2017 Mt Lemmon Gravel Grinder
September 23, 2017
September 23, 2017
Benefiting the Arizona Trail Association
About the Gravel Grinder:
Breaking News: American Bunnyhop is upping the ante and making history by adding a 60 mile course to the Mt Lemmon Gravel Grinder. This new course challenges the Grinder competitors to race to the top up the steep and narrow ’backside’ route known as the Mt Lemmon Control Road. This will be the first organized event utilizing this historic road in its almost 100 year history!
The 2nd Annual Mt Lemmon Gravel Grinder is scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd and features one of southern Arizona's most historic gravel roads located on the “back side” northern slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains connecting the rural town of Oracle to the Village of Summerhaven, Mt Lemmon.
The Grinder returns to the Oracle Ford Peppersauce Roundup “Adventure Festival” hosted by Arizona Zipline Adventures located just outside of Oracle. The 2nd edition will offer folks the opportunity to travel up the Mt Lemmon “Control” Road all the way to the top while friends and family await your return and enjoy the full day of festivities back at the Corral.
Riders will enjoy the remote rugged terrain and breathtaking open range views while challenging their physical and mental abilities in search of what it takes to grind out the course. True Grit! When you return, all finishers will receive an award symbolizing your achievement and are encouraged to celebrate and enjoy the live music, tasty eats, and cold beverages.
American Bunnyhop invites you to round up your posse of family and friends and enjoy the beauty and charm of Oracle. Spend the weekend with us!
Mount Lemmon with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792 meters) is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is located in the Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Arizona. Mount Lemmon was named for botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to the top of the mountain with her husband and E.O. Stratton, a local rancher, by horse and foot in 1881. Also known as a sky island, the reference comes from the analogy of these mountains being like islands of forest in a sea of desert.
Oracle is the gateway to the road up the "back side" of Mount Lemmon, which starts off of American Avenue and currently offers a secondary route to the top. The name "Oracle" comes from early prospectors. Albert Weldon came to the area looking for gold and silver. He and some other companions named their first mine
The Oracle after the ship Weldon had traveled on. The community was later named after its first mine, and thus, indirectly, after a ship. Prior to the construction of the paved Catalina Highway on the “front side” of the range out of Tucson, the Oracle Control Road was the only road access to the mountain community of Summerhaven.
At the beginning of the 20th century, mine owners on Oracle Ridge as well as area residents looking for an easier way to access the cool, high country of the Santa Catalina Mountains, petitioned the government to construct a road to the summit of the range. With local mine owners supporting the project, the road to the summit of the Santa Catalinas and the little village of Summerhaven was completed in 1920. This steep and winding mountain road was too narrow in places to allow cars to pass, which resulted in a rigidly enforced time schedule for motorists. The term "control road" derives from the fact that the direction of traffic was restricted to one-way only, either up or down at alternate times of day, to prevent motorists from having to pass one another on the narrow, steep road. This route ends at Mt Lemmon Fire Station near Catalina Highway, and is now referred to as the Mt Lemmon Control Road.
Along the route, located halfway up the mountain, is the abandoned Oracle Ridge Mine. During heavy operations, Forest Service Road 4450, known as the “Haul Road” was constructed to allow easier passage for large trucks to haul ore out of the mine.
In April 2016, 3 like minded partners came together to create a unique event that would honor the history of their host region and attract the modern day adventurer. Thus the Peppersauce Roundup “Adventure Festival” was born. The featured event, the Mt Lemmon Gravel Grinder travels up the historic Oracle Control Road that will take riders past Peppersauce Cave and Oracle Ridge Mine and back down/out via the Haul Road.
This unique festival is hosted by/at Arizona Zipline Adventures in partnership with American Bunnyhop.