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  1. #1
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    TR: The Grand Traverse (2019)

    WARNING: Long, mostly words, about a nordic/skimo race. Read at your own risk of boredom, irritation and displeasure.

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    At the beginning of the 17/18 season I had mentioned the Grand Traverse to my long-time friend and occasional ski partner living in Boulder. We both kinda chuckled at the idea, then got a little serious and considered it. But he had a work trip conflict, and I had nobody else I would've felt comfortable asking to partner up with me on something I wasn't sure I would be physically capable of doing. Then winter began in earnest, and I forgot all about the GT until this past October, when my friend brought it up more seriously: did I want to partner up and take a serious crack at this? I said "yes" right away; it had already snowed in the Wasatch, and I was on day 2 of my human-powered season, the first time I had ever skied in October in fact. We were both pretty excited, but signup wasn't until December. So, ostensibly committed but with little else to do until December, I slowly forgot about the GT again.

    Winter began in earnest this season around Thanksgiving, with a giant dump of snow sufficient to ski the backcountry on, and I started to remember that we had agreed to race this thing. I don't think I had even looked at the course map to be honest, I just knew that it was fairly long. I was excited at the prospect of having something to motivate me to get up early and ski a bunch, and the fact that my partner would be depending on me to do so would mean that I would feel myself accountable to something other than my own desire to ski. Full of motivation, I skied 5 of the last 7 days in November. Registration for the race was at midnight December 1st; the last day I texted my partner to make sure he was still willing to sign up. He hadn't managed to get any skiing in yet and had some reservations, but the race did have a "partner switch" option, and he agreed to race with me with the caveat that if (because of work or life or whatnot) he was unable to train, I would be on my own to find another partner. I was psyched; I had discovered some new-to-me touring options closer to home, we had good low elevation coverage, and I dove right in, skiing 16 of the first 19 days in December.

    The Grand Traverse is listed as being 37 miles long with 6800' of climbing and begins at midnight, which sounds long and unpleasant but not terribly difficult until you make a serious effort to think about just what that means. That is an average of 183' of climbing per mile, an absurdly low number; I must be missing something. Maybe, I mused, there were long and continuous sections of downhill. Maybe the elevation profile was wrong. I had skied to Porter Fork Pass a number of times, which is a ~4.5 mile ~3300' climb (so 9ish miles round trip), and that felt pretty flat. I just figured there was something unusual about the way the course was laid out, and didn't make a big deal of it in my head.

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    I got used to watching the sun rise from the skintrack, and carried on enjoying the winter.

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    My wife is a marathon runner, so I had some vague notion of how one builds up to train for a thing like this. She'll typically do a series of increasingly long runs before a marathon, spaced out in 2 week intervals, with a rest week or two before the actual race. Working backwards from the date of the GT, I set my sights on 5 weekends: 4 "big days" (a concept I had yet to fully give form to) and the Wasatch Powderkeg, the annual skimo race held at Brighton that I had been doing the past few seasons.

    I eventually (and quite arbitrarily) decided that a "big day" should be something like 20ish miles, and 10k'-ish feet of elevation gain, and I would aim to start as close to midnight as I was able, to get used to spending long stretches of time in the dark. The first one of these was on my calendar for the end of January. It went swimmingly:

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    The next big training day I decided to add some flatter sections to increase the mileage. That one wasn't bad either:

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    The Powderkeg came and went (I beat my previous best time by nearly an hour), I rattled off another long training day or two, and eventually my race partner came to SLC. I had plotted out a variety of potential training courses, but he had been somewhat more attentive to the actual GT course layout than me, and was concerned at how little horizontal distance we'd be covering on skins. We had stable powder conditions, and my feeling was that we should just go ski 10 or 12 thousand vertical feet of powder, race training be damned, leave the suffering for the GT itself. We compromised and did a 25+ mile 12k'+ day. Both of us were convinced that what we had done would be harder than the race itself.

