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Ironbull Red Granite Grinder

October 13, 2023 - October 14, 2023

 

Winding its way through beautiful central Wisconsin is the Red Granite Grinder, a premier US gravel event, rated by Strambecco as one of the best in the Midwest.    The event is produced by Ironbull,  a charitable organization that promotes outdoor adventure sports in Central Wisconsin.  Unlike most, the event organizers give an excellent description of this endurance masterpiece. “Riders get a chance to explore the grit in the western portion of Marathon County on several gems that can only be accessed through this race. Riders will fully experience Central Wisconsin by riding through areas not usually open to bikes in addition to passing ginseng fields, dairy farm pastures, barns, and farm fields in each of the 12, 50, 85, or 144-mile races. If you’d like to be a part of the event but don’t want to spend hours on your bike, consider the 12-mile recreational ride or volunteer! Riders will be tested through various hills, with the top male and female climbers crowned “King / Queen of the Hill” before descending trails at Rib Mountain State Park for this only day!” The creme de la creme of the race is the 140-mile version. “Racers are immediately tested on this challenging course. Riders get a taste of what’s in store by climbing 800 feet to the top of Rib Mountain, setting the tone for the day. With lactic acid-filled legs, riders must dismount for a mile hike-a-bike before riders white knuckle down, needing every ounce to maintain focus on the unpracticed yet technical descent. Riders leave the city, where the race travels through the Wausau School Forest with one-of-a-kind bridges. After a spin in the Wausau School Forest, riders take several more miles of dirt via snowmobile trails at Nine Mile County Forest. After a few miles of gravel to Fenwood, riders finally can catch their breath on a rail-to-trail to Edgar. In Edgar, riders enjoy the wooded trails at Scotch Creek Preserve. Riders get some reprieve at a stocked and energized aid station at mile 51 before heading to a redesigned 2020 route north into Lincoln County on several miles of forested gravel. Riders have one last chance to refuel in Red Granite country before tackling the final gut-wrenching climbs. In Maine, riders fly down Billy Goat Hill only to gut it out on the final hills before heading back to downtown Wausau. Riders can finally relax as they welcome flat, smooth pavement to the finish line in the heart of downtown Wausau.”

The 85 miler is a step down from the 140, but it is still no joke. “Riders start on the 140-mile route and are immediately tested. Racers are immediately tested on this challenging course. Riders get a taste of what’s in store by climbing 800 feet to the top of Rib Mountain, setting the tone for the day. With lactic acid-filled legs, riders must dismount for a mile hike-a-bike before riders white knuckle down, needing every ounce to maintain focus on the unpracticed yet technical descent. Riders leave the city, where the race travels through the Wausau School Forest with one-of-a-kind bridges. After a spin in the Wausau School Forest, riders take several more miles of dirt via snowmobile trails at Nine Mile County Forest. After a few miles of gravel to Fenwood, riders finally can catch their breath on a rail-to-trail to Edgar. In Edgar, riders enjoy the wooded trails at Scotch Creek Preserve. Riders get some reprieve at a stocked and energized aid station at mile 51 before the 85-mile route splits off the 140-mile route and heads east, where riders will have the wind at their backs. Riders have one last chance to refuel in Red Granite country before tackling the final gut-wrenching climbs. In Maine, riders fly down Billy Goat Hill only to gut it out on the final hills before heading back to downtown Wausau. Riders can finally relax as they welcome flat, smooth pavement to the finish line in the heart of downtown Wausau.”

Recently introduced are a 50-mile option and a family-friendly 12-mile version. There are frequent, fully stocked aid stations along the course and plenty of pre- and post-race activities. The Red Granite Grinder is a top mixed surface event in the USA and an excellent course for testing yourself for Dirty Kanza and or beyond.

Wausau has earned a reputation as a mecca for outdoor adventure sports. The city is on par with the likes of Bend, Durango, and Santa Fe for its downhill skiing and snowboarding, urban whitewater kayaking, off-road biking, hiking, and mountain biking.  Home to the Midwest’s highest downhill ski hill at Rib Mountain State Park, Granite Peak services 75 runs and a terrain park system referred to as the “Best in the Midwest.” The State Park also has beautiful hiking, trail running, and snowshoe trails.

Wausau is also home to several of Wisconsin’s best mountain bike trail systems. The Sylvan downhill mountain bike course ranges from tough to downright extreme, and nearby parks host over 65 miles of mountain biking trails. The summer season in downtown Wausau provides the only urban whitewater kayaking course in the Great Lake States, and there are numerous rivers and lakes to canoe and kayak.

Wausau is also a city of world-class art museums, touring Broadway productions, great restaurants, and an incredible selection of distilleries and microbreweries. The downtown area regularly buzzes with live music, art festivals, and outdoor concerts throughout the summer months.

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Organizer

Ironbull

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Season
Autumn
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