What is a “gravel grinder”?
A gravel grinder is a bike ride/race that takes place on gravel or unimproved roads. There may be portions of paved roads connecting the gravel/unimproved roads but the majority of the route will be on the gravel/unimproved type roads.
Why ride a “gravel grinder”?
For me personally I have 2 reasons. Reason #1 is the beauty and peace of riding these back country roads. These back country roads are less traveled and what vehicle traffic that is on the roads is generally moving at a much slower speed. So for me I feel safer riding these roads. Now there will be times one has to ride on a paved highway to get to the next portion of the gravel/unimproved road, but on The Heroes Ride Gravel Grinder we try to keep this to a minimum. Reason #2 is the personal challenge. A gravel ride by design is an “unsupported” ride. This means that once you leave the starting line you are on your own…for the most part. You are responsible for your own navigation, your own food and water and whatever nature might throw at you on the ride. The Heroes Ride Gravel Grinder is going to be “semi supported”.
Will there be rest stops?
There will be 2 “aid stations” on the routes. The 20 mile route will have one aid station at about mile 8 ½ and another at about mile 15. The 40 mile route will have an aid station at about mile 8 ½, then at mile 27 you will be able to self-resupply in the town of Jewett and about mile 32 ½ there will be another aid station.
Will there be a SAG?
No, if you break down on the ride then you need to work it out. Riding a gravel ride is all about being prepared. The aid stations will have some bike repair items to assist with very basic fixes. There will be an emergency number to call just in case someone has true emergency.
Will the routes be marked?
Nope. As part of the self-supported aspect you are responsible for your own navigation. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. The old school method would be to print off a “cue sheet” (a turn by turn directions that gives you the distances at which to make each turn) and using an odometer on your bike navigate the course that way. Option #2 is to download the route to some type of handheld GPS. A lot of riders like using some of the Garmin GPS products for this. My personal choice is to download the route to my phone and use the GPS in my phone to navigate the course. The routes will be posted on www.ridewithgps.comso everyone can download and choose their own way to navigate.
Can I ride my road bike on the Gravel Grinder?
You can, but I would not recommend it. Normal road bike tires are not designed to handle the rocks and such you will encounter on this ride. Riding this ride with road tires will cause you to have many flats and road bike frames are not made for the rough unimproved type roads. So your choices are ride a bike that is designed for gravel or ride a touring type bike with wider tires or ride a mountain bike with maybe thinner tires. I would personally recommend a bike designed for the gravel or a mountain bike with less than 2.0 wide tires.
Registration is open @ www.bikereg.com/the-heroes-ride-gravel-grinder
Our website www.txheroesride.orgis currently being updates so please bear with us.