Very few gravel events travel from one ecozone to another in a few miles. The route runs between the Colorado Plateau, the Mojave Desert, and the Great Basin in one day. You will ride to one of the highest spots above St George, with a spectacular view of Zion and the Mesas. You descend into the Joshua Tree Forest (one of the region’s largest stands of Joshua trees) before climbing toward the Red Rocks of Motoqua and Gunlock. A seriously fun challenge with 84 miles of riding and a leg-throbbing 9000 feet of climbing. The slightly less intense “Sweet Stuff” route comes with 67 miles and 5700 feet of climbing. The event is produced by Gro Races which produces many top events, including True Grit Epic MTB, which takes place the weekend prior. Strambecco rates the True Grit Gravel Epic as one of the best gravel grinders in the Southwest.
Some gravel races lack a fully 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.
A Sweet-Stuff route utilizes most of the same course but over 64 miles.