Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder
“Wanna take a ride?” That’s a line from a 1997 science-fiction movie “Contact” with Jodi Foster and Matthew McConaughey.
But for now we will allow it to be an invitation to participate in this year’s annual Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder mountain bike ride in Lincoln County on June 17.
With its deep canyons, high peaks, unique volcanic rock formations and juniper–pine forests, riders and visitors alike will find it an enjoyable place to unplug and unwind from the often hectic routines of daily life.
Gravel Grinder organizer Dawn Andone, park interpreter at Cathedral Gorge State Park, says, “This is one of the reasons we started the ride – to get people into the beautiful back country. It’s a side of Nevada most people do not experience.”
She says everyone knows Las Vegas is the best known destination in the state, “But there is so much more in Nevada to explore than the Las Vegas Strip.”
On a ride like the Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder, mountain bikers, even beginning riders, can come out and enjoy the hospitality offered and see the places Nevada back country has to offer. Many return year after year for that very reason alone.
Writer Mark Orton, USA Cyclin certified Level 1 coach, has said, “gravel grinders are rides, (sometimes races) that combine riding on surfaces such as asphalt, gravel dirt, some single-track trails and maintenance or B roads. The courses vary from hard pack dirt to softball sized rocks. That pretty much describes this ride to a T.”
Orton admits the Beaver Dam course can be challenging, sometimes a bit grueling, occasionally testing your endurance on some of the more rocky sections. But he thinks the spectacular views to be had are worth the effort.
A note to all: this ride is not skinny-tired road bike friendly. If you have a fat-tire bike, mountain bike, cyclocross bike, or adventure/all-purpose bike you will be able to do this ride.
Though some support is offered, this is a gravel grinder and not a gran fondo. It emphasizes radical self-reliance and features few amenities. You need to be technically savvy and bring any gear you might need to replace or fix tires, chains, or any other possible pitfalls. There will be stops along the way with water and snacks; make sure to bring any special food or drink you like to have while riding. The course will be marked, and Rangers will be driving the route.
Andone said signups are now being accepted for the Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder Bike Ride June 17. The Gravel Grinder routes to choose from are a 35-mile or a 45-mile ride, both tailored to advanced, intermediate and beginning riders. Lunch is provided in the afternoon and a barbeque dinner in the late afternoon following the ride.
Sign up on line to pre-register at www.beaverdamgravelgrinder.com. Registration fee is $40.
— Dave Maxwell