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  1. #1
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    Grand Loop Race '08

    Admit it. This event has wiggled into your conciousness...perhaps as something clearly to avoid, perhaps as some good early season armchair entertainment, and for a lucky few something to set your sights on.

    For those in camp 3 there's an added element to consider. Snow.

    Columbine Pass sits a stones throw from the Tab trail on the Uncompahgre plateau. It's the best guage of snowpack for the GL highpoint - but it's an underestimate. Last year I attempted a solo TT of the GL in mid May, 2 weeks before the race and was met with 6-8 feet of snow on the north facing parts o the Tab trail. Utterly impassable, a tough thing to learn at mile 220...I ended up riding over Columbine pass on the divide road that trip and it was snow free.

    Here's the current situation on Columbine.

    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/hairball.dh/April08/photo#5192138317269995234"><img src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/hairball.dh/SA4uSlmSjuI/AAAAAAAAD-c/WDknp40KJl4/s800/GL_snowpack.jpg" /></a>

    Last year Columbine was snow free at this time. This year - well it's sitting at the typical annual peak snowpack. A lot can happen in 5 weeks - but I don't see the upper part of the Tab on the Unc being clear by race time. 2005 saw similar snow levels as this year and the pass didn't clear out until ~ May 20. Doing the math, I'd guess the Tab to be too snowfilled until about mid-June this year.

    Sound like fun? Who's in?
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  2. #2
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    Oooh, I was waiting for someone to make the '08 virginal post.

    Since work is popping for me to fly to a conference in Provo on 5/26 and graciously letting me fly out of GJ on 6/5, I'm in.

    I was wondering about the snowpack up high, but the way I figure it, even if I make it to the snow and get turned back to the roads, it'll still be a hell of a ride.

    If the snow is too deep to make it through, what's the possibility of picking up the trail on the 'other side' somewhere off a divide road-ish vehicle access point and finishing out on the northern lower portions of the Tab such as section 7 -> 9 on the trail map? I'm assuming the snow would block out riding sections 3, 4 and 5? Or do I start looking for good clearance prices on ultralight snowshoes?

    Jim

  3. #3
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    Ah, ya'll will be fine.

    Try this link: http://www.gottagoitsnows.com/snowshoeing/003.html

    Seriously.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zips_mi
    Oooh, I was waiting for someone to make the '08 virginal post.

    Since work is popping for me to fly to a conference in Provo on 5/26 and graciously letting me fly out of GJ on 6/5, I'm in.

    I was wondering about the snowpack up high, but the way I figure it, even if I make it to the snow and get turned back to the roads, it'll still be a hell of a ride.
    Lucky you and yes it will still be a helluva ride. When I hit snow last year I knew I had to come back for the full meal deal so just blazed out on the Divide road. If I wasn't going to come back, I'd have turned at the junction in this map below - it would have been sloppy/slushy but doable. Maroon line is the Tab, Divide road is in black.

    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/hairball.dh/April08/photo#5192196737415155442"><img src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/hairball.dh/SA5jbFmSjvI/AAAAAAAAD_0/_93xk77rMT0/s800/roubideau-divide.jpg" /></a>

    You'd miss the alpine singletrack by taking that route (and of course not finish the GL), but you'd get to experience the all day hike a bike of the Roubideau section - not to be missed! Still an enormous ride by any standard.

    As for the snowshoes, that would be the first time anyone hauled them across the KT...even with snowshoes, the bigger issue would be navigation. It's deep forest, skinny trail that is invisible under deep snow. It's one of those things you'd have to experience perhaps. If it looks like there is snow for the race and folks will attempt to get through a snowy tab trail I'll supply the GPS for the first few miles.
    Dave

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairball_dh
    As for the snowshoes, that would be the first time anyone hauled them across the KT...
    Haha... It would be an interesting sight for sure. I'm paring down the kitchen sink and extracurricular stuff for this run, so really, no snowshoes for me.

    As for navigation though, I would assume someone on snowshoes dragging a bike through the snow would leave quite a racket...

  6. #6
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    Snow? no problem Dave. My snowshoes fit right on my rack, so I can move my rack or use my Pugs.



    Seriously though, navigating the Tab is going to be frustrating at best. I recently tried to ride the pugs on part of the 24 of Steamboat course that I know like the back of my hand. But the snow level is as high as the branches above the trail so I couldn't even see where the trail should have been.

    5 weeks ya say, huh? I guess I haven't been paying much attention to the calendar.
    "When you pay $340 to do a 24 hour race you'll only have enough money to eat mustard sandwiches the rest of the year." -TD

  7. #7
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    At least tire tracks would be easy to follow in the snow! Of course, the person up front making them might be lost too...

    And, if you're interested in a bit more hike-a-bike to avoid civilization and stay lost, the Grand(er) Loop (w/ the Paradox reroute) is a good choice! Well, "good" might not be the right word, but if there's any way to make that friggin' monstrous loop even more epic, that's the way to do it.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairball_dh
    ...perhaps as something clearly to avoid,
    Every year I fight with the idea of doing the GL. This year I sort of thought it would not even be an option with the snow. It looks like that might be the case.

    Are you really going to head back out there knowing you will most likely get turned back again?

    At least the streams on the upper KT should be flowing nicely!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alizbee
    Every year I fight with the idea of doing the GL. This year I sort of thought it would not even be an option with the snow. It looks like that might be the case.

    Are you really going to head back out there knowing you will most likely get turned back again?

