The Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder race will take place in a few days. This is a brand new multistage race format in which cumulative time will decide “This is the first gravel stage race. It first happened in 2019 and personally, it’s what I’m most excited about for the whole year," Stetina told Cyclingnews on the eve of stage 1.
“I’ve always loved getting stuck into multi-stage events and with the whole gravel calendar that I’m doing now, I want this to be my bread and butter." "There are a few other races coming to the mount this year, like with the event in Kenya, Trans Rockies, and Gravel Royal but this one has a year head start”.
This race seems to be great for mountain bikers, which is not good news for Stetina, but still, the race is long enough that anything can happen. “It’s five days, four nights and you basically race point-to-point and campsite to campsite.
You have somewhere between 60 to 90-mile stages, mountain passes, sandy single track but also smooth gravel roads." "You either have your support van at the campsite or your tent that the organizers move for you.
Then there’s a big party every night. There’s a leader’s jersey and everything. I think it might be yellow”. There will be a lot of talk about GC Angle “The GC makes it interesting because you can’t hide like you can on the road.
You can’t just wait and then pick your moment on the Queen stage. Something is going too wrong for you it’s about how you manage that. “It will be nice to take the GC but I hope to at least tap out a stage.
It’s famous for its mountain bike trails here in Bend, and its mountain bike culture. It’s more technical here." "It sounds like the mountain bikers have the upper hand here, but hopefully I can use my strengths on the climbs and get ahead for the technical stuff.
Many good cyclists will meet at the competition "The field is super strong and Carl [Decker] is here and it’s really his backyard. He won the last edition by taking about ten minutes on stage 1, which was basically all downhill.
His entire Giant team is strong. The women’s field is really deep too with Tetrick, Fahringer, Kaysee Armstrong, Sarah Sturm, Kathy Pruitt, and Sarah Max."