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    The Grand Traverse is a highly gear-intensive race. Due to the midnight start, the long length and the uncertainty of weather and conditions prior to race day, the organizers require a lengthy checklist of equipment, much of which I needed to acquire. I had done this more or less immediately after signing up, and had been skiing all winter with my full GT pack. The day before we left Utah for Colorado and the race, I laid out all my gear and did a final check against the master gear list.

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    Then it was off to Colorado. The race begins in Crested Butte, which is around 7.5 hours of driving in the best of traffic... leaving after work on Thursday, we decided to stay in Grand Junction. Friday morning was gear inspection / checkin / packet pickup, so with a light night's sleep we were off early and made it to Crested Butte around 11 in the morning. I met up with my partner and we made our way through the paperwork and rigamarole with relative ease, then to the provided pasta lunch, and a mandatory pre-race meeting. In case you were living in a cave, Colorado had a pretty wild year in terms of avalanche activity, and there was much uncertainty whether a) the race would happen at all, and b) if it did happen, whether it would be able to go through to Aspen as intended, or whether it would be a "Grand Reverse" course and loop back to Crested Butte. The whole perverse allure of this race was the point-to-point nature of it, so the room exploded into cheers when it was announced that the full Crested Butte -> Aspen course was a go, with good snow coverage the entire way. The low that night would be 2F, which was a bit colder than I had anticipated, but not any colder than we'd been skiing in all winter. The meeting had started off on a sober note, with a moment of silence for Owen Green and Michael Goerne, two racers who had died in an avalanche in the Death Pass area in February while training on the course. But it had ended on a high note, and full of pasta and nerves, we headed to our hotel in Gunnison to do our final packing, eat some dinner and hopefully get a few hours of sleep.

    It ended up being about 1 hour of sleep, bringing me to a total of around 7 since I woke up Thursday morning. I also had been sick the week immediately preceding the race, taking 4 straight days off skiing, my longest inactive stretch since traveling east for Xmas. Feeling about 60% of my normal self, tired with a sore throat and somewhat runny nose, we dragged ourselves out of bed around 9pm, got suited up and headed back to CB for the start of the race. We were told to arrive at 10:30pm for some reason, so we did, which was of course unnecessary but there we were. There were a lot of other folks there too, and through tired eyes they all looked a lot fitter than us, with lighter gear and a lot more spandex to boot.

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    The GT was originally a nordic race, but nearly everyone there was on some sort of AT gear. A lot of full-on skimo kits, 160cm 65mm skis and so forth. There were also a lot of light AT setups, which was what both my partner and I were sporting. I saw some Carbon Bros, though I didn't manage to see whose they were:

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  2. #2
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    Eventually, finally, it was time for the race to start. I had heard tell of the chaos that is 400-some-odd racers going full-tilt into the dark, and had experience with mass sprints from the Powderkeg and other races, but the GT actually started off at a somewhat muted pace. I guess when you know you have 37 miles to go, there's no sense getting sweaty in the first half an hour.

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    The course begins with a maybe 700 or 800' climb up some groomed run at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, then a tiny drop, and a flat section. We had too-eagerly transitioned at the first small drop, and ended up skating the first flat bit, getting far too sweaty and expending far too much energy. Eventually there was a "real" descent down a groomed trail into Brush Creek. With bright headlamps and non-skimo skis, we cruised past nearly everyone we saw on the descent. Then it was a transition to skinning, and we began the 8ish miles to Death Pass.

    This 8ish miles hadn't even registered in my mind as a meaningful segment of the race before we got there. The way I figured, it was a relatively gentle climb early on in the race when we would be full of energy. I figured it would pass by unnoticed. It ended up being an absolutely hateful rolling sidehill traverse, with as much skiing down in walk mode with skins on (a theme for the next 12+ hours) as there was walking or climbing. No more than 2 hours into the race and my feet had started to blister. Nonetheless, we moved very well, and we reached the Death Pass checkpoint an easy 1.5 hours ahead of the cutoff time. The checkpoint had routed around Death Pass proper, and there was a touching memorial to Owen and Michael there that we all passed in the night, giving a thought to the two people who couldn't be there ever again.

