I went on an unexpected, unplanned google binge tonight. "Sir, take your hand off the mouse and step back!" Couldn't do it, though. I've heard plenty about the Beezely Burn. But I didn't know about the Gran Fondo Ephrata. A "mass-participation cycling event." Heh. Right. They'd heave this mass participant violently off the back.
"It is designed to give riders a glimpse of some very remote, out of the way parts of central Washington. In the spirit of remote and rustic central Washington, much of the route is primitive gravel roads."
Further fascination here and here. Just 50 riders, so it seems wonderfully lunatic fringe and in-the-middle-of-nowhere-off-kilter. And did I mention brutal.
"We pre-rode the course today. 48 miles of paved road, 30 of gravel 4700 ft of climbing. I rode on a Specialized Armadillo 23's at 90 psi. 5 miles in you hit gravel for 18 miles with one wicked 10-12 mile downhill section with speeds 30 + on hard packed dirt to loose gravel of all sizes, ruts, and a few washouts.....bunny hops worked...Then a long section of fast pavement, easy to hold a 22-24 avg, wind permitting of course, then a nasty nasty 6 1/2 mile section (60 mile mark) of hell road, gravel and 3 short STEEP (1/4 mile each) pitches I have compact cranks with a 12-28 rear and for every tire revolution I spun 1/4 moved 3/4, last pitch I spun out and walked 50-60 ft. few more climbs then a fast blast down sheep canyon then back in to Ephrata.
We finished at 5 hrs 15.8 mph avg, on the nose and we had one guy cramp pretty good and were slowed a bit, 4:30 is doable, a 4 hr mark can be done if you hammer and the winds stay down.
I will be buying a set of 700x 25 for the race, a set with light tread, no knobbys... Hope to see you all there, it will be fun."
Holy hell, so cool, so painful-sounding. Just reading about it makes me wanna lunge for a barf bag.
Amidst my virtual travels, I also came across a certain picture. Boy, that guy on the right sure looks familiar.