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  1. #1
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    Grand Loop Starts!

    7 fellas left on the start of the 07 Grand Loop this evening. Beautiful, clear, sunny, and calm evening laid out before them, made me just a *wee* bit wistful that I wasn't joining them on what's sure to be a big adventure.

    And the 4-day forecast looks darn good too.

    Leaving Loma at 7:45pm were:

    Dave Harris:


    Chris Plesko:


    Stefan Griebel:


    Kevin Gillest:


    Eric Lashinsky:


    Dave Kirk:


    And Fred Wilkinson:


    A few random mental musings from the start:
    *Lotsa FS bikes, one ti softtail, and one hardtail with a sus post. Could this "comfy trend" have anything to do with the difficulty of the route, or is it just an mtb trend in general?
    *No singlespeeds, no fixed gears, and no rigid forks. Hmmm.
    *I saw GPS on all but one rider's bars (and he may have had one in his bar bag). Another trend? The times they are a changin'...
    *BIG stinkin' packs on all but one back. In a word, my thoughts as I watched them climb Mary's: "Ow". Not a judgement--just an observation. The route is so remote and resupply opportunities so sketchy that most looked like they had enough food/gear to get through without picking up more grub.
    *Everyone seemed relaxed and comfortable. A few nervous laughs and comments for sure, but less than you'd get at the start of a standard XC lap event. Maybe the GL is too easy for this new crop of talent? Guess it's time to start brainstorming something a bit harder and more remote for these guys to chew on...

    I sashayed off the front just before they started, so that I could get a good vantage point for a photo of each of them.

    DH motored by first. Dave seemed calm, dare I say *almost* overconfident:


    Next was Plesko, with a mile wide grin like a kid in a candy store. I think he was happy that the prep was over and he was finally on his way:


    Then came Stefan, pointing at his home-brew light and calling it his 'secret weapon'. Stefan will be following the new Paradox reroute, so it's unlikely that we'll hear anything from him until he finishes.


    Fred came by next, looking confident and spinning smoothly up the first of many climbs:


    Kevin came by next, looking focused and a bit serious:


    Eric came next, with a semi-fixed rear rack and a crisp, hours old pair of Sidis on his feet:


    Last guy up the hill, but with the biggest smile and possibly enjoying the night the most was Dave Kirk. Dave seemed confident and relaxed, and had a well-thought out gear setup to ensure a finish. He didn't seem too worried about speed (he didn't seem worried about anything!), he just seemed happy to be out there and ready for whatever came his way:


    Next we'll hear from them is as they roll into Bedrock sometime tomorrow afternoon/evening. I get the idea that DH's plan is to be at the store by ~5pm, so there may be an update by dinner time tomorrow.

    Stay tuned...

    MC

  2. #2
    giddy up!
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    Thanks for the photos and coverage Mike!

    Plesko definitely takes the minimalist award.

    Dave Kirk takes the innovation award for what looks to be some sort of onboard hydration system.

    Dave Harris takes the fluid capacity award.

    Fred takes the casual award for rockin the button up. Always a good look with lycra shorts.

    Stefan takes the award for "being the guy with a setup most similar to Donkey's". Not a very prestigious award...but an award nonetheless.

    Looking forward to some updates tomorrow.

    B
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  3. #3
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    Nice....
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  4. #4
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    So, Fred's "secret" is a steam iron and a can of starch? Interesting...

    Good fortune, gents.

  5. #5
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Good Travels, Guys!

    Thanks Mike for that excellent report.

    Chris Plesko was a Trans Iowa finisher this year on a single speed. He was grinning then too. Maybe it's a permanent grin?

    It will be interesting to see and read about how these differing takes on a long, back country mountain bike ride work out for each of these guys.

    Here's hoping the travels are safe for all!
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  6. #6
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    I see Dave Kirk is wearing one of my Fat Cyclist jerseys.

    This may be the coolest surprise I have ever had in my life.

    Go Dave!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    7 fellas left on the start of the 07 Grand Loop this evening. Beautiful, clear, sunny, and calm evening laid out before them, made me just a *wee* bit wistful that I wasn't joining them on what's sure to be a big adventure.

    *No singlespeeds, no fixed gears, and no rigid forks. Hmmm.

    Stay tuned...

    MC
    Sheesh, and I just got back from a measly three hour tour

    Good luck gentlemen, may the wind always be at your back and a cool stream present itself when needed.

    Hmmm, indeed. Another note Mike, no women again. Maybe they are the sane ones

    I'm tuned in!

    Ed E
    Last edited by edemtbs; 06-02-2007 at 06:42 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    A few random mental musings from the start:
    Add: Big wheel to small wheel ratio seems reversed compared to most Endurance events I've followed.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  9. #9
    Scott in Tucson
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    Smokin' no Jokin'

    Hello there.

    I'm taking over for Mike on the updates, since he decided that riding swoopy singletrack and banked turns all day is more important than keeping us informed. Sheesh... some people...

    (I'm just jealous)

    So you'll have to settle with a few updates from me.

    I had just settled down for a post-ride nap when the phone rang. Unknown number -- it can't be! Sure enough, Dave Harris made it into Bedrock at 2:18pm, leaving nothing but scorch marks on the trail.

    For reference, I rolled into Bedrock at 8:45pm last year, and ended up finishing within ten minutes of Mike's course record. So Dave is over six hours ahead of record pace, and the ride is not even 24 hours old! That's pretty incredible.

    He sounded great. Not tired at all. Some of that might have been due to the ~1 hour nap he had just taken inside the store. He described the store like it was the perfect oasis: full of ice cream, swamp cooled and featuring a nice comfy chair.

