SPRING CAMP: DUFUR, OR

April 3-6, 2025

JOIN OUR LIST & BE THE FIRST TO KNOW WHEN REGISTRATION OPENS

Each month Serena shares tips, recipes, upcoming events, and great gravel routes to keep you inspired year-round.

ABOUT SPRING CAMP

At Special Blend Gravel Spring Camp, we'll spend three days riding amazing gravel roads on the Columbia Plateau, with just enough climbing to wake up the legs and just enough descending to hone your skills. We'll finish each day at the Balch Hotel, where we will recover, relax, enjoy catered meals, drink good coffee, and sit around the parlor to share knowledge and experiences.

During camp, we will ride many of the same roads used for the Gorge Gravel Grinder course, providing a “race preview” (and free entry) for those planning to race, and helping to prepare you for the gravel season ahead, whether that includes racing the entire Oregon Gravel Series, Lost & Found, Unbound, STB GRVL, The Last Best Ride, Spirit World, a bike packing trip, or big adventures with friends.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • 3.5 days of riding, education, and community
  • World-class gravel routes, complete aid stations, and mechanical support
  • Small group sizes/instruction with awesome professional coaches
  • Daily education and Q&A sessions
  • Recovery lounge
  • Dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
  • Breakfast Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
  • Lunch/Recovery Bar Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
  • Awesome goodie bag!
  • Registration for Gorge Gravel Grinder included
  • 25% discount on all Oregon Gravel Series Races
  • VIP post-race tent after Gorge Gravel Grinder
PRICE: $1600 + lodging option at the Balch Hotel
  • 3 nights at the Balch Hotel in Dufur, OR; private room - must select a lodging option when registering.
We want to create an immersive experience for all campers, one where we are all as present as we can be. In this effort, we ask that you leave your non-camper friends, partners, kiddos, and pets at home.

THE RIDING

Dufur, Oregon, situated on the Columbia Plateau, is center to an amazing network of gravel roads, winding through orchards and wheat fields with sweeping views of the Cascades. We include just enough climbing to bring your legs out of winter hibrination. These gravel roads are well-maintained and recieve a lot of sun exposure, making this the ideal spot for early season riding.

During camp, we will ride many of the same roads used for the Gorge Gravel Grinder course, providing a “race preview” (and free entry) for those planning to race, and helping to prepare you for the gravel season ahead whether that includes racing, a bike packing trip, or adventures with friends.

THE EDUCATION

During your rides, our professional coaches will help you improve your skills, including group riding, body positioning, cornering, braking, climbing and descending, and riding over washboard. As the ride progresses, we will naturally break into pace groups, each with a coach, and we promise, you will never be the last one on the road.

We also host afternoon education sessions covering nutrition, tire choice, PSI selection, basic bike maintenance, and how to use your cycling computer.

ALL THE EXTRAS

We want your experience at Special Blend Gravel Camp to push you just a little out of your comfort zone (because that is where the growth happens), and we also want it to be a time you can tune out of all of “life’s” responsibilities and you can just focus on you and riding your bike.

Once you arrive at camp, your only job is to eat, sleep, and ride. We provide catered meals, top-notch aid stations, mechanical support, a recovery lounge, lots of snacks, beverages, and afternoon educational seminars.

We take over the entire Balch Hotel, so we have space to spread out, relax, and feel comfortable.
Work hard, recover better!

THE LODGING

Spring camp is based out of the historic Balch Hotel. We take over the whole place, so we can spread out and relax.

Everyone will have a private room, however, most rooms have shared baths. You can select the lodging option of your choice when registering for camp.

Lodging options at the Balch Hotel:
  • ​​Mountain View King, private bathroom
  • Signature Queen, private bathroom
  • Traditional Queen, shared bath
Camp registration does not include lodging, however, you must all purchase a lodging option to attend camp.

Email hello@specialblendgravel.com with questions about lodging options. We will work to ensure this process is easy and stress-free.

To learn more about the lodging options at the Balch Hotel, please visit our lodging page HERE.
Three women standing with their bikes outside the Balch Hotel
PAST CAMPERS
  • Sarah
    Spring 2023

    Over the course of the weekend, I was able to fine tune my skills but also came away with a sense of gratuity for the amazing community fostered by Serena. It is empowering to be around a group of strong women who share a passion. I would 100% recommend Special Blend Gravel Camp!

