Starting right out of the gate, I’m going to link the following article about an orphaned kitten and his unique friendship;
Now riddle me this- How can there be so much unhappiness, and confusion in thee world when things like this exist?
Why, they even had a bike shoe art portion of the hoedown, in which I wasn’t invited to take part, but did anyway;
Look for my own line of signature shoes from Giro any day now.
Anyway, I wasn’t present at the event for a host of reasons, but lucky for us, Bussman (formerly of The Fucking Bike Club), and currently of New Belgium was, and has offered up a wordy recap based solely on his perspective;
#Grinduro, am I right?
This was/is a bicycle event that happened/happens in Quincy, CA. I live in Colorado. I heard about this event just before it happened last year (2015). I saw the pictures, was emotionally charged by all the purple marketing materials, read a few ride reports, then I thought to myself- “maybe next year I could do the #Grinduro?”
So, that’s what I did. And, with the stink of underachievement, here’s what happened;
I drove in a car from CO to CA to ride my bike on dirt roads. They were beautiful dirt roads, and a lot like the ones we have here in Colorado. Here’s the course map I made:
As you can tell from the detailed cartography there was uphill riding involved, as well as downhill. During the first climb there was a timed stage (see the details of how the race works here). I have never been good at timed stuff, and, true to history, I did bad. But at stage one’s conclusion I drank beer #1. So in a sense, I was already a winning;
And, I have heard lots of big time athletes say that race beers are a good idea (I count several Olympians, dressage riders and steeplechasers mostly, as close friends). Then, I finished the first hill. I made it to the top. I am not going to admit to crying, but I am not going to deny it either. Then the descent ripped, like really ripped. The descent also had a timed stage. I did better here than stage one, but still not very good, comparatively. And, there was carnage: the rocky road was covered with lost water bottles and seat bags, people changing flats and a lot of blood (and probably dignity) smears.
Then there was an aid station. Out of all of them, this one was really good, whiskey and coffee and ice cream, mixed together. And being served from two very handsome gentleman, sporting nice haircuts, and a really, really fancy Sprinter Van. Post coffee/booze, I headed for the start of the road time trial, staged just before the lunch stop. And, in the 2016 purple marketing materials, the lunch promised to be very good. So I hammered this time trial, or whatever. You know, on the rivet, racing, me against the clock, all for the glory of sandwiches.
It was here that I found truth to the adage “no such thing as a free lunch.” When I hit the lunch stop I was woozy (from the hammering), very hungry (from the hammering), and well behind the leaders (from my poor interpretation to the word “hammering”). And that left me fighting for the last of the lunch boxes. The supplied meal probably lived up to the rumors and purple expectations when it was first put on the table at noon, by 2pm it was just OK. A bit soggy, tepid, and fully vegetarian. I am really slow on a bicycle. My dissatisfaction with lunch was no fault of #Grinduro, Giro, or any of the sponsors/providers for this event. My dissatisfaction can be wholly attributed to the slowness of my bicycle riding.
Next year I am putting in way more training miles, if for nothing but a fresher and better lunch.
Then there was more road riding. It was fine, until the left turn. That left pitched up, way more up. Again, referring to the map above, you can see that the second climb is shorter than the first, but holy shit, it was steeper and I was tired-er by this point. Amid some mild cramping and major disillusionment, the top happened eventually and then I got to rip some single track. Everyone had been saying how great this section of the course was, and they were not lying. This was fun riding. And, I was so slow in the first 55 (or, whatever) miles of the #Grinduro that at this point the timing gates had been pulled down. It should be noted that I probably didn’t go fast enough to win that stage, probably, but I did go really fast, comparatively.
When the bicycle racing part of the #Grinduro was all said and done there was a cool swimming hole, and more booze and people doing tricks off a rope swing. Pretty sweet finish.
Post-race there was a good dinner back at camp, live tunes of the extremely-top-notch nature (La Luz, especially);
-and I drank more beers, maybe smoked a little reefer (who can say), and began my road to post-race recovery, or whatever;
It was a really cool event, full of fancy bikes, really fancy sprinter vans, and very good looking people. Despite feeling (a touch) out of place, I would drive that 15 hour stretch of highway to ride those California dirt roads again. Viva el #Grinduro.
Some bike/tennis ball blogs have beautifully retold tales of various events that include majestic imagery of breath taking vistas, mouth-watering singletrack, and maybe a rad-getting shot or two. On this one however I prefer to include a perspective of a different sort, and Bussman delivered just what the doctor ordered- An honest, and unflinching description of meeting his challenge head on, and for that, I thank him.
Maybe I’ll make it next year? Or maybe life’s plate will once again be too crowded with tasks, chores, lethargy, and the ever present empty bank account. In that event, I can only hope I can count on a friend’s boots on the ground as I have today.
Either way, we are guaranteed to cross that bridge when we come to it.
In other matters that generally don’t, I have an additional section from the mail bag which we will get to with quickness.
The first being an email I received from Ethan of Breadwinner Bikecycles up there in Portland, Oregon;
We at the Breadwinner shop garage HQ are stoked to release this limited edition B-Road;
Not everybody has the time for group rides and for those of us who work semi-regular hours the only way to get in a mid-week ride is by taking the long way home.
As our in-house designer and do-all computer/shipping/assembly manager etc, I designed a fantastic paint scheme that should speak to anyone who loves a mix of classic lines and blocky tone on tone colors. I even threw in a little topography action on the inside fork leg and Silca pump handle.
This is a limited edition package with the special paint, fender ready fork and frame, and gruppo that’s only available for order till October 21st, with a delivery date right around Christmas.
Like all Breadwinner frames it’s made to order and only in custom sizing.
Well if that ain’t a thing? Anyone who’s ever dabbled in the (occasionally) grindingly slow process of getting a custom bike built knows that a two month turn around is nearly unheard of. If this is the sort of bike that strikes your fancy, and you have a pile of cash squirreled away for just such an expenditure, then give the Breadwinners a shout, and get the process started today.
While you wait, you can sooth your anticipation with some soundtrack by their noisy namesake;
Though not that anything about the two (waiting for a custom bike, or listening to the band Breadwinner) is soothing by any stretch.
Finally, and simply because it’s on my mind, I’d like to recommend a new television show on Viceland called Abandoned;
Having grown up in Colorado, spending a fair amount of my adolescence exploring long forgotten warehouse/industrial spaces, grain elevators and the like along the South Platte River, I’m a huge fan of the show’s concept and execution.
Professional skateboarder and host Rick McCrank travels through St. Louis, Newfoundland fishing villages, the Coachella Valley, relics of the cold war and attempts at nuclear power in the Pacific Northwest, among other destinations all the while offering an endearing layman’s perspective of the socioeconomic cost, and the domino effect that in some cases lead to the spots he visits to have become abandoned to begin with;
This isn’t ‘ruin porn’ by any stretch, in that they’re just traveling to, and shining a spotlight on these places so that the rest of the world can sit back in the comfort of their own homes and relish in how fucked up they are- (See nearly any feature that’s been presented on Detroit in the last decade.)
Abandoned is more than that. As I publicly declared in one of my other channels recently, the show is among the greatest and most educational, yet simultaneously terrifying reflections of human impact ever produced.
The photography is amazing, the content is both disheartening, yet at the same time, strangely uplifting, and there’s always a little bit of bonus footage of people riding skateboards in well off-the-beaten-path locations.
I whole heartedly encourage folks to check it out for themselves.
And if this unpaid endorsement didn’t set us up for a perfectly timed closure that only minimally relates to a dump in a castaway turlette the middle of nowhere, then I can’t say what would.