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Grinduro 2018: Entries now open

Joseph Delves
2 Jan 2018

A multi-stage, single-day rally on the wild Isle of Arran, Grinduro mixes the gnarly with the social

Grinduro is both a solid name for a heavy metal band and also the most unique bike race on the gravel calendar. Entering its second year with two events, one in Scotland and one in California, both will see riders tackle around 100km of mixed terrain.

However, in rally style only four of the most technical and demanding segments will be timed to make up the overall placings.

With no rider left behind, but everyone free to blast away at the timed special stages, the event should be an epic day out. With the inaugural running attracting some serious contenders it’s also a great opportunity to ride alongside a host of top racers.

Grinduro Scotland: Key information

Date: Saturday 14th July
Location: Isle of Arran, Scotland
Entries: resultsbase.net/event/4279
Cost: £150
More information: grinduro.com/scotland

Adventure island

Taking place on the Isle of Arran, on 14th July, Grinduro Scotland will be based in the village of Lamlash. An hour long ferry ride from Ardrossan on the mainland the journey by sea, included in the entry price, makes an ideal introduction to this rocky and wild island.

Quickly becoming a destination for all sorts of biker, with over 60 miles of rugged coastline, ancient woodlands, and high peaks, Arran provides all the raw materials needed to carve out an exciting and challenging course.

Mixing gravel, off-road, and some short sections of tarmac, although the race route is passable on a range of bicycles, it’s been specifically designed to suit the latest drop bar adventure bikes.

Paul Errington of Focal Events who helped organise both the previous and upcoming Grinduro explains the event: 'We worked on the Grinduro course with the help of local cycling clubs.

'We started by building out the course to an all day distance, maximising the climbing and descending. Then we simply put it to the local riders to show us the trails that would push our drop bar gravel bikes to the limit… they certainly did that!

'As for deciding the timed sections we took some steer from the style of the timed elements in Grinduro, California.

'We then tried to skew the raced sections to, where possible, favour drop bars… the exception being the Hawthorn Singletrack timed descent which we offered up as a concession to those who like their bars a little straighter.'

Race tips

Last year Bruce Dalton made it onto the podium in third place. This year he’ll be back and hunting after the top step. He gave the inside line on how to competitively race the event’s unique format.

'To win Grinduro takes a canny blend of experience, technique, and fitness. I found that by putting in a strong performance on the main long climb segment I gave myself a good start to a fast time.

'I fitted a power meter to help with pacing and consistency on the twenty minute ascent. Still, you want to balance the need for efficiency with the need for fun!

'Going after a really fast segment for a drop bar rider on the technical descent, I fitted a Lauf carbon sprung fork and fast but grippy 45mm wide WTB tyres.

'I attacked hard and riding a frame I trusted could really push it. Still I nearly crashed several times!

'The Tripster AT is meant to stand for adventure tour but it works for attacking trails too. The best tactic I could employ is really my 16 seasons of Cyclocross racing.

'I was the fastest rider on drop bars as the winner last year was on a hardtail and so was second place… Next year I’m not quite sure what bike I’ll be on, but I’ll definitely be back.'

A big day out

Thanks to the wild location off of Scotland's west coast riders will have to be self-sufficient, with enough spares to see them around course, along with a suitably robust bike.

They also need to be prepared for the possibility of equally wild weather. As the organisers explain: 'You can ride any type of pedal-driven bicycle.

'We recommend a cyclocross or mountain bike. The ultimate setup is probably a disc brake-equipped cyclocross bike with fast-rolling, tubeless tyres.

'Be prepared with at least two extra tubes, a multi-tool and mini-pump. We’ll be in Scotland, so rain should be expected.

'Take a rain shell and the arm/leg warmers too - just in case weather rolls in. There’ll be feed zones and lunch, but smart riders will bring at least two water bottles and their favourite snacks.

'We recommend mountain bike pedals and shoes for added versatility.'

With camping, cookouts, live music, a handmade bike show and brazing demo all included with entry, race day will see riders depart en masse from the village.

Heading away from the coast and into the hills, they'll ride the first half of the special stages before looping back in time for lunch.

After being fed the riders will pedal back out to tackle the last of the timed sections, before returning for the podium and a late night of beers, bands, and DJs.

With space for 400 riders, if you feel rugged enough to take on the Isle of Arran Grinduro, tickets go live at 17:00, on 2nd January.

Entry for three days, including camping, food, and ferry ride costs £150.

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