hi to everyone and model our beautiful gear all the while.
The best part about Grinduro is surely the ability to stop after every stage and hangout with a bunch of your buddies. In between each stage we caught up with friends from north and south, met new people and enjoyed some good snacks and conversation.
After stage two there was a winding downhill through some beautiful terrain. The day was warming up and it couldn't have felt any better except for the pinch flat that Matt got, forcing him to fix a flat yet again. Shortly following the descent there was a quick road section we all mopped up in a paceline. Then lunch!
We arrived at the lunch stop and there was an entire trailer dedicated to serving us beer. Or so it seemed. We ate wraps, chatted with some friends, got a new tire, and hung out as log as possible before heading out on the 3000'(ish) dreaded climb up to the final timed single-track section.
Team Merino Shirt Jersey had a skidding contest and then continued our promenade to the beginning of what would be the worst climb any of us had ever done (one of us skipped lunch and just drank beer...oops). Geared out, the grade was still challenging. That wasn't the worst part though. Rather, it was the sheer duration of the climb. Without much reprieve, it went on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Who's bringing the E-bike next year??? (just kidding)
No photos of the long climb or ripping single-track descent, because it was so fun. So enjoy some of these stand-in landscape photos.
None of us made it down the single-track with feeling in our hands. The consensus was: next year we are bringing rigid mountain bikes, and/or even larger tires. It's worth it to lug that beast through the previous 50 miles just so you get to properly rip through the single track at the end. The last aide station was at the river swimming hole with the rope swing, but this year we arrived a bit too late and declared it not blazing-hot enough to jump in freezing cold water. So we drank some cold beer instead.
Back at camp the party had begun. It was time for some recovery beer and dinner, and then more beer, and then late night grilled cheese from our camp stove. This could have been the highlight of the entire weekend. See you there next year at our grilled cheese station, Ornot!
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