    At least the streams on the upper KT should be flowing nicely!
    It is a monster of an event requiring all sorts of tactical energy. It's tough to beat the experience that follows...but no way would I start if I thought I'd get turned back at mile 220. The only thing that I find attractive on that route is a SS finish, I rode it aplenty last year

    Other events are beginning to steamroll my conciousness anyway that will over-ride any desire to hit GLR this year. The GL will still be there in the fall.
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  10. #10
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    Hey Davey-Pants-

    Thanks for getting this started.

    Drove around the S, W, and N sides of the La Sals today on the way back from AZ, and it's surprising how fast the snowline melted back in just 4 days of ~semi warm temps. Waaaay too soon to tell if it's gonna be do-able come ~5/30, but I'd be happy to reschedule if folks thought that were the prudent thing to do.

    You tell me.

    Cheers,

    MC

  11. #11
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    I think its a great date for this race. I feel like the snow would just add to the experience and I am willing to bet there is a pretty good trail going by the end of May. Your not participating in this race unless your looking for an adventure. I say start May 30th even with the snow.

    I am thinking about starting my little summer ride from GJ on that Friday or Saturday with a prologue stage on the GL with a little White Rim thrown in there for good measure. I'm not looking to race it but I'll be seeing you guys out there.

    That is if I get my CDW bags before then...

  12. #12
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    I'm in for this years version of fun and games. How could I not be after having to pull the plug after 250+ last year. I'm just a working stiff who has to put in for vacation time. Dialed in for May 30th sun and snow tour. I understand others wanting to try for a later date, that's cool, but I'll be there anyway seeing what the beast will throw our way for the '08 version.
    Later
    Dave

  13. #13
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    May 30 here

    My work schedule has locked in and says it has to be May 30 for me.

    I don’t have an answer for to much snow except if absolutely needed take a DQ and ‘go around’, probable on Divide Road?

    Never having been on the high part of the Uncompahgre I don’t know if that is a feasible ‘last ditch’ option? I think this is what Dave did on his 'pre-ride'?
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  14. #14
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    Well, it is *only* May 1st, but we in the Grand Valley awoke to a fresh blanket of white today--still coming down as I type this. Not great news for Grand Loopers, but us desert dwellers will happily accept any moisture that chooses to smile on us.

    The flip side is that all week long the river has been rising and (so I'm told by my bc skier friends) even at ~12k the snow wasn't freezing up anymore. It *could* still happen...

    MC

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by trail717
    My work schedule has locked in and says it has to be May 30 for me.

    I don’t have an answer for to much snow except if absolutely needed take a DQ and ‘go around’, probable on Divide Road?

    Never having been on the high part of the Uncompahgre I don’t know if that is a feasible ‘last ditch’ option? I think this is what Dave did on his 'pre-ride'?
    I've been up there when the first few miles of the Tab are under snow. Even with a GPS track it would have been a near impossible feat...

    It looks to me like for a race of this magnitude you can't reschedule the start - it takes too much time to do, prepare, and get said time off. It also is completely impractical to start an event on an impossible route.

    What's the answer? A lot can happen in 30 days - but the long range forecast isn't showing much love. Last year was dry as a bone and fairly warm yet it didn't melt out until a few days prior to the event. This year is another beast.

    AFAIK, the GLR has never been done in a big snow year (what happened in '05 MC?). Rather than cancel the event or send riders on an impossible venture (that's frustrating, BTDT) I'd propose a route alternative. Rather than do the powerline loop and Tab singletrack, as soon as you hit the Divide road hang a left for a few miles until the Roubideau jeep trail descent is reached. That could still be iffy, but it would be easy to follow if covered in snow. I can't imagine snow would linger on the drainage traverse section...the course would be marginally shorter by perhaps 2-3 hours, but most importantly, doable.

    BTW - Divide road was mostly dry and a fine alternative/way out last year mid-may. It didn't feel like a shortcut at the time, but during the race I realized how much of a shortcut it really was!
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  16. #16
    ride long and explore
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    I'm a newbie planning to give the GL a shot this year and just came across the thread. Postponing a week or two would work for me, but as Dave mentioned, it might be a better plan to try to modify the Tab section a bit to accommodate those that have less flexible work schedules.

  17. #17
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairball_dh
    BTW - Divide road was mostly dry and a fine alternative/way out last year mid-may. It didn't feel like a shortcut at the time, but during the race I realized how much of a shortcut it really was!
    It is quite a short-cut, and enough of one that it doesn't seem fair to cut it w/o adding something...

    Maybe it's time to consider following Stefan's lead with the Koski traverse...? It seems a shame to cut-out one of the few pieces of ST on the route, but it seems like snow is always going to be an issue there.

    If the route were simply amended so every year the ST is skipped, the race could also be held a little earlier, hopefully under cooler temps.

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  18. #18
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    My $0.02

    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    It is quite a short-cut, and enough of one that it doesn't seem fair to cut it w/o adding something...
    If the goal is to make the race about the same length/difficulty, adding the Koski Traverse and skipping the Pool Creek singletrack would be a *very* unfair trade! In terms of mileage, it might be a wash, but with respect to routefinding, rideability and elevation gain, there is really no comparison - not to mention that adding the Koski Traverse also means no resupply or phone check-in on route.

    Although I am not planning on riding the GLR this year, it seems like a good protocol would be to keep the singletrack as part of the race, and let the race leader make the call once (s)he gets there. If the snow drifts are too massive to get through or they make it impossible to determine where the trail goes, the race leader makes the call to backtrack/detour. All other racers have to go to the same point the leader did in order to keep the race fair. If the snow *is* deep enough to necessitate a detour, it should be fairly obvious to trailing racers where the leader started the detour.