    Dave is 150 miles into the ~340 mile course. He said he plans on making it to Tab Creek (~180 miles) by tonight. He should be able to get high on the Uncompahgre Plateau before the heat sets in tomorrow (maybe before dawn?!). He said it hasn't been unbearably hot, but still plenty warm up in the La Sals for a "mountain dweller." The thermometer at Bedrock read 92 degrees when he was talking to me.

    He's off to an amazing start, and my money is on him breaking the course record, but he still has a lot of doin' to git done. The last half of the route is much more taxing than the first half, and much harder to follow. Fatigue and sleep dep are likely to start taking their toll, even on a superman like Dave. Then there's the snow, which shut him down two weeks ago and will at least slow him down this time. After that it's new, unridden country for Dave. In short, it's going to be interesting to see how it plays out for him.

    He said that Chris Plesko was riding near him at the beginning -- a few minutes back at Salt Creek. Then he could see 4 lights below him as he climbed above Bitter Creek, but never saw any riders again, even after detouring to Westwater and taking a break at Hideout Canyon. Hopefully I'll hear from another rider or three sometime this evening.

    Watch this space...
    Last edited by Krein; 06-04-2007 at 04:18 PM.
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  10. #10
    I'm how far behind?
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    That is fast

    Pretty soon Mike is going to have to come out of "retirement" or is it "taking a year off"? He won't have any records the way these things are going. Looking forward to hearing about the where abouts of Stefan, but I know it will be a couple of more days before we know that info. My bets are Dave Harris followed by Kevin then with Stefan around 24 hours back, Fred may be in the mix as well. Too early to predict, but Bedrock is the only phone until the finish so..

    I anxiously await more updates. I will be more anciously waiting results as I hang out in Philly for the next few days.

    Wish I was out there (wait 92 degrees? Us highlanders don't do well that hot)

    Jim
    Fatter than most.

  11. #11
    Scott in Tucson
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    Chris Plesko at Bedrock at 6:23pm

    Just got a call from Chris Plesko. First words out of his mouth were "that was the hardest ride of my life." He's still made some really good time (6:23pm at Bedrock), which he seemed surprised by -- he said he spent quite a bit of time walking his bike.

    I know how that goes. Pretty ridiculous how many not that steep hills I ended up walking last year. Combine camping gear+3 days food+heat+riding all night and what you can and cannot ride changes drastically.

    He reports that Stefan was about an hour ahead of him when he turned off the official Grand Loop Route to do the more challenging "new" Paradox trail. The official route follows the traditional Paradox trail, which is a mix of county (gravel) and paved roads. Stefan's route instead follows steep, rough, 4x4 roads through higher country. It completely bypasses the Bedrock store where our riders are calling in from, so we won't hear from Stefan until he's done. The new Paradox route also features the 'Koski' traverse, named after Paul Koski, who is known for hike-a-bike.

    Not to say that the traditional Paradox route is "easy." Far from it, as Chris can attest to right now. He was obviously quite tired after more than 24 hours on the bike (including the untimed 20 mile prologue the everyone rode with Mike). But he was showing no signs of giving up. He planned to sleep somewhere nearby and hopefully hit the trail with renewed energy in the wee hours.

    It should be plenty cold tonight in the Dolores River valley, which makes getting up and getting moving a little easier. I found the cold to be refreshing and reassuring last year. Though it might not be as mind-bendingly hot as last year, the heat is still a major factor in this ride. It tends to shut everything in your body down, making forward progress difficult. Chris said his first priority there at Bedrock was to eat. He hasn't been able to eat much, so far. Note that he missed the store closing by 23 minutes, but said he thought he had plenty to finish the loop.

    All too soon, the sun will come up tomorrow morning and warm things up. I was shocked at how quickly the mercury rose last year, even at ~8000 feet and above. It's really hard to escape from the heat on this route. Both Dave and Chris seemed very concerned about getting up in the mountains as quickly as possible tomorrow. Resting is important, too, though.

    Chris was with Fred Wilkinson at Fisher Creek. I'm not sure if they rode through the night together or not. They tried napping there, with Fred successful and Chris not so much. So Chris pushed on to Bedrock, not wanting to waste anymore time there.

    No word yet on the whereabouts of our other three riders: Kevin, Eric and Dave K.
    Last edited by Krein; 06-04-2007 at 04:26 PM.
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  12. #12
    Scott in Tucson
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    Eric and Kevin are out

    Got a message from Eric Lashinsky. He and Kevin Gillest are in Moab and have dropped out.

    Eric said he was "frickin' dead meat."

    No other explanation than that. These guys rode in my AZT 300 event, with Kevin finishing and Eric dropping out near the end due to mechanical woes. So I'm surprised to hear them dropping.

    That said, the urge to drop out by the time you reach the La Sals is pretty irresistible. I felt it. It's downhill (more or less) into Moab from there, where air conditioning, ice cream and burgers await. Or you can continue to push on, looking forward only to the coolness of the night and the unappealing food waiting for you in your bag.

    Of course there's much more to look forward to than that, but sometimes it's hard to see the good through all the suffering.

    It's worth noting that half of last year's field had dropped out by this point last year.

    Eric ended his call with "I'm still gonna frickin' kill you for that Tucson thing [the AZT 300]." I guess he's one to hold a grudge.
    Last edited by Krein; 06-04-2007 at 04:21 PM.
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  13. #13
    Scott in Tucson
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    Fred Wilkinson, 8:00pm

    Fred rolled up to Bedrock around 8pm.

    "I explored some of the new Paradox route for you..."

    "Intentionally, or on accident?!"

    [big laugh]... "on accident!"

    Other than that he said things have been going well. He's feeling good, except that he needs some "serious food." Like Chris he's struggling to get many calories down.

