You aren’t in Kansas any more…
There are 3 course options – GRiT, GRiT L, and GRiT XL. Each of these are challenging in different ways. Every course features challenging climbs, thrilling descents, and amazing viewpoints.
These courses are not champagne gravel. The surfaces are a mix of smooth, sandy, rocky, rutted, paved, muddy, and everything but boring. There are gates, water crossings (L & XL), downed trees, single track, pavement, and drainage ditches. You will likely run across wild turkey, cattle, elk, bear, and other locals maybe even Sasquatch. The uphills will make you cry, and the downhills will make you wish you were still going up.
Start / Finish
Each course starts and finishes at Dru Bru in Cle Elum at 8am on Sunday 7/10. All riders start on the streets of Cle Elum in a neutral roll out for about 2 miles until they hit the first gravel. From there it is game on… and up.
GRiT – A worthy day in the Teanaway
While the GRiT course is only 35 miles, it packs a whopping 4000′ of climbing. This course is perfect for those gravel riders and mountain bikers who want to get a taste of riding in Cle Elum, Roslyn, and the Teanaway. The course will take you up and over the Roslyn ridge. Then you will enjoy a nice loop in the Teanaway followed by a trip back over the ridge and down to Cle Elum. Expected ride times are around 4 hours. You will likely get back to the post ride party first but please leave some goodies for other finishers.
GRiT L – You will feel this in the morning
The L course will bring you deeper into the Teanaway. Building on the GRiT course, you will diverge near the Indian Camp Campground. Here the course will take you uphill and then down into the rarely ridden and beautiful Rye Creek zone. After a challenging uphill and more challenging downhill, you will ride the smooth and quiet pavement back to the Teanaway campground before the cruel final climb over the ridge. The totals for GRiT L are 47 miles and 5200′ of climbing. Expected ride times are around 5.5 hours. This will be tough, but at least you were smart enough not to sign up for XL…
GRIT XL – Probably a bad idea but, perhaps that is what you are in to
The GRiT XL course is intended only for those riders who have either lost a bet or like to hurt themselves. We know several of you that this is perfect for. This builds on the L course by adding the massive Red Top loop. This loop starts with broken pavement and climbs at a more gentle grade. After a bit of descent, you will climb near the Red Top fire lookout before descending Dickey creek back to the North Fork road. A small section of pavement will lead to the final climb up and over the Roslyn ridge. You get more mileage (68), more climbing (8700′), more suffering, and less pavement. Expected ride times are around 8-9 hours. You have been warned…
Course notes – AKA the “inside scoop”
Some key things to remember:
1) The course is open to traffic and other users. Be very careful if riding the wrong side of the road on un-gated sections for example.
2) Keep your speed under control because road surfaces can vary quickly.
Cle Elum to Ridge
This first climb comes pretty quickly and hits hard. The gravel surface is very nice and the the course is straightforward. There is one gate mid-way on the climb that is easy to ride around
Ridge to AS1
This first downhill (and last climb) is a bit deceiving. It starts with a small roam through the woods and then onto the gravel road. You will be tempted to open things up here, but keep your speed under control as there are some sandy sections that can issues for skinny tires or less experienced riders. There is a bit of simple single track that leads to some downed trees that will require a dismount for most riders. After you cross the bridge at the bottom, you will see the first aid station. Watch for horses and uphill bike traffic on this section, especially near the bottom.
This is a pretty straightforward section as well with a variety of road surfaces. Nothing very challenging from a technical perspective. About mid-way, the L and XL peel off for their trip to Rye creek while the GRiT riders head back south to aid station. Watch for horses and other possible users here.
This section is short, challenging, and rewarding. The climb is mostly in the open so sun could be a factor. Just past the second gate, the course pitches down on an old logging road. You really need to be on point here because of the road surface. There are rocks, ruts, and big drainage berms that will buck the unaware. This will be section where a Mtn bike is most effective. Whatever you are on, take it easy and make it down. After the main DH section, there are grassy fields and some nice views. Enjoy!
The XL riders will turn left off of North Fork Teanaway to Jack creek road for a long climb on a nice road the alternates from gravel to (old) pavement and back to gravel. The first descent is also very smooth. So smooth, in fact, that FS9702 will come as a bit of a shock. The road here is more difficult with baby-head rocks and some loose surfaces. After the climb (finally) ends, you will head down Dickey Creek road (9702-115). Here is the surface is nice, but not often travelled. About 1/3 of the way down, you will encounter a gate. Past this, expect rougher surfaces and drainage berms. At the bottom there is one more gate to ride around, and then carefully get back on the North Fork to ride down to AS1. The un-gated sections are popular with motos, quads, and Tacomas, so be aware.
AS1 to Ridge
Final climb! You will mostly retrace your course back up to the ridge. This isn’t the hardest climb, but it is long and demanding so pace yourself. Also, look around because there are great views that you didn’t see on the way down.
Ridge to Cle Elum
The final descent is the same of the first climb. This time you will appreciate the steepness and gravel a bit more than the way up. Remember there is a gate mid-way just past a corner. Also important, there very well might be other vehicles on the road so ride with care. Once the hill is complete, ride the streets of Cle Elum back to Dru Bru and revel in your accomplishments!
Complete course map
Here is a complete Google map of all the courses, the aid stations, and start / finish. We have added camping locations and 3 possible bail out routes if things don’t go your way.