Natalie Raborn, June 6, 2019
There is a new mountain bike stage race in Colorado, and it has great potential to fill the need for a wide range of mountain bikers. The G3 (Grand Gear Grind) is a 3 day mountain bike stage race based in Granby Ranch and Winter Park area from June 28-30 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Winter Park offers endless miles of both high alpine mountain bike, technical descents, smooth as butter singletrack and some of the best views in the world. The course may be impacted by our massive snow this winter, but after a recent conversation with the race director, I have no doubt he will look to incorporate the trails to maximize the challenge and fun factor.
If you have dreams to one day do the Breck Epic, this is a great precursor to get a feel for stage racing without the complete beat-down. I have done the Breck Epic 4 times, and I don’t recommend doing it unless you have the time to train and be ready. Because this is a new race, I don’t know how long the days are but I suspect between 2 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours depending on who you are. This means the race is a little more doable for those of you who are weekend warriors with some weekday training thrown in when work and family commitments allow it.
If you are signed up to do the USA Cycling Nationals, Breck Epic or the Leadville 100, the timing of this race is perfect. Racing at high altitude in Colorado always adds another element that is very difficult to train for unless you live in the High County. The G3 gives your mind and body a chance to experience what it is like to race at altitude. It remains to be seen, but I suspect the days will be slightly shorter. The timing of this event also allows you to still recover and be ready for your later season goals.
For a 3 day stage race this race seems quite affordable, and accommodation in Winter Park is of abundance in the summers. I don’t recommend driving each day from the front range, the key to a successful stage race is race, eat, recover, sleep – adding 2-3 hours of driving per day will not set you up for success. The race entry includes a jersey (yes, women sizes also), race swag, daily post race food..(I assume this means oranges, PB sandwiches etc and not an actual meal), daily beer (yum, but I recommend you keep your consumption at a minimum until the end of Day 3), and a finisher Beer Stein.
I am going to do this race as a lead into the USA Cycling XC Nationals. If you are planning on racing the Winter Park USA Cycling Nationals unless you are a pro racer, you MUST pre-qualify. This race will also get you pre-qualified for that event.
I am not affiliated with the event, but pulled the below information from their site. For the most up to date information visit www.g3race.com
I am excited to check out another stage race in the area, and post race I will follow up with a blog post about my experience. If you have any questions about preparing or racing a stage race, please reach out firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie is the Owner of High Road Coaching. She is a USA Cycling Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Health coach, one of the founding members of Team Yeti Beti and recently won a USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Champion.