FAIRFIELD – The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual “Harvest Rush Gravel Grinder” on Saturday, September 24.
The event challenges local cyclists to explore Jefferson County’s gravel and dirt roads, with three routes for skill levels ranging from beginner to intermediate to gravel enthusiast. Runners will depart from Fishback and Stephenson Cider House just north of Fairfield between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. that day.
The shortest route, “Harvest Rush”, is 32.6 miles, with a halfway break near Polishville Cemetery with water and snacks. Runners should be on the lookout for helium balloons and water coolers to mark this stop and others.
The intermediate route, called “Dirt Road Anthem”, is 58.5 miles and includes two stops, one in Polishville and the other in Salina.
For the more daring riders, the “Dissident Aggressor” route offers a challenging 185.4-mile course with stops at Polishville, Salina, Yucca Avenue and Pine Avenue. A cash prize of $1,000 awaits the top men and women in this race.
In addition to water and snack stations to relieve runners, the chamber will also provide SAG support for runners who need assistance or who decide they cannot complete the race. Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Mendy McAdams said runners will be given her cell phone number before the race and are asked to call her if they need to be picked up.
“Some people are trying something for the first time, and if they want to do it, they are welcome to call us at base camp and we will pick them up,” she said.
Participants can register in advance or on the day of the race, in cash or by credit card. Helmets, lights and flashes are compulsory and will be checked on the starting line. All participants will receive a ‘gift bag’ and there will be prizes for the winners of the short and intermediate races. The cost of the two shorter trips is $40 and the longer trip is $95.
McAdams said Jefferson County is blessed with so many great gravel and dirt roads, and even has more dirt roads than any neighboring county.
“Over 33% of the route is on B-grade roads,” she said. “We’re just briefly on the Loop Trail to avoid traffic.”
McAdams said she has already received entries from people across the state who are excited about the challenge, people from Burlington, Ames, Ankeny, Cedar Rapids and Montrose.
The chamber is always looking for volunteers for the event. McAdams said cyclists doing the long route will likely take 12 hours to complete, but she’s not asking for volunteers to stay all day.
“We would like to have volunteers for four hours at the start and four hours at the end,” she said.
Volunteers will help set up and tear down, manage the registration table, be a SAG support vehicle and assist at checkpoints.
Hungry cyclists should know that Fishback and Stephenson Cider House will be serving food, and there will be a food truck on site to serve cyclists.
McAdams said she hopes for good turnout, as money raised at this bike race and through the Bike Around the Fairfield Loop Trail Annual Fun Ride (BAFLTAFR) goes to the Elementary School Bike Safety Program. local.
“It’s really important to us because Fairfield is a big fan of bikes, and we want to make sure these kids get the right information about signage, wearing helmets, and knowing where to ride,” McAdams said.
To learn more, visit the chamber’s website at fairfieldiowa.com.
Becca Kokjohn and Jerad Ruble, both of Donnellson, begin their bike ride during Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s first Level B Service Ride through the gravel and dirt roads of Jefferson County in 2020. For this year’s race, on September 24, the chamber offers three courses of 30, 60 and 120 miles. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at [email protected]