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Thread: The Grand Loop

  1. #1
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    The Grand Loop

    It's still 8 months away, but in the interest of getting more people informed and prepared, here's the 411.

    This is, mile for mile, the most challenging time trial I've ever done. It took me three tries to finish it. The first time I had mechanical failures that forced me to quit. The second time I overestimated my ability to deal with brutal conditions, and ended up a shivering lump beside the trail. Shortly after, I bailed and hitchhiked home. The third time I finished. Barely.

    In today's ultra-racing environment, where a 'hard race' requires you to complete multiple loops of the same flagged and sanitized course, The Grand Loop stands out as another animal entirely. One 360-mile loop. One chance to resupply on-course. Lots of climbing. Lots of trail. Very, very few people. No one knows where you are for the duration of the race. No cell phone service. No sag wagons. You're on your own.

    If, after reading this far, you're wondering if this event is for you, it is most definitely NOT.

    There aren't many people who've completed this event, mostly because it's very difficult to plan for in a self-supported mode. Until some mega-bucks promoter comes along and tries to put in aid stations, that's unlikely to change. The route is @ 360 miles, with 1 tiny store (Bedrock) on the route, and 1 small community (Nucla) a few miles off-route. In 2001 Gary Dye set the course record at 3 days, 3 hours, and 3 minutes. In 2003 I bettered that record by a scant 26 minutes. Gary has promised to return to reclaim the record this year.

    The GL starts from the Tabeguache Trailhead (on the Monument Road just west of GJ), Friday, June 2nd, at 6pm. We do an untimed (all together, spinning easily) 20-mile prologue on pavement out to the Mary's Trailhead at Loma, where we regroup briefly before taking off on the 'official' start, heading west towards Moab. We then ride west on the Kokopelli Trail towards Moab.

    About 120 miles from the start, we intersect the Paradox Trail, high up in the La Sals, and turn southeast onto it. We ride that trail through the LaSals, down into the Paradox Valley, and then up onto the Uncompahgre Plateau, topping out at 10,000'.

    There we intersect the Tabeguache Trail, which we ride back N to GJ. Total distance on trail is 340 miles, plus the 20 miles of pavement at the start.

    A wild guess at the breakdown would be:
    30 miles paved (including the 20 mile prologue at the start)
    50 miles singletrack
    100 miles dirt/gravel road
    100 miles doubletrack
    80 miles "other": slickrock, sand, chip seal (maybe, maybe not), bushwhacking, or some weird combo of all the above.

    The evening start happens for two reasons:
    1) We'll get the "hot stinkin' desert" stretch done with before sunrise on Saturday.
    2) We'll be more likely to make it to the Bedrock Store (@165 miles into the race, and the only resupply on the route) before they close for the night at 6pm.

    '02 was about the worst year one could ask for, as far as the conditions. Check it out here: http://www.zipp.com/athletes/adventu...ctations.shtml

    The year before (when Gary set the record) is chronicled here: http://mtbike.mountainzone.com/2001/...oop_index.html

    I carry BLM and USFS maps for this race. All can be purchased locally. Anyone that's coming into town to race, I'll be happy to have copies (of the exact maps I carry) here waiting for you.

    Some helpful links:

    http://www.co.blm.gov/
    http://www.ut.blm.gov
    http://www.desertusa.com/placestogo/du_utah.html
    http://www.moab-utah.com/
    http://www.trails.com/explore/tcatal...lID=MGS045-038
    http://www.recreation.gov/detail.cfm?ID=(1254)
    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/...st?query=81503
    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/...ery=moab%2C+ut

    I dug these out last year--some may be outdated.

    A few pics of the route below.

    Hope that helps. Don't hesitate if you have questions.

    MC
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by mikesee; 06-02-2006 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    That, my friend, is hard core.

    You have nothing but my respect.

    hfly

  3. #3
    EVM
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    Scouting

    Hey MC-

    All this talk about the Grand Loop has me salivating, even though i know it's a granddaddy of a ride....so was wondering about scouting....how long into the fall/how early in the spring is it usually accessible? I have the preprinted maps from Copmoba, and will acquire the appropriate detailed maps, but.....

    OR....are those sections on the Plateau etc. accessible with skis...ie: established snowmobile trails?

    We'll see what ends up happening, but thought it might be wise to give it a look-see.....

    EVM

    PS. ya, waxin' the nordic skis....busy mind is multi-tasking!
    Last edited by EVM; 11-01-2005 at 01:20 PM. Reason: adding

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVM
    Hey MC-

    All this talk about the Grand Loop has me salivating, even though i know it's a granddaddy of a ride....so was wondering about scouting....how long into the fall/how early in the spring is it usually accessible? I have the preprinted maps from Copmoba, and will acquire the appropriate detailed maps, but.....

    OR....are those sections on the Plateau etc. accessible with skis...ie: established snowmobile trails?

    We'll see what ends up happening, but thought it might be wise to give it a look-see.....

    EVM

    PS. ya, waxin' the nordic skis....busy mind is multi-tasking!
    EVM-

    With the recent cool temps and precip, I'm guessing that the higher stuff is effectively closed out for the winter. Unless we get a month of warm, dry weather over the next four weeks. It could happen--it has before. I don't think the high stuff on the Plateau sees much snowmobile traffic--there's a lot of one-track on the route that I don't think they get to, and I'm not truly sure about ski scouting. Possible, sure. Just not sure how to help you begin it.

    Having said that, you could still scout half of the course: both ends of each of the three trails are low enough and dry enough to be rideable. That's worth a lot, and will save you much time next spring.

    Keep us posted.

    MC

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    Just a heads-up to anyone considering this:
    The Grand Loop website is up and running!

    Fanfare! Applause!!

    ...

    ...

    Anyone?

    ...

    ...

    Can I get a "Yay"?

    ...

    ...

    Ahem...

    More GL info here:
    http://greatdividerace.com/_wsn/page5.html

    Cheers,

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 06-02-2006 at 01:01 PM.

  6. #6
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    Words nearly fail...

    Read all the GL info & links.

    Any sane person would just have to say that you GL riders are vastly ill. 'twixt the ears, that is.

    Not like I don't understand (sort of), when folk question my state of mind, based on some of the things that my passion for riding leads me into, I just reply "What's your point?"

    29erchico

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    talk about living vicariously....love it...if only i had a private jet and lots of time...
    very 'pro' site too...

    will be reading the updates..cheers

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    btw

    who is the geezer in the photo

    http://greatdividerace.com/_wsn/page4.html

    not you?

    good photo--is there a bigger one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn
    who is the geezer in the photo
    http://greatdividerace.com/_wsn/page4.html
    not you?
    good photo--is there a bigger one?
    That "geezer" is John Weirath. The photo was taken on KTR race-day 2005--also his 30th birthday.

    He had a very bad day in the race last year--ended up pulling the plug before halfway. Smart decision on his part--live to race another day.

    There is a bigger version of that photo, but it's not mine to do with as I please. Sorry.

    Weirath is also a cycling coach, with mucho experience in ultra-distance races of all sorts. His site is: www.thresholdsport.com

    MC

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    interesting link...not sure id be man enough for the ice baths, tho' i hear a lot of rugby players use it to minimise micro damage to muscle from training...


    brrrrrr....

  11. #11
    EVM
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    Mc-

    Loved The Website.....especially The Links And Photos....talk About Some Serious Dedication!!!! I Can't Wait To Get On The Trail!

