Brooke Stehley of Rolf Prima recaps the Salem Gravel Grinder -
With the prediction of great weather for the Salem Gravel Grinder, we couldn’t resist the temptation to go see what it was all about. A few of us from Rolf Prima made the short trip North to join the many locals from all over the state for a course that promised some punishing 40 miles of gravel over a 50+ mile loop.
An array of bikes circled around for the start. From light road bikes, to tandems, to trike recumbents to mountain bikes. It was also great to see so many on Rolf Prima wheels, everything from our light road wheels to our mountain bike wheels out in action! The conditions really were great for anything you had brought!
A solid 100+ riders rolled out from the start together. This was not a “race” as was stated over and over again, but from the fast start you could easily see that there were some hard hitters looking to set some record times off the front. Just a few miles in we hit our first gravel section and it set the day what was to be expected. This first section was thick, loose gravel, with no clean lines and I started to worry if I had some 40+ miles of this, the day was not going to be an easy gravel ride - as many of us had thought.
But it turned out those first few miles of gravel were probably the worst for the whole day, or at least made the rest of the roads seem more manageable. We then moved more into the typical hard-packed gravel roads and even a pavement section here and there. Just enough to give you feeling back in your hands anyhow.
All in all, the day was a tough one that tested your core strength for sure as well as your climbing abilities with some short steep rollers till the very end. The weather could not have been beat and the atmosphere was one for the record books! We highly recommend you put the Salem Gravel Grinder on your list for 2016! We hope to see you out there.