    As far as cooler temps go, it was plenty cold up there during the '07 race! Earlier could be better for the Koko and Paradox, later could be better for the Tab... For a race of this magnitude, I think the weather is always going to be a tremendous factor in the race outcome no matter what start date is chosen. Perfect, or maybe a bit cold last year, waaay hot in '06, windy and smoky in '01 or '03 was it? It is a crap shoot, but 6/1-ish seems pretty well picked.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairball_dh
    Admit it. This event has wiggled into your conciousness...
    From the webpage,

    "Many, many people have come to 'race' the Grand Loop over the past 5 years. None of them have finished."

    I don't think that statement is so accurate anymore...
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  20. #20
    Scott in Tucson
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    No doubt the Koski would be an unfair trade. I wasn't suggesting it would balance it out, but without the singletrack and given the possibility of an earlier start date, it might make some sense to add it.

    Put differently, it might be an opportunity for us to include the Koski -- to bring the GLR onto the "real" GL route. I don't know -- Stefan, is it worth doing / including?

    I don't really like the idea of letting the leader decide. Seems too nebulous and potentially confusing to me. But that's just me.
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  21. #21
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    Opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    No doubt the Koski would be an unfair trade. I wasn't suggesting it would balance it out, but without the singletrack and given the possibility of an earlier start date, it might make some sense to add it.

    Put differently, it might be an opportunity for us to include the Koski -- to bring the GLR onto the "real" GL route. I don't know -- Stefan, is it worth doing / including?
    Well, I would have to say yes on adding the Koski Traverse because it adds to the epic flavor of this already epic loop, and also sticks to the true Paradox Trail which, for me (as you know), just felt like the right thing to do. However, my reasoning/opinions are likely not the same as other people's. I could sum it up by listing the pro's and con's.

    Pros:
    Even less pavement on route.
    Even less civilization on route.
    Trading maintained gravel roads for primitive trail
    More tricky routefinding

    Cons:
    More hike-a-bike
    Miss out on the descent into Paradox
    No resupply on route
    More tricky routefinding

    So, that makes +4 and -4, but again, for me the lack of pavement and even less civilization far outweigh the others. It's so hard to find a ride that is as "out there" as the GLR, and adding the Koski Traverse quite simply makes it even more "out there".

    Regardless, I would hate to see the ST get removed. By all means, cut the silly powerline loop and join the ST as quickly as possible, but so much of the route is already on gravel roads, that even when wasted and sleep deprived, the ST is a real treat!
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan_G
    So, that makes +4 and -4, but again, for me the lack of pavement and even less civilization far outweigh the others. It's so hard to find a ride that is as "out there" as the GLR, and adding the Koski Traverse quite simply makes it even more "out there".

    Regardless, I would hate to see the ST get removed. By all means, cut the silly powerline loop and join the ST as quickly as possible, but so much of the route is already on gravel roads, that even when wasted and sleep deprived, the ST is a real treat!
    Seeing how this event has never been done in a big snow year - and only madmen or englishmen would do the Koko or Paradox after than June 1 - this sounds like a simple, good solution.

    In big snow years, do the Koski traverse and skip the Tab ST. In lower snow years or early melt years, do the classic/current route. Seems like a good solution.

    Starting any earlier than the end of May still won't work in a big snow year as the course still goes to near 10k...so either way I think the existing date is as good as one could hope for, except perhaps October. October is nice everywhere but everyone is fried by then
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  23. #23
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    I am considering the GL this year at about race time, but will be in tour mode. I've been watching the snow pack for a couple weeks now. It is melting, but there is a ways to go. I don't know if this will work, but the following link is to a NOAA outfit that does spatial snow analysis. You can clearly see the light snow layer from this past storm. Should be gone in a day or so. The Columbine Pass snotel mentioned earlier is the little square dot on the south side of the snow area that follows the high line of the Plateau.
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  24. #24
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    Weekend pre-ride, want to come?

    I plan on riding a bit of the Paradox Trail, check out trail, water availability, test my current multi-day set up & home did GPS files, will be riding a very ‘relaxed’ pace, take some pictures etc etc. Plan to camp at least 1, probably 2 nights (Fri & Sat)

    Planning a loop that starts in Nucla. Will park the van in Nucla, ride Hwy 97/141 down to Uravan and follow ‘Old/Alternate section’ of the Paradox Trail up to Spring Creek & then on up to Pinto Mesa, (with a ‘if I feel like it’ option of continuing on up to Divide Rd & checking out the snow pack on the Tab), take Delta-Nucla Rd back to Nucla .

    Company welcome, meet in Nucla? Also I can transport 1 person + several bikes from & back to Grand Junction.

    I will be in Grand Junction this week for some work and plan to leave GJ for Nucla Friday afternoon, early enough to get in a few ride hours that Fri evening. Have to catch a flight out of GJ on Monday so need to be back in GJ by Sunday night.

