Surviving the Chino Grinder








1. Train – the fastest folks will finish in just over 5 hours but the rest of us will be on the bike for 7 to 8 hours. Ride your bike, concentrate on getting one long ride in per weekend. Try to pre-ride the course, if you can’t do the full course at least take in the dirt section. Bike Prescott and Riding AZ Gravel do numerous rides on the same roads used by the Chino Grinder.

2. Tires – Don’t ride anything smaller than a 32mm tire, the 35mm seems to be the most common tire run at Chino. Personally, I like running a 40mm up front and 35mm in the rear. Do a few training rides on the tires you plan on running at the event!

3. Pace – Don’t over do it! It’s going to be a long day on the bike, 108 miles with nearly 10K of climbing. Every year we have a number of experienced cyclist get to the paved climb (30 miles from the start) and abandon because they started to fast.

4. Ride on gravel/dirt – Be sure do some training on dirt and gravel roads. 64 Miles of the 108 mile Chino Grinder are dirt and gravel roads, being comfortable on the dirt sections will pay dividends come event day.

5. Be prepared – master chain link, spare tubes(2), multi tool, chain break tool, tire levers, pump/ CO2, cell phone, sun screen, patch kit and warm gear (course goes above 7800 ft at highest point!).








6. Eat and Drink – There are five aid stations. Take advantage of them. You’ll need to consume 200 to 300 calories per hour. Nothing worse than that depleted feeling in the final miles before the finish line.

7. Chain lube – Don’t skimp on the chain lube. The usually dry dusty conditions of the dirt sections wreak havoc on your chain, if there is mud even more so.

8. Bottle cages – This is not the event for a super light flimsy cage. Do some research, I use a stainless steel cage made by Delta Cycles and have never lost a bottle let alone broke a cage.

9. Your rig – Make sure you test your setup before May 6th. Proper bike fit is essential as it increases comfort, speed and efficiency. Check out the section “Lessons Learned” of Kit Plummer’s experiences at the 2015 Chino Grinder. If you haven’t had a bike fit you might consider contacting one of our sponsoring bike shops for an evaluation.










10. Enjoy the experience – Look around and take in what’s around you. You’ll notice some really awesome scenery and ride with some extraordinary people and above all make time for the bacon and Untapped waffles and syrup at the aid station at Elk Ridge Ski Area.




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Recommendations for Bradshaw Grinder Bike Setup


In gravel cycling a bike set up for one event may be less than optimal for another. This is case with the Bradshaw Grinder and the Chino Grinder. Although just miles apart, the roads encountered in the Bradshaw course are radically different than those found on the Chino course.

The Chino course is wider, with few twists and turns, and 40% of the course is paved. Although containing nearly 10K of climbing over 106 miles it would not be considered a true climbers course. Bradshaw on the other hand has over 11K of climbing in just 59 miles, with all but three miles on dirt roads. The roads are narrow and twist and turn as they snake through the southern Bradshaw Mountain Range. Thus, the two most important areas of set up are tires and gearing.



Tire choice is critical and for a cross/gravel rig and we recommend a minimum width of 35mm, for a mountain bike nothing wider than a 45mm. The profile and width of a tire similar to the Panaracer Comet Hardpack 38c is perfect for the front tire and a good choice for the rear although a better choice for the back would be a tire similar to the Panaracer Gravelking 40mm. Experiment with the psi but a typical 175lbs rider would use 36psi in the front and 40psi for the rear. This combo seems to hook up well on both the descents and the climbs.




The Bradshaw Grinder course contains numerous climbs that would be rated Hors catégorie (beyond categorization) or incredibly difficult climbs if this was a “road” cycling event. For us cycling mortals these climbs need to be given some special consideration. The Chino course contains several long sections where you could spinout a 50X11, the Bradshaw has only one short section just before the finish. For a Cross/Gravel bike, assuming a 50/34 compact crank, the optimal cassette range would be a 11X36. Wolf Tooth Components has an excellent article on this subject ( and luckily they make the Roadlink which can save you the need WT-RoadLink_with_bolt_1024x1024to swap out the rear derailuer to accomodate the taller gears on the cassette (up to an 11X40!). No worries about needing taller gears for mountain bikes, as I mentioned there are no long stretches where you could spinout.

