FAQ’s

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The FAQs

May 21, 2021 Update:
Racers can expect slight modifications to the 2021 Growler, including:

COVID PRECAUTIONS

The health and safety of our racers, volunteers and staff is our #1 priority. We’ve been working closely with Gunnison County Public Health to plan for this years event, and we’re asking racers to follow a number of precautionary measures to ensure everyones safety.

  • Please DO NOT attend the event if you’re feeling ill or have been in contact with someone recently who has tested positive for COVID-19 – CDC ‘Self Checker’ Guidelines
  • Masks will be REQUIRED at registration at Western’s Mountaineer Field House. We will have masks available should you forget to bring one.
  • We ask racers to keep a safe distance from one another at the start and finish of the race. We will have rows created at the start to help with distancing. Yes, everyone is usually buzzing at the start of the race, high-fiving and talking smack, but please try and socially distance.
  • There will be hand sanitizer literally everywhere – at registration, at the start, at all aid stations, at the finish – please use liberally whenever you have the chance.
  • Masks are no longer required at the start, finish and aid stations for racers. Check out all current health and safety guidelines for Gunnison County HERE.

START LOCATION | WAVE STARTS

We’ll be starting from the Gunnison County Recycle Center (195 Basin Park Dr.) this year to better accommodate waved starts. All waves will start promptly at the allotted time. Riders will exit the recycle center and have a neutral roll-out along Gold Basin Road until they turn into the Hartman Rocks parking lot and timing/racing officially begins.
The waved starts for each day are as follows:

Saturday Classic 32:

  • Wave A – 9:00am start
  • Wave B – 9:20am start
  • Wave C – 9:40am start

Sunday Big Bad 40:

  • Wave A – 7:00am start
  • Wave B – 7:30am start

Sunday Pup 20:

  • Wave A – 8:00am start
  • Wave B – 8:30am start

It’s about a 2.5 mile ride from downtown Gunnison to the start location at the recycle center. Plan on 15-20 minutes to ride there prior to your start. The route will be marked with our typical yellow arrows. There is NO PARKING at the recycle center! Consider the 2.5 mile spin a nice warmup on the day.

AID STATIONS | FINISH

There will be three aid stations out on course (two for the Pup 20 riders). Each will be stocked with a variety of goodies, including Kate’s Real Food BarsVermont Sticky hydration, PICKLES!, bananas and water. Riders are asked to properly dispose of any trash in the available trash cans. Aid stations and the distances they are located along the courses are:

Classic 32:

1. Skull Pass – at miles 13 and 15

2. Buddy Bear-Josie’s – at mile 19

3. Graceland – at mile 26

Big Bad 40:

1. Skull Pass – at miles 13 and 23

2. Buddy Bear-Josie’s – at mile 28

3. Graceland – at mile 35

Pup 20:

1. Buddy Bear-Josie’s – at mile 8

2. Graceland – at mile 15

AWARDS

Unfortunately, we’re foregoing the typical party and awards ceremony in downtown Gunnison this year. However, thanks to our amazing partners at MiiRHigh Alpine Brewing Company and Jitter Juice Coffee Roasters, we’ve still got some sweet prizes for all you podium finishers. Awards can be picked up at Double Shot Cyclery at 222 N. Main St. in downtown Gunnison from 3-5pm Saturday and Sunday.

*2021 EVENT: WILL HAVE WAVE STARTS, SEE COVID SECTION ABOVE.

For 2021, riders will begin in separate start waves from the Gunnison County Recycle Center. Field limit is 350 starters per day. Entries include a ton of singletrack, well-stocked aid stations and a post-race party including a meal and beverages.

Saturday – The Classic 32:

An epic single-lap race. Our most popular distance, the Classic usually sells out quickly. Don’t procrastinate on this one. But if you did and it’s full, take a look at Sunday’s race options. Entry fee is $109 for the Classic.

Sunday – The Pup 20:

The Pup 20 features many of the trails on the Classic 32 mile course, but shortens the distance by cutting off the southern half of the Classic 32 mile course. Although shorter in distance, the Pup 20 is still a singletrack heavy course, with plenty of challenging trails to keep things exciting. Entry fee is $99 for the Pup.

Sunday – The Big Bad 40:

The Big Bad 40 replaces our two-lap, 64 mile Full Growler with a slightly shorter course. The Big Bad 40 features the same Classic 32 mile course as Saturday’s race, but adds on the Aberdeen loop, an 8 mile singletrack loop that takes riders over South Beaver Creek and deeper into the Hartman Rocks backcountry. Though it may be shorter than the 64 miler, the Big Bad is remains one of the most challenging races on the planet for experienced, trail riding mountain bikers. Entry fee is $119 for the Big Bad 40.