    Hey, Question For Ya-

    Gps....do You Think It Would Be Worth It For The Loop, Or Is The Traditional Navagational Methods Be Preferable....(i Don't Know How To Use One Yet, But If It Would Be Super Valuable, I Will Learn.)

    Also, I Was Talking To A Guy About The Paradox, And He Said Copmoba Changed The Route So You Would End Up Bypassing Bedrock.....have You Heard That Too?

    Evm

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    How Big...

    What size of field would you expect in a race like this?
    thks J.

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    my palms get sweaty just reading about it and looking at it. Yet, it's on my list to do. Of course it'll be almost 2 1/2 years until I try. Next year KTR, then Grand Loop, then if I get the balls, the GDR. I fully admire anyone who even attempts this race. Believe it or not, it's aspiring (sp?)....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedals
    What size of field would you expect in a race like this?
    thks J.
    I expect fewer than 10 racers. Consider that the GDR (~2465 miles) has only had 7 the last two years.

    But that's just a guess--this style of racing is experiencing explosive growth right now.

    I'll let you know for sure around 6/10/06...

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by EVM
    Mc-

    Loved The Website.....especially The Links And Photos....talk About Some Serious Dedication!!!! I Can't Wait To Get On The Trail!

    Hey, Question For Ya-

    Gps....do You Think It Would Be Worth It For The Loop, Or Is The Traditional Navagational Methods Be Preferable....(i Don't Know How To Use One Yet, But If It Would Be Super Valuable, I Will Learn.)

    Also, I Was Talking To A Guy About The Paradox, And He Said Copmoba Changed The Route So You Would End Up Bypassing Bedrock.....have You Heard That Too?

    Evm
    Erika-

    No idea on the GPS, as I've just now gotten one and don't know enough about it to comment.

    I heard that COPMOBA had designed a reroute, but I did not hear that it had been done (or even marked) yet. I'll find out ASAP. You could do the GL without hitting Bedrock (or Nucla), but it'd certainly be more difficult to carry all that food.

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 05-29-2006 at 08:43 PM.

  16. #16
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    Inspiring indeed

    Quote Originally Posted by sherpaxc
    my palms get sweaty just reading about it and looking at it. I fully admire anyone who even attempts this race. Believe it or not, it's aspiring (sp?)....
    Sounds like you're an ideal candidate...

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    Well, Walts building me a bike with these endurance rides in mind, so I'm ready to try it (when I'm ready). Here's the kicker, my wife thinks A) I'm crazy and B) It's cool! How's that for motiviation....

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    Time for the first public resolution declaration

    I'm in for this one. Mike I told you I was interested, and now that I live a couple hours away, I'm in. Should be a fun few days on the trail.

    Has anyone done this one on a singlespeed? My guess is that finding the right gear would be the challenge.

    Jim

    EVM- shoot me an email if you want to do some pre riding. I'm living summit county now.
    Fatter than most.

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    couple gear questions

    Howdy

    What types of lighting systems are recommended or necessary for a ride like this?

    What kind of bivy/sleeping bag setup would keep someone comfortable on the overnights? I am reading about temps ranging from upper 90's to lower 50's.. ?

    Thanks

  20. #20
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    That is one hell of a race. For the folks actually entering that race, you've got some major brass. You have my respect. Gimme a couple years, and I'll think about it.
    That which does not kill me, postpones the inevitable.

  21. #21
    EVM
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    Pre ride

    Jim-

    I was probably going to start in March. I have the Copmoba maps to get the jist of the route, i will get the detailed maps here shortly. I think finding the trail connections will be key...

    Starting to ride in Fruita when not nordic skiing/racing, the trails are mighty fine right now!

    Also i know Ed from the East side was interested in some Koko preriding. It'd be a fun group.

    The gear might take some figuring out for GL. Koko is not as complicated! ANy ideas for 3++++ nights of light?


    EVM
    Last edited by gregg; 01-16-2006 at 05:40 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by EVM
    Jim-

    I was probably going to start in March. I have the Copmoba maps to get the jist of the route, i will get the detailed maps here shortly. I think finding the trail connections will be key...

    Starting to ride in Fruita when not nordic skiing/racing, the trails are mighty fine right now!

    Also i know Ed from the East side was interested in some Koko preriding. It'd be a fun group.

    The gear might take some figuring out for GL. Koko is not as complicated! ANy ideas for 3++++ nights of light?


    EVM
    Just got back online after a month of so of not having an internet connection. I was thinking of starting in March as well. I've only taken the 29er out a couple of times this winter. With snow every few days the trails are not the best for bike riding around here. Let me know when you guys are heading out. My nordic stuff has been gathering dust lately- I've definately got some catching up to do. My only regular work out has been tele skiing, but that has been in bounds so it probably does not count for much.

    As far as lights go, I've been playing around with a Cateye LED light that runs off of 4 AAs. Close to 30 hours of burn time per battery change so I think it will be good to go with a few extra batteries. Works good up here, but that is on snow so dirt riding will probably be much different.

    I'm back online, so you can reach me at jiishmtb at yahoo dot com

    jim
    Fatter than most.

  23. #23
    EVM
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    fyi- 32 mile reroute of Paradox email from Copmoba

    Just for any of you Grand Loopers that are interested:

    Paradox Trail Reroute & The Wild West End Tour
    By *Paul Koski, COPMOBA Board Member - 01/25/2006
    With spring quickly approaching, I know a few of us are already anticipating our upcoming rides for 2006. There may even be some of us who want to break new territory and ride that trail less traveled. Within an hour and a half drive from Grand Junction, the Paradox Trail is waiting to give you the ride of a lifetime.

    Last year, with the help of COPMOBA volunteers and staff from the Montrose BLM office, the Paradox Trail was rerouted for almost 32 miles through some of the most remote and rugged country Western Colorado has to offer. The new reroute, along with a few of our favorite loop rides, will be described in the updated Paradox Trail map and brochure soon to be released in March. The reroute maintains the backcountry, wilderness riding experience that mountain bikers have come to expect of the Paradox Trail. Since there are very few local volunteers to maintain the trail, riders can experience a true feeling of ‚Äúterra incognito‚ÄĚ while exercising their logistical and survival mode riding skills. We recommend the Nucla section BLM map as a necessary supplement to the trail description found in the brochure. Proper planning is a must with supplies available in Nucla, Naturita and Bedrock. There are some nice primative camping locations on the Tabeguache Creek north of Nucla, on Pinto Mesa north east of Nucla and at Biscuit Rock on Hwy 141, 5 miles north of the old mill town of Uravan.

    For those that want to give it a try but are still unsure about its remote nature, this year's Wild West End Tour is being geared for you. The tour is scheduled for June 9-11; two days of challenging rides on the Paradox Trail with a day loop ride thrown in just for the fun of it on Sunday. This will be an informal tour meaning riders will all pitch in for camp supplies and duties. Costs will be kept to a minimum based on how many sign up. This will be a great opportunity for friends to get together and ride with local volunteer guides and to experience that ride of a lifetime. The tour will be limited to 20 riders so, if you're interested, please contact me at 970 864-2276 or 864-2214 for more information. I can also be reached via e-mail at prkoski@fone.net I hope to see YOU there.

    * Paul Koski is our volunteer trail manager in Nucla and a long time COPMOBA board member.