Any of the sponsoring bike shops (Exhale Bikes, VeloZoom and Spur Cross Cycles) of the Bradshaw Grinder are familiar with this setup and can offer advice or assistance in setup. Hope this helps and if your are looking for a test ride check out the first 10 miles of the Bradshaw Grinder. There are two major climbs plus a third that is off the charts!



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Bringing the family to the Chino Grinder?

As promised there will be plenty to do for everyone.

We are also thrilled to announce the United Phoenix Firefighters Charities and the Chino Valley Rotary club will be on-site grillin’ and serving lunch along with New Belgium beer in the beer garden, All proceeds will go to to these two fine charities. APS Special Events staff will be providing on-site entertainment and Prescott Valley’s Freedom Station will be providing adventure exhibits (including a harnessed trampoline and a rock climbing wall).

Bike Prescott will be holding a bicycle part swap meet at Old Home Manor so bring parts that you want to sell or SwapMeettrade. These events are in partnership with 20+ local and national non-profits organizations, 15+ local businesses in what we anticipate to be the biggest event in Chino Valley this year. Bring the family for a weekend of fun!

After two very successful years of the Chino Grinder, the Town of Chino Valley has decided to create the Extreme Spring Fling! In addition to the Chino Grinder, this extremely fun day will also feature the Chino Mudder, a non-competitive, 5K adventure run with more than 20 fun and unique obstacles to challenge the body and spirit of all fitness levels from ages 7 and up. All proceeds from this event benefit the expansion of Town of Chino Valley parks’ facilities and recreation programs. Information at:

But that’s just the start of what is happening! There will also be the All-Day 5K, presented by the Mountain Milers. This is a 5K race to begin on the hour, every hour until 50 kilometers is achieved! Run all or part, that is up to you.

***Remember that there is unlimited dry camping at Old Home Manor Park for only $5 per night***

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Only 5 Weeks Until The Chino Grinder….

This post was written for AZ Gravel Rides by cycling coach and former Canadian professional road cyclist Scott Price. We hope you will find these tips useful as you prepare for the Chino Grinder!

Okay, here are some of the important areas you will want to address or consider as this really cool event approaches.


The Chino Grinder demands endurance and sustained power. This type of fitness cannot be crammed into a few weeks but with 5 weeks you can aim for getting in 1-2 longer rides of 3, 4+ hours each week. Another crucial energy system is your tempo engine, not how long you can ride but how long you can sustain the power needed to stay with a group and benefit from draft. Here are 3 workouts that will benefit you.

Endurance ride

2-3 rides each week greater than 2 hours is ideal but if you can only go long one day make sure you do it!

Tempo ride

Blasting out the door and riding a high average speed ride (predominately Z3) for 60, 90 or 120 minutes prepares you for the overall pace and effort of the race.

Threshold work

A time effective way to increase your ability to climb and put out the power when the grinding is tough is long intervals. 3-4x 5 minute efforts at or slightly below time trial / threshold pace are great. Do 8-10 minutes recovery between each effort to make sure you can go hard on the next one.


Each event has its specific demands and this one really pimps out 2 things. You need to be on the gas the entire ride with the combo of climbing, wind and gravel so there is nowhere to hide. The other is to make sure you spend lots of time riding on gravel and on the bike you are going to use. Many riders suffer riding gravel when training mainly on the road.

MIND: Mind

Know why you signed up! Personal challenge, exploration, put in your best ride on the day, help a teammate or go for the BIG WIN are all possibilities. Set your own personal goal, my personal favorite is to simply do your very best on event day. Adapt to the wind, riders, mechanicals, dropped bottles, tactics and your energy levels. If you arrive spent and knowing you did your best, you win SATISFACTION.


