Fifty racers in the inaugural Mineshaft Grinder struck gold in Hope on Saturday, August 17, competing on a sunny day with a welcome cool breeze. This KMTA event was a celebration of the mining history of Hope, a fundraiser for Hope School and local National Heritage Area grants, and a broad community effort.
Hope School hosted the start for all three grinders, gravel races with significant climbing: Gold (11.6 mile bike finishing at the end of Palmer Creek Road), Silver (8.8 mile run, to the top of the switchbacks and back), and Quartz (4.8 mile run, to a clearing overlooking the valley and back). Upon finishing, most racers sportingly opted for the bucket carry to earn prospector points in the form of extra raffle tickets for a lucrative prize drawing at the awards celebration.
Prizes included a flight seeing trip from Alpine Air, Alyeska Bike Park lift tickets, a Chain Reaction tune-up, guided jetski outing out of Whittier with Glacier Jetski Adventures, and dinner at the Seaview, all donated by business partners. In addition, Turnagain Kayak & Coffeehouse and Jaffa Construction sponsored the race and the Creekbend Company hosted the awards celebration.
The Quartz Grinder men’s race was won outright by a youth, Peter Hinds, who ran just over a half hour and several minutes ahead of open men’s winner Robert Gerlik . Lisa Drumm won the women’s race with company, pushing her child in a running stroller, and Madison McDonald edged out her sister for female youth top honors.
Lauren Hess topped the women’s field in the Silver Grinder while Franklin Dekker, the men’s winner, was the sole Silver strider to break an hour.
The women’s Gold Grinder race had two podium battles: winner Bri Lowen edged Morgan Aldridge by a second to finish in 1:03 flat. Less than 10 minutes later, April Lewis edged Jennifer Showalter to claim third. Reese Hanneman, racing with several members of his family, claimed his first gravel grinder title in the men’s race at 47:58. Youth racer Landen Showalter petitioned to enter the Gold Grinder and placed 8th overall.
Race timing and equipment were generously volunteered by Meg and Bob Stehn. KMTA Board member Art Copoulos acted as course marshal and event advocate. KMTA Board members: Bernadine Atchison, Rachel James, Rae Kozlowski, Martha Story, Jeff Samuels, Margaret Tyler, and Tom Gillespie, along with their family & friends: Lynn Copoulos, Bryan Carey, Sharon Samuels, and Janet Miessner staffed four aid stations, directed bib pickup, and provided finish line aid. Race day volunteers included Diane Moxness and Sara Bryan and four members of Hope EMS. Volunteers were the heart of the event – Thank You!
The Mineshaft Grinder served to raise $1,000 for Hope School, thanks to registration fees and community sponsors. KMTA caught race fever from a fortunate day and is gathering feedback for a similar event next year. For more pictures from the event go to our Facebook page. Check out the National Park Service’s blog for a write up about the event!