Rick Heckenlaible and I did a modified version of the GRiT L course yesterday. BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front), it’s hard. Hard enough that I punted on going back up and over Cle Elum ridge to get back to the start and instead rode down Teanaway on the pavement with tail firmly between legs which was still difficult due to head winds all the way back to the start. The climbs are harder than my still recovering knee could take which forced me to get off and walk multiple times on the 2 main climbs.
Both Rick and I were riding drop bar, hard tail MTB’s with 2.1″ XC type MTB tires and my gearing is 34-46. Rick’s is well under 1:1 too. I would not have turned down an even smaller front chainring.
There were a wide variety of conditions between really smooth gravel, single track, sandy and muddy sections, multiple dismounts for small creek crossings (feet dry), grassy meadows where the route nearly disappears, rutted erosion channels, erosion control ditches (both the fun catch air type and a LOT of the “I will kill you” over-the-bar type that have a single path around one end).
Tons of great viewpoints to be had everywhere. Really a unique and interesting course.
Hats off to Erik Olson and crew for the route. Here’s the route we did with the modified ending: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/93060282