While you can never own too many bikes, picking the right one for this event will be a challenge for a few of you.  This page goes through various sections of the course, giving you our (not too biased) take on which type of bike will be most advantageous.  The final decision, well that’s up to you.  Choose wisely.

Road Bike: lightest bike, 50/34-53/39 Crank, ≥28C tires

Cyclocross:  46/36 Crank, drop bars

Gravel Bike: 50/34 crank, wider tires than cross bike, drop bars

Mtn Bike: largest front chain-ring ≤42t, suspension, flat bars

*** This course can definitely be done on a properly configured road bike and there would be some great advantages. If you think you want to go that route there are plenty of articles on the internet dealing with the setup of bikes used in Paris/Roubaix (http://www.letour.com/indexPRX_us.html) and Strade Bianche (http://www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/StradeBianche/it/). These races use routes that transverse roads with terrain similar to sections of the Chino Grinder course.


Leaving the start from Chino Valley a short section of pavement soon transitions to dirt. There is a cement plant a mile or so down the road and with the heavy truck traffic quite a bit of washboard. You can easily pick your way around the worst of it. Past the cement plant the road smooths out and climbs gently for the next several miles.

Advantage:  CX bike, Mtn bike, Gravel bike

Near the 10 mile marker begins the 11 mile descent of Wildcat Draw into Perkinsville. This section is very fast with some high speed turns. Surface of the road is generally smooth but there are a few sections of washboard. Aid Station 1 is located north of the Verde River Bridge and is also the turnaround for the 42 mile option.

Advantage: Mtn bike

The next section is approximately 9 miles long with an elevation gain of 700 feet, a series of rollers with a couple of flat sections thrown in. This is the least maintained section of the course but it is obvious that they grade it on occasion. CX and Gravel bikes will need to pick a line to avoid the sections of washboard or ruts.

Advantage: CX bike, Gravel bike

At mile 30 the course hits pavement and begins the steady 12 mile (3000 ft. elevation gain) climb up Bear Canyon to Summit Mountain. This section is also part of the Williams RR for those that have done that before.

Advantage: Road bike, CX bike, Gravel bike

From the summit of the Bear Canyon climb to the turn off to Elk Ridge (9.5 miles) you will pass through large stands of Ponderosa Pines. There are a couple large alpine meadows where the wind may become a factor. Mostly flat with some rollers the big gears of the Road and Gravel bikes should provide a significant advantage.

Advantage: Road bike, Gravel bike

The 1.5 gravel road climb up to the Elk Ridge Ski Area (location of Aid Station 2 and relay exchange) definitely favors the lightest bikes, although there are some rough sections. Not an extremely steep grade (cars need to make it up in the winter) its enough to put the hurt on your legs, especially after riding 50 miles and the fact that the elevation is approaching 8000 feet.

Advantage: CX bike, Gravel bike


Elk Ridge Lodge

Elk Ridge Lodge

Return trip to Chino

The forest service road exiting Elk Ridge is generally in good condition. There are a couple of downhill corners where wide tires will provide an advantage. There are usually a few sketchy loose areas also (Careful, as there are several corners that come up real fast!).

Advantage: Mtn. bike

The paved 21.5 mile section of pavement from the turnoff at Elk Ridge to the end of pavement will favor big gears. It will also be beneficial to try to organize in a group to take advantage of the draft. The predominate wind in this area comes from the southwest which translates into a headwind for this direction.

Advantage: Road bike, Gravel bike

The 9 mile section return section of the end of pavement to Perkinsville section provides an advantage for the mtn bike. Much faster doing this section on the return route as you descend 700 feet in elevation to the Verde river.

Advantage: Mtn bike

After crossing the Verde River bridge you will begin the 11 mile 1500 ft climb up Wildcat Draw from the 21 mile marker to the 10 mile marker.

Advantage:  Road bike, CX bike, Gravel bike

Near the 10 Mile marker the course begins the gradual descent back to the start finish.

Advantage:  CX bike, Gravel bike