    He said he didn't think it was "all that hot", except when they got to North Beaver Mesa, where "things started falling apart." He napped for about an hour at Fisher Creek, which is not far from there.

    Chris was still there at Bedrock. They're both going to try to eat, then start planning for an early start tomorrow.

    Will they be able to resist the call of real food, ~10 miles off route in Nucla??

    I couldn't...
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  14. #14
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    awesome! thanks for the play- by- play

  15. #15
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    Allez Fred!! Allez Chris!!!!! Allez Dave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for keeping us "in the loop" Scott, fantastic stuff. (Now where's the brownie cake I made last night..........)

    Who else is getting up early for a big ride (or run, in my case)?

  16. #16
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    Good stuff Scott. Thanks for the most excellent updates!

    And of course our thoughts are out there with the intrepid cyclists - Allez! indeed.

    Ed E

  17. #17
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    Great updates!

    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Fred rolled up to Bedrock around 8pm.

    "I explored some of the new Paradox route for you..."

    "Intentionally, or on accident?!"

    [big laugh]... "on accident!"

    Other than that he said things have been going well. He's feeling good, except that he needs some "serious food." Like Chris he's struggling to get many calories down.

    He said he didn't think it was "all that hot", except when they got to North Beaver Mesa, where "things started falling apart." He napped for about an hour at Fisher Creek, which is not far from there.

    Chris was still there at Bedrock. They're both going to try to eat, then start planning for an early start tomorrow.

    Will they be able to resist the call of real food, ~10 miles off route in Nucla??

    I couldn't...

    As I drove across scenic KS today I kept imagining where each rider was. Sopped about 4:30pm and rode for 2 hrs on the very nice ST at Wilson Lake. Whole time riding I was thinking about where the GLR riders were by now and also about the climb from Dewey to Beaver Mesa and how incredibly hard it can be in the heat.

    Good luck to all still in it and Go Fred!!!!!!!!!
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  18. #18
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    DH is a man possessed.

    Keep it up Fred, Chris, Stefan, Dave and Dave!

    Kevin and Eric, way to give it the old college try. Even lining up for the GL takes some serious guts.
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  19. #19
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    Ride On!

    This is great! I'm gonna be glued to this till the end!! Good luck to all riders, but Go Stefan!!

  20. #20
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    awesome updates. DH sure seems to be dialed in. Can't wait to see if he can keep it up. Even Chris, Stefan, and Fred seem to be around record pace... for whatever that's worth this early in the race. best of luck to the 5 left out there. seems like they're all doing some serious badass riding.

  21. #21
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    Dewey Bridge photos

    I just happened to be at Dewey Bridge on a raft trip (ok I was riding my bike doing the shuttle) and couldn't resist cheering the guys on.

    Dave rolled over first glowing brighter than the full moon. He was so in the zone I had goosebumps all over as he rode off up the road.
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/LyndaWallenfels/GrandLoop2007/photo#5071837658110284850"><img src="http://lh5.google.com/image/LyndaWallenfels/RmLJenIc1DI/AAAAAAAAA9s/1sslyQNp25U/s400/DSC00675.JPG" border=0/></a>

    Chris and Stefan came over together happy and relaxed.
    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/LyndaWallenfels/GrandLoop2007/photo#5071838091901981762"><img src="http://lh6.google.com/image/LyndaWallenfels/RmLJ33Ic1EI/AAAAAAAAA90/ab5dNMAPffs/s400/DSC00709.JPG" border=0/></a>

    Next up was Fred, happy and even more relaxed. He stopped and ate and took his helmet off told some stories and ate.

    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/LyndaWallenfels/GrandLoop2007/photo#5071838577233286226"><img src="http://lh3.google.com/image/LyndaWallenfels/RmLKUHIc1FI/AAAAAAAAA98/KX9RTfBhe9I/s400/DSC00715.JPG" border=0/></a>

    I took off and rode Top of the World. The desert is blooming.

    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/LyndaWallenfels/GrandLoop2007/photo#5071838744737010786"><img src="http://lh6.google.com/image/LyndaWallenfels/RmLKd3Ic1GI/AAAAAAAAA-E/RPQKYA6m2IQ/s400/DSC00729.JPG" border=0/></a>

    On the way back down at 9:30am it was warm. I ran into Kevin and Eric. They were hoofing it up the lower Shandy with their heads down looking hot.

    <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/LyndaWallenfels/GrandLoop2007/photo#5071838955190408322"><img src="http://lh3.google.com/image/LyndaWallenfels/RmLKqHIc1II/AAAAAAAAA-U/z0rZ_ObJEkc/s400/DSC00748.JPG" border=0/></a>

  22. #22
    Scott in Tucson
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    Dave Kirk, 1 pm Sunday

    Dave K. just called from Bedrock, 1pm. He called himself the "official sweeper" and "tourist", but his pace is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, he's still riding and making good time.

    He regretted starting the ride in a sleep deprived state (long drive from Yakima Washington), but was otherwise feeling good and sounded like he was enjoying his time out there. He remarked about the good weather, though he took a nap during the afternoon yesterday. The length/difficulty of the trail surprised him. He said it took him longer than he expected to make it to Bedrock.

    He knew that some of the crew had dropped out, noticing a decrease in the number of tire tracks he was following.

    Looks like it's going to be a bit warmer today than yesterday, but still in the low 90's. That's plenty hot when you are dragging your bike up a steep, dusty, shadeless hill. The Paradox Trail has more than its share of those.

    I bet we hear from at least one rider today in Nucla, but that's just a hunch. Otherwise we've got some time to kill before hearing from firepants Dave H. He has until ~10 pm Monday night to reach the Tabeguache Trailhead (Lunch Loops) in Grand Junction in order to best Mike's course record of 3 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes.

