Photo by Jason Wheeler.
Though he’s done a handful of long distance and long format races before as well as raced as a professional cyclist in Europe, this was the first year Ted King participated in the Chino Valley Grinder, emerging victorious as the winner of the 108-mile course in just under six hours. Following the race, King said he felt a bit tired, but though his experience, he knows how to suffer for long periods of time.
Having gotten to Arizona last Wednesday, King said he prepared for the Grinder by riding pretty mellow, noting that it doesn’t make sense to start off with punishing training.
“Since retiring from professional racing, I don’t train much per se,” he said. “I just ride my bike.”
Calling the course beautiful in a great area, the hardest part of the whole race was the wind, King said. However, he spent most of his time alongside the second place finisher and stated that even though the wind was pretty bad, misery loves company.
King said he could be convinced to return for next year’s Grinder. It’s a great race and he’d love to come back, he said.
Prescott resident Steve Huddleston was in the 44-mile race and said it was his first time in the Chino Valley Grinder as well, commenting that he decided to sign up because he wasn’t doing anything else over the weekend.
“I’m retired,” Huddleston said. “So I can ride a lot.”
Huddleston also brought up the wind as the most challenging part of the race. The headwind coming out of the river was hard, he said. Yet, everything else was awesome and he just might come again next year, Huddleston said.
It was also the first time at the Grinder for Mary Harris from Gilbert, who said her husband was competing in the 108-mile race. It wasn’t his first time, she said. Harris said she competed in the 44-mile race.
In preparing for the day, Harris said she learned how to be tough mentally, which helped her to go out and take care of it.
“I stayed focused and I was prepared for the heat and stopped when I needed to and made my way back here,” she said, calling the whole thing exciting. “This is good for me to be able to get out. It’s helped me physically and mentally.”