The famous True Grit Epic MTB race weekend is a world-class mountain bike event and expo taking place yearly over a three-days in Santa Clara, Utah. The event is the first leg of the National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE), a series that includes some of the best mountain biking events in the country. The True Grit is a top-of-the-line and beyond-fun festival-style mountain bike event that will see many traveling from outside Utah to race, eat and drink the many options the race organizers bring. The event is produced by Gro Races which produces many top events, including True Grit Gravel Epic, which takes place the following weekend.
There are now multiple options for racing, transcending mountain biking to include gravel racing. The options are The Extreme Grit Stage Race (gravel and mountain), the Grit Gravel Epic, The Grit Mountain Epic, and The Grit 15 Mountain Challenge.
Starting with the pure gravel event, the True Grit Gravel Grinder is a seriously fun challenge with 84 miles of riding and a leg-throbbing 9000 feet of climbing. Some gravel races lack a full off-road experience, with large sections diverted to Tarmac. The True Grit Grinder is a heartwarming 80 percent offroad making the route profile not only a beautiful but physically demanding endeavor. There are fully stocked feed bag zones at miles 20, 34, 46, 57, and 71, respectively. Looking at the course profile, climbing legs are a necessity in the Grit Grinder; after an easy 10-mile roll, riders will be met with a challenging 2000-foot climb with some rolling, non-rest type of riding at the top, which is then followed by a long-needed descent into the first rest stop. Luckily the hardest climb is out of the way, but you will still be met with a challenging mile 35-40 with one medium and two additional punchy climbs into the second rest stop. There is a nice descent and one hard push into the final rest stop at the top of the final climb. The course organization, especially when looking at the climbing profile, is very nice towards the end of the race, as the final 20 miles are a well-deserved downhill which is better than stacking the climbing in the end. The True Grit Gravel grinder is an excellent race that is a wonderful addition and member of the race weekend.
The True Grit Mountain Epic is the pinnacle mountain bike race and course for this Utah bike heaven of a weekend. Riders can select either the base race, which is a straight 50 miles simply the TG 50. OR you can take it up a serious notch and enter the True Grit 100, which is two laps of the 50 course, totaling an obvious 100 miles. The course is just under 50 miles and 5,150 feet of climbing which is the total for the 50 race but brings the elevation gain of the 100 to 10,300 feet if climbing. Compared to other endurance mountain bike races, the True Grit 50/100 course is incredibly punchy, with the climbing being depressed into 400-800 foot climbs, respectively, which you can see the sharpness very well in the course profile below. With four feed zones for the 50 course at 13.7, 19.6, 36.5, and 41, respectively, the stations remain for the 100 if you are doing a second lap, so the mile markers are 55.5, 62, 79, and 85 miles. The True Grit Mountain 100 is part of the National Ultra Endurance Race Series (NUE MTB) (Strambecco NUE listings), a calendar of 9 of the best 100 miles mountain bike racers from around the country where you can compete to score the most overall points in the series. The other 100 miles in the series are all excellent events in their own right, like The High Cascades 100 and the Big Bear Grizzly 100. The True Grit Mountain Epics are top-of-the-line single-track desert experiences that mix mid-winter riding with the incredible desert scenery; a bucket list event by all means.
The True Grit 15 Mountain Challenge is a much more tame rider compared to the ladder over the weekend. While shorter, riding over Southwest Utah single track with plenty of climbing is still a physical challenge. There will be two aid stations, and for every rider who wants to take their time, lacks fitness, is riding with kids, or is out to have fun, there is no time cut-off for the ride, so take your time!
For all of you fit and crazy people: I have finally arrived at the point in this event listing where I will now lead you into the gates of hell and describe the Extreme Grit Stage race. Stage one is a gravel/road/mountain hybrid with solid climbs but some loose descents, so please be careful. Stage Two is the True Grit Gravel Grinder, and stage three is True Grit Epic 50. If you are beast enough to enter the race, some important information is that you will not start with the other racers in the Stage two grinder nor the stage three epic 50; you will start at different times with the Stage Racers only, making it a unique competitive environment. In my opinion, a memorable and legendary endeavor; all riders who are serious about challenge and adventure should consider this stage race before they die: a world-class event is an understatement. The First Stage’s interactive map is just below.
The National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) comprises an Epic Series, 100-mile events, and a Marathon series, which includes 50-mile and 75k length events.
- True Grit 100/50
- Cohutta 100 – Big Frog 65
- Mohican MTB 100
- Wilderness 101k
- Telluride 100/50
- Shenandoah 100
- Marji Gesick 100/50
- Ring of Fire 100
- Big Grizzly 100/75
- Carrabassett 100
- Pierre’s Hole 50/100
The Grit Expo weekend is an excellent three-day Jamboree bringing the Gravel and Mountain Bike clubs together for their tough races and a world-leading stage race combining the two disciplines in fashion. The option of two laps of the Grit 50 course to complete the 100 cumulative miles is an excellent addition, especially with being a National Ultra Endurance Series event. Other than the super-fit and extreme riders out there, it is great to see a 15-mile mountain bike route in which the same amount of effort is put into its creation and a great 2-mile kids’ race. With top logistics, food trucks, drinking options, a fair-style expo, and riding your bike, the True Grit Epic is one of the best mountain bike festivals in the world.