    I'll try to post some pictures of the terrain these guys are covering later today. It's really hard to imagine what they are going through out there. I've been there, yet the memories and pain have largely faded now. One thing is for sure: this is a brutal ride.

    Chris asked me, "You're probably not sad you're missing out on all this brutality..."

    Kinda, yeah.
    Last edited by Krein; 06-04-2007 at 04:26 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Dave K. just called from Bedrock, 1pm.

    Awesome! This is just plain ol' good reading. Thanks Scott for the updates. I find myself thinking often of these guys out there. It is inspiring.
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  24. #24
    Scott in Tucson
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    Paradox Pics

    Thanks for the photos, Lynda. Cool to see everyone at the bridge. It was after sunrise when Jefe and I made it there last year. Ugh.

    Here are a few from today's riding, beyond Bedrock store:

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/paradox1.jpg>
    </center>

    Sunrise on Spring Creek Mesa. Dave H was likely beyond here by last night, but Chris and Fred probably experienced a similar sunrise, in roughly the same spot.

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/paradox2.jpg>
    </center>

    Remember what I said about pushing your bike up steep, eroded "trail"? The Paradox is filled with ups and downs like this one. Stefan is likely experiencing even more of this on the "real" Paradox route.

    One thing I forgot to mention was that Chris said Stefan was not carrying a sleeping bag. He planned to sleep during the day (!?) and ride every night.

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/paradox3.jpg>
    </center>

    Classic Paradox "triple-track." The typical trail user here is the bovine.

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/paradox4.jpg>
    </center>

    Up on the Glencoe Bench section, where Chris and Fred might be pedaling as I write, the trail lets up on the steep climbing. Cows don't roam back here, meaning the trail is less defined, but still quite bumpy. It's a beautiful stretch of trail, but not very fast.

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/paradox5.jpg>
    </center>

    The first real shade, again on the Glencoe Bench. Getting closer to cresting the Plateau here.

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/paradox6.jpg>
    </center>

    Finally, after climbing a few thousand feet on well graded Houser road, you reach the real alpine, where thick trees and the beginning of the Tabeguache trail await. This is the high point of the route, at nearly 10,000 feet. Not far from this picture the Tab trail begins as singletrack, in the dark trees, and possibly snow covered. Dave H. has likely been dealing with the snow/mud there this afternoon. He may be through, or he may still be post-holing.

    In '06 I didn't even take a picture of any snow drifts. I remember there being one or two, but they were so insignificant they didn't warrant a picture, or anything more than a quick dismount. There was also very little mud.

    May or may not be a different story this year...
    Last edited by Krein; 06-04-2007 at 04:24 PM.
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  25. #25
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    Ride On!, men.

    Thanks for the updates - fun to follow.

    Scott

  26. #26
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    Holy shiznit DH!

    I suspect Dave Harris of cheating. I think he rode the first half of the course solely on his rear wheel--to take advantage of less rolling resistance...

    2:18? Sheesh Dave--maybe try a little harder to make it look like this is work for you?!

    Good to hear that the course was hurting some of the other guys anyway. Sure as he11 hurt me when I did it.

    Just drove back into GJ from Gunnison, with an uncluttered view of the Uncompahgre Plateau for the last ~hour of the drive. I can tell you that heat is not a factor for those guys today--temps in the valley topped out at 80 degrees with lots of cloudcover. There was a small cloudburst hanging over the north end of the Plateau (just above GJ), but it was tiny and the rest of the Plateau was merely bathed in shade. If nothing else, the temps in the alpine should have been comfy.

    Dave's luck with snow and sleep dep and routefinding will all be interesting to read about. Looks like sooner than later!

    MC

  27. #27
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    Tourists need not apply

    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Dave K. just called from Bedrock, 1pm. He called himself the "official sweeper" and "tourist", but his pace is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, he's still riding and making pretty good time.

    He regretted starting the race in a sleep deprived state (long drive from Yakima Washington), but was otherwise feeling good and sounded like he was enjoying his time out there. He remarked about the good weather, though he took a nap during the afternoon yesterday. The length/difficulty of the trail surprised him. He said it took him longer than he expected to make it to Bedrock.

    He knew that some of the crew had dropped out, noticing a decrease in the number of tire tracks he was following.

    Looks like it's going to be a bit warmer today than yesterday, but still in the low 90's. That's plenty hot when you are dragging your bike up a steep, dusty, shadeless hill. The Paradox Trail has more than its share of those.

    I bet we hear from at least one racer today in Nucla, but that's just a hunch. Otherwise we've got some time to kill before hearing from firepants Dave H. He has until ~10 pm Monday night to reach the Tabeguache Trailhead (Lunch Loops) in Grand Junction in order to best Mike's course record of 3 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes.

    I'll try to post some pictures of the terrain these guys are covering later today. It's really hard to imagine what they are going through out there. I've been there, yet the memories and pain have largely faded now. One thing is for sure: this is a brutal race.

    Chris asked me, "You're probably not sad you're missing out on all this brutality..."

    Kinda, yeah.
    Go Dave K, I am rooting for ya.
    A mere tourist would have never made Bedrock self supported!!!!!
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  28. #28
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    Ah the Grand Loop

    First thanks to Scott and MikeC for keeping us informed, sad to say i am just riding my bike this weekend not killing myself, I am a bit jealous! Can';t wait to hear how this all turns out, seems DH is gonna slay the GLR, but we';ll see. Good luck to all. Funny how there is only one return player from last year? I am glad to be a simple spectator, I did KTR couple weeks ago and that was a firm reminder of the torture of the Grand Loop, and to those who';ve riden the KTR and wondered about the GLR, it is true, Kokopelli is the easy part! Anyways hope the folks on course are having fun with the pain, thanks for the great updates Scott. Jefe

  29. #29
    This place needs an enema
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    'bout 10 bells this AM I heard a loud knocking at the front door. Ran up to see who it was, only to find a GJPD cruiser parked in my driveway, and a smiling officer McCormick at my door. Hmmm.