    After Death Pass, I had reasoned with myself, if nothing else this hellish sidehilling would be over. Sidehilling on a normal skintrack is one thing, it is perfectly fine, I do it nearly every day. But sidehilling on a skimo race course, when you are probably the 200th or later person through, is like walking on a tilted ice rink. There is absolutely no way to get your skins flat on the snow without bowing your legs out to an absurd degree, one leg is always doing much more work than the other, and you are engaging your core way more than you'd like to keep your balance. After nearly 7 straight miles of this, I needed things to change. The course hit a road, which I had assumed would be pancake-flat. It was flatter than the traverse, but still ruined to all hell by the hundreds of racers before us, and it undulated far more than I had hoped. More skiing downhill in walk mode with skins on! (A note to those of you who tour in 3 or 4 buckle AT boots: walk mode in a race or near-race boot is like being in a sneaker. It is amazing going up, but offers absolutely no support going down... a 40' even vaguely steep descent on firm snow in walk mode with skins on is a harrowing ordeal, it uses crazy amounts of energy and nerves to keep your balance. There were dozens of these). We weren't even halfway through the race, and I already wanted to give up. Fortunately my partner kept the morale going, "soon we're gonna be going up switchbacks, your specialty!" It was enough to keep me going.

    The stupid road eventually wanders up into a forest toward I believe Friends Hut, one of the 10th mountain division huts. There is a checkpoint here before the climb up to Star Pass. It was now every bit of the forecasted 2F, my hands were nearly frozen, and it was all I could do to grunt and nod my head toward the volunteers at the checkpoint as I (finally) switched out flat mode and began what would be the only thing remotely resembling backcountry skiing on the entire course: Star Pass. The trail got steeper here, there were even a few kickturns! Apparently most of the racers had been training in parking lots or on ski resort groomers, the tragi-comedy of people trying to make these very manageable kickturns went from being amusing to quite annoying. This is what I had been doing all year, in the Wasatch of all places where steep kick turns are our religion, and I passed the most racers on this stretch that I would the whole course. My hands were far too cold to take pictures, but my partner managed to get a couple of snaps. It was maybe 20 minutes before dawn at the highest elevation of the course (something like 12,500') and it was spectacular.

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    We skied down to the Star Pass checkpoint, a North Face dome tent surrounded by snow blocks that looked like something you'd see on Mount Everest. Star Pass is a big alpine basin on either side, with enticing chutes off of Star and Crystal Peaks. The previous day had also been the first day in 2019 that CAIC had rated all aspects and all elevations for all forecast zones as "low" for avalanche danger, and after at this point nearly 7 hours of absolutely hellish flat-walking, I desperately wanted to ski something interesting. So I was somewhat underwhelmed when the checkpoint volunteer pointed me down an Alta-like traverse to the lowest angle descent path down from the pass. Oh well, it was a huge basin and there was still some untouched powder off to the sides. Another racer saw me take a high skiers' right traverse before turning down the fall line and linking eight or ten real powder turns, and gave a big whoop and a fist shake, before carrying on down. Eventually, still before dawn broke, we made our way down to the next checkpoint: Gio's Bonfire.

