WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW
IRONBULL, a local non-profit formed to promote outdoor recreation, continues to offer something new for central Wisconsin with a 140-mile bike race happening next weekend in Wausau.
The Red Granite Grinder, happening Oct. 19, will feature three routes, spanning all ability levels. The 12-mile recreational ride is mostly on pavement and features several trails and bike paths near downtown Wausau. For those new to gravel bike racing, an 80-mile race is offered. The 140-mile route spans across 15 townships and municipalities, offering a challenge for even the most experienced gravel racers.
The organization has most recently set a collaborative tone by working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to allow a segment of the Red Granite Grinder bike race to run through Rib Mountain State Park for one day. This successful months-long negotiation is a testament to the importance of IRONBULL’s mission to the community.
Although bikers routinely ascend on Park Road to one of the Midwest’s highest points, they must stay on the road at Rib Mountain State Park. Red Granite Grinder participants will be allowed to ride on the park’s trails for this one time.
To minimize user conflict, the race will start at daybreak and head straight to the park. To minimize trail damage and protect racer safety, all racers are required to carry their bikes on a portion of the trail, with volunteers also stationed on the trail.
Central Wisconsin Off-road Cycling Coalition (CWOCC), an IRONBULL race partner, has been working towards making Wausau an International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Ride Center for several years. In recent years, they have built two new trail systems (Sylvan Hill Bike Park and Ringle Trails) in additional to maintain several existing trail systems. The Sylvan Hill Bike Park will be featured in the 12 mile recreational ride.
“Having access to new, unique bike trails for this event is exciting,” said Aaron Ruff, CWOCC President. “It shows our community what is possible for all types of off-road riding”.
This isn’t the only portion of the Red Granite Grinder not normally open to bikes. IRONBULL worked with private landowners in several townships as well as the Wausau School Forest for featured sections of the races.
Many riders may be participating in their first gravel grinder. Race directors Shane Hitz and Shane Stuard as veterans of several grinders.
“Make sure you have enough water and food with you to complete the route you choose because there is a lot miles between services…and make sure you leave enough gas in the tank to complete the end of the race!” Hitz said.
All routes begin and end on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau in order to draw more attention to the race. Spectators are encouraged to send off riders and welcome them back, with a finish line festival including live bluegrass music from Red Ben and the Missing Miles from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. open to the public.
More details at: https://www.ironbull.org/