Dave Maxwell - Sarah Somers, left, and Kathy Hunt of Panaca ride together in the fourth annual Beaver Dam State Park Gravel Grinder. About 32 riders participated.

Dave Maxwell –
Sarah Somers, left, and Kathy Hunt of Panaca ride together in the fourth annual Beaver Dam State Park Gravel Grinder. About 32 riders participated.

It was a fun time for those who participated in the fourth annual Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder June 18, sponsored by the Nevada State Parks.

Organizer Dawn Andone said about 32 riders came, which is an increase from previous years. “We doubled this year,” she said. “We had a number of first timers as well as some return riders. One couple even came from Cedar City, Utah, and one from north of Salt Lake City.”

The Gravel Grinder is not a race, rather a recreational ride through some of the beautiful mountain scenery of rural eastern Nevada.

Andone said a number of the riders came to Beaver Dam State Park on Friday night and camped out. “We encourage people to do that. It’s part of the experience and they usually stay over Saturday night as well.”

First timers Tim Olsen and Tina Findlay of Henderson said they came on this ride because they enjoy camping, “and also put our sporting events around camping. We love mountain biking and saw this notice on Facebook and one of the local Las Vegas cycling websites and thought it would be perfect for us. It was fun, well organized and everyone was amazing.”

Many of the hills on the 35 or 45-mile rides are very challenging, but Findlay said “They were wonderful, every hill was fun. I like going up best. I’m not very good going downhill.”

Gary Bocarde of Cedar City said he saw the notice of the Gravel Grinder in the Cycling West publication and it looked like it would be a fun thing. “It’s a great event, but it’s a grinder, too. Challenging, lots of steep hills, but a good, well run, well marked event. It was fun to meet new people during the ride.”

At many places along the trail, large coolers were placed within easy reach for a rider to get a bottle of water and/or a snack and then move on.

Kathy Hunt and Sarah Somers of Panaca said it was a great course, tough in places, but lots of fun. First timer Somers said it was “a good course, perfectly planned with really good support and well marked. I did it because I hadn’t tried mountain biking before and I wanted to be supportive of the state parks.”

Adam Woodrum, a lawyer from Las Vegas, said he and his family came because of interest and turned it into a camping trip for the family. “My mom, wife and two kids came, but they abandoned me today to go swimming at Kershaw-Ryan while I was on the ride. It was hard, but fun. A lot of straight up, straight down over and over again.”

A light lunch was prepared for the riders at the old church/school house in Barclay, and concluded with a barbeque, Dutch oven dinner later in the afternoon back at the starting point in Beaver Dam State Park.