  • Coach Sarah Max
    Spring 2023

    Coaching at Special Blend Gravel Camp this spring was one of the highlights of my year. Though most of the women didn't know each other, they became fast friends—something that was evident when the sound of their laughter and animated conversation. It was amazing to everyone pick up so many new skills and confidence in just a few days.

  • Lisa
    Spring 2023

    Attending camp has been a life-changing experience for me! I not only went from being intensely afraid of descending on gravel to being excited about and crushing descents, but I have also made incredible friendships with coaches and participants that now extend beyond cycling. There isn’t a more supportive, open, well-organized environment for learning gravel skills and building community! I love camp so much, I haven’t missed one yet!

CAMP SCHEDULE

THURSDAY
Arrive at the Balch Hotel; Social hour and settle in. We’ll kick things off with a welcome to camp and what-to-expect intro session followed by dinner. Before we hit the hay, we’ll prep you for tomorrow’s ride and answer any questions.

FRIDAY
Following breakfast and our pre-ride briefing, we'll head out into the Gorge for the day’s amazing ride. Today’s ride will focus on riding in a group, climbing and braking efficiencies, and line choice.

Plan for 3-4 hours on the bike before we return to the Balch Hotel for Lunch/Recovery Bar and a bit of downtime before the afternoon’s education session. We cap the day off with dinner, good conversation, and of course dark chocolate in the recovery lounge.

Example ride: 45 miles, 3,500 ft of elevation

SATURDAY
Following breakfast and our pre-ride briefing, we'll head out into the Gorge for our longest ride of camp. We’ll dial in our skills on some tricky corners and fast descents.

Lunch/Recovery Bar upon our return, followed by education sessions, recovery lounge, and coaches Q&As. We cap the day off with dinner and good conversation. Looking forward to the final ride tomorrow!

Example ride: 50 mils, 4,800 ft of elevation

SUNDAY
Following breakfast and our pre-ride briefing, we'll head out into the Gorge for the last ride of camp and a chance to “put it all together”.

Lunch/Recovery Bar upon our return, followed by good-bye high-fives and hugs.

Example ride: 31 miles, 2,800 ft of elevation
illustration of the camp logo, bicycles, trees, coffee cups, and suns

