Call it a gran fondo. Call it a gravel grinder. Call it a brevet. Call it a gravel ride. We call it WALLA WALLA GRIT. And it's going to be awesome.
Allegro Cyclery is delighted to bring a gravel event to Walla Walla, showcasing the vast network of gravel roads in the scenic Blue Mountains. It's going to be tough, but the views will be worth it. It's going to be epic, and will probably hurt at times. But hey, this is the stuff good stories are made of, right!?
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Walla Walla is famous for its renowned road riding, but the locals have been venturing into the Blue Mountains for years to get their fix of first class gravel roads. All three courses stay together for the first 24 miles, which includes the iconic (and challenging) Cottonwood Creek climb. Some of these Vitamin-G gems are roads the local cyclists don't even know about! It could be hot, but we will be climbing up into the mountains, so come prepared and err on the side of caution.
Staging: Walla Walla Airport Industrial Park - Stay tuned for exact cross-street location.
Start Time: 6AM Long Course, 8AM Medium Course, 9AM Short Course
Price: Early-bird pricing is in effect!! $45 (short course), $55 (medium course), $65 (long course). Prices go up by $10 each after August 18th!
Routes: We will have cue sheets available, and the course clearly marked. Want to be awesome and prepared? Download the .gpx and have it ready on your device or cell phone!
Registration: Please visit our registration page on BikeReg.
Warning: This is a hard ride. All three courses have steep sections some might walk up without proper gearing. Courses are designed for experienced cyclists and are not for the faint of heart!
Equipment: Well that's the question isn't it? Everyone has an opinion, so we won't dare tell you what bike to bring. These rides could be completed on Cyclocross, Gravel, or Mountain bikes. The Allegro staff will be running a Kona Sutra LTD with 700x50 Soma Cazaderos, a Kona Rove LTD with 650x47 WTB Byways, and a Jamis Renegade with 700x40 Vittoria Terreno Dry's. Both the Short and Medium Courses have the roughest gravel segments on the climbs and relatively smooth gravel on the descents. I could see folks running 700x32 tires (or even a 700x28 if you're brave and lightweight) without issue, though we'd probably run 40mm. Long Course riders - we strongly recommend at least a 35mm tire. The roads on the upper section of the course (after the Alpine Outpost feed station) are rough at times, and the Tiger Canyon descent is no joke, with legit pinch flat material (both washboard and big-ish rocks). If you're on the fence, go wider with your tire selection, and running tubeless is a good choice (as long as you have tubeless specific wheels and tires).
Perhaps a more significant equipment discussion is gearing. There is a lot of climbing on these routes. Analyze the routes and come prepared with the gearing that will work for you. I tend to spin more than other folks, but my easiest climbing gear is a 24t in front and 36t in the rear, and I have certainly used that gear on some of these climbs. Don't have a bike you think fits the 'gravel bike' designation? Bring your mountain bike and laugh at your friends on drop bars as you spin a nice cadence and they mash up the climbs!
We Provide: 3 clearly marked, stellar gravel courses. Seriously, you will be stunned it has taken us so long to share these roads with you. Well-stocked aid stations interspersed throughout. A unique, limited WALLA WALLA GRIT bandana (for fashion, first-aid, and keeping that neck outta the sun). Finish times for all participants will be posted in the traditional (it's-not-a-race-but-we-are-all-on-bikes-and-we-are-cyclists-so-it-might-be-a-race) style. We will have a few SAG wagons out on course, along with at least 1 roving Moto support, and it is our intent to make sure everybody is well cared for. With that said, you should come into this ride planning to be self-sufficient. Proper clothing, flat fixes, mechanicals, nutrition between aid stations; it's all on you or the benevolence of your fellow riders.