Granite Bay Grinder mountain bike race at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area this weekend
1200+ to race on the tracks around Folsom Lake
More than 1,000 contestants and 2,000 spectators are expected to attend the two-day event
GRANITE BAY, Calif. — More than 1,000 high school and middle school mountain bikers from Northern California — including hundreds from the Placer Valley, El Dorado Hills-Folsom, and Gold Rush areas — will compete in the annual Granite Bay Grinder this weekend ( April) 1-2) in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.
The fast-growing – and fast-moving – race is back after being suspended for the past three years due to the COVID pandemic.
Middle school riders will compete from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, with high school racing from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. About 100 co-ed teams from high schools and 15 middle schools will compete in the Granite Bay Grinder. Boys and girls compete separately, and most riders will race against others in their grade, although high schools also have junior and varsity teams that feature the best riders regardless of their grade.
“It’s for amazing kids doing amazing things, it’s so inspiring. It’s a family-friendly event and a lot of fun.”
Vanessa Hauswald, Executive Director of the NorCal Interscholastic Cycling League.
NorCal Interscholastic Bicycle Association and Placer Valley Tourism partner the race, which can have more than 3,200 people—from racers and spectators to volunteers—over the course of the two days. The Granite Bay Grinder helps boost business in hotels, restaurants, stores and sales tax revenue in the area.
“It is an amazing race that generates a lot of excitement and support in the community.” “We are happy to have her back.”
Kim Summers, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism.
“Among the best courses”
Mountain bike racing may be on hold during COVID, but the sport has continued to grow in recent years. More than 9 million people are active in mountain biking across the country, an increase of nearly 25% compared to a decade ago—and many of these new riders are preteens and teens, according to multiple reports.
“It’s a really grueling and intense sport,” said Mark Ferry, Folsom’s executive director of cycling development. The nonprofit, all-volunteer organization has 10 teams—from Placerville to Rocklin, including Folsom and Vista Del Lago high schools in Folsom and Whitney High in Rocklin—that will compete in the Granite Bay Grinder. “These kids are insanely good.”
Many high school teams train at least eight hours a week, Ferry said, and the best riders put in much more time. The mountain bike season starts in January and lasts until May, with most athletes focusing solely on the sport.
“It’s an adventurous and unique sport – an individual and a team sport,” said Hauswald. “We have no seats, no trials and no sales.”
Therefore, the contestants compete against themselves just like the rest of the contestants. Riders will race in a series of waves on a 3-mile course for middle school athletes and a 6-mile course for high school riders. (“Treadmill” is a steep climb in mountain biking).
Hauswald said the Granite Bay Grinder is among the best courses of the 10-race season in cycling’s NorCal Interscholastic League, thanks to its challenging terrain and soil composition.
“It’s a great course that holds up really well,” said Ferry, whose team trains outside no matter the weather.
The Granite Bay Grinder is free for spectators. However, there is a $12 per vehicle fee to enter the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. A food truck and merchandise stands will be available during the two-day event.
“It’s really cool and people will enjoy watching,” said Ferry. “There is a lot of camaraderie and team spirit.”
About Placer Valley Tours
Placer Valley Tourism is a Business Improvement District serving South Placer County and the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln. BID works to help create increased hotel overnight stays within Placer Valley Tourism’s geographic footprint through various youth and amateur sporting events and conferences. PVT aims to coordinate community and sporting events with the best hospitality options in the region. Placer Valley Tourism is a non-profit organization and is classified as a 501(c)6 organization. For more information, please visit https://www.placertourism.com/.
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