Oregon hosts the five-day Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder stage race with Peter Stetina, Geoff Kabush, Carl Decker, Rebecca Fahringer and Alison Tetrick part of a stellar racetrack.
Unlike the recent Unbound Gravel One Day Race, the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder is a multi-stage event with a winner based on cumulative time. This is a relatively new aspect of gravel racing in the United States, but more races will pick up on this trend in 2021.
“This is the first stage race on gravel. This first happened in 2019 and personally it’s what excites me the most all year, ”said Stetina. Cycling news on the eve of step 1.
“I’ve always loved getting stuck in multi-stage events and with all the gravel schedule I’m doing now, I want this to be my bread and butter. There are a few more races coming up this year, like with the event in Kenya, the Trans Rockies and Gravel Royal, but this one is a year ahead.
The race is supposed to favor mountain bikers on the ground, a fact that could put a former road pro like Stetina on the back foot, but there are also enough meters of climbing in the race that the American can also. use their best talents. . This year’s course is 563 kilometers over five days with 9,144 meters of elevation gain.
Either way, hostilities will end at the finish line with runners camping together each time and toasting to the action of the day over a cold beer or two.
“It’s five days, four nights and you’re basically running point to point and campsite to campsite. You have somewhere between 60-90 mile stages, mountain passes, sandy single tracks but also smooth gravel roads. You have either your camping assistance van or your tent that the organizers move for you. Then there is a big party every night. There’s a leader’s jersey and everything. I think it could be yellow.
For Stetina, the GC angle brings a whole new dimension to dirt racing, and it’s a dimension he embraces, especially as a former roadie.
“The GC makes it interesting because you can’t hide like you can on the road. You can’t just wait and then pick your moment on the Queen Stage. Something’s going too wrong for you, it’s about the way you handle it.
“It will be good to win the general classification but I hope to at least win a stage. It is famous for its mountain biking trails here in Bend and its mountain biking culture. It’s more technical here. Looks like the mountain bikers have the upper hand here but hopefully I can use my strength on the climbs and get ahead on the technical stuff.
“The pitch is super strong and Carl [Decker] is here and it really is his backyard. He won the last edition by taking about ten minutes on stage 1, which was mostly all downhill. His entire Giant team is strong. The women’s peloton is also very rich with Tetrick, Fahringer, Kaysee Armstrong, Sarah Sturm, Kathy Pruitt and Sarah Max. “
Stage 1 is Sisters to Blue River, Oregon, covering 118 km with 1,950 vertical meters on 80% gravel roads.