*2021 EVENT: REGISTRATION REQUIRES MASKS TO BE WORN AND SOCIAL DISTANCING. 

Packet Pickup: 3-9pm Friday and Saturday 5-9pm  at Western Colorado University in the Mountaineer Field House: 600 E. Ruby Ave, Gunnison, CO 81230.
Your race plate goes on the front of your bike. Do not bend the plate or it will interfere with the timing chip and ultimately your race result.

DIRECTIONS: From Highway 50/Tomichi Ave., turn north onto Colorado St., go 4 blocks then turn east on Gothic Ave. Go around the roundabout and park, the Mountaineer Field House is the huge building to the northeast and enter through the southwest doors nearest the parking lot. Google 700 E. Gothic Ave or check out the link above.

THE GREAT GROWLER FOOD DRIVE! The Original Growler is a BYOB Race: Bring Your Own Bag. We try to eliminate waste and clutter by not providing you with any spiffy disposable or reusable bags that nobody needs. Please bring your own, preferably filled with non-perishable food items for the Original Growler Food Drive. Last year we killed it with this and our local food bank is forever grateful for your generosity.

*2021 EVENT: SEE COVID SECTION ABOVE FOR NEW START LOCATION INFO

SATURDAY’S CLASSIC 32 STARTS IN DOWNTOWN GUNNISON AT 9AM SHARP.

SUNDAY’S PUP 20 and BIG BAD 40 BOTH START TOGETHER FROM DOWNTOWN GUNNISON AT 7AM SHARP.

THE START is neutral behind law enforcement until you hit the dirt at Hartman Rocks. Neutral means you cannot pass the lead-out law enforcement vehicle. HINT: the law enforcement vehicle usually goes pretty fast on Gold Basin road toward the dirt. Racing begins for real when you hit the dirt at the entrance to the Hartman Rocks base area. The course is about a 32-mile loop on your BLM public lands that brings riders back to the Hartman Rocks base area, where the timed finish/lap line is located.

THE FINISH line is on the dirt at the Hartman Rocks base area. The timed portion of all races will be completed at the Hartman Rocks base area. WE ARE NOT RACING BACK TO DOWNTOWN GUNNISON. However, riding back to downtown Gunnison (roughly 2.5 miles) on the pavement is mandatory but untimed. However, by rule, you must pedal your bike back to downtown Gunnison and check in at the symbolic finish line there. This section is untimed so you can take your time, even stopping by your campsite or hotel room first to peel out of your lycra and shower. Do make it back downtown, however, and check in with race staff.

IF YOU DNF IN ANY RACE, PLEASE ALERT A COURSE VOLUNTEER OR RACE ORGANIZATION MEMBER MAKING SURE THEY GET YOUR BIB NUMBER. THANKS!

Parking

Please, no parking on Main St. or in the first block on either side of Main St. These are two-hour parking spots and you will be ticketed and possibly towed. There’s plenty of street parking adjacent to the finish that’s just one block or more off of Main St. A great parking lot is two blocks west of the start across the street from the post office and there’s a ton of parking on the campus of Western Colorado University.

The well-marked course of around 32 miles contains loads of classic and challenging Gunnison singletrack – trails like Skull Pass, Rattlesnake, the Ridge, Joshos, 4-miles of new trail in the Graceland complex. You won’t be bored! The lap descends around 4,000 vertical feet. The Pup 20 uses the northern half of the 32 mile course while the Big Bad 40 adds on the 8 mile Aberdeen loop to the classic 32 mile course.  Please study the map for details.

PLEASE NOTE: Parts of the Original Growler course are closed until May 15th to protect the threatened Gunnison Sage-grouse. If you preride the course prior to May 15th, please honor and respect this seasonal closure for wildlife. Many thanks!

The Original Growler course contains difficult, technically demanding, and of course, potentially dangerous, singletrack trails, double-tracks and roads. Most road and trail hazards are not marked. Riders must possess the judgment and experience necessary to evaluate the roads and trails of the Original Growler and determine the safest manner in which to negotiate them.

BLM Public Lands
All roads and trails used in the Original Growler are also open to the public and participants don’t have special preference out on the trail. Participants need to be prepared to encounter, yield to and be courteous to humans on foot, on horseback, on mountain bikes (not racing), on motorcycles, on ATV’s, in full-size vehicles, hovercraft, etc. Cattle may also be encountered while racing in the Original Growler. This is standard policy for events taking place on BLM public lands.

The Original Growler course is an isolated, backcountry route that includes numerous sections located in steep and rugged terrain where participants may be hours from medical attention and/or evacuation in the event of a serious mishap. Western Colorado University Mountain Rescue Team provides emergency services for the Original Growler. The long-distance nature of the Growler races emphasizes the importance of adequate preparation, physical fitness and sound decision-making on the part of each participant.

