In late September a couple of us at Moots made the mad dash of 927 miles from Steamboat to Quincy, California for Grinduro 2018. That seems like a long drive, but with two hearty souls and NPR on the speakers (during the Kavanaugh hearings) we entertained ourselves just fine. Good weather helped as we kept the cruise control at 81mph through the vast land that is the west. An “easy” day drive right? Riiiiight.
We rolled into Quicy, California and found our spot at the fairgrounds which plays host to the entire event. 950 riders take over the county fairgrounds, which are equipped with showers, food and plenty of room to spread out. Finding some friends in the form of a Moots dealer was a quick task. The crew from Pedalers Fork in Calabassas had made the drive north in thier RV to soak in everything Grinduro had to offer. It’s an annual pilgrimage for them. We suited up and headed out for a ride to shake the previous days drive out of the legs. It was more like…”let’s go rip some mountain bike trails on gravel bikes” type of a ride…but we soon found the forest held smooth trails covered in Pondarosa Pine needles. So fun and the perfect way to get this rolling party started. Because yes, Grinduro is a party for bike nerds. Full on, as Giro says…..”max’in and relaxin”…….
Grinduro is also one of those events that brings together so many good friends and industry types together that it’s one event I look at and say, “why are their not more events like this” ? It has a race aspect and you can go as hard as you like or you can cruise with friends, crush the timed segment and then sit up, stop and re-group to keep rolling through the amazing Sierra Nevada Mountains. Grinduro is to be enjoyed along the way, not loathed.
The course is no joke. At 60-ish miles and almost 8,000 feet of climbing it is a good test of ones fitness and ability to eat food, drink a beer or whiskey along the way and still keep your wits about you. 4 timed segments along the way that totaled about 45 minutes of going really hard. Grinduro is also one of those events that begs the question; which bike is the right bike? Most would say yes, any bike will do, just have fun. Well, that’s good and all, but when I ran into several friends the day before the event they were on a hardtail mountain bike. I asked, what gives? Most of them were repeat Grinduro goers, and they responded with “segment #4, you’ll see”……I was like what? Never mind, let’s get on with it. Run what you brung.
Saturday morning came early as we hustled out of our tents towards breakfast and coffee. Then just like that it was 8am and the start gun fired off. The beautiful thing about this format of “racing” is that it’s not a huge deal of where you start, just roll with the group, warm up and enjoy the friends around you, because really everyone on a bike is a friend to us.
In short the day was amazing. Dusty, perfect 65 degree mountain day, a bit of clouds laughs along the way. All in all, a great event and the perfect way to ride with friends and make new ones along the way.
THE BIKES WE RODE:
KAYSER & CO– JOE’S ROUTT 45
A 2016 NAHBS show bike in Sacramento, this build was the creation of agency owner Joe Kayser. His creative side was turned loose on the paint job that Blackmagic Paint pulled off for the show. It features a Raven as the compaines symbol.
Since the show in 2016 Joe has ridden countless miles in and around Marin county and beyond. His bike started out as a 2x and has migrated into a killer 1x set up with large volume tires in a 700c format. It was joy to be able to ride with Joe during the day and see this show piece in action, just what we designed it for.
ROBBIE’S JOKER THEMED ROUTT RSL
Robbie (who owns Pedalers Fork restaurant and bike shop in Calabasas, CA) came to Grinduro having ridden the event a few times before. He knew what to expect and went with a bigger volume tire in a 700c diameter.
Green and purple are the JOKER’S colors……Robbie rolls on Shimano Di2, King hubs, bottom bracket & headset. ENVE 4.5’s wrapped in Panaracer Gravel Kings. 44 tooth single ring with a 11-46 cassette out back.
They named a trail after Robbie….his nick name is Bear Cub.
The Pedalers Fork crew….always a great time. Guest appearance by Mark Weir of WTB…..serving up the grilled pickles wrapped in bacon.
