Ride To Party | Grinduro is headed for Falls Creek in December


Grinduro has finally made it to the promised land, bringing the eclectic racing format to Falls Creek from December 2-4, 2022.

With two distance options on offer, the team at Falls are aiming to make it more than just a day riding your bike.

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What is Grinduro?

Started in 2015 in Quincy, California, Grinduro combines a gravel race and a gravity enduro into one event. The course is one long loop, but the placings aren’t based on your overall time, instead, four timed stages along the way determine the final standings. Outside of those segments, there is no need to rush, so ride at your own pace and enjoy the atmosphere.

Grinduro is what you would get if a gravel race and a gravity enduro had a baby.

“The Grinduro catchphrase is ‘the race to party ratio.’ The whole idea is that you’re riding with your mates, you get to a stage, push through, and then you can take as long as you want. We’ll have all sorts of stops and other things happening along the way. It’s a bit like Ignition, but with a racing element,” says James Eggleston, Event Supervisor at Falls Creek.

Eggleston was playing the cards close to his chest as to what these extracurriculars would be, but the stops and feed zones at the Grinduro events held overseas are legendary — expect whisky shots, games, lake swims, live music and other shenanigans.

What other race can you work on your tan, or relax in an innertube with a beverage, mid-event?

The festival element of Grinduro Falls Creek will include a handmade bike show, live music and DJs, a kid’s space where they’ll run circus workshops, and the Bright Brewery Bar will be slinging cold ones. Eggleston also tells us they’re hoping to run an art exhibition, and each of the event sponsors will be bringing something “unique.” Again not wanting to ruin the surprise, he wasn’t able to say exactly what the extra pizazz would be but said it could be something like a game, think the SRAM shot wheel at a feed zone or a Rubber Duck race p/b Giro at the lake — again these were hypotheticals.

Also planned is a shake-down ride the day before, a recovery ride the day after, and group yoga/pilates classes too.

You’ll need a ticket to ride the event, but the festival is free, so bring the family!

Grinduro is as much of a party as it is a bike ride. And if the US and European events are the style guide, they look like a damn good time.
Expect live music in the event village and possibly out on the course, with plenty going on throughout the day.

The Grinduro course

The full Grinduro will cover 80km around the resort and out into the Bogong High Plains, while the Grindurito will cover 40km.

The actual route will be kept under lock and key until two weeks before the race, but Eggleston did provide some teasers.

“It is a mix of renowned, iconic Falls Creek singletrack, including a brand new trail set to launch at Ignition — this will actually be the first event that races that trail.

It then leaves the resort and uses the existing gravel network of the Bogong High Plains and Alpine National Park, venturing out around the Rocky Valley Storage and past some iconic huts. There’s even a section that on any other day of the year, you’re not allowed to have bikes on, so this course will only be available for Grinduro,” says Eggleston.

The course will take advantage of the trails in the resort but also head out on the double track and access roads out into the backcountry, including an area that isn’t traditionally open to bikes.

With the two-distance options, the shorter 40km course still includes three of the stages, and there is no separate sign-up for the Grindurito. They’ll have signage and people at the fork in the course, and it will be up to the riders to make a game-time decision as to which they want to do — you won’t even need to tell the event staff, as they’ll be able to work it out based on the times.

Designed as a day-long off-road adventure, riders take on gravel roads, singletrack, hiking trails, the aqueduct and more. Being that the best gravel bike is, in fact, a mountain bike, it begs the question, wouldn’t riding an XC bike give you an automatic advantage?

“I asked a similar question to the Grinduro team when I took the event over, and the idea is to design a course where the stages are varied so that they give an advantage to different people (on different types of bikes) depending on the stage,” says Eggleston.

As long as it has knobby tyres and can be ridden off-road, it’s the perfect bike for Grinduro. The route will have certain sections that will play into the strengths of different types of bikes.

With the route still classified, Eggleston wasn’t able to reveal too many nitty-gritty details of the course. But he did go into enough detail to explain how the terrain levels the playing field.

“The first stage has the most descending, and the second half is on a gravity flow trail — so mountain bikes will be at an advantage on that stage. But, we’re calling the second stage ‘King of the Mountain’ because it climbs to the highest drivable point in Victoria. Dual suspension mountain bikes will be severely handicapped on that one because it’s basically all climbing.”

On the surface, it sounds like an XC bike would be an advantage. However, the stages have been designed to level the playing field.

Grinduro race categories

Regardless of the bike you decide to ride, everyone will be in one bike field — except for single speeders, you crazy cats get your own division.

The full Grinduro will have Men’s and Women’s pro, junior, and open divisions with age groups ranging from 30 and under to 60, as well as a 61+ masters group. Eggleston tells us they’re still finalising how the categories will work for Grindurito, but it’s looking like it will be one big open division and a separate class for single speeders.

Basically, all of your food and drinks on the day of the event are included with your race entry.

What can you eat at Grinduro?

Your entry into the race includes three meals on Saturday, plus all of the feed stations. Breakfast and dinner will be served at the event village, but lunch is happening at Wallace Hut — the oldest surviving hut in the Victorian Alps — for those riding the full distance. Grindurito folks will get their lunch back at the event village.

“Wallace Hut is not at the beginning or the end of any of the stages, so we’re planning to have a few things happening out there so people can take their time and hang out, have a feed, and maybe have a beer or something,” says Eggleston.

“Then everyone will be handed a beer at the finish, that’s all included in the ticket, as well as whatever you have out on the course,” he says.

Wallace Hut Grinduro
Lunch at Wallace Hut? Sign us up!

Grinduro accommodation

Traditionally a Grinduro ticket gains you access to the event campsite, however, there is no camping within the resort area — though there are places to pitch a tent further afield. So Falls Creek has partnered with the Alpha Lodge Falls Creek to transform it into the Hotel Grinduro for the weekend. The accommodation packages available through the website see a discounted nightly rate built into the price.

Where to get your Grinduro tickets?

Tickets are on sale now, and Eggleston tells Flow that the accommodation packages are selling fast.

You can find more info or sign up for Grinduro on the event website.

Grinduro is a pretty kooky take on race, combining two disciplines from opposite ends of the spectrum of bike racing.

Photos: Matt Rousu / Falls Creek, Sam Purdie / Falls Creek, Brad Holmes / Grinduro, Elliot Layda / Grinduro, Egelmair Photography / Grinduro

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