SATURDAY CLASSIC 32:

  • WOMEN CLASSIC – Middle School, High School Freshmen/Sophomore; High School Junior/Senior; Collegiate; 19-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50+; Open Singlespeed; Pro
  • MEN CLASSIC – Middle School, High School Freshmen/Sophomore; High School Junior/Senior; Collegiate; 19-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60+; Open Singlespeed; Clydesdale (over 200 lbs.); Pro

SUNDAY PUP 20:

  • WOMEN PUP – Middle School, High School Freshmen/Sophomore; High School Junior/Senior, Adult (18+)
  • MEN PUP – Middle School, High School Freshmen/Sophomore; High School Junior/Senior, Adult (18+)

SUNDAY BIG BAD 40:

  • WOMEN BIG BAD – Collegiate; 18-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50+; Open Singlespeed; Pro
  • MEN BIG BAD – Collegiate; 18-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60+; Open Singlespeed; Clydesdale (over 200 lbs.); Pro

Gunnison Trails holds some starting positions for sponsors, partners and race organization discretion.

The Original Growler is for experienced mountain bikers only and takes place in rugged, isolated backcountry terrain. While your safety is our highest priority and we have a robust EMS plan and experienced and trained personnel, responding to and evacuating an injured rider could be time consuming and difficult. Riders must possess the skills and judgment necessary to assess difficult and challenging trails and roads and negotiate them in a safe manner. NO BEGINNERS, PLEASE! For comparison, the general character and difficulty of the trails and roads in the Original Growler is similar to those of the BLM Mack Ridge Trail System near Fruita, CO: Mary’s Loop, Lion’s Loop, Horsethief Loop, Steve’s Loop, etc. The trails have also been described as Buffalo Creek on steroids.

Each day of Original Growler racing is capped at 350 riders. We could easily start 500 or more but there’s a ton of singletrack out there, much of it either fast or technical. Too many riders on course at once is not conducive to quality racing and riding. Even so, the Growler will bottleneck early in the race. Please be patient, respectful and smart if you find yourself at a standstill. Riding off of the trail to pass is NOT cool. Also, if a gap opens in front of you and you look back and notice that you are the engine of a long train of riders, please step off of your bike, move over and let these faster riders by. The same goes later in the race if you are being lapped or if another rider comes up on you on singletrack. Please yield the trail. This helps keep our precious singletrack trails singletrack! Thanks!

Both days of racing will start in downtown Gunnison by shotgun blasts. As per tradition, we will be flip-flopping the direction of travel on the course each year. Every trail is a completely different experience when ridden the other way!

The CLASSIC 32

While the winning time will be around 3 hours, we have a handful of riders out there for over 6 hours. Average times are 4-5 hours.Even though it’s called a race, this is an exceptional course to just ride for fun and challenge. We do have cutoff times (our volunteers do not bring sleeping bags!), but they are not overly tough to beat.

The PUP 20

While this race is new for 2021, we anticipate the average times to be between 3 – 5 hours.

The BIG BAD 40

Also new for 2021, we anticipate the average times to be between 5-6 hours. Some riders may be on course for closer to 8 hours, and we will have cutoffs times in place to prevent riders remaining on course after dark. However, these cutoff times are not overly tough to beat.

GROWLER RESULTS PAGE

RAIN:

You will most likely get wet. The Original Growler is an all weather race. It poured rain before and during the race in 2009; in 2014, it rained most of the night prior to the Full Growler and in 2015 the story was the same for the Half. The first part of the course, especially the roads, on those days certainly had their moments. However, all thing considered, Hartman Rocks rides pretty well when it’s wet. Most of the soils are non-clay, decomposed granite. The race organization and/or the BLM may cancel the race do to weather but this hasn’t happened yet! All riders need to be dressed appropriately and be prepared to ride in the conditions on race day. In the event of a weather cancellation, essentially an act of god, Gunnison Trails reserves the right to make any decision possible.

LIGHTNING:

Lightning is wholly unpredictable and very common in Colorado. Each of you make your own decisions about how best to stay safe in the event of a sudden electrical storm. If lightning starts striking nearby, do whatever you need to do to stay safe. These storms usually pass quickly.

Many trails in the Growler course are on hilltops or on large flat planes. Please be aware of the weather around you and where you are heading and make good decisions.

Canceling the race when riders are spread all over the course is not practical, not to mention impossible to communicate. We reserve the right to suspend or alter final results if thunderstorms materially alter rider’s ability to continue on without seeking cover. But, all parts of the race will stay intact and resume operations once each storm cell has passed. Ride aware at all times, especially after storms, as volunteers sometimes bail from their positions.