    Gio's Bonfire was described to me as an "informal" checkpoint, so I was confused why someone there was taking my number, but no matter. Gio was a guy who had won the GT previously, and apparently he came out every year to set up this bonfire. We had been warned about lingering too long there, which seemed unwarranted to me as I could not imagine wanting to just sit still in 2 degree temperatures. That is, until we got there. "Gio's Bonfire" was actually a meticulously dug out snow fortress with an incredibly warm fire lined with snow benches topped with insulated pads for weary racers to sit on. This more than anything I regret not having a picture of, as it was a ridiculous and beautiful scene, a bunch of limping and underdressed lunatics huddled around a big fire in the snow in the middle of nowhere, a winter oasis that I imagined sprang into existence on its own when Gio arrived there. With painful blistered feet, frozen hands and now 7 hours of exhaustion behind me, I stumbled down the steps and was handed a small cup of black coffee by the man himself. I could have hugged him. I also could have probably stayed there until noon and taken a ride out on a snowmobile. But at this point, we had beaten all the cutoff times, the pressure was off, we were going to Aspen. In at least somewhat high spirits, we put our skins back on and began the next slog toward Taylor Basin.

    -------------------------------

    The next section of the course was approximately 9 miles to the Barnard Hut checkpoint, which would pass principally through the Taylor Basin / Taylor Pass area, an unremarkable but vaguely alpine area that at least boasted decent views. Cathedral and Castle Peaks dominated the views to the West, finally visible in the daylight. The sun came out and it got properly hot, we had to shed some layers. My feet were at this point each a hornet's nest of pain, for the last 5 hours or more every flat step had hurt, and this got worse as we went on. It had been hard in the cold to force myself to stop, take my overmitts off, and open food... but it was painfully obvious that I needed to eat. Stopping periodically to eat, piss, bend over and let our backs get a moment's relief from the pack weight, we wandered across the Taylor whatever-it-was area, and I enjoyed the feeling of my hands not actively hurting from the cold. 9 miles doesn't sound like too much, but in the continuing theme of needless suffering that the GT had come to represent to me, it was nearly all skins-on. At one point we crested a hill and could see the course laid out flat on front of us for easily 2 miles. I thought I was going to cry.

    Eventually there was one decently long section of continuous downhill, maybe six tenths of a mile, which lifted my spirits considerably. After that, more flat... the sun was getting bright, and I wanted to put sunscreen on. It was finally warm enough to take my hands fully out of my gloves. While I dumbly and clumsily took some terrible pictures, a friendly racer passed us and offered to get one of us. I stared at her like a cow for probably ten seconds before the words processed in my exhausted brain, but eventually managed to smile and say "yes, thank you!"

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    Was the generous picture-taker one of these people? I have no idea. I think it was a woman, but I can't be sure.

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  3. #3
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    By this time in the race, there was no rhyme or reason to who was where. I had assumed at the pre-race meeting that the folks with PDGs or Aliens with 65mm skimo skis and spandex suits would all destroy us, but that wasn't the case. I started saying silently to myself "ha, passed another spandex!" whenever we'd slowly amble past one of these folks. But then someone would come along on Coomback 114s and waltz right past us, sending me into despair. At one point a team on Kingpins had briefly passed us, which was almost too much to endure, though we somewhat quickly overtook them again. I think anyway; maybe they finished ahead of us. It was hard to say. The whole thing was like a slow, snowy imitation of the Mint 400 race from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; it was an Endurance Contest.

    Eventually, after innumerable small hill-like climbs and mostly skins-on descents, we had a half a mile or so of proper skiing (followed by a short but loathsome distance skating) to the Barnard Hut checkpoint. For some reason I had assumed that this checkpoint, at least, would be inside the actual hut, but this was not the case. Another dug-out snow bench, with a tent and a table. A visibly concerned volunteer watched me stumble out of my bindings and made sure I was at least vaguely coherent. Someone gave me a cup of ramen. I badly needed to tend to my feet. There was a 20 minute maximum stay at this checkpoint, another fact that had made no sense to me when I was told of it before race, but which now loomed like my hour of execution. I drank the ramen (noodles and all), refilled my depleted water supply, and changed my socks. A spare pair of socks was one of the gear requirements for the race, and I had snickered about it beforehand to my wife, but I had never been so happy in my life that someone had forced me to bring an extra pair of socks as I was then. I cringed taking my old ones off, we were over 10 hours into the thing at this point and for at least 8 of those hours, each step had felt like bee stings on my forefeet. There was no blood, and in the blinding sun reflected off the snow I couldn't see much damage. I put new socks on, which felt amazing for at least thirty seconds until I got my feet back in my boots. The pain was right back. I had a blister kit, but it was far too late for that, tape or gauze would only make it worse now. The pain had become somewhat dulled anyway, and I resigned myself to another 7 miles of misery. I managed to get the rest of my food out of my pack into somewhat more accessible pockets, and we clicked back into our toes and shuffled off before our 20 minutes had expired.