    Note: Weather permitting (the current Nucla 10 day forecast looks good, says 70/40 deg, Sunny& PC for Friday/Sat/Sun)

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPrider
    I am considering the GL this year at about race time, but will be in tour mode. I've been watching the snow pack for a couple weeks now. It is melting, but there is a ways to go. I don't know if this will work, but the following link is to a NOAA outfit that does spatial snow analysis. You can clearly see the light snow layer from this past storm. Should be gone in a day or so. The Columbine Pass snotel mentioned earlier is the little square dot on the south side of the snow area that follows the high line of the Plateau.
    bp

    http://www.nohrsc.nws.gov/interactiv...pe=0&js=1&uc=0
    Thanks for that link, that's awesome. Looks like there's 50-75" snow depth on the Tab singletrack right now...
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairball_dh
    Thanks for that link, that's awesome. Looks like there's 50-75" snow depth on the Tab singletrack right now...
    Yeah, somewhere around there...I was guessing 40-50 inches, based on the Columbine Pass snotel having about 50% density (snow water/snow depth). I am going to try and find last year's imagery to see if we can gage how much was melted at this point.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPrider
    Yeah, somewhere around there...I was guessing 40-50 inches, based on the Columbine Pass snotel having about 50% density (snow water/snow depth). I am going to try and find last year's imagery to see if we can gage how much was melted at this point.
    Columbine melts out MUCH earlier than the Tab - a month perhaps. The Tab has some north facing, deeply wooded slopes.

    From the page you linked you can select the date, it's all there. This time last year it shows nothing - as in no snow whatsoever. Yet, around May 15 I found 6-8 foot drifts in the trees...Columbine was clear though.

    In general the difference in the west between now and this time last year is impressive.
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  28. #28
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    Keep in mind the NOHRSC page is simply model predictions. It's one of the first places I looked to get an idea of snow, and the model do seem pretty accurate for average snow depths for a given elevation. But comparing the model to what's up in the hills above Boulder, the north-south/upwind-downwind differences are not represented at that resolution at all. It definitely misses the 5' drifts I was battling last weekend at only 8000'.

    Dave, are the snowiest sections of the Tab long, or are they just shorter sections where the trail dips onto the north-facing slopes for a bit? I guess what I'm asking is if it would be interspersed post-holing and riding, or would it just be miles of growing frustration?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by krefs

    Dave, are the snowiest sections of the Tab long, or are they just shorter sections where the trail dips onto the north-facing slopes for a bit? I guess what I'm asking is if it would be interspersed post-holing and riding, or would it just be miles of growing frustration?
    That all depends on the state of the current melt - but as far as I learned last year the first one was terminal so I couldn't really say how far it went If you can't see that trail you'll have no clue where it goes. Even with a GPS file for it I don't think I'd have made it through. Maybe...

    IIRC the singletrack is about 7 miles. If the melt hasn't happened yet, it will be a long slog.

    It's not like a training ride where you just turn back when conditions get crappy. You're in the second half of a nutbuster, 220 miles and 25-30k vert in the legs. That tends to raise the "challenge level" of small and not so small problems, so perhaps my memory is distorted.
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  30. #30
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    Plans Change

    Planed to ride the Paradox up to Divide Road and check out the snow, take some pictures check out the snow on the on the Tabeguache. Never got there, the top of Hauser Road is like this…….pic 1

    Then like this…….pic 2


    Since I never got to Divide Road I just bombed back down to Nucla for a nice Chicken Fired Steak at the local eats, mumm good, nice way to end a little scouting trip.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan_G
    I don't think that statement is so accurate anymore...
    I do. DH was a rolling barista last year, taking frequent coffee breaks and checking out the scenery. That, and I don't think he was remotely sleep deprived when all was said and done.

    He went damn fast, no arguing that. But he didn't really push himself past his comfort zone, and I think he'll be the first to admit that. Perhaps I'm putting words into his mouth, but I think Dave knows that he can go much, much, much faster on that route.

    I think part of his radio silence the past few weeks might have to do with excessive amounts of training and prep.

    Can't wait to see it happen.

    MC

    P.S. Anyone checked out the Columbine snotel lately? The snow is vanishing faster than virgins on prom night.

  32. #32
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    What does 'racing' mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    I do. DH was a rolling barista last year, taking frequent coffee breaks and checking out the scenery. That, and I don't think he was remotely sleep deprived when all was said and done.
    Really?!

    I guess if I squint real hard, I can sorta see your point for Dave, and maybe he will agree that he never left his so-called comfort zone, but what about Gary? Or Scott? Or Jefe? Or Fred? None of them 'raced' it? And you also mean that you have never 'raced' it either? Geez, when I first got interested in this loop a couple years ago, I remember you posting a reply to Scott's topofusion profile and recalling the GLR was the most depleted you've ever been or felt or something like that... And who says you can't check out the scenery while you're racing? It's one of the best ways to take your mind off the pain...

    Hmmm, so I suppose 'race' in this context (for you) is just a matter of semantics and definitions, but if I am interpreting you correctly, rather than say "Many, many people have come to 'race' the Grand Loop..." why not say "No one has ever come to 'race' the Grand Loop! If you bring a bivy, or take a break, you're not 'racing'..." Ha!

    I guess in the end, your intent may be to simply scare off any people that aren't prepared for something as gnarly as the GLR, and wording like that certainly helps.

    Dang, it will be a bummer if all the snow on the Tab melts and none of this year's 'racers' find any virgins left up there!
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

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    Hey MC,
    I've been watching it like a hawk(Snotel not the virgins!) From what I can extract from the data, It looks as if there was a fairly long dry spell and higher temperatures over the last week or so. Still, the question is will the temps stay up and continue to melt out those drifts on the north facing slopes? Time will tell. Either way I'm still in. That's part of the fun of these excursions is the unknown.
    I've got the equipment fine tuned from last year. The bike is lighter for the hike a bike. And yes, I AM using a pack. Can't wait for next week. In the mean time, my son's graduation from UBC is tomorrow. He's working at Whistler where we are going to enjoy a great weekend. That will make the time go by faster.

