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Person running up a rock covered mountain trail during fall.

Red Granite Grinder

 

October 19, 2019

why Red Granite Grinder?

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.  

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?

Course Description

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

140 Mile
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, leaving 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.

30 Mile
This beginner route is designed to showcase the area’s bicycle accommodations for all ability levels, including several dedicated bike & pedestrian paths.  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, so nearly all of the route is pavement and the entire route is marked.  This route is relatively flat, with 600 feet of total climb over the 30 mile route.  

Riders head out of downtown, covering the River Edge Trail along the Wisconsin River, passing the newly constructed Riverlife Park and world-class whitewater course.  Riders get some dirt in their treads with a segment through Barkers-Stewart Island Park, experiencing nature in the heart of downtown Wausau.  After riding out of downtown, riders connect to the County R trail and the 51/29 trail in Rib Mountain.  Riders follow Wausau’s Bike Route 7, crossing the Wisconsin River on a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian bridge into Rothchild.  Next riders get to utilize another dedicated bicycle and pedestrian bridge in Weston over Hwy 29.  In Weston, riders experience more dirt along the Eau Claire River and a short segment of the rail-to-rail on the Mountain Bay Trail.  Riders then head back to downtown Wausau on Bike Route 15.

To encourage family participation, all 30 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 30 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

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 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 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.

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!! We will have reusable bottles available at the Finish line festival for refill. Otherwise, please plan accordingly by bringing your own reusable bottle or cup!