The Hammer Road Rally, produced by Bike Monkey, is one of California’s premiere gravel events. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in California and the Southwest, it features some of the most incredible roads and scenery you can find on two wheels. It occurs near the end of California’s road cycling season before winter grips the higher elevations. The fall colors are incredible this time of year, and crisp air at elevation fills your lungs. The event has ride options for most ability levels, with the longest route, the Hammer, being a timed, competitive event with prizes awarded to top finishers across various age/gender categories. The Hammer is an epic ride with one particular gravel climb you won’t forget. In preparing for this event, keep the altitude in mind, both the Sierra and the climbing elevation offered on each route!
The Hammer Road Rally is a distinctive tribute to the late Edward O. Lund, an avid cyclist, artist, and a passionate life enthusiast. It is not just a celebration of the competitive spirit and the beauty of cycling but also a homage to art and music, encapsulating Edward’s multifaceted passions. The rally symbolizes a journey that goes beyond competition; it’s a confluence of cycling, art, and music, with the event’s proceeds aiding aspiring artists at Fresno State University through scholarship programs, thereby keeping Edward’s legacy alive.
Event & Course Info
In exploring the Hammer Road Rally routes, participants have a variety of challenges and terrain to choose from. The Hammer Route is a competitive and timed course covering 69 miles with an elevation gain of 8,700’. This route, altered due to slides, promises a monumental ascent to Kaiser Pass at 9,196′, offering riders panoramic views and the experience of unique terrain. Aid Stations for this route are available at Miles 12.5, 28.2, 45, and 57.7. The timing concludes at Kaiser Pass, allowing participants to relish the rest of the ride with friends amid the beauty of nature.
Next is the Hard Route, a demanding journey across 53 miles, achieving 5,897’ in elevation gain. This route blends challenging climbs with mixed, chunky road and gravel, descending in a way that is as rewarding as it is demanding, with aid stations at Miles 12.5, 29.6, and 42.2.
For those looking for a less strenuous experience, the Easyish Route is a moderate, 28-mile ride with an elevation gain of 2,885’. This course, in an out-and-back format, features one moderate descent and climb, with aid stations located at Mile 10.9 and 16.5.
Additionally, there is the Sunday Free-Ride with The Vegan Cyclist, a 35-mile, non-competitive, supported ride which comes with basic mechanical support, water, and replenishment, covering an elevation gain of 4,100’. Each of these routes, with their diverse terrain and challenges, offers a unique way to experience the beauty and camaraderie found in the Hammer Road Rally.
Participants are welcomed with a plethora of amenities including fully supported and timed races, mechanical support, post-ride meals, and beverages. The rally is not merely a competitive race but also a celebration of the spirit of cycling, art, and music, encapsulated in the post-race festivities at the Chickaree Amphitheater at Camp Edison. The Hammer route is the star of the timed events, with participants recognized and awarded in various age and gender categories.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
Besides the event, the Shaver Lake region and Sierra National Forest scenery make the Hammer Road Rally worth a visit and a great event to build a weekend around. The Shaver Lake area offers lodging options such as the Shaver Lake Village Hotel or the Elliot House B&B, amazing vacation rentals from A-frame cabins to quaint cottages, and camping is available on site at Camp Edison or at unique one of a kind camping locations in the area.
Shaver Lake, CA offers a cozy culinary scene that mirrors its charming mountainous surroundings, where visitors can indulge in a variety of cuisines, from hearty American comfort foods to flavorful international dishes. Whether it’s enjoying freshly caught trout at a local eatery or savoring a gourmet pizza, the restaurants here deliver a welcoming, rustic ambiance, complemented by views of the serene lake and towering pines. Local favorites include Broken Arrow Restaurant, Velasco’s Mexican Restaurant, and the Trading Post.
Nestled in the Sierra National Forest, Shaver Lake is a sublime retreat, especially in mid to late October, when the air is crisp, the fall colors are in full bloom, and the summer crowds have dispersed. It is during this time that outdoor athletes find a variety of activities to indulge in, surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the lake and the towering pines. Shaver Lake’s diverse trails offer an exciting array of options for trail runners and hikers looking to explore the region’s scenic beauty. One particularly compelling route is the Dinkey Creek Trail, a challenging trail that winds through dense forests and offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Hikers can also explore the multitude of trails, each offering varying levels of difficulty and unique viewpoints, providing ample opportunities to experience the vibrant fall foliage and tranquil landscapes.
October’s crisp air and the vibrant autumn palette create an ideal backdrop for mountain bikers in Shaver Lake. The various trails around the lake cater to all skill levels, with paths like the Musick Mountain Trail offering more advanced bikers a mix of challenging terrains, steep ascents, and thrilling descents. The trail network around Shaver Lake offers a delightful mix of singletrack, rock gardens, and flowy trails, allowing bikers to experience the thrill of the ride amid the stunning beauty of fall colors, and the cooler temperatures mean less overheating and more comfortable rides.
Finally, Shaver Lake is renowned for its abundant fishing opportunities, and October is no exception. The lake is home to a variety of fish, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass. The lesser crowds mean more tranquil fishing experiences, allowing anglers to enjoy the serene environment while casting their lines. A popular spot is The Point, which provides ample space and opportunities to catch some sizable fish. Whether you prefer shore fishing or being out on the water in a boat, the peaceful atmosphere and the chance to reel in a big one make fishing a relaxing and rewarding activity during this time of year.
In addition to Hammer Road Rally, Bike Monkey produces some of the best road and gravel events in California and the greater NorCal / Southwest / Northwest / Rockies, including Levi’s Gran Fondo; Rebecca’s Private Idaho; Stetina’s Pay Dirt; Truckee Dirt Fondo; Fish Rock; Heart of Gold Gravel; and the Hammer Road Rally. They also produce the Boggs MTB event which is one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Northwest.
For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of California and broader Southwest region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class road cycling, trail running, and mountain biking events.