The statistics themselves are exhausting: 128 total miles, nearly 10,000 feet in elevation gain and loss, an average grade of 2.8 percent, three water crossings and 31 cattle guards through 60 miles of forest, 30 miles of high desert, 33 miles of canyon and 3 miles around town.
It all added up to a finish time of seven hours, 53 minutes and 22 seconds for Eric Chizum, who rode to second place in the rugged Skull 120 Gravel Grind in Burns, Oregon, June 15.
Chizum, of the Sturtevants/Limelight bike team, finished roughly nine minutes behind the race champion Jacob Rathe (7:44.32) and more than six minutes in front of the bronze medalist Barry Wicks (7:59.46) in a field of 51 finishers.
Chizum, 39, has been on a tear this spring with a pair of victories and a second place finish in endurance mountain bike races over the last month. He is sponsored by Sawtooth Brewery.
The Skull features distances of 120, 60 and 30 miles, and bills itself as “America’s Gnarliest Gravel Race” saying it’s a “feat to finish and a testament to the rider’s grit and determination.”