2019 Opal Wapoo Gravel Grinder Huge Success!!

The Opal Wapoo Gravel Grinder combined the best of both worlds – a challenging, scenic gravel route that started and ended in a town full of hospitality (and free beer at the finish!), Excelsior Springs. The race took place during the Waterfest, an annual festival celebrating Excelsior Springs’ mineral water heritage. Riders were led out of town by a 1953 Johnny Popper (John Deere) tractor, and within a few miles they left the pavement and hit the gravel roads and journeyed through the Missouri countryside. Riders traversed down hilly, curvy, flat, tree-lined roads, past streams,  through streams in a low-water crossings, in an area where the terrain is ever-changing. Cars were few and far between, and folks waved at riders from their fields as they rode by. Riders continued through the Crooked Creek Conservation area.  As they rode back into town, the party was waiting for the riders at the finish in the middle of the Waterfest, an annual festival in Excelsior Springs.  Riders were met at the finish line with a free beer and a bite to eat provided by local businesses.

Riders were severely challenged with hills, hills and more hills! There was roughly 8,000+ feet of climb on the 100-mile Wapoo race and around 5,500+ feet of climb on the 52-mile Opal race. These gravel routes mixed in long, gradual hills with short, steep hills. But what goes up must come down, with an almost equal amount of descent! Riders discovered the hidden gems in the gravel roads of Ray County, which twist and curve their ways through classic midwest countryside.

Race Results can be found here.

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