    First thoughts:
    -"It ain't a race, why are they hassling me about this?"
    -"Maybe I should have pulled a permit for the improvements we're making to our patio this week--didn't think any of the neighbors would care enough to complain...".
    -"Oh. Sh1t. Dave."

    I greeted the officer and asked what I could do for him. He responded by asking, "Do you know a Dave Harris?"

    Gulp.

    "Yes--sure. Why? What's up?"

    Let's just say that some cretin helped himself to some of the contents inside of Dave's truck. Said cretin accomplished this feat only after bashing in the driver's side window. Dammit. I rode out there just now and stuck a note on Dave's windshield informing him that the GJPD would like him to file a report ASAP. Then I reached inside of Dave's now-easily-accessible truck and grabbed his keys (sitting in plain view on the floormat--Dave???) and stuck them out of sight under the mat.

    Let's hope that Dave's Epic Adventure is good enough that the trailhead troubles that await him are merely a blip on the radar.

    Posting this at ~noon, and have yet to hear or see anything from any of the GL chaps. I'd expect to start seeing guys anytime this afternoon, throughout the evening tonight, and on into tomorrow.

    MC

  30. #30
    lucky enough
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    my picks

    OK, I just saw this thread and only by looking at the pre-start pictures I picked those guys I though would do well - based solely on how they were packed. I picked Harris, Griebel, Gillest and Wilkinson based on that criterion. Go guys! What great spirit no matter how far down the road you get.
    "Don't take life so serious, son . . . it ain't no how permanent." - Porky Pine

  31. #31
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    I greeted the officer and asked what I could do for him. He responded by asking, "Do you know a Dave Harris?"

    How did the Po po know to come knocking on your door?
    Don't tell me he also left a note saying "gone for 3 days, call MC" on his windshield?

    That is a bummer, about his break in. I'm sure it won't even phase him, after completing the GLR!!!!

  32. #32
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    thanx again for all the updates, i'm totally eating my heart out as i sit in wisco watching the rain . i really had this race in mind after doing the moab rim ride...damb job
    i hope dave kills the existing record and also lynches the guy who broke into his vehicle (need help i need an excuse to get back out that way)also hope chris plesko does good

    butch
    Last edited by mofxr; 06-04-2007 at 02:28 PM.

  33. #33
    Time to go farther
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    I'm out

    Hey everyone,

    My GLR ended in Bedrock when my wife picked me up with a cold Sobe in tow. There were several reasons but I'll save them for the write up. I'm okay though and I could have kept going but a finish was going to be very unlikely due to a bonehead move on my part and a lack of bike shops anywhere along the route. I learned a lot (and have a lot more to learn) and went further faster than I really imagined was possible when I started. Ever since my DNF at Leadville 05 got me into riding again it's been a whirlwind tour of the sport that I've really enjoyed. My body needs a little time off from the really long stuff for a bit but it's like crack and I just can't stay away so I'm sure I'll be back soon.

    GOOD LUCK to DH, Stefen, Fred and Dave out there still! I hope you're all still going strong.
    On-One Lurcher SS
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  34. #34
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    bummer, sounds like you were doing good up to that point, don't let it get you down. i 've had my share of badd luck this year also, i agree with the time off ...not saying to do this but my time off has been spent roofing my house (ha ha ha )

  35. #35
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    Thanks for the updates. Up here in the Great Nortwet Dave Kirk is widely known, affectionately, as "the Freak".

    It was funny for Dave Kirk to mention sleep deprivation at the start of the ride. He works, after all, for a SLEEP CLINIC serving those with real trouble sleeping! Rumor has it that Dave Kirk does not fall in this category, having once fallen asleep WHILE STILL ON HIS BIKE, while riding over Stevens Pass in Washington State's North Cascades. So the story goes.

    Congrats and best of everything to all riders.

  36. #36
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    Wow.

    DH is done. Official finish time of 3:02PM.

    !

    He didn't seem particularly tired, although he was definitely glad to be done, glad to be out of his chamois, glad to be showered and MOST happy to have a belly full of ice cream.

    His broken window didn't much seem to faze him--except that the stinkin' thieves stole his clothes (!) and his cell phone.

    Most impressive Dave. Can't wait to read all about it and see some o' them pics...

    MC
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  37. #37
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    DH is done. Official finish time of 3:02PM.
    !!!

    Wow. Speechless. Congratulations on an incredible ride, Dave.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  38. #38
    Time to go farther
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    Great job Dave. Enjoy that ice cream
    On-One Lurcher SS
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  39. #39
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    awesome ride dave
    Last edited by mofxr; 06-05-2007 at 11:05 AM.

  40. #40
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    Wow!!!

    Way to go Dave!!
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  41. #41
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    Way to pull, DH Congrats. Enjoy your recovery!

    Matt
    One of the Freak's (aka Dave Kirk) Fans

  42. #42
    Scott in Tucson
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    Stefan finishes at 6:49pm

    Hold on to your hats, boys and girls, it gets even better!

    I just got off the phone with Stefan. He was lying in the gravel parking lot at the Tabeguache Trailhead!!

    He finished at 6:49pm, less than four hours after Dave. That's just incredible. It's a safe bet that Stefan would have been right up with Dave had he not followed the new Paradox trail.

    He said most of the uphills on the new trail were hike-a-bike, and it took him ~7 hours to cover the 24 mile Koski traverse. Brutal.

