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Mountain Biking, Racing

Race day: time to grind at Gowdy

I’m heading to Curt Gowdy State Park this morning to ride in the Gowdy Grinder with 200 other gear brains including my friends Brian Johnson and Steve Stefko who are driving up from Fort Collins to race.

The Gowdy Grinder Logo

I’ve been “training” for this race by going on my normal rides and by racing in Laramie Short Track.  The short track races forced me to ride at peak heart rate, improve my fitness, and they gave me a fresh taste of competition.  I’m actually getting small bursts of adrenaline as I write this!  I love the natural highs I get before, during and after a race.

Brian Johnson, 44, races on a single speed and kills it! – Photo Josh Cooley

I entered the Grinder in the Intermediate category, between the Open and Beginner categories.  The reality is that I’m not a pro.  Far from it.  I’d love to be a pro mountain biker.  And a pro skier.  And a pro soccer player.

But I’m not, so I just like to race hard and relish the experience.  I do hope to finish in the top 20 out of 70 today.  We’ll see.  Even the “Intermediate” racers are a tough crowd, and this is a challenging course.  What you can’t see on the map below are all the technical terrain features.  The trails are called Stone Temple Circuit and Rock N’ Roller for good reason.

The course I’ll be riding: one green plus two yellow laps for a total of 13.2 miles

I don’t know where I’ll finish in this race, but what I do know is that putting myself in these competitive races and racing as hard as I can makes me feel more alive; life is better when I challenge my potential.

Steve Stefko, 34, took fourth in the 2011 Gowdy Grinder Open Men category – Photo Josh Cooley

Whatever happens, it’s going to be a great time.  I’ll be ripping sweet single track at beautiful Curt Gowdy State Park with a bunch of cool people.  The Grinder draws riders from mostly Colorado and Wyoming and one from Arizona.  I was surprised how many Coloradoans make the trip to Curt Gowdy for this race.  Here are the demographics:


  • Laramie
  • Cheyenne
  • Pinedale
  • Green River
  • Casper


  • Fort Collins
  • Grand Junction
  • Firestone
  • Boulder
  • Lafayette
  • Evergreen
  • Sugarloaf
  • Denver
  • Arvada
  • Longmont
  • Johnstown
  • Chugwater
  • Estes Park
  • Broomfield
  • Nederland
  • Breckenridge
  • Loveland
  • Louisville
  • Erie
  • Littleton
  • Highlands Ranch
  • Laporte
  • Morrison
  • Golden


  • Phoenix

Mountain bike racing is one of my multiyear projects.  My goal is to build my fitness and skills enough to start racing in “Open” categories by next year or possibly later this summer.  Set the bar high, right?  Now, it’s time to race!

I love this logo designed by the Gowdy Grinder organizers

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One thought on “Race day: time to grind at Gowdy

  1. I can’t wait to hear all about it! Great post!

    Posted by kaitwatts | May 20, 2012, 2:11 pm

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