BIKE FLIGHTS–BILL’S ROUTT RSL (in BF blue of course)
Bill Alcorn rallied the 8 hour drive from Portland to Quicy in the Bike Flights sprinter van to come check out the event, ride and talk all things bike industry. Bill has been a Moots owner/rider for close to 20 years. Originally from State College, PA, Bill is the founder of Bike Flights, has done Paris-Breast-Paris and many other insane bike events. He’s no stranger to good events and I believe Grinduro left a mark on him.
Bill came equipped with this ROUTT RSL (58cm size) decked out in Sram Etap that ran a 2x set up with a 50/34 up front and an 11-32 rear cassettee. Bike Flights blue Chris King hubs, head set, and bottom bracket takes care of the bearing surfaces. Bill runs a set of STAN’s carbon rims wrapped in the Panaracer Gravel King tubeless in the slick tread. The tire set up was good, up until segment #4 which was more like a blown out downhill course than anything. Bill made it through, but in the end double flatted to finish the day off.
Spur Cycle bell in Bike Flights blue…ding, ding!!!
Etched Bike Flights logo on the seat tube of Bill’s rig.
Bill floats it out in segment 4.
ROUTT 45–PAINT BY BLACK MAGIC
This happy customer from the Bay area picked up this ROUTT 45 second hand from a Frenchman. He was running a set of 650b’s wrapped in some massive WTB rubber. His choice was a 2x set up with Shimano Di2 directing the shifting and braking duties. I think he made the right choice in tire volume for the event.
MICHAEL LOOMIS—ROUTT RSL
I didn’t grab any pics of ML’s ROUTT RSL, but the good folks at Grinduro shared this photo of him on segment #4. Pretty straight up ROUTT RSL with Shimano D/A Di2, King bits in all the bearing locations. Michael’s Routt RSL is finished with our Emerald Mountain Green anodized logos and was a test subject for this color earlier this year. Michael ran a set of Maxxis Ramblers front and rear in a 40mm, tubeless in the low 30psi range. Strong rider, great travel mate.
Post-race rack of ti goodness. All dirty, no worries.
JON’S PSYCHLO X RSL
My passion for Cyclocross has run deep for 20+ years, so I have a hard time building a “gravel” bike for myself. I “make do” with our Psychlo X RSL that will hold a 38mm tire, it has almost the same geometry as our Routt RSL save the higher bottom bracket, which I like when riding offroad on single track. Mine is a stock 56cm size with internal rear brake routing and Sram eTap. I run it as a 2x (50/34) during the spring and summer as my ride everything bike, and then drop the rings and front derailleur for the Cyclocross season.
During Grinduro I ran my Mavic Allroads that have 12,000 miles on them. I ran them because if I crush a rim I won’t be as upset as I would be on a set of carbons. I’m just that way. My tire choice was a Donnally set of MSO 36mm tires, tubeless with double sealant, I ran somewhere around 32psiF/32psiR I don’t mind the extra weight, I just don’t want to have to deal with a flat. I would say if I did one thing different for Grinduro I would go with a larger volume tire for that dreaded segment #4. It was doable on the set up I had, but a bigger tire would be a bit safer. During that segment #4 my mind was racing between…..”I’m gonna die” and “I can’t belive I just pulled that off”….gigling the entire way. That’s what it’s all about in my book.
During the day I felt rock hit rim many times and the set up held up. No flats, no major dents. I run a set of remote Blip buttons on the flat sections of my bars, nice when climbing for sure. The Etap worked flawlessly……like I said the only change I would make for 2019 (yes, gotta go back) would be a higher volume tire on this same set up. I feel I could run a 40mm tire in this bike without the front derailleur battery in the way.
Other than Bill flatting twice in the last segment, we all had a mechanical-free day out there. We rolled to the last “aid-station”, which was really more like a swimming hole with a portable bar set up next to it. The consensus from our crew was all positive, it was really well organized and was the furthest thing from a pretentious race setting that can plauge so many events.
Did I mention the dust? Chain lube all day long.
Our “stoke feature”……head set spacer toss. Get the 10mm headset spacer into the head tube and winner!
Until next time Grinduro!