  24. #24
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    For anyone that's planning for the GL, I just got this from Bill Harris, Montrose COPMOBA guy:

    The new, updated Paradox Trail map from copmoba is available. Some of the bike shops have it, and I saw it in REI the other day - thought you might want to know. You might find the Montrose Co. map #3 at Gene Taylors. The County maps aren't in big demand since they are so big, but I love them.


    You can probably find a number for the GJ REI somewhere online. Or call The Bike Shop at 970.243.0807 and they can set you up with a map once they get 'em in.

    Worth noting: the maps are free, but the local shops are so crazy busy with spring repair season that it's gonna be tough for them to find the time to stick a stamp on a free map to send out to you. Seriously. Please (PLEASE) offer to send 'em $2 or $3 or $5 for their trouble, the karma will go a long way on the trail and the $$ just might get you the pamphlet quicker.

    Sunny and 60's in GJ.

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 06-02-2006 at 01:04 PM.

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    Send Them an SASE

    to really make it easy for the shop, just send them an SASE w/plenty of postage on it. then all they have to do is drop the envelope in the mail.
    Think Big, Live Large: Ride a 29er.

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    grand loopers what about water

    just curious if any one knows the approximate locations for water on the G L R course? I realize this is not a definite thing as water can be there and gone in this area but is there any firm sources? Also has anyone ridden the new section of the paradox trail? I honestly have only ridden a bit of the course here and there, but hope to get some pre-riding in this month, so i am not super familiar. Is it as hard to follow and find as some make out to be? None the less I am so f*&ing excited to do this ride, i know for some out there it is a race but this year i only hope to enjoy the country and have some of that torturous kind of fun. Really hope to be there in june. peace.

  27. #27
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    Do you know if there will be any media covering the start or finish of the race? It sure would make a good story!
    I own and work at Hub Cyclery, Idyllwild CA

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    hello any potential GLR
    so anyone know if there is any prerace meeting? and it looks like with the new reroute keeps us out of any easy resupply, also are we simply riding to the intersection with the tabuache trail? it's a bit unclear where we go there exactly, wondering if anyone has any bits of wisdom, hope it all goes well, very excited see y'all soon

  29. #29
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    There are so many unknowns to this race I almost want to do it this year just to know I probably won't finish and learn a lot in the process for next year. The weekend is "technically" open on my schedule...
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookieone
    and it looks like with the new reroute keeps us out of any easy resupply, also are we simply riding to the intersection with the tabuache trail?
    Yes the reroute does not send us near any resupplys. Just consider the ride to the stores bonus miles. As I understand it, you can go off course for water and food as long as it is either filtered or bought at a store. Then you retrace your exact route back to the exact point you left the trail. Just like on the Koko, it is permited to get water at westwater even though that is not on the course. As far as the tab goes, what is your question? The Paradox still intersects with it on the divide road.

    Jim
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    T-minus not enough time and counting...

    The clock is ticking. The days are getting longer. And hotter. The sand is getting deeper, and the creeks are getting shallower.

    Pretty much exactly what happens every year as the GL approaches.

    Are you ready?

    ??

    The GL starts at 6pm on Friday, June 2. There will be a pre-GL meeting at Sherwood Park (downtown GJ--do a Mapquest if unsure) at noon that day. Attendance is not mandatory, but I'll be there to answer questions and share what I know, and afterwards y'all will have a few hours to digest the answers before starting the ride.

    I will not be participating, but I will ride the prologue from the Tabeguache Trailhead to Loma with the group. We'll do a quick (<5 minutes) regrouping at the Loma trailhead, then you'll be off.

    In the interim, don't be shy about asking pointed questions here. I'll help if I can.

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 05-29-2006 at 08:45 PM.

  32. #32
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    The clock is ticking.

    Are you ready?
    Nope. Not enough time, indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    I will not be racing, but I will ride the prologue from the Tabeguache Trailhead to Loma with the group. We'll do a quick (<5 minutes) regrouping at the Loma trailhead, then the clock will start and you'll be off.
    Uh huh, the old "not racing" but I'll start with everyone. We're not going to fall for that one.

    Actually, glad you're coming for the prologue. It would be sad indeed to get lost on the way to Fruita.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    In the interim, don't be shy about asking pointed questions here. I'll help if I can.
    Daggers out. In '03 you estimated 9+ hours wasted on routefinding errors (this is with advance recon, folks). My question is, where? Where are the biggest puzzle areas?

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Actually, glad you're coming for the prologue. It would be sad indeed to get lost on the way to Fruita.
    That was my thinking.


    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Daggers out. In '03 you estimated 9+ hours wasted on routefinding errors (this is with advance recon, folks). My question is, where? Where are the biggest puzzle areas?
    What'll you give me if I tell ya?

    Huh??


    .
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    .
    .

    Alright fine--the middle sections of the Tab and Para.

    How's that for detailed?

    MC

  34. #34
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    What'll you give me if I tell ya?
    A can of bubbly water?

    A complete GPS track of the AZT 300?

    If finished, GPS of the GLR ..?

    Didn't think so...

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Alright fine--the middle sections of the Tab and Para.

    How's that for detailed?
    Ah, so the problem areas are in Colorado. Got it.

    How about any general character of the 'getting lost' ? E.G. missing signs, singletrack overgrown / swallowed, trying to follow the trail at night vs. day, etc?

    Just trying to get an idea.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    A can of bubbly water?

    A complete GPS track of the AZT 300?

    If finished, GPS of the GLR ..?
    A 12 pack of bubbles, plus GPS tracks from AZT 300, 800, and GLR, and you've got a deal...


    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Ah, so the problem areas are in Colorado. Got it.

    How about any general character of the 'getting lost' ? E.G. missing signs, singletrack overgrown / swallowed, trying to follow the trail at night vs. day, etc?
    Yes. As in all of the above. Honestly, it's been three years since I rode the course and my memory is fuzzy. I remember missing signs (how does one remember something that wasn't there?!?), overgrown trail, snowcovered (hence invisible) trail, and quite a bit of wandering around in meadows trying to see where the overgrown trail exited. One spot foiled me so completely that after ~2 hours of ever widening circles (and still no luck finding it) I pulled out the bag and slept until daybreak. At dawn, the trail was as plain as a slap in the face, but my pathetic (at the time, heh heh heh) lights just weren't able to spot it in the dark.

    The two hardest areas were east of Nucla (Para) and on top of the Uncompahgre Plateau (Tab).

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 05-20-2006 at 10:35 PM.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    In the interim, don't be shy about asking pointed questions here. I'll help if I can.
    MC
    How come you are not racing?

    After the KTR this race is more appealing than it previously was. It is not an option for me this year, unless I trailored my 3 kids behind me...My wife will be in Europe. But maybe in the future I will give this a go. One thing the KTR did was open up a whole new world of trails. Before I was in the "rut" of doing the same Moab rides every trip down there. Not that they are bad trails, but I had no idea....Now I have a lot more area I want to get out and explore.

    Good luck to everyone racing. It sounds like a great adventure.
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    You guys are making me sick!

    Whine on:
    "I wanna go!"
    Whine off.

    But this is a ride that will just have to wait.

    Good luck to you all that are attempting it. Sounds like so much fun.

