GFE Update: SNOW

We always like to say “come ready for adventure” aka when given lemons you make lemonade (or in our case snowcones).  There are many moving parts to a ride like this and some of them we have zero control over.  Like when you get pounded with two years worth of winter in two weeks.  As we currently sit at two weeks out from Gran Fondo Ephrata we have parts of both courses impassible and under 4-6′ of snow.  There’s also roads that are “passable” but not necessarily ridable.  So what is the answer to all of this?  Postpone? (Highly unlikely)  Cancel?  (Even more unlikely)  Roll with it and make the best of it because gravel riding folk aren’t exactly ones to shy away from a little adversity?  We’re liking that option.  The 2019 edition of GFE will probably not look like any other one we’ve had.  We even have a special issue GFE tshirt to commemorate (commiserate?) the whole spectacle.  In the end we’re in this together and we think that together it will be awesome!  Stay tuned, and come ready for adventure!!!

EDIT:  A lot can change in two weeks and we have a number of course options available, but if I were to take a guess right now I would say it’s looking like a Palisades out and back (which is currently clear of snow).  That would land us approx 75 miles with 3500′ of climbing.  We will edit as conditions permit.

Baird Springs
Baird Springs

37 thoughts on “GFE Update: SNOW

  1. Jake,

    We’ve been trying to ride up here is Spokane this past couple of weeks, because you can only do so much indoor trainer. Between snowstorms, some of he more well driven roads are clear enough to ride BUT… Yesterday, for example, it was 20 degrees. We have all the cold riding gear you could ask for/wear at one time. After about 1-1/2 hours we were done. Maybe we could have stretched it out for another 30-45 minutes, maybe. In all seriousness, sending people out in sub-zero temps for (what’s supposed to be) a 4-6 hour ride is a safety issue. NOAA is predicting 34 degrees for Ephrata next Saturday so maybe the week of the race will be that, or a bit higher. But last year’s results show the fasted guy at just over 4 hours (on good roads), and the bulk of finishers around took 5.5 to 6.5 hours. If the roads are still terrible, the time will only go up. That’s a long time to be out in that kind of cold… Fingers are crossed for better weather…

    1. Eric, rider safety is our number one concern, there’s no way we’d send out 200 riders for a 5ish hour ride in sub-zero temps. It’s looking very unlikely we’ll be using the full course. We will continue to monitor and reroute/revise as needed.

      1. Mr. Rogers (comment below) seems to think it’s going to hit the 50’s for the day of the race. Finger’s crossed that’s the case, as low 50s will be miserable but not sub-zero dangerous. Although if it gets that warm that fast, we may end up spending more time washing the mud off our bikes than actually riding… Thanks for these posts and keeping us updated…

  2. The biggest part of the lure of these rides for me is that they are “tough”. You have to put the work in to make the rides manageable and enjoyable. The Tri-Cities has been hit just as hard as any where else with extreme weather. We have broken a 100 year record in snow accumulations. This weekend it was in the 20’s with 15 mile winds. Myself and my fellow Tri-City cyclist doing this event were out riding getting ready for it. Maybe the fastest guy don’t come in first this year. Maybe the guy or gal with most guts and determination does.
    Anyways once they do finish they will feel great from their accomplishment. My vote is the show must go on!

    1. I’m with you Steve. It doesn’t happen very often but there have been times when I have opted to forego team kit in lieu of a down jacket. You dress for the weather. It’s doable. Ask an Alaskan. This might be the year for someone on a mountain bike or a diesel that runs well in the cold. Lets do this.

  3. As of now, the extended forecast is calling for warmer temps…lo to hi 50’s daytime, starting Mon 3/11…Sat 3/16 is forecast at 59…but nights below freezing.
    3/17 is forecast for mid fifties…
    Fingers crossed.

  4. Jake,
    I would be interested in hearing your recommendation for tires. Assuming that 700×30 is no longer optimal. Thanks.

    1. Gary, it depends, as things are so up in the air at the moment as to what the course will look like. At this point if it were me something like a Gravelking 32 seems like a good fit. If we run you through the snow it will be brief, soft/muddy gravel would be the other concern. We’ll see how things shape up.

  5. Eric, if the Palisades oab ends up being the ride, will there be a shorter option for those of us signed up for the 50?

      1. Yes, we’d have a shorter version for the Medio. Too soon to say for sure right now, but probably around 35ish miles depending on what roads are available.

        1. I signed up for the 80, but if you can get closer to 40 for the Medio, it’s a deal. (Out of shape as usual). Either way, I’m there

  6. The forecast shows a slightly warmer trend (high 30s), but that is not enough to melt the snow drifts. I drive the back roads of Ephrata and have seen little to no gravel. If we have an event, it will have to be more road than gravel (if any). I vote to postpone this classic or give riders an option to ride another event in lieu of this one.

    1. Agreed, doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing a massive snow melt between now and then. We’re doing our best to come up with something that offers the GFE flavor we all know and love, with the magic formula of gravel and pavement that will work with our crazy winter. This will definitely not look like previous years, and be one to remember. We feel like if everyone comes with an open mind and a little sense of adventure it’s going to be good.

      1. I second Mr Castro’s suggestions. Maybe add another option to transfer this year’s registration for next year’s GFE? Thank you.

  7. Nope, if it’s rideable, then let’s do it. I rode GFE in ’15, this can’t be worse than that. These rides are supposed to be hard, this is just a little different type of hard.
    Here’s what I’m going to do:
    Hike up my skirt, dress like I know how, thank all the volunteers and proceed to get me and my 1st-timer buddy from A to Z in under 8 hours. Then eat a huge burrito, go home and sign up for Goldendale.

    1. Well said. The forecast now is for sunny and dry in the mid-40s for Ephrata the second half of next week. That’s pretty good for this time of year. As long as it’s not a downpour in the 40s (like 2015), it will just make for great stories. And Vicious always puts on a good event. Too bad the re-route will probably mean less vertical.

  8. Jake, There’s quite of few people asking me if it’s possible to reschedule EGF. If that’s not possible would you be willing to issue a refund (even partial). Thanks.

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