    Of course, Stefan had the advantage of having already ridden the Tabeguache Trail. He said he saw that Dave had made some wrong turns in the Cactus Park area, and Stefan was able to cruise on through, knowing the way.

    He said conditions were pretty much ideal, but that he will "never ride that loop again." He's cooked right now, having slept only 6 hours the entire time.

    He left Fred on the Roubideau Trail last night, and expects that he will finish later tonight.

    Congrats Stefan. I'm still in awe at both these guys and how fast they burned through the loop.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  43. #43
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    Woot! Good job DH, and Stefan. Impressive indeed.

    Chris, good work. It is a tough game we sometimes play, and you have been ripping it up. Take a deep breath, enjoy some summer evenings and get back on the bike when the time is right.
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  44. #44
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    Fantastic news!!! Awesome rides Dave and Stefan, congratulations.

    My thoughts are with the riders who are still out there - get 'er done guys!

    Ed E

  45. #45
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    Dave doesn't even look tired in that last photo. Perky, even. That can't be all ice cream.

    Congrats Dave and Stefan on the record-breaking rides. You guys are way too good at making this stuff look easy.

  46. #46
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    Nice job Dave. Hope you're saving something for later.
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  47. #47
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    Congrats to Dave and Stefan. Godd job fellas we are all in awe!

  48. #48
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    Amazing Rides!!

    Way to go Dave H and Stefan!!!

    Hard for me to wrap my mind around it, huge huge ride guys.

    Looking forward to seeing Fred finish , hopefully soon

    A big “Hang in there” to the end for Dave K
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  49. #49
    .......................
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    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ..........

  50. #50
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    So, its two in and two still out, right? Keep going Fred & DKirk

  51. #51
    jeny jo
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    Holy Crayola!

    Dave H: Way to ROCK-IT!!!! Congrats on completing a HUGE accomplishment, and so strong!

    Stefan: WOOOOHOOOO!!! (OMG). Congrats!

    For Fred and Dave K: work it booyyys! Keep it up (if you've not already made it in!)

    Chris, my friend: HUGE hug to you. Rest well, take good care of yourself and we'll see your bada$$ self soon.

    Jj

  52. #52
    Scott in Tucson
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    Fred finishes at ~12am

    Alright, we have our third finisher. Fred finished late last night, making a b-line for the nearest motel room.

    Unfortunately I didn't get his exact finish time (sorry), but it was sometime between 12a and 1a. That puts him within a few hours of both the previous course record and last year's fastest time. That's nothing short of an awesome ride, especially considering that this was his first time lining up for the Grand Loop, and that he had never seen most of the route.

    His unfamiliarity with the course would come to haunt him in the last hours of his ride. He made the same mistake I did: severely underestimating the last ~25 miles. He figured he would finish right at dusk, but it turned into a slow "slog." He "lost all sense of distance... the map would say 0.7 miles and it would take an hour to cover that."

    Well done, Fred.

    One more still on course -- go Dave Kirk!
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  53. #53
    I'm Idaho!
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    You guys are all sick. Way to go gents. Congrats to DH for a crazy finish.

    Rock on Dave Kirk!

  54. #54
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    Way to Go Stefan

    Hey Stefan - a big congrats from the Life in the Chain Ring gang: Chris, Bill, Bob, Larry and Andrew.

    Let's go riding when you get back to Boulder.

    Piper

  55. #55
    Exactly 1/2 of 2-Epic
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    What a ride

    This is a beast of a route and whoever conceived it should be applauded - or hunt down and shot, I'm really not sure I am pretty sure this is another big fat nail in the coffin of lap races...

    The highs were many, the lows a few, and an overpowering white moment towards the end.

    It's been great to read of all the interest in this "underground" event.

    Stephan - I am in AWE brother. The CTR is yours. I can't wait to *watch* that one

    Fred - awesome job! That's a fast finish, and doing that last section in the dark had to be a hoot.

    Chris, Kevin & Eric - you gave it a helluva shot. It's risky business shootin' for the moon.

    Dave K - keep on truckin! It looked like you had enough supplies to enjoy the route more than I...

    I'll really be looking forward to any rider reports of this beast. In the meantime I'll get crackin' on my own.

    Dave

    Anything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.

    2 Epic

  56. #56
    Now with 20% more fat!!
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    Incredible... you guys are all superstuds! Happy to buy you all a beer and sit around listening to the stories! Congratulations DH, Stefan, Fred... Hoping Dave Kirk is safely rocking somewhere!

  57. #57
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    I am amazed

    Lets face it most of us had a feeling that DH was going to kill it and my oh my he did, he slayed the GLR, and Stefan, I am amazed! You did it that fast with the real paradox trail as well, i've done most of the Koski traverse and it just sucks. Fred nice work you speedy master, can't believe there are so many bad asses out there, thanks for pushing it Jefe

  58. #58
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    Hey Mike,

    I hope you or someone can get down there to meet D Kirk, the Freak, when he finishes. I'm afraid he may forget his car and he'll just fill up his water tanks and start the ride back to Yakima.

    By the way, do you have an official age-group class for the over-50 set? I'm not sure, but I think the Freak beat me to 50 a bit ago.

    Cheers to all
    Matt
    Last edited by Freakness; 06-05-2007 at 03:29 PM.

  59. #59
    frejwilk
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairball_dh

    Stephan - I am in AWE brother. The CTR is yours. I can't wait to *watch* that one

    Fred - awesome job! That's a fast finish, and doing that last section in the dark had to be a hoot.

    Dave,

    Thanks. That last section saw few hoots on my part. Maybe a few owls laughing at me. 6hrs from hwy 141 to Tabeguache trailhead. A LOT of walking!

    Stefan was riding really strongly, and was really well prepared. He rode the Roubideau in the night, and obviously had a great third day.

