“Grinduro is a ridiculous event. Nothing about it makes sense. Thanks for blowing it... I’ll be back..."
When you read something like this the day before you set out for a race, how should you feel? This 'ridiculous event' was exactly where I was heading... not exactly confidence building.
There has been an explosion in the popularity of gravel riding. Once existing on the fringes with gruelling events like the Dirty Kanza 100 and the Rouge Roubaix, gravel has now become its own and developed well beyond the days of riders modifying their 'cross machines or mountain bikes. And gravel events are no different. Grinduro has been a product of this hype and caught the mixed surface, drop bar, wide tyre fever. Combining the format of enduro mountain biking but on a course suited to this new breed of go anywhere bikes... the race is only a small percentage of the course. The rest is a trip around a spectacular route.
For the first time, Grinduro has stepped out of its birthplace and taken to the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. The event provided the perfect stage for the HUNT Team to test out different wheel combinations, gain insight into wheel technology in this emerging category and put the wheels through some seriously muddy conditions.
While race reports provide great information and insight into the race, I am sure there are many, many more out there telling a very similar story... so here you are, the "Doodle Do's & Don'ts" of Grinduro Scotland.
The Team. Post Grinduro, caked in mud, wet and cold but still smiling! Top Effort.
Top Five Do's
NUMBER 1 'DO'
The route was so varied. Passing along stretches of tarmac, floating over smooth gravel or pounding through harsh, rocky single-track there was not one point where I found myself with the perfect bicycle. This is a massive positive because you can just focus on getting the job done and put up with your gear selection.
NUMBER 2 'DO'
They don't warn parents that Irn Bru caused children to act up on the packaging for no reason! This stuff is a perfect pick-me-up for a stage. Then (most importantly) keep on drinking it to avoid the dreaded sugar slump.
NUMBER 3 'DO'
Stage 1 was a hill climb which was won in 16min or so... which means that going out too hard will kill the legs once the gradient reaches 15 degrees at the top. Be prepared, do you research and know your stuff!
NUMBER 4 'DO'
The first thing I wish I brought was a set of spare brake pads for the front and rear. By the end of the day I was metal on metal on the front and the rear was so far gone that the pistons were not retracting forcing me to remove the caliper and tape it to the chain stay. The kind rider which lent me out some of there chain lube after stage two was a life saver!
NUMBER 5 'DO'
Sign up for next year. Grinduro was an event like no other. Out of the 5-6hours on the bike, only a small proportion of the race was timed meaning that the rest was our trip to Arran. The mixture of roadies, devoted mountain bikers and 'cross racers was a testament to how inclusive this race was. 2018 can only be bigger and better so keep you eyes peeled.
Top Five Don'ts
There were a few things which did not go quite to plan. Take them for what it is, but perhaps keep them in the back of your mind for next year.
NUMBER 1 'DON'T'
NUMBER 2 'DON'T'
Yes this happened... to me... in front of 170 racers plus the event support team. Make sure you check this VITAL detail out before borrowing a bike.
Grinduro was hard. The weather and conditions probably had a little to account for this but from all riders spoken to post race there was some challenging parts. Not enough to cause you to throw your bike away and never ride again, but enough for you to think 'yes, I want to finish now' a few more time than needed.
Don't listen to me and go ride you goddamn bike!