2024 Gravel Grinders National Championship

Added to Calendar: 05-11-24

Galactica

Website Committee
Member 2024
Blue Ribbon Coalition
VA4WDA
It is that time of year again! The Gravel Grinders National Championship is happening once again this year in Loudoun County. In 2023, and 2022 NOVA Jeepers members volunteered to help support the bike racing community and act as support vehicles for the Gravel Grinders Race. In years past we recovered, vehicles, people, and bikes! Volunteers get a swag bag, raffle ticket (for raffle items given away at the awards ceremony) and a food token for use at Bluemont Station after the race.

Who: NOVA Jeepers looking to support the Off-Road bike racing community
What: 2024 Gravel Grinders National Championship, a 100 mile bike race in Loudoun County. NOVA Jeepers will be providing support on the day of the race to recover injured bikers / bikers who are unable to complete the race / and if the weather does not cooperate, recover stuck vehicles.
Where: The race covers a 50 mile loop of gravel roads across Loudoun County, the race will start and end at Bluemont Station (18301 Whitehall Estate Ln, Bluemont, VA 20135)
When: May 11, 2024

Schedule of Events Saturday
6:45 AM: Pre-race Briefing, pickup radios, pick up bike racks, at Bluemont Station (18301 Whitehall Estate Ln, Bluemont, VA 20135) Please enter by way of Route 7 to avoid start area
7:30 AM: Grinder Nationals Start at Bluemont Station - @Galactica to tail the last rider of the Nationals Race for the duration of the course
8:00 AM: Mini G Start at Bluemont Station - @WNDR-XJ to tail the last rider of the Mini G race for the duration of the course
8:15 AM: Additional volunteers to deploy pickup locations to await calls for assistance
3:30 PM: Awards Ceremony at Bluemont Station

Current confirmed Participants
JeeperRadioBike RackRecovery GearRole
@GalacticaHandheld GMRS / VHFYesKinetic Ropes, Soft Shackles (Winch if driving a Jeep)Sweeper - Jeep #1 - Nationals
@WNDR-XJHandheld GMRS / VHFNoKinetic Rope, Soft Shackles, WinchSweeper - Jeep #2 - Mini G
@JK CritterYesBasic Recovery Gear
@Blackwidow17
@SpazAll the radios :)No
@Rich Da Man 1968YesNoRecovery Strap, Soft Shackles, Winch
@DamtallNoRecovery Strap, Soft Shackles, Winch
@BldyFrog YesYesRecovery Gear

How we will help day of:
Sweepers
(@Galactica and @WNDR-XJ) will follow behind the last rider of each race and be responsible for ensuring that no riders are left on the course. Sweepers may encounter riders who need assistance, they are to call for a rescue jeep to come grab the rider, or offer to bring the rider to the next aid station or to the finish if they are willing to ride along. Sweepers will communicate with the rescue Jeeps and the dispatch center via text, and ham radio.

Rescue Jeeps will be stationed at two different aid stations throughout the course. The aid stations will be staffed by Ham radio operators, race coordinators, and medical staff. Calls will come over the radio or via text message requesting assistance in picking up riders. Rescue Jeeps will usually be given coordinates, or a mile marker on the track where the person requiring assistance is located. The rescue Jeep will then deliver the rider requiring assistance back to the start of the race (if dropping out) or to the nearest aid station. When picking up a rider you will need to record their name, and race number and provide that information to the race timer at the finish line of the race.

How will we communicate?
Dispatch, Race Coordinators, Sweeping Jeeps, and Rescue Jeeps will communicate via Handheld Ham Radios, Cell Phone, and Text messages. Mobile Ham base stations will be set up at each of the Aid stations, and handheld units will be given to the Jeeps.

What is the course, and where will I go?
The course will be released on May 1, 2024, shortly after I will upload all the waypoints to Gaia Maps for everyone to use.

Roles for Specific Jeeps:
Jeep #1
Grinder Nationals Sag – 102 miles Sag for Grinder Nationals – Set odometer to zero at race start and follow behind last rider. Stay back at least 100 yards. You must stay behind the last rider – if another rider needs a ride back to the finish line you should call for a different rescue jeep. You can pick up a rider if they are willing to ride with you as you sag behind the last place rider until you get to an aid station or to the finish. Tell the aid station at mile 50 (Red Gate Farms) that the last rider for Grinder Nationals has passed this point. Continue to follow last rider
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Tell the aid station at mile 75 (Philomont Community Center) that the last rider for Grinder Nationals has passed this point. Turn around and continue to follow last rider
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After the last rider finishes tell the timer at the finish line that the last rider for Grinder Nationals has finished. If you picked up a rider and brought them to the finish line, record riders name and number on your sheet and give this information to the timer (Chris) at the finish line at Bluemont Station.

