Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The virtual Original Growler is on

Download, saddle up and drop the hammer

by Than Acuf

While the 13th annual Growler weekend has come and gone minus the throngs of riders rolling around Hartman Rocks at race pace, the race is still on, as Gunnison Trails and TerraQuest teamed up to create the virtual Original Growler race.

“This idea really came about after we received a lot of feedback from racers and local businesses about how bummed they were to have this race cancelled,” says Gunnison Trails director Tim Kugler. “For many racers, it’s the start of their race season and provides motivation to train. For businesses, Memorial Day and the flood of racers and families this race brings to town is the start of the summer and a busy tourist season.”

While a flood of racers isn’t allowed, a virtual race is. There are a few simple steps to jump into the 2020 virtual Growler fray as explained on the Growler website.

Download the TerraQuest app and race either the Half or Full Growler challenge any time between May 23 and October 31 to see how you stack up against the competition.

How it works:

Download the TerraQuest app on your phone and create an account.

Log in to the app and select Organizations.

Join the Original Growler.

Select Challenges for the Original Growler, and select either the Half or the Full Growler.

When you’re ready to rip, start at the Base Area of Hartman Rocks any day between May 23 and October 31.

Hit Record and follow the turn-by-turn directions in the app to ride the course (you can also link your Strava, Fitbit or Garmin if that’s how you roll).

Pedal as if there are 350 other racers out there with you. When you come ripping down Collarbone and finish, make sure to hit Save! Your time will automatically be displayed on the leaderboard.

There’s no signage marking the course, no volunteers stopping traffic along the roads, no aid stations or medical help on course and no greasy bacon at Skull Pass. Bring plenty of food, water, sunscreen, gummy bears, robot drink mix, etc., to get you through a big day on the bike.

“Keep it classy out there,” adds Kugler. “Respect other trail users, pass safely and with consideration and always yield to those going uphill.”

Three lucky participants will be chosen at random to receive a free entry into next year’s Growler and riders have already posted some times from their efforts.

“Six people are showing on the TerraQuest leaderboard, but I know a number of people raced either the half or full over the weekend also,” says Kugler.

Furthermore, you are not confined to just one effort, as all of your times can be posted with your top result the one that counts.

“People can do the race as many times as they like,” explains Kugler. “They can wait until the fall when they are in peak fitness or wait until after a heavy rain to get perfect, fast rolling dirt. Your fastest time will be the one that shows on the TerraQuest leaderboard. Also, if folks already use a Garmin, Strava or Fitbit to track their rides, you can link those to the TerraQuest app. So, just ride with Strava on like you always do, and then you can sync your time when you’re done.”

You can view the leaderboard or get more information about the half or full course at terraquest.com/organization/7/challenges. Gunnison Trails is also working on a link to TerraQuest’s leaderboard via their Growler website. So, download, gear up, get out there and drop the hammer.

“This is the first virtual race put together by TerraQuest, and we are honored to work with them to keep the racing alive this year,” says Kugler. “Get out, experiment with the app and send any feedback our way.”

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