A major gravel race is coming to the land of hot springs, brilliant fall foliage, the famed Kamikaze downhill and Amanda Nauman’s secret gravel training grounds. We peppered the Mammoth TUFF promoter Dave Sheek with five questions about his new event, and have the full press release below.
Cyclocross Magazine: We talked about this idea in the fall, but how long have you been planning this event?
Dave Sheek: We have been talking about it for three years and started the planning over the past two. We decided on a date about a year ago. We are excited to share a place that is so special to us and has the terrain to build the best gravel adventures we can think of.
CXM: Are these Amanda Nauman’s secret training grounds? What role did she play in planning the routes?
DS: Amanda and I have used these roads and the area as training grounds for a lot of events and definitely spent a lot of time there in the spring getting ready for Dirty Kanza.
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Sharing @mammoth_tuff over the past 24 hrs has been a wild experience. We're really doing this so we can ride bikes in our favorite place with our favorite community. I know there are other events that wknd, but I can't wait to ride with everyone who chooses Mammoth with us. Reg opens Fri. All these clips are from route scoping last year. #MammothTUFF #ExploreyourTUFF @visitmammoth #nosmalladventure
The planning of it came into trying to make something that was really gravel worthy but has some of the magic and fun the Eastern Sierra offers all while being able to tell a story about the history of the land. We are happy with it and she’s a nerd so it went deep.
CXM: The Eastern Sierra has some dramatic scenery and steep, rugged terrain. What kind of gearing and tires do you recommend for TUFF?
DS: Gearing has to be at least [as low as] 1:1, and tires 38mm or more. We will share more of it soon as we build out content with the newsletters.
CXM: Is a mountain bike a good choice for this race?
DS: A mountain bike is an okay choice, but I doubt it will win.
CXM: What percentage of the ride is paved? Dirt and gravel?
DS: Great question. I haven’t told anybody the exact percentage but the long [100-mile] course is legit. We are trying to wait until later in the summer to share all the specifics and will release it piece-by-piece as spring and summer come. The full course will be announced the week of the event. We will send out some recommended routes around Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra for those who want to explore the TUFF, but the full course will be later.
See the full press release below. Registration starts on Friday, February 21st at 8:00 PST on bikereg.com.
Inaugural Mammoth Tuff Gravel Race Set for Mammoth Lakes, CA on September 19, 2020
Registration opens February 21st for 45- and 100-mile courses
Mammoth Lakes, California, (February 18, 2020)–As John Muir said, “The mountains are calling,” and Mammoth Lakes is the gateway to mountain adventure. This famous quote is printed on an enormous sign at the entrance to town and reminds every visitor of the adventures that await. On September 19, 2020, this iconic mountain town is hosting a gravel event, Mammoth Tuff.
David Sheek created this event with his partner, Amanda Nauman, to share the adventures they have cherished around Mammoth Lakes and as a thank you to the town that has given them countless memories. With more than six years racing at gravel events across the country, during the pivotal rise of the discipline, and years of training and exploring the Eastern Sierra playground, Sheek and Nauman have built a TUFF adventure for all to experience. “These are the roads I’ve trained on to prepare for some of my biggest goals and I want to share the magic and see who’s “tuff” enough to join me,” said Nauman.
Tuff (tŭf) is a general term for all consolidated pyroclastic, volcanic rocks. The name, Mammoth Tuff, is a nod to the Long Valley Caldera and the volcanic stone that defines ‘gravel’ in the area. The caldera was formed about 760,000 years ago in a volcanic eruption from which the magma still underlies it, heating underground water and fueling hot springs the event will ride by. The short course is around 45 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing and will circle the famous caldera. The long course is around 100 miles with 8,000 feet of elevation gain and travels through the Volcanic Tableland formed by the Long Valley Caldera. Prepare to be transported back in time on an old stagecoach route used by miners and even further back past Native American petroglyphs left by ancestors of the Paiute-Shoshone tribe.
Mammoth Tuff is partnering with the annual Oktoberfest Festival in the Village at Mammoth to provide a full weekend of activities and an unforgettable party. The weekend will begin with a shakeout ride for those in town, registration, and the infamous “Bier Mile Run” on Friday. Of course, there will be a category for fastest beer mile and TUFF finisher, known as the BUFF, with the proceeds going to the Mammoth Track Club. The two available event distances on Saturday will offer a challenge for everyone. Concluding the event, when riders earn their TUFF badge, the Oktoberfest celebration will be waiting with open arms. Sunday morning will be a storytelling mingle and awards ceremony for the “tuffest” of folks.
Registration will open on February 21, 2020 at 8am PST and is limited to 850 participants. Entry fees will be $75 and $180 for the respective distances.
Our great country has taken the liberty to protect the public lands throughout the Eastern Sierra and preserve the vast playground for future generations of explorers, naturalists, and visitors. Because of this, 10% of the entry fee will go directly back to the land. As riders wind through wide open roads on seemingly forgotten land, they will take pride in knowing they are giving back to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. “This land is our land,” after all.
Outstanding brands in the cycling and the outdoor industry have agreed to partner with the event in its inaugural year. Look out for sponsorship announcements and details on camp experiences to be offered in conjunction with the event.
Find more information and sign up to stay informed at mammothtuff.com and visit our social platforms for the latest details.