Jeep #2
Sag for Mini G – Set odometer to zero at race start and follow behind last rider. Stay back at least 100 yards. You must stay behind the last rider – if another rider needs a ride back to the finish line you should call for a different rescue jeep. You can pick up a rider if they are willing to ride with you as you sag behind the last place rider until you get to an aid station or to the finish. Tell the aid station at mile 28 (Philomont Community Center) that the last rider for Mini G has passed this point, continue to follow last rider
1683804354496.png



All riders will be traveling on Snickersville Hwy and the Grinder Nationals riders will turn left onto Yellow Schoolhouse Road around the 38 mile mark to start their 2nd lap. The Mini G riders will continue straight on Snickersville Hwy towards the finish at Bluemont Station. There will be signs at the intersection denoting this. Call Matt 785-375-3773 and tell him when the last rider for Mini G has passed this intersection.
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After the last rider finishes tell the timer at the finish line that the last rider for the Mini G has finished. If you picked up a rider and brought them to the finish line, record riders name and number on your sheet and give this information to the timer (Chris) at the finish line at Bluemont Station. Drive to Philomont Community Center - 36592 Jeb Stuart Rd, Philomont, VA 20131 to serve as a pick up vehicle.

Jeep #3 & #5
Stage with radio team at Philomont Community Center 36592 Jeb Stuart Rd, Philomont, VA 20131 Pick-up rider and bicycle when dispatched and deliver to Bluemont Station 18301 Whitehall Estate Ln, Bluemont, VA 20135. Record riders name and number on your sheet and give this information to the timer (Chris) at the finish line at Bluemont Station.

Jeep #4
Stage with radio team at Willisville road & 623 Pick-up rider and bicycle when dispatched and deliver to Bluemont Station 18301 Whitehall Estate Ln, Bluemont, VA 20135. Record riders name and number on your sheet and give this information to the timer (Chris) at the finish line at Bluemont Station.

Additional information:
  1. Gravel Grinders has offered to provide support vehicles with bike racks in order to assist in this event.
  2. We may be asked to rescue cars if the weather does not cooperate. Please bring along your recovery gear.
  3. Jeeps will be scattered across the course, we will do our best to plan for locations ahead of time, but be prepared for things to change the day of
  4. There are segments of the course with little to no cell phone service - please download offline maps of the area ahead of time
  5. Due to the range of the race GMRS may not provide coverage of the entire area, be prepared to operate autonomously or without communications.
  6. There may be periods of downtime during the race - be prepared to enjoy the scenery :)
 
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Hmm... I'm interested in this. I am an assistant emergency coordinator for Loudoun County ARES supporting the County EOC and have both my Ham and GMRS licenses.

Let me look at my calendar and see if I can help.
 
I'm in again. I'll try to get a gmrs for this year. Basic recovery gear, no winch. I do have my bike rack.
 
Hmm... I'm interested in this. I am an assistant emergency coordinator for Loudoun County ARES supporting the County EOC and have both my Ham and GMRS licenses.

Let me look at my calendar and see if I can help.
Super cool! Let us know when you get things finalized!

I'm in again. I'll try to get a gmrs for this year. Basic recovery gear, no winch. I do have my bike rack.
Excellent! Added you to the list!
 
My sister Theresa and I can help! I don’t have a winch on my Jeep so I don’t know how much we can help with recovery.
 
Okay... got the green light from the misses and the calendar is otherwise clear. Please count me in.

Along with all the tools we could ever need and radios, I also have amber safety strobes that I can legally use as part of ARES and participating in events like this. Always a plus for safety when working as a sweep, tail-end charlie and SAG/roadside repairs.

EDIT:
Forgot to add, I do have a functioning winch, hi-lift, recovery straps, etc., for doing on/off road recovery.

Also, I do not have a bike rack, but if the team is okay with it, I do have a Gladiator and can place many bikes in the back, if needed. I also have a 2" receiver hitch, if they have a rack I can use for the duration of the event.
 
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Wow! That's so coo! I signed up for a Jeep Academy that weekend, or I would have been all over this kind of thing. I'll be tracking it for next year.
 
My sister Theresa and I can help! I don’t have a winch on my Jeep so I don’t know how much we can help with recovery.
Excellent! I have added you to the list!

Okay... got the green light from the misses and the calendar is otherwise clear. Please count me in.

Along with all the tools we could ever need and radios, I also have amber safety strobes that I can legally use as part of ARES and participating in events like this. Always a plus for safety when working as a sweep, tail-end charlie and SAG/roadside repairs.
Super cool - that will be fantastic. I have added you to the list!
 
I would like to help. I have a winch, radio, soft shackles and recovery strap. I do not have a rack though.
 
I would like to help. I have a winch, radio, soft shackles and recovery strap. I do not have a rack though.
Super cool - I will add you to the list. Gravel Grinders has provided bike racks for us to use in years past - both trailer hitch mounted and strap-on style.
 
I am sorry for the late response! If you guys need help, I would be happy to lend a hand! Hope to have long range GMRS by then (more than a walkie talkie)! Winch, soft shackles, tow strap. I do not have a bike rack.
 
I am sorry for the late response! If you guys need help, I would be happy to lend a hand! Hope to have long range GMRS by then (more than a walkie talkie)! Winch, soft shackles, tow strap. I do not have a bike rack.
No worries! I have added you to the list!
 
looks like i WILL be in town this year. i have winch, recovery, radio and i "should" be able to get a bike rack.

i did aid and sweeper the first year. let me know where you want me.
 
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