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Stetina’s Paydirt

May 18, 2024

gravel cyclists at stetina's paydirt

Stetina’s Paydirt has become a favorite gravel event among riders and was picked by Strambecco as one of the Best Gravel Events in California. Started by former World Pro Tour rider Peter Stetina who moved on in 2019 to concentrate on adventure racing with a focus on less-trafficked routes like gravel.  Stetina’s Paydirt offers a supported rugged gravel experience through the Pine Nut Mountains and Eastern Sierras. The main route is 63.5 miles of mixed terrain spanning pavement, gravel, and sand. There are two options for cyclists; both are timed with awards for the top three riders in each category.  The longer Paydirt option with 63.5 miles comes with at least three substantial climbs with 4700 feet in elevation gain followed by rapid descents. The final climb is a difficult single track that starts at mile 42. There is a time cut to qualify for the final climb. Those who do not cut finish their ride on the Medium Course. The Medium Course is 50.7 miles, follows the same ride and climb as Paydirt for the first 35 miles, and keeps to smaller hills for the remainder of the ride with a total of 3100 feet in elevation gain. Along with competitive racing, there are competitions at the post-race festival, including tire tossing and mechanical bull riding, for both participants and supporters to celebrate. The ride starts and ends at Fuji Park.

The event is extra unique with a few fun, creative twists including Wahoo’s Mechanical Bull which will enable participants to gain a 1-1 time bonus, an IRC Tire-Toss which can further help riders score some critical bonus seconds, and finally the Shimano Women’s Paydirt Challenge. Women get center stage with a $5,000 women’s only purse (no men’s purse) and serves as one small step to tackle the problem of gender equality in cycling.

Besides hosting and co-producing his namesake event, Peter Stetina competes in gravel events all over the country and will mix up his equipment choices based on the terrain and the route.  For the Paydirt, he plans to ride the Canyon Grizl for singletrack capabilities with 42MM IRC tires which offer fast rolling on pavement, just wide enough to handle the soft sandy sections while providing solid grip for the singletrack.

Stetina’s Paydirt is produced by Bike Monkey, well known for producing some of the best road and gravel events throughout Northern California and Nevada, including Truckee Dirt Fondo; Fish Rock; Levi’s Gran Fondo; Heart of Gold Gravel; The Bovine Classic. Many of these events we consider to be the Best NorCal Gravel Grinders 2023 and the Best Gravel Events in the Southwest 2023.

Carson City is the capital of Nevada and is known for many historical attractions, outdoor activities, and gaming opportunities. For restaurants, there are many options, like Red’s Old 395 Grill, Garibaldi’s Italian Kitchen in the downtown area, and Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint in Carson Hot Springs. For lodging, participants can stay anywhere in downtown Carson City, close to Fuji Park, or around Lake Tahoe.

Event organizers recommend staying at one of the Stetina’s Paydirt Partners for the event which includes The Federal Hotel who have thoughtfully put together a parking package for van campers as well. Other options are the newly renovated Holiday Inn Express, the Courtyard which is very close to the start/finish, and finally if you are traveling with a small group, the Staybridge Suites is a great option.


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