"A great challenge...and the scenery was nearly peerless!"
Allegro Cyclery is delighted to showcase the vast network of gravel roads in the scenic Blue Mountains on Sunday September 8th. If you came out for Walla Walla Grit in 2018, you know. You know you're in for a challenge. You know the camaraderie is worth it. You know the climbs aren't playing around and you know the vistas make it all worthwhile. We had a blast in our inaugural year and we can't wait to make it happen again. We hope you'll join us.
Check out a sneak peak of the signature Cottonwood Creek climb! Footage captured by our friends at Mainstem Malt:
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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. 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 - Parking and staging will be across the street from Quirk Brewing. 425 B St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
When: Sunday September 8th - 6AM Long Course, 8AM Medium Course, 9AM Short Course
Price: Early-bird pricing remains the same as 2018!! $45 (short course), $55 (medium course), $65 (long course). Prices go up by $15 each after June 30th!
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! Use the Results page from last year to gauge finishing times of your peers, and plan accordingly.
Tire Choice: These courses can be completed on Cyclocross, Gravel, or Mountain bikes, though the Gravel Bike designation would probably be the best fit. Last year the narrowest tires we saw were 28mm on the Short Course. That rider had 3 flats and shredded a tire. Learn from his mistakes! Everybody has their opinion on gear and we respect that. But our opinion is wider tires will make for a more pleasant ride.
Both the Short and Medium Courses are roughest on the climbs and have relatively smooth gravel on the descents. 700x32 is the narrowest we would go, but a 40mm tire might just be perfect.
Long Course riders - we strongly recommend at least a 35mm tire. We think 50mm is the right choice. In 2018 multiple folks commented on how rough the course is between Aid #3 and Aid #4. It will be rough again. Wider tires feel better on your rattling bones. You have been warned. The Tiger Canyon descent has legit pinch flat material (both washboard and big-ish rocks), plus this is definitely goat-head territory, so if your wheels/tires are compatible we'd recommend running tubeless.
Gearing: There is a lot of climbing on these routes. Analyze the course profile and come prepared with the gearing that will work for you. We had several folks wish they had installed better climbing gears on their bike. Our 2 cents: Make sure you have a 1:1 ratio at a minimum, but if you can do better, go for it. We think 24t in the front and 36t rear feels really good on this course. Don't have a bike that fits the 'gravel bike' designation? Bring your mountain bike and laugh at your friends as you spin a nice cadence up the climbs! We had several mountain bikes in all 3 categories finish the course in 2018.
Learn from the words of last year's riders:
"I heard elk bugles on cottonwood! It was awesome!!!!! Really really enjoyed the route."
"I had 650b x 47mm tires and went into this course with extreme confidence in the tires. I had friends who miraculously finished on 700x33, and I am still unsure how they did it." (Long Course Rider)
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 fondo fashion. We will have limited roving support on course, apart from our well-stocked aid stations. 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.
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