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High Peaks, High Winds, High Energy: Giro Prevails at Grinduro

teammates with bikes
L to R: Jan Sallawitz, Flavia Olivera, Mikayla Harvey, Lisa Worner, Peter Nicholson

At the end of September, a crew from Giro (Scotts Valley, CA) travelled to Switzerland for the first European edition of Grinduro, the gravel bike race/party the brand started five years ago.

Dain Zaffke, Marketing Director, Sara Hebbrecht, Marketing Manager and Peter Nicholson, Brand Manager, were joined by Nehemiah Brown, Kathy Pruitt, and Amanda Schaper from the Flashpoint MVMNT team, as well as filmmaker George Marshall. George focused on Amanda and Kathy and their work to make cycling a better place for women. The group also worked to educate others on why gravel – specifically Grinduro – is the perfect venue to welcome more diverse riders to the sport.

The Giro and Flashpoint MVMNT teams joined 350 other racers, as well as 350 friends and family, on Lake Ägeri outside Zurich for a weekend of camping, music, and riding.

woman biking uphill
Maristany Else cresting a hill

The Grinduro course was extremely challenging, with steep Swiss terrain serving up more than 8500 feet of climbing in 62 miles, but Dain (a long-time competitive cyclist who had been following a crash-course training program written by Peter, a former cycling coach) earned a very honorable fourth place in the Pro division.

In the women’s race, Giro had invited one of their professional riders from the road cycling team Canyon//SRAM, Mikayla Harvey, who scored second place in her first-ever gravel race.

First place was also in Giro: winner Flavia Olivera had forgotten her cycling shoes in Portugal and Giro’s local distributor Chris Sports Switzerland (CSS) generously provided a pair they luckily had some in her size.

Sara was probably the busiest person in the squad, managing Giro’s expo booth and tending to a rest stop featuring fondue at an incredibly scenic high point on the course. Sara was a driving force behind keeping the party going well past midnight in the expo village, even as 30+mph gusts rolled in ahead of a storm. CSS was forced to take down their tent and displays because of the gale-force winds, but the Grinduro spirit remained undaunted and the now-clear booth made for a perfect dance floor.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

team with bikes
L to r: Carlos Munoz, Juanpere, Maria Montaner Guergue, Alejandro Sanchez, unknown

All-in-all, Grinduro Switzerland was a massive success for Giro, CSS, and the partner brands. The most telling testament was the number of attendees who were not just vowing to return to Lake Aëgeri, but attend additional Grinduro events planned for 2022 in Japan, Australia, and California.