Follow all rules of the road and be safe and prudent if you approach an intersection, blind spot or other potentially dangerous situation while riding and that is un-marshaled.

Since these storms usually come and go, the course, finish line, aid stations, etc., will stay in place and active, except when they are under siege from an active electrical storm cell.

Be safe, make good decisions. Don’t let you competitiveness overrule your safety. After all this is the Growler, not the tour de France.

*2021 EVENT: SEE COVID SECTION ABOVE.

Aid stations and the distances they are located along the courses are:

Classic 32:

1. Skull Pass – at miles 13 and 15

2. Buddy Bear-Josie’s – at mile 19

3. Graceland – at mile 26

Big Bad 40:

1. Skull Pass – at miles 13 and 23

2. Buddy Bear-Josie’s – at mile 28

3. Graceland – at mile 35

Pup 20:

1. Buddy Bear-Josie’s – at mile 8

2. Graceland – at mile 15

We will have hydration drink mix and KATE’S REAL FOOD bars available, as well as water and other food, too. Depending on location ice cold coke, and pickles or pickle juice will be available. As in years past, bacon and who knows what else, might be offered. No filled bottles will be handed up so you’ll need to fill your bottles and bladders or make other arrangements.

Crewing is discouraged on the race course. There is already a ton of action going on out there and the few cars and less traffic, the better.

There will be basic technical support at the Hartman Rocks base area and basic support at Skull Pass. This will include lube, a few tubes and tires, some tools and floor pump. There most likely will not be a full-service bike shop on course. The base area will have more resources. Please arrive with your bike 100% dialed and then ride it so that it lasts, e.g. don’t shift like a bison!

THE CLASSIC

  • Cutoff #1: If you have not arrived at the Skull Pass aid station by noon (5mph average or less), you will be asked to begin expediting your ride by not dropping into Skull Pass, and/or cutting off other sections of the course. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.
  • Cutoff #2: If you do not reach the start of Josie’s trail by 1pm, you will be asked to expedite your ride by taking roads directly back to the Hartman Rocks Base Area. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.
  • Cutoff #3: If you do not reach the end of Graceland trail by 2pm, you will be asked to expedite your ride by taking roads directly back to the Hartman Rocks Base Area. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.

THE BIG BAD 40:

  • Cutoff #1: If you have not arrived at the Skull Pass aid station by 10:30am (5mph average or less), you will be asked to begin expediting your ride by not dropping into Skull Pass, and/or cutting off other sections of the course. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.
  • Cutoff #2: If you do not reach the start of Josie’s trail by 1:30pm, you will be asked to expedite your ride by taking roads directly back to the Hartman Rocks Base Area. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.
  • Cutoff #3: If you do not reach the end of Graceland trail by 2:30pm, you will be asked to expedite your ride by taking roads directly back to the Hartman Rocks Base Area. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.

*2021 EVENT: SEE COVID SECTION ABOVE.

Once you’re done and back in downtown at the starting line, you’ll be smack-dab in the middle of the Growler after party. We have food and beverages (please drink responsibly) for you and eventually, we’ll do awards. We suggest that you put your bike away securely (you might want to bring a lock for peace of mind or get it back to where you are staying or on or in your car), clean up as you like and kick back and enjoy the post-race glow and feeling of abused legs.

  • THE CLASSIC party on Saturday begins around 1pm with Awards around 3pm.
  • THE PUP AND BIG BAD party on Sunday begins around 1pm with Awards around 3pm.

Refunds and Transfers:

The Original Growler’s only reason for existence – along with offering you an epic challenge and an amazing experience – is to raise money for Gunnison area trails, trail advocacy and other local non-profits.

Refund Policy:

Full refunds are available until March 31, 2021 at midnight. Refunds will only be granted if we receive an email at info@gunnisontrails.org prior to this date and time. In this email you can also request a partial refund, contributing an amount of your choice to the Gunnison Trails cause. Thanks in advance for that!

From April 1, 2021 to May 21, 2021 at midnight, a full refund, less a $25 contribution to Gunnison Trails, is available. Again, you must email us at info@gunnisontrails.org within this time period and you can also contribute more than $25 if you choose, just let us know in your email.

Apologies, but there will be no refunds after May 21, 2021. However, check out our transfer policy below as we will allow transfers until May 21, 2021.

Transfers:

Transfers will be allowed until May 21, 2020 at midnight. We have set up our registration platform at bikereg.com to allow users to transfer entries to others and to edit their registration. This will allow you to log on and transfer your entry to someone you have lined up, change categories, team name, rider’s name and contact details, etc.

We need volunteers and would love your help. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the form here and we will be in contact with race day details.

Read the Weekend Info