    Ed E

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    I'm in

    Mike,

    Since my pathetic attempt at the KTR has left me feeling somewhat less of a man, I'm in for this one. I've put gears on, started packing my gear, guess all I need to do this week is get out and take a look at the trail.

    Tentative plan is to be out there scouting on thurs and fri of this week. I'm sure I'll have more questions after the recon.

    What is the estimate for starters? 3? 4? 5?

    jim
    Fatter than most.

  39. #39
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    Prepare yourself

    Map and profile (both estimates). The loop looks very interesting and very hard.

    I have the same question posed above -- how do we connect Paradox to Tabeguache? Where Paradox hits the Divide Rd (at Hauser Rd) it's not on the Tabeguache. Tab is on singletrack to the north. I assume that we just go Divide Rd to E. Bull Rd, then descend down to the Roubideau Trail (on route).

    Only other option would be to turn right (away from GJ) to go pick up more singletrack and more miles. Mike?

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/mtbr/GLR-map.jpg>

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/mtbr/GLR-profile.gif>

    Total gain = 50,000 feet. This is including the new Paradox reroute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Map and profile (both estimates). The loop looks very interesting and very hard.

    I have the same question posed above -- how do we connect Paradox to Tabeguache? Where Paradox hits the Divide Rd (at Hauser Rd) it's not on the Tabeguache. Tab is on singletrack to the north. I assume that we just go Divide Rd to E. Bull Rd, then descend down to the Roubideau Trail (on route).

    Only other option would be to turn right (away from GJ) to go pick up more singletrack and more miles. Mike?

    Total gain = 50,000 feet. This is including the new Paradox reroute.
    Jesus, Scott...

    Aside from the fact that I think you've hit all of it very, very close, those images bring back some very painful memories. As Lenore (looking over my shoulder at the map and profile) just said, "The finish of that race is the most wasted, most depleted I've ever seen you look".

    She ain't just whistlin' dixie. If only she knew how much worse I felt...

    Re: intersection of Para and Tab: When you top out on Transfer Rd (at Divide Rd) you turn right/south and go to Hauser Rd (gravel). There you turn left/east and descend a bit to pick up the Tab singletrack. It's an obvious left turn in a meadow (with a powerline running through it IIRC).

    Interesting that my estimates (340 miles and 48k' of climbing) jibe so closely with yours.

    MC

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    MC,

    What do you bring to eat assuming water is available for filter/treating on course? Serious question. At some point optimal nutrition must go out the window?

    I put in 218 miles and lots of elevation gain in under 36 hours on Fri/Sat and I still feel good. I probably would have ridden even more save some nasty weather above 10k or 11k feet elevation. But I had a night's sleep and real meal in between. 156 of those miles were long and lonely and I had a lot of time to think about this race and others like it. I had lots of strong moments and 1 section where I felt pretty low.

    My point being, how do you know when you're ready for a race like this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pivvay
    What do you bring to eat assuming water is available for filter/treating on course? Serious question. At some point optimal nutrition must go out the window?
    Water is available frequently, but it's only where you find it. Maps (and heavy scrutiny of them) are your best friend. Optimal nutrition goes out the window a few hours after the start. Then you eat whatever your stomach will take, and sometimes you force it to take whatever you have.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pivvay
    I put in 218 miles and lots of elevation gain in under 36 hours on Fri/Sat and I still feel good. I probably would have ridden even more save some nasty weather above 10k or 11k feet elevation. But I had a night's sleep and real meal in between. 156 of those miles were long and lonely and I had a lot of time to think about this race and others like it. I had lots of strong moments and 1 section where I felt pretty low.
    Take away the night's sleep, the shower, the soft bed, the comfort and relaxation of having a roof over your head. Keep all that out of the picture for 3+ nights, which means you won't be getting any meaningful recovery while on-course. Add the anxiety of bivying outside in unfamiliar terrain, surroundings, and unpredictable weather. Carry everything you need, moving 20+ hours per day for those 3-4 days. Throw in routefinding issues, thunderstorms and snow in the alpine (again with no shelter available), bears (really), lots of steep trail, and 50k of climbing.

    Whole different league.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pivvay
    My point being, how do you know when you're ready for a race like this?
    You just do.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Jesus, Scott...

    Aside from the fact that I think you've hit all of it very, very close, those images bring back some very painful memories. As Lenore (looking over my shoulder at the map and profile) just said, "The finish of that race is the most wasted, most depleted I've ever seen you look".

    She ain't just whistlin' dixie. If only she knew how much worse I felt...
    Is it too late for me to drop out? Do you do refunds?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Re: intersection of Para and Tab: When you top out on Transfer Rd (at Divide Rd) you turn right/south and go to Hauser Rd (gravel). There you turn left/east and descend a bit to pick up the Tab singletrack. It's an obvious left turn in a meadow (with a powerline running through it IIRC).
    You have the roads reversed, but I think I understand. Hauser is the road climbing up from Pinto Mesa. The Transfer Road drops NE towards Delta.

    This will settle it: the GLR goes right by Antone CG, correct?

    The maps do not specify any way to connect the two. The more direct connection would be to not head east to Antone, but connect with Tab right where it goes within a stone's throw of the divide road again. Just curious, but what's the reason we go out of our way at the connection? More singletrack?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Interesting that my estimates (340 miles and 48k' of climbing) jibe so closely with yours.
    The process I use is definitely short on mileage. The elevation is very prone to error, but the errors are both positive and negative, enough that they usually even out.

    But remember those numbers are with the paradox reroute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    You have the roads reversed, but I think I understand. Hauser is the road climbing up from Pinto Mesa. The Transfer Road drops NE towards Delta.
    So much for my memory. You're right, I have them reversed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    This will settle it: the GLR goes right by Antone CG, correct?
    Can't remember if it goes that far, but it definitely goes towards the CG before turning left on Transfer Rd.


    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    The maps do not specify any way to connect the two. The more direct connection would be to not head east to Antone, but connect with Tab right where it goes within a stone's throw of the divide road again. Just curious, but what's the reason we go out of our way at the connection? More singletrack?
    None of your damn business.

    Kidding. That's just the way that we did it when we started doing it. Can't remember if there was a specific reason behind it. It never seemed 'out of the way' to me, it just seemed a natural to get as much trail and as little road as possible. It does give you more singletrack, and high in the alpine under the cover of trees no less. You might even get muddy (lingering snowfields) on that stretch...

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 06-02-2006 at 01:09 PM.

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    So which is it? Old or New?

    Is it the older route going through Bedrock or is it the new reroute? As I see it, if we stick with the route through Bedrock we would be able to restock and compare our times to the course record. If we take the new route, we no longer have the Bedrock restock (or at least not without going out of our way) but whoever finishes would have the new course record. I'm up for either, a new record for the finisher would be pretty cool but so would a convienant place to grab a cold PBR along the course.

    If it is the old course, do we travel along the Delores after bedrock to Uravan then up Spring Creek Mesa intersecting the new route just before Spring Creek?
    Fatter than most.

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    Hey gang-

    Lots of discussion the last few days has rendered this decision:

    We'll be using the 'old route' (through Bedrock) for this year's GL.

    Many reasons for and against each route, but for now we're gonna stick with the old route.

    Qvestions?

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 06-02-2006 at 12:55 PM.

  47. #47
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    I concur regarding using the old route.

    On a side note. I will attempt only the Kokopelli and Paradox aspect of this event this year. My plan is to bail off on the divide road and head to Montrose. My truck will be in Montrose, if anyone would need a ride to GJ I could provide it.

