The Solstice Gravel Grinder is an annual gravel cycling event held in the southeastern region of Nebraska. The event, now in its seventh year, started as a grassroots initiative and has since grown in popularity, attracting cyclists from the region and beyond. The event will start and end in Beatrice, Nebraska. Strambecco rates the events as one of the Best Gravel Events in the Midwest.
The Solstice Gravel Grinder route covers various communities in the southeast Nebraska region, including Holmesville, Barneston, Odell, Steele City, Endicott, and Diller. The ride covers a mix of flat to hilly and super hilly gravel roads, making it a challenging ride for participants of all skill levels. The Solstice 100 (The Hundy) is the original distance of the event and is limited to 150 riders. The Solar Fiddy is a 50+ mile gravel grinder limited to 125 riders, while the 50K Kindler (31 miles) is a shorter route that mixes miles on the newly completed Chief Standing Bear Trail. A new category, the Hundy Team Relay, was added in recent years, requiring teams to have at least one female member.
The Solstice Gravel Grinder is a self-supported event, and riders are required to bring enough supplies to get through the day. While there are several checkpoints along the way, only water and limited SAG support are provided. However, riders can stop at local convenience stores or bars for their needs. The event attracts a mix of local riders and cyclists from further afield, creating a lively and diverse atmosphere.
Solstice showcases the natural beauty of the southeastern region of Nebraska, with lush forests, rolling hills, and winding rivers. The event is well-organized and supported, with rest stops and aid stations along the way to provide riders with refreshments, mechanical support, and encouragement. The event concludes with a post-ride celebration featuring food, drinks, and live music, creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere for all participants.
Participants should note that the event takes place on the day before the longest day of the year, and temperatures can be high. Therefore, riders need to prepare adequately for the conditions. The event organizers release the routes a week before the event and provide downloadable cue cards and GPS files. However, riders need to print the routes themselves as the organizers do not provide them on the day of the event.
Finally, riders must understand that they are responsible for their safety and well-being. The event organizers, sponsors, promoters, or staff do not bear any responsibility for the participants’ safety or well-being before, during, or after the event. The Solstice Gravel Grinder is a challenging and exciting event that showcases the natural beauty of the southeastern region of Nebraska, and participants need to prepare adequately to enjoy it fully.