    Dave

  34. #34
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    Snow Virgins

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    P.S. Anyone checked out the Columbine snotel lately? The snow is vanishing faster than virgins on prom night.
    2.6 lbs, & I am told they are semi mandatory paraphernalia for chasing down high altitude snow virgins
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    I think part of his radio silence the past few weeks might have to do with excessive amounts of training and prep.
    I heard he has a girlfriend keeping him busy this year

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaW
    I heard he has a girlfriend keeping him busy this year
    Now THAT is funny
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  37. #37
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaW
    I heard he has a girlfriend keeping him busy this year

    (happy dance! happy dance! )
    jj

  38. #38
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    Oh, by the way, the pay phone at the Bedrock store was out of service a couple of weeks ago. The clerk said she did not think it was going to be fixed but rather removed.

    PS:
    Anyone get up on Divide road and see how much snow is left this weekend?
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    I'd really like to do this race this year, but I don't want my first attempt be a failure because of the snow. Would anyone consider postponing the date to the following weekend, June 6th?
    kenny

  40. #40
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    I think for the sake of the people who had to get time off work, the race should go off this weekend.

    But what is the verdict on the course...shoot for possible doom in the snow on the Tab or do the Koski traverse/Divide Road reroute idea?

    kurt

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    Quote Originally Posted by krefs
    I think for the sake of the people who had to get time off work, the race should go off this weekend.

    But what is the verdict on the course...shoot for possible doom in the snow on the Tab or do the Koski traverse/Divide Road reroute idea?

    kurt
    I am not sure even Divide Rd is dry enough to ride??

    I think I am out for 08
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  42. #42
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    There was still snow patches just above 8600 ft on the Koko this weekend. The springs are all running. I can't imagine there is a rideable (or followable?) trail in the trees at 10k although I could be wrong?

    Maybe in the fall for me.
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  43. #43
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    I just checked the MODIS satellite imagery (taken every day or two) of the area, and the most recent cloudless day over the Uncompahgre Plateau was May 20, and it still shows considerable snow north of the divide.

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/s...terra.250m.jpg

    On the plus side, the image from May 11 shows much more snow in the area...

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/s...132.terra.250m

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pivvay
    There was still snow patches just above 8600 ft on the Koko this weekend. The springs are all running. I can't imagine there is a rideable (or followable?) trail in the trees at 10k although I could be wrong?

    Maybe in the fall for me.
    Fall might work for me, right now I am sort of bummed about the snow, might have to do a CT scout trip on some 'lower elevation' sections this weekend to make me feel better, ah life is just so hard........
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  45. #45
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    Race vs. solo TT

    Quote Originally Posted by trail717
    Fall might work for me, right now I am sort of bummed about the snow, might have to do a CT scout trip on some 'lower elevation' sections this weekend to make me feel better, ah life is just so hard........
    This is a good time to toss out the reminder that these self-supported events can be done anytime. So if one was to decide against the race due to conditions, the option exists to wait until snow melts. I've started this thing twice: once as a solo TT, once in the race. Either is as legitimate as the other, and to be honest both are rather solitary ventures anyway. The only difference is knowing others are within 360 miles of you

    Of course, in the fall you may die of thirst on the Koko, and in 2 weeks you may die of heat exhaustion on the Koko. There are no guarantees on this bearcat.

    Isn't that why we do it anyway?
    Dave

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    Isn't that why we do it anyway?
    Darn skippy! If I've learned anything since the GLR last year it is BE FLEXIBLE and life will be better.
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by trail717
    Fall might work for me, right now I am sort of bummed about the snow, might have to do a CT scout trip on some 'lower elevation' sections this weekend to make me feel better, ah life is just so hard........
    I hear ya, I'm probably doing a 4 dayer from Silverthorne to Leadville on pavement then down to Buena Vista/Salida area, maybe some Rainbow then back, not the epic I was hoping for, but dry riding.
    Fatter than most.

  48. #48
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    Attached is the latest sat imagery showing the snow conditions up there. I overlayed the Tab course on the image...the whitish color along the crest of the plateau is the snow. Looks like it'll present a challenge in a couple different areas.

    Who's still in?
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by krefs
    Attached is the latest sat imagery showing the snow conditions up there. I overlayed the Tab course on the image...the whitish color along the crest of the plateau is the snow. Looks like it'll present a challenge in a couple different areas.

    Who's still in?
    I am out for now, might try in the fall

    Good Luck to any who go for it!!!!!
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  50. #50
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    I am in. Leaving Evergreen, Co Friday morning 9am-ish. I was wondering if anyone wanted to carpool.

    Mark
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  51. #51
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    Help! Does anyone have an extra long skewer for use with an OMM rack that's coming to the GLR? I just discovered the QR on mine is cracked! Let me know if you can help...

    And Mark, I might be interested in carpooling (I'm coming from Boulder), but one of us is likely to "finish" (i.e., get back to the trailhead one way or another) way before or after the other. I'm willing to hang out for a while if you are...fill the car with food and water ahead of time. Unfortunately, I can't leave quite as early as you want tomorrow...I'll probably be rolling out of Boulder by 10 at the latest. Give me a call if you're interested...

    kurt
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    I'm rolling out of Provo tomorrow ~10am to drive down to GJ.

    Krefs- Too bad you didn't post up earlier, I'm rackless on this run and would have brought my skewer with me, but it's back in Michigan.