OUR COACHES & STAFF

We bring together the country's best cyclists and support staff to instruct, encourage, and support our campers.
  • Janel Spilker
    • Recovering professional roadie
    • Adventure seeker
    • Liv Cycling Ambassador
    Janel is a recovering world tour professional road racer who knows a thing or two about racing gravel as well, having won Crusher in the Tushar and stood on the podium at Unbound. Working closely with Liv and Giant, as well as organizations such as the Michael P. Nosco Foundation and COTA, Janel hopes to help more people fall in love with bikes. Janel brings the stoke to every party and never leaves home without her infectious smile.
  • CLAIRE REINERT
    • Seeker of perpetual challenge and adventure
    • Lover of the all night ride
    • Walter is her sidekick
    Claire's love of sport and movement started young and was channeled into soccer, where she found success at the collegiate level. After hanging up her cleats, Claire's love for riding bikes, especially gravel bike, over very long distances, began to blossom. She believes that to embrace gravel, it is necessary to "get comfortable with being uncomfortable and embrace the opportunity for growth", something that holds true on and off the bike. Claire has completed, among a myriad of other grueling races, the Unbound XL, Gravel Worlds Long Voyage four times.
  • Serena Bishop Gordon
    • Camp co-founder
    • Off-road adventurer
    • Lover of coffee and chocolate
    Serena has been racing professionally for more than a decade, specializing in mountain bikes and gravel. She is a great descender and understands the importance of the details when it comes to off-road performance.
    Serena lives in Bend with her husband, Ben, and medium-sized pup, Piper, and loves her morning coffee almost as much as she loves riding her bike. She is stoked to share what she knows with others and elevate women in the sport of gravel racing!
  • Annick Chalier
    • Professional Cycling Coach
    • Lover of all things bikes
    • Companion to Monkey Face
    Annick has been a cyclist since 2014, earning her way into the UCI professional ranks on the road in 2020. Since moving to the Columbia River Gorge, Annick has shifted her focus to gravel in order to take advantage of all of the terrain types this area has to offer. In addition to training and racing, Annick is a head coach with both Brave Endeavors and Ladies AllRide and finds incredible joy supporting others as they build their bike handling skill set, grow their confidence on the bike (and in life), and develop new ways to have fun in the woods!
  • Yuri Hauswald
    • Gravel Hall of Fame
    • Elite Athlete Manager for GU Energy
    • Wander & gravel racer
    After a successful collegiate career playing lacrosse for UC Berkeley, and armed with a degree in American Literature, Yuri discovered the joys of mountain biking while teaching English at a prep school in Pennsylvania, and hasn't looked back. He's two-time solo winner of the 24-Hours of Adrenaline and 9th place finisher at the 2006 24-Hour World Championships. He turned pro at the tender age of 36, won the 2015 Unbound when he was 44, and is currently obsessed with everything gravel.
  • Sean Cochran
    • Tire enthusiast
    • Coffee connoisseur
    • Always with snacks
    Don’t let Sean’s IG handle fool you, he is anything but a spectator. Sean plays so many invaluable roles to so many; quietly, and behind the scenes, he makes magic happen. Sean’s love of life and compassionate, encouraging and thoughtful demeanor elevates those around him to bring their best self and to find their hidden motivation that just needed some unlocking. Sean is also the Marketing Manager for Schwalbe North America and our in-house tire guru.
  • Colleen Quindlen, Director of Logistics
    • Logistics wizard
    • Champion of women in sport
    • Dog-mom to Tukka and Mr. Bobo
    For over a decade, Colleen Quindlen has played a pivotal role in the country's most significant cycling races. She spent seven years overseeing logistics and operations for Rebecca’s Private Idaho before transitioning to Breakaway Promotions in 2022, where she assumed the role of Director of Operations. In her current position, she manages the logistics and operations of major cycling events across North America, including the Oregon Trail, Gorge, Cascade, Lost and Found Gravel, and the Downieville Classic MTB Festival.
    Colleen's unwavering commitment to increasing women's participation in cycling is evident through her advocacy and implementation of various programs and opportunities catering to riders of all abilities and backgrounds. Her dedication to Special Blend Gravel is unmatched, and camp would not be possible without her.
    Colleen resides in Hailey, Idaho, with her husband Billy Cook and their two adorable dogs, Tukka and Mr. Bobo.

  • The Breakaway Promotions Team
    • Up before dawn, the last ones to bed
    • A well-oiled machine
    • Always there to support
    Breakaway Promotions has a 20-year track record of executing national-level cycling events and has established itself as the most experienced cycling event company in North America. With over 200 events and 500 event days to their credit, they have unparalleled expertise in managing cycling competitions. Breakaway has run more USA Cycling National Championship events than any other company, including XCO Mountain Bike, Mountain Bike Marathon, Fat Bike, Masters Road, Junior Road, Collegiate Road, and Amateur Road.
    Among their notable events, Breakaway Promotions currently owns and operates the challenging Oregon Trail gravel stage race, solidifying their reputation for hosting some of the most demanding races in the U.S.
    Their extensive knowledge of logistics and unwavering commitment to customer service ensures that every Special Blend camper is well supported.
JOIN OUR LIST.
Each month Serena shares tips, recipes, upcoming events, and great gravel routes to keep you inspired year-round.

OUR PARTNERS

A huge thank you to our sponsors.
Breakaway Promotions logo
Castelli logo
Schwalbe logo
Lisa Congdon art and illustration logo
GU logo

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We acknowledge Special Blend Gravel Camp held in Dufur, Oregon, is situated on the traditional lands of the Wasco, Paiute, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and other Indigenous Peoples. As we immerse ourselves in the beauty of this region, we recognize the historical and ongoing impact of colonization on Indigenous communities. We express gratitude to the Wasco, Paiute, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and all Indigenous Peoples who have stewarded these lands.

During our time here, we commit to being respectful stewards, fostering unity, inclusivity, and gratitude for the diverse Indigenous cultures that have shaped this land.