    Is anyone heading up to GJ, passing through Montrose on Friday, June 2nd, that I could hitch a ride with?

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    Route conditions

    Just got back from a day and a half exploring some of the route and thought that I would send out a quick message with some of the conditions that I found up high.

    Since I don't have the energy to figure out how to do this all fancy like with captions under each picture, I'll do it this way. The first is what I encountered about every 1/4 mile or so at the start of the Tab-- down trees all over the place. My plan was to ride from the top of Columbine pass down to the start of the tab, then through the Criswell triangle area out to where the trail meets the Nucla-Delta road. The down trees were fine, easy enough to circumnavigate, then came the snow drifts, once again easy enough to plow through. Then finally the last picture. About half-way to East Bull I ran into this snowfield. Large enough that I decided to head back the out at pool creek (I think that is where I headed out). Hope for warm weather this week or else this snowfield is going to be a PITA to navigate through.

    On a more positive note, all of the paradox that I either rode or drove looked pretty good.
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    hi soloracer,

    thanks for the course info. i could only view 2 of the pictures.

    lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blackwell
    i could only view 2 of the pictures.
    I only posted 2, don't want to give away to much info

    besides resizing images and posting is a pain
    Fatter than most.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soloracer
    The first is what I encountered about every 1/4 mile or so at the start of the Tab-- down trees all over the place. My plan was to ride from the top of Columbine pass down to the start of the tab, then through the Criswell triangle area out to where the trail meets the Nucla-Delta road. The down trees were fine, easy enough to circumnavigate, then came the snow drifts, once again easy enough to plow through. Then finally the last picture. About half-way to East Bull I ran into this snowfield. Large enough that I decided to head back the out at pool creek (I think that is where I headed out). Hope for warm weather this week or else this snowfield is going to be a PITA to navigate through.

    On a more positive note, all of the paradox that I either rode or drove looked pretty good.
    Jim-

    Good info and pics, thanks.

    The snowfields on the S end of the Tab trail are pretty common for early June. They've been present for every GL that I've attempted or reconnoitered. There's always a tradeoff in picking the date for the GL--too early and the snow is deep, too late and the heat takes you out before you even get there.

    As warm as it's been the last few days, I'll bet the snowfields aren't more than a minor inconvenience. I was very worried about them pre-'03 GL, but by the time I got there they barely registered as a blip on my internal 'worry meter'. So many other things had happenned by then that snow on the trail just didn't seem important or worth worrying about.

    YMMV.

    See ya in a few days.

    MC

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    And they're off!

    6 hearty, brave, and slightly intimidated souls left on the GL tonight at 7:45pm. Temps were a sharp 88 degrees, with a slight headbreeze out of the northwest. Clear skies and cool (55-65 degrees) expected across the desert tonight, with balmy temps and high pressure dominating the next few days. With the exception of a bit of heat when they cross some of the lower valleys, the conditions look downright ideal for the next 5-6 days.

    I don't expect to hear from the first racers for ~24-28 hours, when they'll hit the lone store/resupply/phone on the entire route, in Bedrock, CO. 'Tween now and then they'll have a waxing quarter moon and themselves for company.

    Well, that and a few thousand rabbits anxiously diving under their wheels.

    I'll try to post some pics from the first few miles of the race tomorrow, then I'll post a 'halfway' update from Bedrock when they start to trickle in, then finally a finish report when all are accounted for, roughly 5 days from now.

    Of note is that 5 of the 6 starters were on 29" wheeled bikes. Also worth noting is that the lone 26" holdout starting the race had just purchased a 29" bike, but did not have time to get it dialed in to his liking before setting out on this epic.

    Stay close to yer radioooooos...

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 06-03-2006 at 08:15 AM.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    And they're off!

    Of note is that 5 of the 6 starters were on 29" wheeled bikes. Also worth noting is that the lone 26" holdout starting the race had just purchased a 29" bike, but did not have time to get it dialed in to his liking before setting out on this epic.

    Stay close to yer radioooooos...

    MC
    Thanks Mike.

    I flew over that region at about 6:15pm last night and I will again on Monday morning.

    I've had to ride my 26" bike lately and it's not nearly as much fun as my 29'er.

    Best of luck to these grand adventurers and I'm looking forward to updates..

    Ed E

  54. #54
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    This year's GL masochists are:
    Gary Dye, Telluride, CO
    Scott Morris, Tucson, AZ
    Jim Ishman, Summit County, CO
    Jefe the Wookie, Gunnison, CO
    Stefan Griebel, Boulder, CO
    Lee Blackwell, Tubac, AZ

    Jim Ishman's car was gone from the start this AM, so either Jim pulled out early or he's gonna have a big bummer waiting for him when he finishes.

    My armchair QB predictions are that even though climatic conditions are as ideal as they ever get, we'll still see a maximum of 2 finishers.

    A few pics below. The scenery of the first few miles was improved upon only by the gorgeous night laid out before the riders. By now, they've forgotten all about that as they pushed hard to get through the desert last night, only to be greeted by sunrise and an all-day climb into the alpine. The front runners are conscious of the fact that their only resupply en route, the Bedrock Store, closes for the night at 6pm. If they don't get there in time (and they really need to be cooking to do it) they've got a hard decision to make: Roll out bivy gear and wait until the store reopens at 9am Sunday morning, or ride on by and hope that you've got enough sustenance to last another 2+ days of hard riding. It bears repeating that mile for mile this is the most difficult event that I have ever done or heard of.

    We'll know more in the morning.

    Stay tuned...

    MC
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  55. #55
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    Without support how do the DNFs get off the course?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    It bears repeating that mile for mile this is the most difficult event that I have ever done or heard of.

    MC
    Harder than Iditabike? How can that be?

    Good luck to all those out there pedaling away on the GL.

    LW

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    Holy crap

    GO STEPHAN!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Without support how do the DNFs get off the course?
    They need to get themselves off course.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaW
    Harder than Iditabike? How can that be?

    Good luck to all those out there pedaling away on the GL.

    LW
    Yep, way harder. While the Idita is difficult for many reasons, the main reason is that nature is trying to flick you off with the low temps and wind chills. There is less than 8000' of climbing on the Idita, versus 48,000' on the GL (over a similar distance). Physically, the Idita is not nearly as hard as the GL. Psychologically, they're about equal.

    Many other differences, but maybe you should try both and then let us know what you think?

    ( !! )

    MC

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    And then there were 4.

    Lee Blackwell just dragged himself in after a rough night. He seems in good spirits but "just didn't have any energy" despite having taken "many, many naps" along the way. He pulled a U-turn and backtracked off the course this morning, and is currently sleeping on the (very cool, relative to outside temps) floor of my basement.

    Hope to hear from the others sometime tonight.

    Stay tuned.

    MC

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    GO SINKY!

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    Scott Morris arrived in Bedrock, CO, as of 9:06pm. Elapsed time on course to that point is 25:21. Scott sounded good, considering where he's been and what he's done in the last day+.

    He said he had ridden/pushed/rested quite a bit with Jefe throughout the daylight hours today, and called Jefe "Very strong and very well prepared". Scott said the heat, even at 8000'+ was pretty close to unbearable. I'd guess that the temps were in the low '80's up there, based on the mid-90's we got on the valley floor (~4500') mid-day today.

