assembling the roll out
Sunday marked the 5th annual running of the Gravel Grinder. Once again, we were lucky with the weather, in that it had poured hard all Saturday night, but let up for the day during the event. A big nasty weather system has moved into the region for the next few days. While it was far from sunny and warm, we did have a nice window of non rain. It was chilly, with a yucky north wind, but it was a good temp for cranking up steep hills on bikes!
flying up Perry Hill
We rolled about 150 riders this year, by the far the most we’ve had. It’s really encouraging to see folks brave the less than stellar riding conditions. I saw lots of familiar faces, all of them with smiles on them. This really was a fun event, and I don’t know if it was because we’ve been putting it on for all these years or what, but set up and take down went off like a well oiled machine.
I ran the aid station once again this year, and this time even remembered water. The offerings this year were pretzels, bananas, gummie bears, twizzlers, 5 kinds of booze, meatbars, cheese, bread and bacon. Regular and boozy chocolate covered.
That’s how we roll.
The fast guys came cruising in about an hour after start, which is what I was expecting. I’m actually pretty happy with my course mapping time of 2:32, the fast guys, and they are seriously fast, got in at just over 2 hours. They of course did not stop for chocolate covered bacon and attitude adjustments, instead they flew by, but shortly thereafter more riders began trickling in, and before I knew it, we had a full blown party!
Most everyone had made it to the aid station after about 2 hours from start, so it was time to break it down and head back to base for tacos and beer. It was great to have so many folks this year, all of them stoked. And they should be, they rode a tough course in less than perfect weather, not to mention that this is the first ride that a lot of these folks have done this season. My hat is off to everyone that participated this year.
the place to be
There are some people who are integral to the machinery of this ride. We had a lot of additional help this year that made this the best Grinder to date. A big thank you has to go out to Ryan at MTBVT
, who designed the art for this year’s shirt and made some sponsor connections for us. Cris at Factotum
always does a killer job, and screening 150+ shirts to perfection is no easy task. Nat Fish is always there with the muscle to help move the heaviest tables in the universe, and the truck to haul everything around, and without his help, it would have taken Dough, Ginger and I a lot longer to mark the course in the rain the night prior. The post ride meal provided by Frida’s
is clearly the highlight of everyone’s day. But the one person that makes this event what is, is Mandy
. She gets it done. She’s the one that organizes everything and brings it all together. Without her, this event would be a comical farce. If you are reading this and appreciate all the work she has done this year, feel free to thank her in whiskey. She likes the really peaty stuff.
So please forgive me if you are not on the following list, a lot of hands went into making this Grinder the awesome good time it was. Aaron, Tab, Barb and Carrie helped made set up and registration a breeze. Meg and Keller made the best cookies ever. Frida’s, VT Smoke and Cure, Cabot, Elmore Mountain Bread kept our bellies full, Green Mountain Distillers and Long Trail helped to wash it all down. KP let me set up the mobile party wagon in her front yard. The Pilgrim Partnership gave us the parking lot to make this happen, the Town of Waterbury did a bang up job of grooming the gravel portions of our ride. Thanks to Zack, who swept the course and pulled the course markings, BY BIKE!
But most of all, thanks to all the hardy souls that braved the weather and came out and rode. We hope to see you all next year!