Gold Rush

Golden gravel race

Gravel racing on old mining roads.

In their relentless pursuit of gold, the forefathers of Virginia City moved a lot of rock and put in countless roads to quench their lust. While almost all the gold has now been extracted, the dirt roads that spiderweb throughout the area remain, and lend themselves perfectly to gravel riding. It was with these roads in mind that a group of local riders came together to create the Golden Gravel Grinder.

Last September, over 80 riders participated in the inaugural event. There was both a 40- and an 80-mile route, each of which began in the shade of the cottonwoods that line the banks of Alder Creek in idyllic Discovery Park.

After a few flat miles from Virginia City, the route turned south and began a steep climb up and over Williams Creek, delivering bikers into the Ruby Valley. From the valley, they continued up past Ruby Reservoir and on to the Sweetwater turnoff. Those doing the 40-miler enjoyed food and cold beverages at the aid station, while those riding the 80 continued along the Sweetwater Road toward Dillon. All the while, there was a kid’s bike party taking place at Disco Park, complete with an obstacle course, a one-mile race, and bouncy houses.

Upon returning to the park and racing the kids to the finish line, the riders were treated to a taco bar, cold beer, and live music to wrap up a glorious fall day. Many of the bikers lingered for hours after the race to soak up the scene.

Golden Gravel Grinder co-founder Cory Hardy says that’s exactly what he and his cohorts had in mind when they dreamt up the race: “While we were stoked to showcase the incredible gravel riding that Madison County has to offer, we were equally excited about fostering a good hang after the race. The riding is great, but fostering a community of riders is just as important if not more so.” This year’s race—slated for October 5—is sure to be equally as fun and community oriented. For more information and to register visit muddydogsports/