    Scott last saw Jefe at ~6:30 pm, and Jefe was planning to bivy near Buckeye Reservoir, still high in the La Sals of Utah. Scott planned to bivy in Bedrock after hanging up the phone, but did not plan to stay until the store opened at 9am Sunday. He was going to check his food supplies before deciding whether he needed to head off-course tomorrow to resupply in Nucla. With the exception of the Bedrock store (a tiny little merc in a tiny little town way off the beaten path in a forgotten corner of Colorado) and the grocery in Nucla (which requires riding 10+ miles, one-way, off-route to take advantage of), the GL riders will have zero chance to resupply the rest of the route. Unless you include tree bark, sage, carrion, and spring water, there's nothing out there.

    Scott last saw Gary Dye nearing Westwater Ranger Station, and Stefan G in Rabbit Valley. Both of those sightings would have been ~midnight last night--very early on.

    Scott has completed about half of the total mileage, but the second half of this course is much more difficult than the first. Significantly more climbing, significantly more routefinding, steeper, more technical, and more primitive trail characterize the second half. So although Scott took only ~25 hours to complete the first half, I wouldn't expect to see him finish before late Monday night, at the earliest.

    I'll post updates tomorrow when I hear from Jefe, Gary, and Stefan.

    Keep yer radio on...

    MC

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    Mike,
    Thanks for doing all this. I'm finding myself glued to the computer trying to get updates. You are doing an awesome job (and you're not even riding!). I haven't enjoyed following a race this much since the La Ruta last year...

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    Jefe emerges into Bedrock at 7am Sunday. I'm guessing he got some good solid sleep, and was further buoyed by the sunrise in the alpine (first pic), as well as the oh-my-god descent (second pic) off of Carpenter Ridge and down into the Paradox Valley. Why do I say all of this? Because his voice on the line (he got my answering machine while I was out riding...) was positively bubbling. Sounded like a kid in a candy store: "And now I'm off towards the Tabeguache, hope to be able to call you soon".

    Realistically he won't be calling for at least 36 hours, and I'll stand up and clap if he sounds 10% as bubbly when he finishes.

    Ahead he's got a flat several miles of graded dirt road along the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers (see third pic) before starting the climb up Spring Creek Mesa. If he's lucky, he can get out of there and start the real climb (to 10,000') up the Uncompahgre Plateau (see fourth pic) before the heat of the day sets in.

    We'll have to wait until he finishes to know how it works out.

    Hoping to hear from Gary and Stefan sometime real soon.

    MC
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    Stefan arrived in Bedrock Sunday at 12:12pm. He sounded in good spirits despite having climbed a few hundred extra feet and ridden a few bonus miles before realizing he was off-route somewhere in the La Sals. He'd already bought some food (the storekeeper hadn't seen any other cyclists) and was planning to try to get to Tabeguache Creek (pic below, great place to get some relief for aching knees and ankles) before sunset. I think that's a realistic goal--he may even make it onto the lower slopes of the Uncompahgre with light in the sky.

    Stefan last saw Gary in Fisher Valley (~100 miles into the race) where Gary was planning to bivy for the night to take advantage of warmer nighttime temps. While all of the racers carry a light bivy setup (usually a summer bag and bivy sack or tarp) they're so depleted that it's a wise move to sleep as low as possible where it's warmer. In addition to getting better rest and recovery while in their bags, it's easier to get out of your bag and get moving again if you're not fighting a sub-freezing alpine chill.

    Hope to hear from Gary in the next few hours, then we'll begin the long wait until someone makes it to the finish.

    MC
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    I heard from Scott about 2 hours ago he was in Nucla. He left bedrock at 3 a.m. He camped on the porch at the store with the loud cars. He was trying to decide if he should continue up the next climb in the heat or take a break and go on later. He was in the shade while we were talking and said that it was not too bad. It is my guess that he continued riding. Go stinky!

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Yep, way harder.

    Many other differences, but maybe you should try both and then let us know what you think?

    ( !! )

    MC
    OK!

    Thanks for the race updates - quite exciting.

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    I got a call from Gary Dye a little while ago. Seems the stifling desert heat got to that high mountain boy. He's healthy and safe and on his way back to the crisp air of Telluride.

    3 left on course: Scott, Jefe, and Stefan.

    Weather predictions for the next 36-48 hours include more of the same: hot as hades in the desert during the day, chilly in the alpine at night. Let's not forget what we're talking about here: the three remaining racers have been on the go in the backcountry of Colorado and Utah without shelter, a shower, or even a half-decent meal since 7:45 PM Friday. Think back to what you were doing then. Can you remember? Meal with the family? Watching the tube? Surfing here? Then what? Off to bed, maybe a casual ride on Saturday morning, then home to work on house projects before dinner?

    Point being, these guys have been on their bikes in the desert and alpine for over two days straight. Sleeping poorly in the dirt, eating bad food, waking up stiff and swollen only to head back out for some more. More what? Adventure. Seeing new country, expanding their horizons, getting the wits scared out of them, tackling problems as they arise, living only in the moment, and oh so much more.

    That's the only prize in this "race". Think about that as you head off to bed, or to work, or...



    ...maybe...




    ...off for an impromptu ride tonight?


    ...



    I know which I've chosen.

    Happy crescent-moon lit trails.

    MC

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    reflections as a DNF

    Iím sitting back at home reflecting on this event called The Grand Loop.

    I began the race and I quit the race, both were good decisions. Finding the edge of my ability is one reason for doing rides and races like this. Iím reminded ďThe edgeĒ is not fixed, it changes with fitness level, mental toughness.

    The solo riding aspect of The Grand Loop is something which has surprised me about myself. Iím not as good at being by myself as I thought I might be. So far I have not gotten scared yet, but I need to find some good stuff to run around in my head while I am out there. This is something I learned.

    Seeing the country change and being out in the incredible world is what I love about rides like this and that is something I really miss experiencing by not being out there right now. Scott and Jefe, Gary and Stephan are out there now. The extremes of nature and being out in it, vulnerable to whatever is going on, just an insignificant speck on the crust of the earth moving across the land, living on the precious couple of bottles of water and the store bought food, still only a visitor to the land, hurrying toward the next sustenance.

    I thought I might ride this thing slowly. I thought, so Iím not strong enough to go fast, but I can be patient, I can persevere. I did not understand the importance of timing in this race, I know more now. You have windows of opportunity, you miss the window and it gets tougher. When discussing the race with Mike he reminded me that the time of year and the start time were carefully thought out to give the racers the best chance of having a successful race.

    The thing that happened that really made me turn my bike around was a consuming and complete lack of energy. I was only a few hours into this ride and had a headache, poor appetite, had drained the greater portion of my water and the day was about to heat up. I could have ridden onward to Westwater and made it just in time to replenish my water assuming I had no other problems so that was something which would have been a reasonable risk, it did seem like a risk though. My legs though, just had no energy, even on the little hills I was tenderly, slowly pedaling. It just did not look like a situation which would improve. By going on I would be compounding my problem of how to get back if I needed to. After standing on the trail pondering the gravity of the decision, I turned that bicycle around and rode back to safety and comfort.