    See everyone at the start and let's hope the course is passable up on the plateau.

    Jim

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    Hey Krefts
    Did you get a skewer?I'm in GJ and will have some to
    e to kill tomorrow. icould call around to the bike shops to see if anyone has spares. I'm assuming you have a rear disc break? I feel for you,it really takes a huge amount of planning for this ride. Let me know if I can be of assistance. Hope everyone gets a good nights sleep. Prolly the last chance for a while!

    Later,
    Dave from Yakima

  54. #54
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    I just dug through my boxes o' parts and found a skewer I was able to cannibalize. So everything is back in working order! Thanks for the offer though...appreciate it!

    See at the start!

    kurt

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    hey MC,
    Are you going to circle the park at high noon today?

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkirk
    hey MC,
    Are you going to circle the park at high noon today?
    You just never can tell what'll happen at mid-day on a Friday in May...

    I'd say the likelihood is slim.

    At worst I'll see you at the trailhead just before 6.

    Cheerios,

    MC

  57. #57
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    No worries there. Not to jinx us but........clear,calm 60 degrees...
    See you tonight
    dave

  58. #58
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    so..............how many etc etc........pictures?????????
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  59. #59
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by trail717
    so..............how many etc etc........pictures?????????
    I think Mike (and Fred) are out on an exploratory overnighter in the area, possibly starting with the Grand Loopers.

    That combined with the lack of payphone at Bedrock means we'll just have to use our imaginations.

    Just imagine suffering. It should be hitting everyone by now.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  60. #60
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    4 daring lads left the Loma trailhead at 8pm Friday night.

    Jim Leikert:
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.curiak/Gle/photo?authkey=5Nf96mmGX24#5206989764578527218"><im g src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/mike.curiak/SELxmmLMR_I/AAAAAAAACco/LwjXk3ZIFRY/s800/fgl%20005.jpg" /></a>

    Dave Kirk:
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.curiak/Gle/photo?authkey=5Nf96mmGX24#5206989695859050450"><im g src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/mike.curiak/SELximLMR9I/AAAAAAAACcY/JC4AjUT1_F8/s800/fgl%20003.jpg" /></a>

    Kurt Refsnider:
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.curiak/Gle/photo?authkey=5Nf96mmGX24#5206989734513756130"><im g src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/mike.curiak/SELxk2LMR-I/AAAAAAAACcg/V4n01ArfAd0/s800/fgl%20004.jpg" /></a>

    Mark Caminiti:
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.curiak/Gle/photo?authkey=5Nf96mmGX24#5206989807528200194"><im g src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/mike.curiak/SELxpGLMSAI/AAAAAAAACcw/qjbwQAv4QRA/s800/fgl%20007.jpg" /></a>

    The gang rolled out under clear skies, mild temps, and after enduring a pretty stiff headwind on the prologue section.

    The headwind was prevalent enough that there wasn't much conversation on the prologue--we all just kinda kept our heads down and focused on not taking out the guy behind when the gusts came.

    Random gear notes: 2 26" bikes, 2 29". 3 out of 4 were FS bikes, and the lone hardtail had a sus post. Comfort trend? Works for me.

    The bikes and packs seem to get lighter every year. Dave had what looked like homebrew lights on his helmet and bars, and Kurt had a sick set of mini skis hidden under his rack for the inevitable snow on the Unc:
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.curiak/Gle/photo?authkey=5Nf96mmGX24#5206989652909377474"><im g src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/mike.curiak/SELxgGLMR8I/AAAAAAAACcQ/oSaoLwF-lJU/s800/fgl%20001.jpg" /></a>

    Three out of 4 had GPS visible on their handlebars.

    Almost as though a switch were flipped, at sunset the winds vanished and the light faded to reveal a crisp and stunningly starred sky. In short, a really, really nice night to ride. Fred and I only rode til ~midnight but to that point it hadn't occurred to me to add even arm or knee warmers--just perfect temps.

    With the no phone at Bedrock it's unlikely that we'll have any info to go on until all the guys are off-course and able to check in here on their own. Gotta admit that I'm *thrilled* that this event is so unchanged from its original format, and still so true to its let's-just-go-out-and-have-an-adventure roots.

    I'll post info if I get any.

    MC

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    Got a call this morning from Jim Leikert. He's 'out' in Moab. Broken transmission made it difficult to understand the bulk of the message. I *think* he said something about the heat getting to him, but I can only be sure that he's out and safe.

    Let us know how it went when you get a chance, eh Jim?

    MC

  62. #62
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    Hey ya'll-

    I rode the KT yesterday with some friends, and started at (about) the same time as the GLers. It was cool getting to see who showed up and what their gear was like, etc. etc. Not participating in the GLR this year, I was kinda envious of everyone heading out for a big adventure.

    By Fisher Creek at noon on Saturday, my envy was gone, as were the cool night-time temperatures. It wasn't as hot as '06, but quite a bit warmer than last year. I wouldn't be surprised if the snow is gone by the time everyone gets up to the Unc. Plateau!

    We played cat and mouse with Kurt all through the night and into the next day, but otherwise didn't see a single other person on a MTB! He was riding fast and strong and seemed quite comfortable and confident in his gear and planning. He left Fisher Creek ditch and turned onto the Paradox Trail around 12:30 or 12:45 Saturday, after spending merely 5 minutes chatting and filling up a couple bottles with muddy water. I daresay he still seemed fresh, and if he doesn't spend too much time lost on the Paradox and Tab, it looks like he will be laying down a fast time! I can't remember what time the Bedrock store closes, but at his pace, I think he would have easily made it there in time.