How much fluid and how many calories and when? Well hopefully you have had plenty of experimentation and experience for rides this length so stick with what works. Here are some general goals.


A bottle of fluids each hour unless really hot is a minimum goal. I like to use 1 water bottle to 1 energy drink mix which I mix weaker than as suggested on the label (2/3rd strength)


Don’t go crazy and golden corral the night before the race. Upset digestion promises misery. Eat what normally works the morning of a big ride. When racing we burn more blood sugar so we need to take in calories every 30 minutes. 200 calories per hour is a minimum. Make sure any solid food leaves your stomach before guzzling water or your stomach can shut down.



Do you know the course?

What distance and how long will it take you?

Who are you competing with?

What bike will you be riding?

Which wheels, which shoes, which tires?

What is the start time and drive time to get there?

What will the wind and weather conditions be?

Where is the finish line?

Knowledge is power, get on it!


Lastly, if you really want to CRUSH your time for next year or expand your cycling knowledge and really prepare for a future goal, message me on Facebook for a free coaching evaluation or email me Scott Price at

Scott Price – Professional road cyclist for 18 years, cycling and high performance coach for 15 years.

Major career highlights:

  • Canadian National Champion
  • 104 Career Cycling Victories
  • 3 times Ironhorse Classic Champion
  • 2 times Tucson Bicycle Classic Champion
  • 2 times La Vuelta de Bisbee Champion
  • Multiple Climbing Course Record Holder
Posted in bikes, Chino Grinder, cycling events, gravel, gravel bike tires, gravel bikes, gravel grinder, gravel racing, nutrition

What’s New in 2016: Chino Grinder

After reviewing the feedback and data collected at the 2014 and 2015 events, the AZ Gravel Rides crew has made some changes to for the 2016 Chino Grinder taking place on May 7.


If you’ve participated in previous years or have registered this year based on reviews from friends, you may want to check out the new additions and changes before heading out for a pre ride. (Some folks are planning an informal pre ride for March 26, if you’re interested.) [LINK]

New for 2016:

ADD: 3 Fluid Only Aid Stations. In addition to the aid stations located at Perkinsville (mile 21 outbound, mile 85 on the return) and the half way point at Elk Ridge Ski Area (Mile 53) there will be three fluid only stations stocked with water, sports drink, pop, and ice at the following locations: AID STATION LOCATIONS



Mile marker 18 (16 miles from the start)

Mile marker 31 (29 miles from the start)

Mile marker 174 (43 miles from the start)



ADD: 2 Neutral Support Vehicles for a total of 5 Neutral Support Vehicles.

ADD: 2 Roving Mechanics – Sprinter Cycles and VeloZoom will be at Old Home Manor and out on the course to assist with mechanicals.

Sprinter VeloZoom






ADD: Added extra 42 Mile Course categories:

New Categories for Men:

  • 50 to 59
  • 60+
  • (Awards 3 deep, Age the rider shall be December 31st current year)

IMAG1846 IMAG1857

New Categories for Women:

  • 50 to 59
  • 60+
  • (Awards 3 deep, Age the rider shall be December 31st current year)

ADD: Tandem (42 and 106 mile courses).

ADD: Four Person Team (Awards three deep, 106 mile course only). Click here for rules.

This year the Chino Grinder will offer a free team competition to 106 mile registered riders. Teams will be composed of four riders (you are still eligible to for an individual award in your age category).

ADD: *‘cycliste extraordinaire’

A prize will be awarded to someone in the peloton for their outstanding efforts or behavior – a bold reaction to an unexpected situation such as helping another rider or overcoming a particularly tough day. The key element is that it expresses the spirit of camaraderie of gravel riding and of the Chino Grinder.

Not new but we are excited to have Kaolin Cosmo “The Captain” Cummens (owner of the world famous Flat Tire Bike Shop) back as the official event announcer after taking last year off. One of the best in the biz and definitely adds to the festive atmosphere of the event venue.

The Interview


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