    -------------------------------

    The Barnard Hut was at around mile 27, which meant there were still 10 miles to go. This was mentally too much for me to bear, although eventually I remembered that the last 3 miles are a continuous inbounds descent down groomed terrain in Aspen ski area. 7 miles to go. It is hard to overstate the shape we were in: over 11 hours in, hobbled with foot pain, shoulders and backs aching with the cumulative pack weight over so much time. I looked at my watch as infrequently as I could, it was horrible to shuffle on for what felt like ages and see that we had only come three tenths of a mile. Richmond Ridge is the last section of the course, a wooded rolling "ridge" on which you travel largely by some sort of jeep road. I was in a state of absolute awe at how flat the course was; I didn't think it was possible to find 37 miles so flat in this mountain range. There was I think just one section of those next 7 miles where we took our skins off; it was a steepish (by nordic standards anyway) section of road that was badly chewed up by racers and what looked like snowmobiles. My partner fell and cursed; he said his ski was broken.

    I stopped maybe ten feet above him on the road, and repeated his statement back to him as a question, "is your ski broken?" That would be too much; there was no other choice, we had to keep going to Aspen. But walking at this point would be devastating. Fortunately, it was only his binding toepiece lever which was broken, and actually just the upper portion which functions as a proper lever (Plum 150s). By stepping directly on the lower lever with his boot, he could open the toes, and he could step back in just fine. They couldn't be locked, but that hardly mattered, we were going so slow and so flat that there was no risk of making too drastic of a kick turn and releasing. Disaster narrowly averted, we shuffled on for what seemed like forever. At one point I said, "there is some non-zero chance that I may collapse," and I meant it. The sun came and went with clouds, and as the clouds came in the temperatures plummeted. I childishly blamed the state of Colorado for this; "in Utah it either snows or it is nice!" I weakly muttered at one point.

    Finally, after over 14 hours, we started to see people walking the other way on this cursed road. Some of them in ordinary city boots: Aspen folk. They smiled at us the way you smile at a doorman at a hotel, and we kept shuffling. Eventually an older man, skinning the opposite direction from us in some sort of floppy hat, stopped the racers in front of us. I heard him say, "you can take them [climbing skins] off, it's all downhill from here." He smiled at me, pointed at a pine tree directly to my right, and said "from that tree, it's all downhill." We took off our skins, untaped our leashes from our skis (Aspen requires retention devices, so all racers must bring leashes; I had some BnDs that I had attached to my toepieces, but kept taped to my skis to avoid faffing with them during the race), and began to ski down. We came to what apparently is the "sun deck" at Aspen, and what I presume was an Aspen employee directed us downward: "it's easy," she said, "you just go toward that blue pole, follow signs for Apex Express, take a left down [unintelligible], and it's on the left of Gondola Plaza." Seeing my vacant stare, she followed up "have you skied here before?" I had not. I was incredibly stupid at that moment, and I felt very bad but I had to have her repeat her directions to me at least three times. I still had no idea where we were going; "Apex Express" was the best I could come up with. She said there would be signs, so we just started skiing.

