Dirty Intel - Cascade Gravel Grinder - Day 1: Gravel Time Trial

We've teamed up with the co-founder of Dirty Freehub, Kevin English, to give you the expert advice on what you need to succeed at the Oregon Gravel Grinder Series events. From recommendations on tire size, what to ride, and how to take on the event if you are going to race, ride it, or touring is more your speed.

CASCADE GRAVEL GRINDER

The Cascade Gravel Grinder is a truly unique event in that you have the option to ride or race one, two, or three days of gravel greatness. While the courses are more technical than the Gorge Gravel Grinder, they offer a Small Grinder and Big Grinder distance option on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a fun (and again, technical) 5.5 mile gravel time trail on Friday evening. Participants can join us for any of the days or get the best deal around and a full weekend of gravel by entering the Omnium. Registration WILL SELL OUT . We currently have spots, so don't delay- Register now.


From Kevin English-

As I write this, we are coming off one of the most intense April snow storms in recent history. The courses, at this time, are under a foot to more of snow. Thus, my report is based on riding in this area for the last 20+ years, not on first-hand recon from this year.


In my recommendations for tire size and gearing, please keep in mind I am in my late 50s, fit and have placed on the podium in my age group at races like the Breck Epic. But I am not nearly as strong as I was at 40. Thus, adjust my recommendations accordingly.


DAY 1: Gravel Time Trial Ride Distance 5.5 mi Total Gravel 100% Total Elevation 530 ft


  • Tire Recommendation: 45 mm or larger.

  • Gearing: 1:1 or lower.

  • If I was doing this, I would ride my Salsa Cutthroat on 2.1” tires, with .9 gearing ratio.

  • NO aero bars are allowed on this in any event the Oregon Gravel Grinder Series.


This is the Tangent loop from the Meissner XC ski area. I have skied this loop many times and ridden it a few. The first 1.5 miles are on a wide red cinder road that rolls up and down several times. From there, it is a 2-stepped climb to the high point, with gradients of 4 to 6%. From the high point, it is all downhill to the finish.


The climb and descent are on dirt roads that can be rutted and off-camber. On the downhill, you need eyes wide open. Expect some loose rock, maybe tree debris, ruts, and water bars (cuts across the road for drainage).


Good luck!


Check out more racing and riding advice on the other distances and Oregon Gravel Series events on the Dirty Intel page here.