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GRAVEL GRINDER PACE GROUPS

With all of the success in 2023, we will bring back the Gravel Pace Groups to the 2024 Gorge Gravel Grinder!

 

The Gorge Gravel Pace Groups have been created to help take the nerves out of gravel riding and racing by offering an inviting and inclusive, beginner-friendly supportive riding environment while promoting the camaraderie that makes the gravel community so spectacular.

Pace Groups have been created to help new and beginner riders have a great experience by removing the fear of being alone on the course. These are not meant to be a competitive, race-centric style riding groups, and a group's final paces may change with on-course obstacles (mechanicals, slower group, etc.).

Instead of asking your friends what their miles per hour were (MPG)  at the Gorge Gravel Grinder, you will be asking them about their gravel pace group (GPG) instead. All joking aside, our GPG are meant to help you have the most fun and ride our race how you want to, plus you’ll get to make new friends. Each freight train of fun will have an Engine and a Caboose, two designated leaders who will help keep the ride sandwiched together, and moving along at the designated speed. Sound like fun?

Who doesn’t remember the children’s tale The Little Engine That Could? The story taught the value of optimism, hard work, and the famous quote, “ I think I can.”? 

 

Well, we KNOW you can which is why we’re proud to announce that the Gorge Gravel Grinder is introducing pace groups for the first time in gravel cycling history! We’ve created six pace groups that will take the nerves out of gravel riding by offering an inviting, inclusive, beginner-friendly riding environment that promotes the camaraderie that makes the gravel community so spectacular.

 

Ride it or race it: it’s up to you. The goal at this year’s Gorge Gravel Grinder is to support all levels of rider and to chase our dream to achieve an unprecedented 50% female ridership.  We think we can make it happen with this happen first-of-its-kind freight train of fun!

In the tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain after its locomotive breaks down. Larger locomotives are asked to pull the train; for various reasons they refuse. The request is sent to a small engine, who agrees to try. The engine succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain while repeating the motto: "I-think-I-can".

We're sure most of us remember the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could,” the story that embodies optimism and hard work. Since we think you can, check out these first of their kind gravel pace groups-trains of riders, working together to experience our event at a certain speed, to have a group of folks that will help you get over a high mountain. Click link in our bio to learn about our GPG and how one of those trains will help you have the best time at our event. 

Six pace groups will be available for all rider levels, with four groups for the 56-mile Small Grinder and two for the 67-mile Medium Grinder. Each group will be headed by an experienced Ride Leader, organizing and keeping the pace, while hand-picked Ambassadors will be within the pack cheering riders on and celebrating with every accomplishment.  Ride Leaders and Ambassadors will offer guidance, course knowledge, and be able to support the pace group throughout the course.

  • The pace groups will consist of a Ride Leader and Ambassador(s).  

    • Rider Leaders will be responsible for managing the pace group as well as welcoming riders to the group at Saturday's Shake Out Ride and Packet Pickup. 

    • Ambassadors will ride within the group and at the back of the group’s pack.

  • Pace groups were selected based on an analysis of the 2022 event paces.

  • Riders can also use the pace group to challenge their speed by joining a faster group.

  • Riders may start with a pace group and if needed, drop back to connect with the ride group of the next lower pace.

  • The Small Grinder will include one no-drop pace group. 

  • Pace riders will receive a gift from GU energy to help fuel their ride and be eligible for special raffle prizes from our great sponsors. 

PACE GROUP INFORMATION

 SMALL GRINDER PACE GROUPS 

7.5 - 9 MPH

**NO DROP GROUP**

TOTAL MILES: 52.5 miles

PACE RANGE: 7.5 to 9.0 mph

COMMUTER TRAIN

9 - 10 MPH

     

TOTAL MILES: 52.5 miles

PACE RANGE: 9 to 10 mph

ELECTRIC TRAIN

10 - 11 MPH

 

TOTAL MILES: 52.5 miles

PACE RANGE: 10 to 11 mph

FREIGHT TRAIN

11 - 12 MPH

TOTAL MILES: 52.5 miles

PACE RANGE: 11 to 12 mph

Paces for the pace groups will be an average for the riding time.  Rest stops, mechanical issues, and other factors may slow the overall pace.  This program is about having fun riding and supporting riders on the course at all levels.  

** SMALL GRINDER RIDE GROUP - NO DROP **

This ride group is great for first-time riders and those looking to have a fun, casual ride on the Small Grinder Gorge course.  This is absolutely a NO DROP GROUP. There will be a ride leader as well as a few ambassadors within the group, ensuring that no rider is alone and nobody is left behind if they need a little extra time on a climb, at the aid station, or to take pictures.  This will be a group focused on fun, meeting other riders, and experience gravel with a smile.  This group will also make sure that nobody from the group finishes last. 

 MEDIUM GRINDER PACE GROUPS 

LOCOMOTIVE TRAIN

8 - 10 MPH

 

TOTAL MILES: 67.2 miles

PACE RANGE: 8 to 10 mph

BULLET TRAIN

10 - 12 MPH

TOTAL MILES: 67.2 miles

PACE RANGE: 10 to 12 mph

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