Cannondale: It's Always Sunny at Grinduro

It's Always Sunny at Grinduro

Photos by: @vernor | @kevinscottbatchelor | @anseldickey | @seedotalvarez

Grinduro is a party on two wheels, combining exhilarating cycling with live music and good times. Here’s our team’s story on the festival.

A race? A ride? Whatever. Grinduro is an event for anyone who likes to have a good time around two wheels. This year was no exception as the wild weather rolled in for a monumental day on the bike – and a most excellent party off the bike – proving that Grinduro is way more than just a bike race.

Each time the tickets are released, Grinduro draws in a diverse range of cycling personalities. With good times guaranteed, of course we were there in force. Read on as our Cannondale family shares what they all thought about this year’s legendary event – from elite time trial road race champion Taylor Phinney, to Californian young-gun Tydeman Newman, to the husband and wife cycling royalty team of Mr and Mrs Ted King, along with the SoCal CNCPT crew – and more. Much more. Grinduro is that kind of festival. Here is our exclusive talk with the unique characters who love this event.

Taylor Phinney

“My weekend was rad! It was refreshing to be at a bike event where everyone there was just stoked to go out and do something new in difficult conditions. The rest stops were almost too good!”

“It started to rain just as I was finishing dinner after the event (around 8pm) and I went to the horse stable that I had staked my tent in to rest my back... I then woke up at 2am and the party was still raging. I slept 11.5 hours after the Grinduro ride so I think that should tell you all you need to know.”

“Great to see sponsors getting behind these events as I feel like this is the future of cycling... at least for me. Go ride your bike, HAVE FUN and take your time. What a concept.”

Laura King

“Returning to California always feels like a homecoming to me. While Vermont has become our new home, we left a community that we love and a place where I truly fell in love with riding. It’s one of the most diverse places to ride a bike and there’s even something about the way it smells that keeps me reminiscing and nostalgic for life there.”

“Grinduro was the perfect event to help with that transition: while Grinduro’s style of riding is relaxed, promotes riding with friends and casually stopping at aid stations, it certainly doesn’t take away from the challenge aspects of the event—altitude, 9k feet of climbing, technical descending and even some rain and snow were around to keep us from getting through the day too easily, oh and my growing bump was there to remind me that going uphill only gets a little harder every week.”

“Pregnancy for the athlete can be a challenging time of shifting expectations and so being able to be out in the community with “my people”, no matter how uncomfortable the elements or terrain might be had me appreciating feeling shades of normal.”

Currently, life is undergoing some changes for Ted and me as we are expecting a baby girl next March. My personality tends toward hard-charging, so it’s been a mental shift for me to approach riding with a more relaxed mindset and new expectations.”

“To be able to navigate the terrain, the steep, endless climbs and the single-track descents, it gives me a feeling of power and confidence that I crave during a time of many changes. This time, I defined my own goals on the time segments: to ride confidently, safe and powerfully without taking any undue risks. The Topstone was a worthy steed for this challenge, smoothing the ride on the descents and keeping me feeling efficient on the climbs.”

“Life is full of seasons and while riding is always therapy, we may not always be firing on all cylinders in top race form because priorities shift. As I experience a new season, I’m thankful Cannondale is supporting the types of events that encourage inclusivity. Injuries, new jobs, divorce, pregnancy and 25-hour training weeks happen—whatever season of life you’re in, Grinduro is the type of event where you can show up and enjoy the party.”

Ted King

“There’s a special place in my heart for small mountain towns out west. I don’t know if it’s from training out through these dusty quiet hamlets from a previous lifetime or the straight shootin’ locals, but there’s a feeling of being on a 1849 two-wheeled gold rush when I head up to Quincy, CA.”

“If I’m going to make the trip all the way across the country from Vermont to the high Sierras, I’m going to prioritize a keen focus on my equipment being entirely dialed and being darn sure I’m having a good time from arrival to departure.”

“My Grinduro issued Topstone Carbon was set to stoke-level 11. I had it built up a mullet drivetrain, SRAM Red eTap up front paired with AXS Eagle in the rear for an enormous gear range over 60 incredibly varied miles of topography. I’ve been toying around back home with new 650b Zipp carbon hoops and Rene Herse 48c tire. Measuring north of 2 inches inflated, this bike is a party on two wheels. The glistening Ted Burgundy Grinduro purple looks especially sweet with shimmers of carbon fiber shining depending on the angle and sunlight.”

“All said and done, I had a great 3.8 out of 4 sectors. My only bump in the road of an otherwise silky pedal was a particularly sharp rock resulting in a slow leak flat on stage 2. I regretfully had to pull over and gas it up with a quick CO2 blast. I was back rolling maybe 20 seconds later and it sealed up this time around. I got back rolling with a magnificent sprint back to max speed. The other 0.1 less opportune moment was when another flat about 600m from the line caused me to ride the rim slowly and cautiously to the finish line. All said and done maybe a minute was lost on stage two.”

“But that’s where priority number two comes to play. Regardless of the results, it’s always time to have fun. Catching up with friends from our time living in California is always an enormous highlight. The cycling world is so tight knit that a month away or year is like no time at all. A slow roll back to the finish after what was the most gnarly conditions I’ve ever experienced in my four Grinduros — hail, rain, sleet, fog, and even some sun — is when the party at HQ really kicks into gear late into the night.”

Tydeman Newman

“Grinduro California is done and dusted! Or should I say snowed!! This is always one of my favorite weekends of the year and probably one of the best bike races on the planet. It’s the perfect combination of actual racing and hanging out and shredding bikes with all my friends.”

“This year was absolutely wild; crazy weather made it quite the day to remember. Getting to the top of the second major climb of the day and seeing the snow falling was just surreal. It became a true adventure as we were all huddling around the trash can fire, trying to thaw out before we had to drop into nearly 10 miles of shredding snowy singletrack!”

“Having Cannondale this year was the icing on the cake. It’s super rad to have them starting to support this type of racing. Gravel racing, and more specifically this type of riding where it’s half fun and half race is the future of cycling.“

“To have Cannondale out there spreading stoke was really rad. It was also super cool to see that all the donations from the Spoke Easy were going to Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship! They help build and maintain hundreds of miles of trail in the Sierra Buttes that we are so fortunate to ride and race on each year. I’m already stoked for next year and can’t wait to rip it with more people!”


“I smiled more than I frowned, I felt the warmth of friendship and comradery more than the brutal cold of the snow storm, and I wanted the day to last as long as the climbs. Cannondale supporting events like Grinduro shows that they believe that everyone, no matter their cycling pedigree, should be able to experience pro-level support and competition on world class terrain regardless if it’s their first race or their 100th. Because at the end of the day, we’re just playing bikes, right?” - Alvin Escajeda

“Grinduro was crisp, fun, panoramic, and brutal with beams of smiles.  Every hill and descent I shared a brisk smile with my team, racers and the volunteers.  Way more than just a bike race, Cannondale as a supporting host to this alternative event with Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship shows growing strength in a diverse cycling community.” -Tim McGees

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