bikeThere was a time when an “event” was simply an “event” – something we anticipated as the days ticked forward, savored in the moment, and enjoyed remembering as we looked back.

Sure, we still do this now. Yet there’s more. Before event day, we enjoy the buildup as we ritualistically unbox our admission bracelets, share excitement on Facebook and beyond, and up our interaction with artists or athletes. Each of these adds to our anticipation and to the affinity we feel with the event.

While the event’s on – whether it’s a music festival, a big game, or something local – we capture videos of the action, text friends who are missing the fun (or even viewing it from other angles), and update our social profiles to share our enjoyment with others.

Afterwards, we upload and reflect on the stuff we captured. Maybe we look at what other people have published, or tag so our content adds to public forums commemorating the event.

All these are disconnected, which limits their value for participants, not to mention for the talent, venues, sponsors, and others who helped make the show happen. But that’s a topic for another day.

For now, though, we want to send some applause to an event that’s made the build-up a big part of the fun well before its gates open: Grinduro, a “Gravel Grinder + Mountain Bike-Style Enduro” race – to be held October 10 in Quincy, CA.

The event itself looks amazing. But what caught our attention is how its organizers warmed up the awesome early-on by challenging aspiring riders to use Instagram and other online settings to compete for scholarships.  Brilliant: their two-step process upped Grinduro visibility on Instagram and beyond, and generated awesome user-grown content showcasing passion for the event. Using these rules:



Thanks to

…aspiring winners dug deep, generating fun and creative pitches that Grinduro now shares as part of their pre-event engagement.

Check out the results: amazing.


Congrats to top winner Phil Shen for his witty video, Dillan Maurer for an inspiring story, Rachel Griffith for her road-tested art, Eric Morton for “Strava-fying” his pitch, and our friend Alex Leanse for taking us on the descent (with a Replay XD camera) and making us want to start all over again.

Instagram info for the winners follow. While you’re there, we’re here – and tag your favorite event images with #aernow so we can applaud what you’re up to – before, during, and after the fun.




Ellen Leanse

Ellen Leanse

Long-standing fan and builder of tech innovation. Community builder, strategist, and advisor. @chep2m on Twitter.
Ellen Leanse

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