    Keep on truckin' Grand Loopers!!!
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

  63. #63
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    Been thinking about these guys today. Good to hear updates! Keep on Truckin' and good effort there Jim.
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    *Only* the KT...

    Oh yeah. While chatting with everyone at the start, it seemed weird to say we were only riding the Kokopelli Trail. Does anybody ever say, "I am only riding the KT?!"

    Apparently, in the company of Grand Loopers, the answer is yes. How's that for perspective?
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

  65. #65
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    Mark Caminiti called from Moab about an hour ago--he's out.

    Mark had some great stories to share--hope that he gets a chance to check in here when he makes it back home.

    MC

  66. #66
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    Success! I'm made it back to my car at 12:23 last night (Monday night) for a total time on course of 3 days, 4 hours, 23 minutes. Oof. I called MC this morning and left a message with his voice mail.

    After having bricks for legs on the prologue (at an easy pace, even!), I felt great riding the Kokopelli Trail. We started at 8, I didn't have to turn my light on until the descent to Salt Creek. I detoured down to the Westwater Ranger Station to get more water, and then rode with or near Stefan's group until the turn-off for the Paradox. I made it to the Bedrock store by 5:15 on Saturday, restocked, and rode toward Uravan and camped along the Delores. Unfortunately, I didn't wake up until there was a hint of light in the east, and I had set my alarm for 1:00 am! That's a loud alarm, too, so I must have been really tired. Whoops!

    Sunday was a brutal combination of heat, loose and rocky climbs/descents and cattle damage on the Paradox, and deep snow on the Tab. The singletrack above Pool Creek was under drifts that were as tall as I am, and as Dave H. predicted, into the tree branches. So I did not even attempt that section, and instead followed Divide Road NW over similarly deep snowpack as the sun set. My little skis worked quite well as long as they stayed attached to my wheels, but that didn't last long, so I ended up just rolling the bike along anyway. The snowpack magically disappeared at the descent to the Rubideau section, so I headed down there, encountered more deep snow for a while, and at lower elevations, just lots of mud. I was glad I had good knobbies for that. By 1:30 am I crossed Criswell Creek and pulled out the sleeping bag on the next mesa and slept until 5:30.

    It took me a while to eat and get packed up on Monday morning, but by 6:30 I was bouncing down into the next drainage, and my legs felt great. By 8:30 I was done with the agonizing Rubideau section (though what I saw of it during the day was rather beautiful) and on to the fast county and forest roads. There was a bit more snow to trudge through on the east side of the plateau as I neared the divide, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. I cruised down the next couple sections and was at Big Dominguez by 3:00 pm, filled up my bladder and all my bottles, and struck off for the final 50 miles. That's when I finally started to slow down. It was quite hot, cattle had turned long stretches of the trail down into cactus park to sand, and the supports on one side of my rear rack broke. One piece had cracked the first day, and I was able to repair it, but the added stress at these other joints caused them to fail. Some duct tape, zip ties, and a spoke fixed it up, but I had to go easy on the rough stuff for the rest of the time. I also really underestimated how long the final climb back up onto the Uncompahgre would take, and I exhaused my water half way up. Fortunately there was a stream flowing at the top, but I was lucky. I also only had Clif bars left to eat (as opposed to 'real' food), and I physically could not eat any more of them. So I was only able to get one bar and a couple gels down in the last 6 hours. My pace slowed, but I eventually made it down without incident (except for the stupid last-minute crash 0.2 miles from the parking lot).

    So that's that! I took a bunch of pictures, so I'll try to get those up at some point. Jim and Mark, sorry to hear you weren't able to continue onto the Paradox. Dave, you still out there?

  67. #67
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    Good job!

    Awesome Kurt, way to go. That's darn quick getting to Bedrock!

    I can imagine how hard that Sunday climb was. Starting after sunrise from the Delores...oh yea that all day climb to the Unc had to hurt. Any issues with water? It's a ways to water after Tab creek, at least in the heat...

    And that last climb (No Mas hill is it's name) is a fun one at mile 340, LOL. I also ran out of water there last year, and that same creek saved my bacon.

    Most impressive is showing up in this big snow year...the field was at the least halved due to the conditions.

    Thanks for sharing your tale. I look forward to some pics but man get yourself some rest! You are more tired than you know
    Dave

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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by krefs
    Success! I'm made it back to my car at 12:23 last night (Monday night) for a total time on course of 3 days, 4 hours, 23 minutes. Oof. I called MC this morning and left a message with his voice mail.
    Congrads on a great ride, look forward to your pics
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  69. #69
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    Nice work! Skis on the tires... genius! I'd love to see pictures of that. And I can't help but picture you out there yelling "I want my 2 dollars!"

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  70. #70
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    Awesome job Kurt. Envious of your Grand adventure for sure.

    Looking forward to seeing some pics and hearing a little more about your ride. But get some sleep and a milkshake first!

    Nicely done.

    MC

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    Way to go Kurt! Your ride has blazed the trail for my buddy, Chris, and I who will be starting the Grand Loop Wednesday night. We aiming to be done by Sunday night. Hope the snow(!) on Thursday night won't hamper us too much. Dave, you doing all right out there?

  72. #72
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    Great job, Kurt! Sorry to hear you had to miss out on the Pool Creek ST - I was picturing you slaloming the snowy downhills, with those little skis tied to your tires and brakes in a deathgrip to keep the wheels from moving! That would just be sick. Plus, I knew you would finish quickly judging by the way you blasted the KT section.

