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The High Desert Gravel Grinder is one of the most scenic and diverse courses you will ever ride. Located in Bend, Oregon the location is a mix of high desert, climate that flows west into the high alpine settings of the Cascade Mountain Range. Surrounding Bend are hundreds of miles of paved and gravel rural roads with little to no motor traffic on them. The course offers great views of the surrounding Cascade Mountain peaks as well as an assortment of rivers, and farms. Expect average temps to be in the mid 50’s by race start and up into the mid 70’s by the peak of the day. Gravel sections are well packed, smooth and fast. Spring rains provide good moisture keeping the dust down. No portion of the courses exceeds double digit grades for climbing or descending. Just a lot of fast rolling hills. Those brave enough to tackle the McKenzie Pass Climb will go from the arid deserts of Central Oregon to the top of the Cascade Range were breath taking views of North Sister and Mt. Washington await. Expect to see a lot of snow up on the top. Access is only possible due to the plowing efforts of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The High Desert Gravel Grinder is a mix of pavement and packed gravel. Gravel roads are OK to excellent in condition. Suggest tires are 700×25 if you are a light rider, 700×28 if you are a medium to slightly heavier rider or cyclocross tires if you are a beast! Thorn resistant tubes are a great idea. Plan to use strong tubes, now is not the time to go ultralight. Clement Tires and Sagebrush Cycles will be on hand to assist you with new tires and tubes prior to the race should you need to purchase some last minute tread. Please either see them at packet pickup on Saturday night or arrive early on Sunday. Gravel sections are in great shape and can be ridden with confidence. The huge amounts of rain and moisture this spring means they will be firm and fast without the dust factor.
This ride is a rules of the road event. We will provide flaggers and traffic control to get all the riders out of town but once on course it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to watch for traffic and follow rules of the road. These country roads are very desolate do not be lulled into the fact that you have not seen a car in an hour and you blow a stop sign or an intersection way out in the middle of nowhere. The exceptions to this rule are the two locations were you will be crossing HWY 126 and 242. For safety we have two sets of flaggers.
This ride is being chip timed. Results will be posted to the website immediately. Use your smart phone to check and see how you did. Timing chips are tags that must be secured to your seat post. The timing mat and station is located a quarter mile north of Bendistillery. Look for the lane of cones and signage. Make sure you roll over the timing mat so we can get your official time. Please be very cautious crossing HWY 20 after finishing the ride and headed back to the starting area. It is a very dangerous highway. Those riding the Big Grinder Ride will need to ride over a second timing mat at the top of McKenzie Pass as well for our King of Kenzie Competition.
Event parking and staging will be at Bendistillary just north of Tumalo, Oregon. The ride start and after party are located onsite. We will have porta potties, hand wash stations and water onsite.
A huge thanks to Sagebrush Cycles for providing a number of mechanics at the start as well as out on course. They will have tires, tubes, and supplies to keep you rolling.
Post Ride Refuel
The after-party will be located at Bendistillary with catered lunch provided by Cody’s Catering & Cookshack and includes pulled pork, teriyaki chicken, chipotle apple cole slaw, bbq baked beans, potato mac salad, and cookies. Music and prize drawing will keep the party hopping.
Party starts at 12:30 PM and keeps going to 4:00 PM. Check in at the registration tent after your ride to pick-up your post ride meal ticket, pint glass, and beverage!
Event details subject to change; check event websites for details.