The Chino Grinder
Chino Grinder is Arizona’s longest running (circa 2014) and original Gravel Grinder. What is a Gravel Grinder--essentially its an organized bike ride on dirt roads. Riding on dirt roads is nothing new but these events originated in the American Midwest and quickly found favor with riders around the world.
The Chino is an Ultra-Endurance cycling event showcasing multiple distances for all ages and experience levels. The course is remote and highlights Arizona’s diverse beauty while traveling on parts of the longest continuously used roads in the country. While our modern bike wheels may have replaced wooden wagons of days ago, our grit and sense of adventure remains the same.
Now less traveled, these roads offer an unforgettable day in the saddle of shared fun, adventure and adversity.
Promoter/Director: July Hogue
Founders/Contributors & Lifetime Honorees: Craig & Minnie Swetel
Supporting/Essential Staff: John Hogue
Maitre D’ & Vibe: Kaolin Cosmo Cummens
Junior Representative: Benjamin Hogue
Hi, I'm July (like the month)!
In 2022 I'm transitioning from participant to organizer of the Chino Grinder. The founders, Craig and Minnie have entrusted me to carry this Arizona classic forward. So, who am I? Well, I'm an Arizona native and self proclaimed ‘FUN’ enthusiast! I have a saying, “Don’t threaten me with a good time.” Chances are I'll think its fun and I’ll take you up on it! Now you understand how I ended up with the Chino Grinder!! Haha but in all seriousness, I’ve not had a good time, like I have as an adult, until cycling found me! Yes, cycling found me! And not all that long ago. It began with a tennis related knee injury, then rehab, followed up with an indoor cycling business and finally, a bike! Now I’m hooked on the adventure and child-like joy cycling offers and I'm excited to share it with as many people as I can. That starts with YOU and includes ALL forms of cycling. A day on a bike is a good day.
I’m excited to bring that fun-loving, good time, to an event I cherish and consider near-and-dear-to-me. The Chino Grinder was my first race and there’s something special about your first. The vibe, the people and the diverse beauty [at times brutality] of the course, made Chino a measuring stick for every event I will ever do. I consider it the rubric for not only Arizona gravel but all gravel. There's no denying what Craig and Minnie Swetel created. Since the beginning it’s been grassroots, and it’s been family. It’s about supporting you and the bike you adventure on. It’s my mission to preserve the heart and soul of the Chino Grinder we all know and love.
Beyond that there’s more to this this Arizona original that will remain unchanged. It’s remote, rugged and unforgiving. If you know Arizona, that brings a certain familiarity. If you don’t, get ready because it will captivate you. Not only is it the demands of the terrain but the diversity. You start out in the high desert scrub, travel beyond the red rocks and end up in the high elevation of the forest pines. You’ll grit it out over washboard, rough chunk, sand/silt powder, aged pavement and loose forest road. And when you do turn it around, you find yourself still going uphill. It’s always a test of your will, preparation and equipment. Year-to-year conditions are never the same. We’ll continue to embrace the Chino Grinders natural beauty and diverse adversity.
As I transition from rider to organizer, these roots are the foundation from where we will grow this classic event. Yes it’s a new frontier for me but if you know me, you know I’m ready to rodeo. My heart and energy will always be on the other side of the tape with you. And I mean ALL of YOU. Chino has always been and continues to welcome the new, the old, the young, the fit, the getting fit, the unsure, the ringers and the fun bringers. If you’re doing it, you’re doing it right. Let's Chino! 😉