The Taos Gravel Grinder was started in November of 2016, on a Sunday. It was meant as a year’s end celebratory event just before the start of the ski season. If all went well, riders would be welcomed with an overcast, cold, blustery day, with a thick layer of snow on the higher peaks. Instead, it was warm enough for shorts and short sleeves. Surprisingly, twenty riders showed up to see what this “gravel grinding” thing was all about, some were familiar and some were not. With cue sheets in hand, everyone was off. The day was warm; the riding was wonderful; and for some, it was a long day at 47 miles. We reconvened at the Taos Ale House for burgers, beers, T-Shirts, and trophies. Overall, it was a good first time event by Taos standards. It certainly left encouragement for a 2017 Gravel Grinder.
With plans for the 2017 event underway, organizers ran into some unforeseen circumstances in the form of a catastrophic mountain bike crash. Simply put, the event had to be cancelled and all momentum was lost. Instead of an annual event, days turned into weeks, then months of surgery, recovery, and rehab. The research began. There’s a book out called “Gravel Cycling” by Nick Legan, through VeloPress. No really, it’s a thing, check it out. And after reading what other gravel grinders are like, boy, do we have a long way to go. For example, the Land Run in Stillwater, Oklahoma is 100 miles long. The Almanzo, in Spring Valley, Minnesota is 100 miles; Crusher in the Tushar in Beaver, Utah is 70 miles; Deerfield Dirt Road Randonne, Deerfield, Massachusetts, 112 miles; Rebecca’s Private Idaho, Ketchum, Idaho, 93 miles; Gravel Worlds, Lincoln, Nebraska, 150 miles; Dirty Kanza, Emporia, Kansas, 200 miles; and Trans Iowa, Grinnell, Iowa, is a whopping 337 miles long. Clearly, we have some catching up to do.
So, with all sulking aside and fresh legs under our saddles, organizers have revisited the Taos Gravel Grinder with renewed vigor. Instead of a single day event, there will be a three event series. The original route is intact, but with an extended option. There will be a mid summer event featuring new terrain in the Miranda Canyon area of the Carson National Forest. Ending with a fall season finale combining both routes into an almost 90 mile leg crushing, mind blowing event. Currently, all events are free. That’s right, show up, sign up and ride is all you have to do. A limited amount of series event T-Shirts will be provided. All rides will start on the Taos Plaza and end at the Taos Ale House. Check out or Friend Taos Cycling on Facebook for details and updates on extended and new Miranda Canyon routes.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the 2018 series schedule should go like this:
Apertivo Taos Gravel Grinder- Sunday, April 15th
El Plato Miranda Canyon Grinder- Sunday, July 1st, Wednesday July 4th, or Sunday the 8th of July- Date TBD
El Plato Combinado Gravel Grinder Season Finale- Sunday, October 28th
These are another Unofficial, Unsanctioned, Unsupported, Unbelievable Event Production