About this time last year we sent our buddy B-Hard on a mission to race some gravel. And in true drunkcyclist style, he just gave me the report today. Enjoy.
I would like to start by apologizing to Dirty because this event was almost a year ago. #whoops
Secondly, I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally come to terms with the Chino Grinder
As with most DC stories, this one starts in a bar. I ran into Dirty at the local saloon and mentioned to him that I’m considering doing this inaugural gravel race coming up. He of course knows the promoter and says to me “I’ll cover your race entry if you rep DC with a jersey and get a great story to tell”. I figured that my normal training regiment of an 8 mile commute and twice-a-week mountain bike rides will leave me in tip top shape. We settle the deal with a shot of barrel-aged liquid and that was that.
Fast-forward a month and I’m sardined in a Honda Fit with four bikes stacked on top and three other incredibly naive participants. We arrived at the campsite the night before expecting to find a party only to encounter a ghost town. Fuck, was this a roadie event? At least there was no one to judge us on our race diet of Chinese take-out. Props to “Team Thyssen-Krupp” for being the only other folks down to carbo-load on beer the night before and have a good time. Mostly I’m thankful to ya’ll for lending me a cot to use for the night as some other lovebirds took over my tent.
Lining up at the start the next morning I had one thought on my mind, “Don’t be such a fucking ROADIE”. I’m 25 years old lining up with a bunch of dentist dads in aero helmets and adorable skinsuits. I keeps it realer than you and therefore I am better than you. With this false sense of superiority I used the first 2 miles to zip through le peloton until I settled in with the lead group. I begin to notice faces and different kits. These guys are, like, PROS. People actually pay for them to do this shit. My “finish a ride, drink a six-pack” routine must really be paying off because I’m holding my own quite well at this point. After comfortably cresting the first climb and drunk off of my ego’s raging hard-on, I decided to skip the first aid station at mile 21 because #proasfuck. This would prove to be my demise.
Literally 100 feet past said aid station began what was essentially a 22 mile climb which left me wondering who had attached an anchor to my bike as everyone else flew past. So now I’m by myself, grabbing the wheel of anyone passing me up the 3,600 ft. ascent. Basically I had 2 hours of “me” time to come to terms with my mortality. This sucks. *what a unique experience* Why am I here? *it’s about the journey bro* I didn’t bring enough food… *you’re fucked*.
I crawled up the last half mile of dirt to the halfway checkpoint and was convinced that I was done. My legs kept cramping, my ass was actively forming new saddle sores and I never wanted to touch a bike again. But even signing up for this kind of event makes you a masochist and no good journey comes without struggle. So you embrace it. Thankfully the station was well stocked with bacon and I still had a flask full of bourbon. I sat. I ate. I had a swig. Two of my compatriots had stumbled in close behind me and suddenly the next 53 miles didn’t look so terrible. With a round down the hatch for all of us, the ride continued.
Now, the next 53 miles were still terrible. When half past dead, every rut hurts and every climb has no end. But you continue. Every participant I’ve talked to has claimed that the finishing stretch of gravel grew 6 inches deeper than when we had started on it. Fucking physics. While coming back on the finishing straight quite literally almost hopped off my bike to give myself a good cry. But goddamn I just wanted to be done. We finished, we had beers, we laughed and we couldn’t walk correctly for a week.
We bike folk are a kinky bunch because this was the most satisfy spanking I’ve ever received.Whenever Chino comes up in conversation people say it sounds terrible to which I reply “It was the worse ride I’ve ever been on”.
“Will you do it next year?”
The 2015 edition of Chino Grinder is coming up on May 2nd and it’s my sincere wish that this year I’m not the only one with a flask in their pocket.
Well, better late than never on that report. That sounds like a hell or a ride. If you are into some kinky punishment, check out the Chino Grinder and the other events put on by AZ Gravel Rides. You can also check out our pal B-hard over on the Instagrams @bhrd … I wonder what other events I can get him to do?by