    The usual questions run through my mind, maybe I need to have ridden more to be stronger, maybe I should have rested more so I would have not been so tired, maybe I should try some new dietary thing, itís all running but I also say, I gave it a go, I did get to see the sun set on the bluffs above the Colorado River full of vigor with churning brown spring snowmelt, I did watch a quarter moon slide out of view to bring on a black sky and the milky way. I did see the train come, with itís powerful light illuminating the one single rock formation like a show for the tourists, and then heard the amazing smooth power of the locomotive as it pulled ten thousand tons of coal uphill past me at 40 miles per hour and all sight and sound gone just a little smell of coal dust in the air.
    The Race? What a good idea, it got me out! I got to use my body real well. Thanks Mike!

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    odd place

    my posting a few minutes ago went to last week's thread, guess I need to go to MTBR 101 on how to post comments.

  71. #71
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    Hat's off....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blackwell
    ....The Race? What a good idea, it got me out! I got to use my body real well. Thanks Mike!
    A good idea indeed. Great effort Lee, glad you got off the course safe, later on it could have been much, much harder. Hat's off to you, and the others.

    Monte

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    More what? Adventure. Seeing new country, expanding their horizons, getting the wits scared out of them, tackling problems as they arise, living only in the moment, and oh so much more.
    Hey! You're describing the life of a parent! Or that of a research scientist...


    Seriously though, I'd sure like to do this ride -- but the parent thing will be in my way for another 10 years By then the "research" thing will be completely killed by budget deficits and I can concetrate on backcountry mtb ridin' and racin'...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee

    Jim Ishman's car was gone from the start this AM, so either Jim pulled out early or he's gonna have a big bummer waiting for him when he finishes.
    I wilted like the precious flower that I am. By the time I got half way up Lion's loop I had already gone through 100 oz of water and still had a dry mouth. I can count the number of rides that I have done this year with a temperature above 70 degrees F on one hand and I would still have enough fingers left over to open a jar of peanut butter. Sure I could have made it down to Salt Creek and filtered (hmm salt creek, sounds like safe water to me), but then what? I was already walking, having difficulty climbing, and pretty much had zero desire to carry on.

    Thanks for the race, Mike. These are truly amazing creatures that can test a rider in unimaginable ways. When we pulled up to the Lunch Loops, the heat was radiating off every surface and it was then that I knew I did not pack enough water. I thought that I could just hang in the back and slowly crawl to westwater. Then when I was on Mary's I thought that if I could just make it to Rabbit Valley, I would be able to make it to westwater. Then as I was sitting on Lions, digging through the chocolate stew that my bag had become, I called it quits. FYI, for any of those interested in doing this type of ride, peanut butter M&Ms are not a good choice, they liquify at about 90 then when the roughness of the trail punctures the bag, they turn your three days worth of food into a gooey mess.

    Glad I started, Glad I'm not out there right now in the record heat. Best wishes for those amazing riders still out there, I look forward to hearing from everyone when they return.

    jim
    Fatter than most.

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    Keep on keep'n on!

    Go get'm fella's.

    I'd imagine the 107 degree days we've been having here in Tucson were stellar training for Scotts prep work.

    Keep on it Jefe!

    Mike - the updates are awesome. Photo's spot on.

  75. #75
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    Good God...

    Just stumbled across this thread from the 29er board.

    All I have to say is Tailwind...I hope they get LOTS of Tailwind!

    Good job guys...

    Incredible

    LP

  76. #76
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    We have a winnah!

    Scott Morris logged off the course at 10:30pm Monday night, for a total elapsed time of 3 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes. Astute observers will note that Scott was heartbreakingly close to breaking the course record--a mere 8 minutes seperated him from holding that distinction.

    Not that he cares. Judging by how happy he was when he finished up last night, I'm guessing that he had a great adventure, saw some unbelievable country, had a few suprises come his way, and now is extremely satisfied to be done.

    But those are just my guesses. We'll have to wait and see how it all panned out--hopefully between naps and food breaks the next few days Scott will be able to fill us in.

    Congrats Scott. Awesome job. Now you gotta come back next year to go really fast!

    MC

  77. #77
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    Jefe finishes 2nd, at 3:55 am, for a total elapsed time of 3 days, 8 hours, 10 minutes.

    I just got a creaky-voiced message from Jefe telling me that he was "done with The Loop, and pooped...".

    Can't explain how impressed I am that Scott and Jefe, both of whom had never seen huge sections of this course, were able to finish this loop on their first go, and not just finish but go so fast as well.

    The sport is evolving, and these two guys are right there pushing it.

    Jefe, once you've gotten some sleep and food, please chime in here with some thoughts and musings from your ride. Awesome job.

    MC

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Jefe finishes 2nd, at 3:55 am, for a total elapsed time of 3 days, 8 hours, 10 minutes.

    I just got a creaky-voiced message from Jefe telling me that he was "done with The Loop, and pooped...".

    Can't explain how impressed I am that Scott and Jefe, both of whom had never seen huge sections of this course, were able to finish this loop on their first go, and not just finish but go so fast as well.

    The sport is evolving, and these two guys are right there pushing it.

    Jefe, once you've gotten some sleep and food, please chime in here with some thoughts and musings from your ride. Awesome job.

    MC
    You can also add to this the heat and the fact that Scott was not fully recovered from riding both the Arizona 300 and the Koko. He is such a stud.

  79. #79
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    Congratulations to both Scott and Jefe!!
    Great job!!
    Can't wait to read your ride report.
    Wayne

  80. #80
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    Woha!

    Way to ride it guys! I am super impressed. Can't wait to hear the gory details. =)
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  81. #81
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    Wow, good job guys. Very impressive.
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  82. #82
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    Wah-hoooo! Great job guys and congratulations. I'm looking forward to the stories, in the meantime rest and recover(like anyone has to tell you that).

    One more on course right?

    Ed E

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    Spot on fella's. Absolutely floored. Can't imagine how you feel about now. Looking forward to hearing/reading first hand accounts.

  84. #84
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    Curious...

    What are these fellas doing for food? Are they carrying a small stove/kettle/jetboil system or are they living off of bars/pb&j, trail mix, candy and performance fuel for the whole deal?

    Looking at the size of some of the packs I'm guessing there are some stoves in there....inquiring minds want to know!

    B
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  85. #85
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    Great going Scott and Jefe - looks like Scott is finding form for the GDR if he attempts it again this year? Question for Scott when he's recovered - is late Sept/early October too late to do the Arizona trail (easy 'race' version inc GC hike, not the scrub forest bashing one!)?

    Ian

  86. #86
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    The Grand Loop is done, and ice cream is going in my mouth. 10 minutes until the pizza places are open and the gorging begins.

    Phew.... what a loop.

    I'd be hard pressed to say I was racing out there, with the exception of the last 6 hours when I thought I could break Mike's time. You really just ride (fast) to survive, hoping that you can get high enough to avoid complete heat shut-down. Heat and conditions completely dictate sleep (lack thereof) too.

    8 minutes was probably exactly the amount of time it took to change my FLAT TIRE coming down rough canyon (~5 miles from the finish). I pushed the finish very hard only to come up short. So it goes...

    But truly I'm escatic to have finished and finished strong. This is a brutal loop, no doubt about it. Words fail to describe it. I feel priveledged to have been able to experience it.

    I'm also escatic about Jefe's finish! I never saw him after we parted ways up in the La Sals. To hear that he finished it up early this morning is just too cool. I can't wait to hear more from him. But I don't have an email or phone #. If anyone here has his contact info (or if you're reading this now Jefe), please email me at:

    smorris@topofusion.com

    It's pizza time!