    Finish was 12:20AM for me. 3:04:35, I think. I did try to call Scott late, but his phone wouldn't hear me.

    The Tabeguache was by for the hardest part for me. Lots of missed turns, head scratching, even had to wait for sunrise so I could figure out where to go. Seeing a tire track or two helped, but couldn't save me 100%! Maybe there is something to these GPS thingys. It seemed like it was all climbing. I'd look at my elevation profile, and think there might be some descending. Maybe I had it upside down sometimes.

    I wonder of any of those who know Dave Kirk can recall if he drove down alone. I didn't see any cars in the lot last night.

    I really was pleased to see everyone at the start, and a few on the course. I'm glad there was such interest.

    Another gear note: Three Osprey Talon 22 packs for the first three finishers.

    Thanks Scott and Mike for updates. Thanks Mike for giving me an opportunity for world of hurt!

    FW

  60. #60
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    Don't know about D Kirk's car. When he rides with his buddies back home he typically leaves from home on his bike while the rest of us drive the first 40 miles into the mountains. It would not be unlike him to have parked somewhere out of the way. Then again, maybe Dave's car is the reason that DH's car was left behind by the window smasher.

    All and all, it looks like the Freak was some 26 hours or so behind DH into Bedrock. Is that correct? My guess is that he would not make up time in the stretch from Bedrock back to the start. He takes very seriously his dual roles as Tourist and Sweeper. And a proud "fat cyclist" to boot!

  61. #61
    Just go ride!
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    Go Team Osprey!?

    Quote Originally Posted by frejwilk
    Stefan was riding really strongly, and was really well prepared. He rode the Roubideau in the night, and obviously had a great third day.
    Thanks, man. Although I distinctly remember it was you cleaning all the sand pits and the technical hill finish up to Pinto Mesa while I walked!

    Yup, I was prepared. That is, with no sleeping bag, I was prepared to suffer...
    Quote Originally Posted by frejwilk
    Finish was 12:20AM for me. 3:04:35, I think. I did try to call Scott late, but his phone wouldn't hear me.

    The Tabeguache was by for the hardest part for me. Lots of missed turns, head scratching, even had to wait for sunrise so I could figure out where to go. Seeing a tire track or two helped, but couldn't save me 100%! Maybe there is something to these GPS thingys. It seemed like it was all climbing. I'd look at my elevation profile, and think there might be some descending. Maybe I had it upside down sometimes.
    I rode silently by you ~11:30 pm on the Roubideau and thought about waking you. I almost felt bad for you with my knowledge of how confusing and poorly marked the trail is up there. Hope my tracks helped, although I know a couple of the confusing intersections turns were really grassy. Instead of 4-6 hours of routefinding like last year, I spent maybe 1 minute off-route this time around - for me, that made a huge mental difference. And there ain't gonna be a next time. I think now I fully understand why Mike hasn't done the GL again since his record setting time in '03.

    Dave, way to hammer the sh!t out of that loop, onsighting the Tabeguache none-the-less!

    Chris, man that sucks you had to drop out at Bedrock. Thanks for pulling me along most of the Kokopelli! You set such a great pace from the start and got us out of the desert and above Fisher Valley before it got hot. We'll definitely have to get on on some rides together before the CTR.

    All ya'll, great to chat and meet you guys on the prologue.

    Cheers,
    Stefan
    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

  62. #62
    Scott in Tucson
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    Dave Kirk is out

    Dave Kirk called in from the town of Delta. The Grand Loop was a little too much for him. I'm sure it's a combination of many factors, as it always is, but what was foremost in his mind was the constant up and down and hike-a-bike he found on the trail. He said he learned an important lesson -- that you have to wear a pack, even if you don't like to.

    Sounds like he turned around somewhere on the Roubideau Trail. He's now facing ~30 miles of headwind back to GJ, during which he plans to "think about the error of his ways." !! No mistakes as long as you learn from them, and it sounded like Dave learned quite a bit out there. He said, "maybe next year." He'd like to finish it up.

    I asked about his car. It was parked at Sherman (?) park, not the trailhead, and is hopefully safe and sound upon his return.

    He's heading to MN next, but hopes to be able to chime in here sometime soon. Better for him to write about his experience than me. I hope I haven't misinterpreted / misreported anything in my updates. If I did, I apologize and would be happy to edit things for 'the record.'

    That's it for this year's Grand Loop. Thanks everyone for following along. And to Mike, thanks for starting this crazy thing, and for escaping to Gunnison, giving me the chance to chat with everyone on the phone. Next best thing to actually being there.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  63. #63
    Cycling, FTW!!
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    Nice job finishers. You have my utmost respect, but I wont be able to fully appreciate your accomplishment until I try this beast for myself.
    I'm glad to hear that everybody else made it off course safely. You guys ALL did an awesome job out there. I cant wait to hear trip reports from everybody else.

    Scott, thanks for all the updates . There aren't too many races that offer real-time results.
    "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

  64. #64
    frejwilk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan_G
    Thanks, man. Although I distinctly remember it was you cleaning all the sand pits and the technical hill finish up to Pinto Mesa while I walked!

    Yup, I was prepared. That is, with no sleeping bag, I was prepared to suffer...

    I rode silently by you ~11:30 pm on the Roubideau and thought about waking you. I almost felt bad for you with my knowledge of how confusing and poorly marked the trail is up there. Hope my tracks helped, although I know a couple of the confusing intersections turns were really grassy. Instead of 4-6 hours of routefinding like last year, I spent maybe 1 minute off-route this time around - for me, that made a huge mental difference. And there ain't gonna be a next time. I think now I fully understand why Mike hasn't done the GL again since his record setting time in '03.

