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September 1, 2022 Karen Lewis

Gnarly Weather Didn’t Stop the Success of Last Month’s Mineshaft Grinder

KMTA hosted our third annual Mineshaft Grinder on Saturday, August 13th, and we are still riding high from all the fun. With a 63% increase in the number of athletes compared to last year and close to $400 raised for the Hope School, the event was a huge success. Despite some gnarly weather, 65 athletes ranging in age from 15-79 turned out in full force to race up the Palmer Creek Road in Hope. Athletes opted to compete in one of three races: the Gold Grinder Bike Race, Silver Grinder Half-Marathon, or Quartz Grinder 8.5 Mile Run. A big highlight this year was the addition of ParaSport Alaska athletes from Challenge Alaska who competed in a new paracycle division of the Gold Grinder. It was a joy working with Challenge Alaska to make the Mineshaft Grinder more accessible and inclusive, and we’re looking forward to doing the same for all of our events. 

A Heavy Downpour Didn’t Ruin Anyone’s Spirits

Good spirits held despite the heavy downpour of rain. Many runners and cyclists sported faces and gear caked in mud as they crossed the finish line with big smiles. Some reveled in the grime, while others were thankful for a warm shower at the Hope School. The event celebrated the mining history of Hope, and to commemorate the work of those early miners, many racers leveraged their end-of-race adrenaline to participate in a bucket carry challenge. Participants carried two buckets (one in each hand), each weighing at least 40lbs up and down the length of a basketball court in exchange for extra raffle tickets for the after party prize drawing. Athletes celebrated their race victories with family and friends at the Creekbend Cafe’s backyard venue where  many enjoyed a well deserved libation and meal.

Overall Winners

The Gold Grinder’s male and female winners were only seconds apart, with Jorge Machado ultimately prevailing in a time of 58 minutes and 35 seconds over female winner Christina Grande who rode through the finish line at 58 minutes and 54 seconds. Michael Hanson claimed the first place male paracycling title (1:09:20), while 15-year old Anna Boltz triumphed as the first place female paracylist (1:23:26). Ari Gardner (1:39:36) and Kamie Miller (1:45:55) took first place for the respective male and female divisions of the Silver Ginder Half Marathon. Flip Foldager (1:17) and Jenna Wixon-Genack (1:18) earned the respective male and female first place titles for the Quartz Grinder 8.6 Mile Run. 

Without Volunteer and Sponsorship Support The Mineshaft Grinder Wouldn’t Be Possible

We’d be remiss if we didn’t express a BIG thank you to all of our sponsors and volunteers, without whom this race would not have been possible. Our business sponsors included Alaska Cycle Chic, Alaska Bike Adventures, Creekbend Cafe, Hope Sunrise EMS, Seward Bike Shop, Seaview Cafe, Trek Store of Anchorage, and Turnagain Kayak, who contributed financial support and donated tons of incredible prizes.A special shoutout goes to Hope Sunrise EMS who stayed at the bottom of Palmer Creek Road during the whole race, and the Trek Store of Anchorage who provided on-site bike support for Gold Grinder racers. Collectively our volunteers contributed over 150 hours of volunteer time to help bring this event to life. We are so grateful to be a part of such a strong community that shows up for one another. It is a true privilege to be a part of something so special.

All article photos courtesy of Goon Gallery

Photos and Results

Photos of the event can be found at David Story Photo and Goon Gallery

Race results are available here.