    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Jefe finishes 2nd, at 3:55 am, for a total elapsed time of 3 days, 8 hours, 10 minutes.

    I just got a creaky-voiced message from Jefe telling me that he was "done with The Loop, and pooped...".

  87. #87
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    hello there everyone, this is Jefe and yes I managed to finish the oh so wonderful Grand Loop Race. Wow. now i am used to backcountry travel, suffering pain, torture, long days in the hot sun. But i should have read into the fact that the man who rode 2500 miles in 16 days unsupported had called this the hardest race mile for mile. I can't imagine it being much harder. Between the blazing hot sun, the mad crazy jumble of broken trail with little signage and the labor of hauling a bike and pack full of food, gear and lots and lots of water it floored me. Nothing like getting lost in the desert in 90+ heat not sure where the next water source is, hiking up AND down nasty f-ed up jeep roads, feeling your head spinning around wondering do i have enough food to make it? Do I have enough water to not die? Am i ever going to find the right trail? Would i ever do this to myself again? This race defineatly made me question this intrinsic human need for greater harder challenges, why do we do this to ourselves? After a short post finish nap i awoke to numb feet, spinning head, fuzzy fuzzy brain, more bloody noses, and a feeling of being completely drained as if the desert sucked my blood dry. WOW I am so worked. Still I wonder would i do it again? That question, my friends, has yet to be answered. Some may wonder why? well that is complex, but i will say there were moments. Like the sunset untop of hauser road after the longest hottest mind breaking climb, it was so damn beautiful that even in the moment of feeling almost dead I felt like the luckiest guy In the world. thanks for getting us out for this mike, peace out jefe

  88. #88
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    Wow super impressed. For those who have finished, I'd still love info on food and packing lists as well. If those are hard won secrets I understand. I've begun testing gear and practicing for an attempt on this loop next year. As crazy as it sounds, the more i hear the more I want to do it.

    GO STEPHAN! I hope you're doing okay out there.
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  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookieone
    hello there everyone, this is Jefe and yes I managed to finish the oh so wonderful Grand Loop Race. Wow. now i am used to backcountry travel, suffering pain, torture, long days in the hot sun. But i should have read into the fact that the man who rode 2500 miles in 16 days unsupported had called this the hardest race mile for mile. I can't imagine it being much harder. Between the blazing hot sun, the mad crazy jumble of broken trail with little signage and the labor of hauling a bike and pack full of food, gear and lots and lots of water it floored me. Nothing like getting lost in the desert in 90+ heat not sure where the next water source is, hiking up AND down nasty f-ed up jeep roads, feeling your head spinning around wondering do i have enough food to make it? Do I have enough water to not die? Am i ever going to find the right trail? Would i ever do this to myself again? This race defineatly made me question this intrinsic human need for greater harder challenges, why do we do this to ourselves? After a short post finish nap i awoke to numb feet, spinning head, fuzzy fuzzy brain, more bloody noses, and a feeling of being completely drained as if the desert sucked my blood dry. WOW I am so worked. Still I wonder would i do it again? That question, my friends, has yet to be answered. Some may wonder why? well that is complex, but i will say there were moments. Like the sunset untop of hauser road after the longest hottest mind breaking climb, it was so damn beautiful that even in the moment of feeling almost dead I felt like the luckiest guy In the world. thanks for getting us out for this mike, peace out jefe
    wow. that is incredible and so inspiring. congratulations to you and scott on what sounds like an amazing journey!

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    We have a winnah!
    You have 2 winners, so far, anyone that makes this ride is a winner. Awesome ride Scott and Jefe. Most awesome Scott, what's 8 minutes between friends?

    Bows head,
    Monte

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookieone
    hello there everyone, this is Jefe and yes I managed to finish the oh so wonderful Grand Loop Race. Wow.
    Awesome job Jefe. I'm one of the "many" that want to somehow find a way to do this ride, make the commitment to the ride. Awesome job.

    Monte

  92. #92
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    congrats Scott!
    simpy awesome.

  93. #93
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    After a grueling evening of eating birthday cake and trying to keep the sand out of my shorts playing beach volleyball, we (the missus and I) swung by the Tabeguache Trailhead on our way home to see if Stefan's truck was still there.

    And what do we find but a parking lot devoid of all human occupants...

    ...except for Stefan.

    He'd just made it in and was chatting with his SO on the phone as we pulled up. Total time on course was 4 days, 2 hours. He seemed happy, wired, a bit manic perhaps, and very much in need of a 'real meal' after 4 days of trail food.

    Excellent job, Stefan. Can't wait to hear more from all 3 finishers when their bodies/minds recoup enough to let them tell the stories.

    Cheers,

    MC

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee

    Excellent job, Stefan. Can't wait to hear more from all 3 finishers when their bodies/minds recoup enough to let them tell the stories.

    Cheers,

    MC
    Excellent!! All accounted for and now we await the stories.

    Congratulations to all three adventurers!!

    Ed E

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    And what do we find but a parking lot devoid of all human occupants...

    ...except for Stefan.
    Cheers indeed, good to hear. 4 days of trail food, mmm. I've done a month of freeze dried on McKinley, but I don't that it's much of a comparison.

    Monte

  96. #96
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    Holy crap way to go Stefan! I'm so impressed.
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    Congratulations!

    What a ride! I expected Scott would do really well and he did. He has, what, 1000 or so trail miles with his camping/ packing set up? And, plenty of technical, very long trail experience. Jefe being this close to Scott is also very impressive. Good job guys!

    I hope to do this ride as a 6-7 day tour in the fall. If anyone would like to join me let's start planning now.

    Gary in Del Norte

  98. #98
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    Which BLM maps do you use for the Grand Loop?

    I did a quick look at the CO BLM web site, are you using "Surface Management Maps", "Surface and Mineral Management Map", or "County and Game Management Index"? UT BLM doesn't do online ordering, I'll have to find them somewhere, or call 'em. If you've got the specific map names at hand, that would be helpful.

    Monte

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monte
    If you've got the specific map names at hand, that would be helpful.

    Monte
    Nucla and Delta surface management status maps. Between the two they have most of the tab (you would need the Grand Junction to get all of the tab.) I did not buy any of the UT maps as I would have had to drive to Moab to get them. There is a map shop in GJ that can order them for you, the GJ BLM office has their number. FYI, the Paradox is not marked on the BLM maps. Get the COPMOBA maps as well.

    Jim
    Fatter than most.

  100. #100
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    I Love Food!

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    After a grueling evening of eating birthday cake...
    Cake?! I wanted cake on my Birthday! I turned 31 somewhere up on the Uncompahgre Plateau on Monday. I may not have had cake, but at least I had PIE!!! Just a small part of my extensive food arsenal... More details on that later.

    I was slower than everyone else, but it sounds like I ate a lot better! After talking to Mike in the parking lot last night, I think I might've crossed the line between "racing" and "touring". Especially considering the food I ate, the stuff I drank, and the amount of sleep I got! I just wasn't sure what I was going to be capable of, and didn't want to bonk in the middle of the desert so hard that I couldn't get myself out, so I might not have pushed as hard as I could have. More posts forthcoming, but I'll just leave ya'll with a couple of contrasting pics. Two of my favorite locations during the ride...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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