    Dave, way to hammer the sh!t out of that loop, onsighting the Tabeguache none-the-less!

    Chris, man that sucks you had to drop out at Bedrock. Thanks for pulling me along most of the Kokopelli! You set such a great pace from the start and got us out of the desert and above Fisher Valley before it got hot. We'll definitely have to get on on some rides together before the CTR.

    All ya'll, great to chat and meet you guys on the prologue.

    Cheers,
    Stefan
    Stefan,

    That was a night to remember for me up there. Approaching certain limits for sure. To me that's amazing to be riding that stretch at night. Yes, It would have made for an easier time to have the 'guided' ride through there. Better to get the full experience so to speak though. I've read about other folks having the hard time - I need my stories too! Grassy turns were definitely my undoing. The 'Moore Mesa trail' area in particular had me a little puzzled.

    It was great to ride with you and congratulations on an excellent finish. I didn't know what time you and Dave had been through the final stretches, but it made my suffering a little more tolerable knowing I wasn't the only one experiencing it.

    FW

  65. #65
    frejwilk
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    Impressive rides, and cars

    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    Dave Kirk called in from the town of Delta. The Grand Loop was a little too much for him. I'm sure it's a combination of many factors, as it always is, but what was foremost in his mind was the constant up and down and hike-a-bike he found on the trail. He said he learned an important lesson -- that you have to wear a pack, even if you don't like to.

    Sounds like he turned around somewhere on the Roubideau Trail. He's now facing ~30 miles of headwind back to GJ, during which he plans to "think about the error of his ways." !! No mistakes as long as you learn from them, and it sounded like Dave learned quite a bit out there. He said, "maybe next year." He'd like to finish it up.

    I asked about his car. It was parked at Sherman (?) park, not the trailhead, and is hopefully safe and sound upon his return.
    I'm sorry to hear Dave had to bail. It was nice to met you Dave. There's probably not many folks who can truly appreciate what you must have went through on the Paradox. Not to mention everywhere else. That the constant hike a bike was foremost in your mind shows a good gift for understatement. Seriously, getting through everything you did ..... I don't have words good enough.

    I thought I remembered Dave K driving into the parking lot. I'm sure his car is safe. I was worried that if he had to bail to anywhere on the west side of the plateau, it would be a real task to get back to GJ and that car. I was hoping he might have someone along who could help with something like that. Then I read about Dave H's car... Some 'award' for you Dave. I was sorry to hear that was waiting for you.

    FW

  66. #66
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    Well Done All

    Congratulations on a super ride Fred!!


    Dave K, great ride, it does seem harder pushing the bike with stuffed panniers vs carrying the same stuff in a back pack.
    The pace you were setting is close my personal “target pace” if I ever attempt this one. Chime in when you get a chance, I would really really like to here your report.
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  67. #67
    Topeak-Ergon Racing
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    What a great read....inspiring.

    Eddie O

  68. #68
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    I'm back to the real world of 9 to 5 and haven't had a chance to start a trip report yet, but I just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this board for all the congratulations and vibes you sent. I think there are really only a handful of people who have any appreciation and/or comprehension of something like the GLR, and most of 'em hang out here. So, a big thank you to you all!

    Here's a pic of the descent through Red Canyon on part of the reroute.

    And I had to take a shot of this abandoned bike at the start of the "Koski Traverse". Could it be that of a former Grand Looper that had finally had enough, cracked, and wandered aimlessly off into the desert? I'm glad it didn't turn out to be an omen...
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  69. #69
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    Hi everyone,
    What a great experience. The riders, the route, the figuring needed to pull this off.
    Everyone was so positive. MC was just as I expected him to be, unassuming and nonjudgemental. My choice of gear really was unorthodox. And guess what? Next time it will include a pack!
    I just read the posts. What a supportive group. (except for that Matt guy, someone give him his medicine! Just kidding).
    I had to bail. On top of the list was the deep blister underneath the superficial one under my right metatarsal head. What a grand descent off of the plateau towards Delta. The only real injury during the whole trip happened as I was cresting a rise on a back road. Just as I looked up, a farm dog came out and bit me. Man, to add insult injury!
    Anyway, once I get back in a few weeks, I'll post some pictures(as tourists are want to do) and a few thoughts.
    Thanks again to MC for conceiving and supporting the GLR.
    Thanks for a wonderful

  70. #70
    Exactly 1/2 of 2-Epic
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    Nice work Dave

    Glad to hear you are well Dave. Nice work too - to begin this ride, never to have seen the route and following a drive from Washington state is capital B burly. I can relate to the difficulty in hiking with a heavy bike, especially a heavy front end and panniers. I've tried both and tossed them aside. That you made it to Delta means you covered a lot of ground - certainly an epic ride and it'll be interesting to hear your comments and see the pics.

    Dang dawgs anyway!
    Dave

    Anything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.

    2 Epic

  71. #71
    Exactly 1/2 of 2-Epic
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    GLR story

    Getting the story written has been about as epic as the ride, but it does leave me considerably fresher

    If you've got a spare 30 minutes and the interest, here' tis:

    http://teamhealthfx.com/blogs/dave_h...6/07/2741.aspx

    There's a lot more I can and will say, in time...
    Dave

    Anything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.

    2 Epic

  72. #72
    frejwilk
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    Another Grand Loop recap

    All right. Third to finish, third to post a report. Details of my ride can be found here.

    FW

  73. #73
    Good For You
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    Seems odd that you would post a random excerpt from an article that you didn't write on a thread that is over two years old.

  74. #74
    Exactly 1/2 of 2-Epic
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    As the author of that sentence I concur. Clearly spam...the internet is such a strange place sometimes.
    Dave

    Anything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.

    2 Epic

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