Gravel Grit Laguna
In the lead up to Gravel Grit Laguna 2019, we chatted with route coordinator Mark Plucinski to get the inside scoop for this year’s ride. Rumour has it you’ll be wanting to stay an extra night!
Mark, what we can expect from Gravel Grit’s visit to Laguna?
Laguna is a hidden gem. I was there recently to do some planning for Gravel Grit and it’s some of the most amazing riding I’ve done. We’re very excited to get back there and give people a real adventure, something different to their usual Sunday ride.
It’s a pretty unique event for us and has a great balance of stunning scenery, great riding and some challenging sections that are sure to test you while hopefully putting a smile on your face.
“The extra loop features a wicked descent, a creek crossing, some technical turns and a punchy little climb to wrap it all up.”
What’s changing for 2019?
The big change this year is being able to arrive early and camp at Laguna the night before the ride. We love the region and think you’ll enjoy being able to make it a weekend-long affair of riding and good times. So now you can get to Laguna on the Saturday, check out the trails in the area, sneak in sleep in and then smash out the ride on the Sunday. You won’t need to rush to Laguna on Sunday morning and we’ll look after you with dinner and breakfast.
I think we hit a sweet spot with the riding last year with a well balanced route. It would test you out at some points, then give your legs a breather as you fly through other points. We’ll stick to a winning formula there, but with a few new surprises.
And nothing feels better than getting off the bike at the end of your ride, knowing that you’ve given it your all, and relaxing at the event village. The Great Northern will be pumping, with beers and banter flowing and a post-ride feed that is on point.
What bike do you think is best for the route?
Personally, my weapon of choice would be a gravel bike or similar. The route is rough in sections, but also has a few short sections of fast gravel and sealed road. You could also choose to use a mountain bike if you’re after an extra bit of suspension. If you’re lucky enough to have an e-bike at your disposal that little extra bit of power wouldn’t hurt for the more punchy climbs.
If you’re feeling brave, you could give it a crack on a road bike with a wider tyre profile (more than 28mm), just prepare for some rougher sections along the route. However, I wouldn’t recommend using your best wheel set if you do take a road bike.
“My favourite part of the ride is just after the turn off the main road at the beginning of the ride. The view lets you know you are in for a great day, and that sound of gravel under your tyres is reassuring.”
What else can we expect to see on this year’s ride?
This route is one of the most varied we offer. It has stunning rainforest scenery and tree lined track, plus come challenging climbs. Riders loved that last year, and remember, what goes up must come down.
My favourite part of the ride is just after the turn off the main road at the beginning of the ride. The view lets you know you are in for a great day, and that sound of gravel under your tyres is reassuring.
Rolling into the finish site at the Great Northern Trading Post is also right up there! The atmosphere and the pub is infectious, with people sharing stories of their gravel adventures. It’s great part of the event and not to be missed, mostly because we’ll have BBQ and cold drink with your name on it.