Beaver Dam 49er Gravel Grinder
For bicycle enthusiasts to start the summer season, the Nevada State Parks offer the 4th annual Gravel Grinder, scheduled for June 18 in Lincoln County.
Josh Ivins, park supervisor at both Cathedral Gorge and Beaver Dam State Parks, said the traditional 35-mile course will be much the same. “It’s a bit more intense than runs on paved roads, and we are encouraging participants to not use narrow gauge tires. They’ll blow out quickly. Full mountain bike tires are best. It’s a great fat tire experience.”
Beginning at Beaver Dam, it is a beautiful ride and scenery in the mountains of eastern Lincoln County. “Our roads looks to be in really good condition this year,” Ivins said. “If you have attended before come out again. If not, make this year the year you do.”
Ivins said there are three routes being planned from 10 to 50 miles. Lunch will be served at the midway stop in Barclay, with its picturesque historic church building, and a BBQ dinner at the end back at Beaver Dam Park.
It’s a chance for a complete weekend experience, even for families. Camp sites are available at one of the two park campgrounds. Beaver Dam State Park is about 35 miles east of Caliente, or a motel room can be booked in Caliente.
Registration fee is only $40 and can be done online at beaverdamgravelgrinder.com.
One of Nevada’s best kept secrets, Lincoln County offers numerous hidden gems, and Beaver Dam State Park is one of them. From its deep canyons to its highest peaks, the Park’s unique volcanic rock formations and juniper, pinyon and pine forests offer visitors a place to unplug and unwind for the daily routine. It’s an opportunity to get into the beautiful back country, a side of Nevada that most people do not experience. It is true that Las Vegas may be the best known destination, but there is so much more in the state to explore than downtown or the Strip.
While the Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder is not a race, but is, rather, a casual, recreational ride, there are a number of “gravel grinder” events in the U.S. that are races. According to Mark Orton, USA Cycling certified Level 1 coach, “Gravel grinders are gravel road races and rides that combine riding on surfaces such as asphalt, gravel, dirt, some single-track trails and maintenance or B roads. The courses vary from hard-packed dirt to softball-sized rocks. “
The ride is intended to be fun yet challenging. It can be a grueling course traveling over gravel and dirt roads, some with rocky sections that may test your endurance, while at the same time offering many spectacular vistas that make the effort worthwhile.
The prize is not only the wonderful scenic views you will enjoy; when you reach the end, there will be delicious food. Who can do better than that?
From a technical point of view, this ride is not skinny-tire 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. It does emphasize 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, but also make sure to bring any special food or drink you like to have while riding. The course will be marked, and Park Rangers will be driving the route and can even bring a person in, if necessary.
Sign-in packet pick-up will be from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the Campground B Group Use Area on Friday, June 17. The ride begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning at the B Group Use Area and ends there as well about 3 p.m., followed by the BBQ dinner.
If you chose to stay in Caliente Friday night, you are asked to call or text 775-843-9504 to sign in.
Another very popular biking event, the Park-to-Park Pedal, and Extreme 100, takes place in Lincoln County in early October.
— Dave Maxwell