    Sounds like your GPS work was solid too, and you didn't have too many problems route finding. Very cool. I enjoyed riding with ya for the first day.

    Cheers,
    Stefan
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  73. #73
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    Shazam!

    Dave Kirk is done! That guy had one of the most epic bang-for-the-buck adventures I've heard about in a looooong time! All of it culminating in a missed turn off pavement to the last ~2 miles of trail descending to the finish. When he finally figured out where he'd gone wrong he turned around and ground out the bonus miles and vert to set things right.

    Best of all? He did the whole effin enchilada!

    Ain't gonna steal no mo' of his thunder. Dave--sleep well, eat often, and drive safe. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story...

    MC

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    Congrats to All

    Way to go, Dave & others. Thanks, MC for the update. Dave is an expert, actually a professional. sleeper, so Mike, with your encouragement I'm sure he'll start his recovery in good fashion. Legend has it here in the GreatNorthWet that Dave once fell asleep while in the saddle riding over Stephens Pass in the North Cascades. He was on his vintage road bike en route from Yakima to Vancouver BC.

    I enjoy monitoring the stories of your progress and adventures. Every once in a while Dave drags my sorry behind up and down some of the hills surrounding his hometown Yakima. Guess it takes a village (err, maybe less than a village, a la Bedrock) to entertain his appetite for stress.

    Cheers & Congrats to all.
    Last edited by Freakness; 06-04-2008 at 08:47 PM.

  75. #75
    Exactly 1/2 of 2-Epic
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Dave Kirk is done!

    Best of all? He did the whole effin enchilada!

    MC
    Oh my. I can't wait to hear more of your adventure Dave!

    I knew if anyone made it through the snowy Tab you would. All the same, you are my hero.

    Well done.
    Dave

    Anything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.

    2 Epic

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee

    Best of all? He did the whole effin enchilada!


    MC
    RIGHT ON, DAVE!!!

  77. #77
    frejwilk
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    Great job to all the Grand Loopers! Congratulations on excellent finishes to Dave and Kurt. I was impressed to see Jim, Mark, Dave and Kurt show up on Friday night with all the talk of the snow. Like Mike said, a group of riders ready and looking for adventure is good to see. And it seems that they found it! Good job.

    FW

  78. #78
    ride long and explore
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    Awesome work, Dave! Glad you made it all the way around, and through those giant drifts in the woods, too. How long did that singletrack section take you?

  79. #79
    Time to go farther
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    Damn nice work Kurt and Dave! Can't wait to read all about it.

    Great job also to those who started, maybe see you out there next year.
    On-One Lurcher SS
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    http://slipangles.blogspot.com/ - It's supposed to be fun

  80. #80
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    Hey everyone,
    Try #3.
    I'm doing this on my touch and the thumb dexterity is tough with sore thumbs, oh well.
    What a great adventure. I'll write more at the computer later. A little tease, the only riding on said single track in question was the first 300 yards under the power lines.
    Great job Kurt. Sorry to hear you had to bail mark and jim.
    Thanks again MC for thinking up this twisted mind bender.
    Later,
    Dave

  81. #81
    Scott in Tucson
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    Dave, congrats on finishing with the snowbound trail. Super impressive.

    And nice job Kurt -- seems like 3 days and change is a popular finishing time...

    Definitely happy that adventure is alive and well on the GL.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  82. #82
    Grizzly
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    Good job Dave!
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    ~Ed Abbey

  83. #83
    ride long and explore
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    I finally got a bunch of pics up on my web page. Click on the link below, go to Photos, and then to GLR photos. As always, I remember lots of things that in retrospect I wish I had stopped to take photos of, but alas, I was in too much of a hurry.

  84. #84
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    OMM Rack Breakage

    Kurt...

    Thanks for the great pics and congrats on your ride. My OMM rack busted in the exact same place yours did a few weeks ago during a training ride for the CTR. I was able to get a replacement under warranty at the store where I bought it but I am a little worried about the robustness.

    Great job on completing the ride. I chickened out...

    Kyle

  85. #85
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    Why not have some bags made by Carousel Design Works or Epic? Just a thought.

  86. #86
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    I looked in to these last year but the main issue was cost$$. The other issue was my bike. I ride a Moots Mootaineer and there is not much room for a frame mounted system.

    Thanks for the heads-up anyway.,..

    Kyle

  87. #87
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    Hey Kids,

    Slowly working my way back into reality here.

    It was a good ride until I hit Yellowjacket, then it was a human cookout. Even though the ride was short lived, it was another great learning experience.

    I was a bit tired at the start but the excitement held it's own until about midnight when I was approaching Rabbit Valley. Bivied way too long in my way too comfortable sleeping bag and like tipping the first domino, it was all fall down from there. (mental note)^2. Heh.

    After flopping around on the ground at Dewey trying to get some recovery action going, what I had with me just wasn't cutting it, but the 80 calorie can of apple juice that a rafter gave me (after I asked for it) hit the spot. With that I was done and meandered my way to Moab.

    Finally, congrats to Kurt and Dave for rocking the course. Mark, good riding with you until we got to Westwater, hope you had a good nap on the cool concrete. Nice meeting vets Stefan and Fred at the start, I'm sure we'll bump into one another again some day. And Mike, thanks for putting this stuff together. If it wasn't for guys like you blazing the way, we'd all still be doing silly lap races.

    Jim

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