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Person running up a rock covered mountain trail during fall.

Red Granite Grinder

 

October 19, 2019

why Red Granite Grinder?

Be a part of history! For the first time, bikers will descend trails at Rib Mountain State Park! You will be rewarded with an awesome descent on the Turkey Vulture Trail after conquering the mountain, ascending 800 feet.

Riders get a chance to explore the grit in the western portion of Marathon County on several gems that can only be accessed through this race.  Riders will fully experience Marathon County by riding through areas not usually open to bikes in addition to passing ginseng fields, dairy farm pastures, barns, and farm fields in each the 80 and 140 races.  

Riders will be tested through a variety of hills, with the top male and female climbers being crowned “King / Queen of the Hill.”  Riders need to leave some gas in the tank to tackle a climb that riders can only access this day of the year - topping out with nearly 600 feet ascent!  

Do you have the endurance and strength to finish this challenge?

We also offer a family friendly, timed, non-competitive ride in downtown Wausau for those wanting to participate in this event. This 12 mile route starts with a hill then is flat, totaling less than 400 feet of climbing for the entire route. All participants under age 18 are free and those racing in the longer events may also participate for free with their families and friends (if they are able to finish in time for the 12 mile start!)

Course Description

Each race starts and finishes in the heart of downtown Wausau on the 400 Block. 

140 Mile
Racers are immediately tested on this challenging course. Riders get a taste of what’s in store with climbing to the top of Rib Mountain, setting the tone for the day. With lactic acid filled legs, riders white knuckle down Rib Mountain for the very first time, needing every ounce to maintain focus on the unpracticed, yet technical descent. Riders leave the city, where the race travels through Red Granite country to Brokaw and will get a chance to test their legs on Billy Goat Hill.  The ride then heads west to Athens followed by a jaunt in Rib Falls on privately owned trails.  Riders get a taste of singletrack at Scotch Creek Preserve in Edgar before heading toward Fenwood via a dedicated off-road trail.  Riders have the wind at their back all the way to Nine Mile County Forest where they take several more miles of dirt via snowmobile trails to the Wausau School Forest.  After a spin in the Wausau School Forest, riders prepare for the most challenging climbs of the ride, up and over the gravel of Mosinee Hill, until finally relaxing as they welcome flat, smooth pavement all the way to the finish line in the heart of downtown Wausau.

This course is designed to find out who is the Toughest of the Tough.

80 Mile
Riders start out on the 140 mile route and are immediately tested. Riders get a taste of what’s in store with climbing to the top of Rib Mountain, setting the tone for the day. With lactic acid filled legs, riders white knuckle down Rib Mountain for the very first time, needing every ounce to maintain focus on the unpracticed, yet technical descent. Riders leave the city, where the race travels through Red Granite country to Brokaw and will get a chance to test their legs on Billy Goat Hill. The 80 mile route then splits and heads west to Little Chicago.  Riders head south through Rib Falls and the town of Cassel before rejoining the 140 mile route.  Riders have the wind at their back all the way to Nine Mile County Forest where they take several more miles of dirt via snowmobile trails to the Wausau School Forest. After a spin in the Wausau School Forest, riders prepare for the most challenging climbs of the ride, up and over the gravel of Mosinee Hill, until finally relaxing as they welcome flat, smooth pavement all the way to the finish line in the heart of downtown Wausau.

12 Mile
This beginner route is designed to showcase the downtown Wausau’s bicycle accommodations for all ability levels, We welcome all ages on this family-friendly route – so bring the tag along / bike cart for the kids or tandem for your significant other.  This is not a gravel route, with the majority of the route pavement and the entire route is marked.  This route is relatively flat, with less than 400 feet of total climb over the 12 mile route.  

Riders head out of downtown to enjoy an awesome machine built flow trail at Sylvan Hill Bike Park. This is the only major hill on the route and riders will find the reward of the flowy downhill worth the climb. Riders then circle back to downtown on the new River Edge Trail along the Wisconsin River,. The River Edge trail passes the newly constructed Riverlife Park where kiddos can hop out for a ride down a couple story slide and big kids can try the American Ninja course. Riders get some dirt in their treads with a segment through Barkers-Stewart Island Park then roll along the world-class whitewater course at Wausau Whitewater Park. Riders loop around Isle of Ferns Park, experiencing nature in the heart of downtown Wausau.  After exiting Oak Island Park, riders complete the downtown loop on the 400 Block as other riders also finish where they can enjoy the post-race festival with all the other riders.

To encourage family participation, all 12 mile participants under age 18 are free!

Race Support
Spectators and crew are encouraged.  This race is largely unsupported – riders are responsible for their own mechanical, medical, and transportation needs.  Aid stations will be available at specified locations.  Otherwise you are expected to carry your own nutrition / hydration for the entire route.  The race will go by a few gas stations so you can buy a leathery hot dog if you are so inclined, but beware you may see it again during the gut-wrenching final climb. All roads are open to normal traffic, including the ATV trail. You are required to follow the rules of the road and stay alert (no ear buds allowed).

Both a GPS file download and map/cue sheet will be provided but you are expected to find your way through the course (except for the 12 mile route which will be marked but still recommended to bring map/cue sheet or GPS file download in case signs altered by vandals), so a compass and odometer are highly recommended.  For a few trail sections, there will be markers to ensure racers ride the correct trails.  Racers will be required to get their bibs marked at each aid station and at a number of other undisclosed locations along the route.

Cell phone coverage is good for most of the route but best to bring a friend to race with in case you need help.

All crew members and spectators are required to follow the rules of the road and stay off private properties.

Recommended spectator areas are noted in the race guide.  

Pre-Race Festivities
Although race day registration and bib pickup are available, all riders are encouraged to do on Friday night. Racers can enjoy food, drink, and camaraderie. A panel discussion will include opportunities to learn everything to tips for a first gravel ride on race strategy to top the podium as well as specifics on featured sections of the courses.

Aerial view of Wausau’s 400 block covered in tents and people for a festival.

Finish Line Festivities
An even better way to get a taste of our city - the well-deserved post-race party being held on the 400 Block upon your finish! Family, friends, food, music, and most importantly, beer (including local craft brews) and drink, are there to congratulate you, an IRONBULL™ finisher. 

Racers, their families, and volunteers will have full access to the YMCA located 3 blocks from the 400 Block to enjoy a swim, sauna, and of course a well-deserved shower after the race.

Kick back and enjoy live bluegrass music by Red Ben & the Missing Miles. Share stories of the 2019 season with friends and family after finishing your last (or one of the last) race of 2019.

Green Initiative

In order to maintain the beauty of our community and environment, we will have ways to enjoy the race with minimal impact!

  • Compost bins located at every aid station and at the finish line festival will go toward local Monk Gardens / Wausau Urban Community Gardens.

  • Our event is also cupless!

RACE TEAM PROFILES