    Despite being over 14 hours in, and by far the most exhausted I had ever been in my life, the skiing was easy and pleasant. Since the perverse and sadistic GT course involves almost no actual skiing, those muscles were quite fresh (skiing groomers is near effortless anyway) and we cruised down at a good pace. I never saw any signs for "Apex Express" but we just kept randomly picking a direction and eventually, after nearly 3000' of descent, we could see the finish line. The lower third of the mountain was in perfect corn, and we ripped what felt like olympic GS turns (and probably looked vaguely incompetent in the way that skimo racers often seem to) down to the finish. I heard an announcer read out our names and came to my final hockey stop. A volunteer managed to get a medal over my helmet. Our picture was summarily taken, and we staggered into the circus-like finishing area to look for beers and someplace to sit down. Our time was 14 hours 25 minutes.

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    Upslope was just giving away beer, something unheard of in Utah. I kept thinking the lady was going to yell at me for taking them, but she just smiled. I had a couple XPAs, my wife brought something that wasn't ski boots for my feet. She had the dog with her, who was pretty happy to see me. We just sat there in the sun for probably an hour. I just didn't want to stand up anymore. Finally, we got in the car and drove to Glenwood Springs, where we'd eat a recovery meal, drink too many beers and pass out.

    -------------------------------

    I didn't think it would be so tough, but it was the hardest thing I've ever done by several orders of magnitude. My feet each had a 2" x 3" blister on the forefoot. I couldn't really make sensible sentences most of the rest of that night. But we had finished the race, beating the cutoff times (our only goal) and there was no reason ever to do it again. I think we skinned 30 or 31 of the 37.81 total miles. Each of our watches registered just about 8300' of climbing. In the immediate aftermath we each swore that we'd never do this race again; there was no need, we had done it, next time let's pick something fun. Maybe the Five Peaks in Breck, maybe one of the big European races, who knows. But by the next morning, I was already scheming about how I could do better...

    I can't really say I recommend the race. There's almost nothing that you could honestly describe as "skiing," no less "backcountry skiing." It's the worst walk/ski ratio of anything I've ever done. In a bad year, you might have to run some of the course. You might get "reversed" into finishing at Crested Butte. It's a logistical nightmare no matter what the course looks like, you probably need to buy a bunch of gear you'll never use. But there is something about it...

    ...just remember to tape your feet.
    Last edited by mall walker; 04-02-2019 at 01:55 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    But there is something about it...
    Out-Fucking-Standing!!!
    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do."

  5. #5
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    Great write up. Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Rad.

    I fear one day I may hate myself enough to try this race.

  7. #7
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    In the immediate aftermath we each swore that we'd never do this race again; there was no need, we had done it, next time let's pick something fun. But by the next morning, I was already scheming about how I could do better...
    I have done Lotoja 5 times and that was my exact thought after every time!
    That was outstanding, thanks for sharing the experience.
    Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?

  8. #8
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    Worthy read. I recently had an inkling of maybe considering doing it, and you've successfully quashed that desire, so thanks for that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  9. #9
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    Haha, nice report. Nordic gear next time! At least you have confirmed your priorities as a skier. What a miserable stupid ass sufferfest on AT gear. Maybe take a closer look at the course map next time
    PE, Mechanical Engineering
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  10. #10
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    Dear fucking lord.
    Mad props on finishing what can only be described as a very long torture. Bet that 18k day in Hogum is looking a lot more appealing now!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    Haha, nice report. Nordic gear next time! At least you have confirmed your priorities as a skier. What a miserable stupid ass sufferfest on AT gear. Maybe take a closer look at the course map next time
    I was thinking that a pair of my old NNN-BC set-ups on Karhu somethings with fish scales would be the hot set-up.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  12. #12
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    congrats and great write-up! i did the race on a 'reverse' year with my dad, and this makes me stoked to go back for the full sufferfest. nice one!

  13. #13
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    Awesome write up. Never really considered doing it and now am pretty confident that I'll never consider doing it. Congrats on the accomplishment.
    Last edited by rudy; 04-02-2019 at 10:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plugboots View Post
    I was thinking that a pair of my old NNN-BC set-ups on Karhu somethings with fish scales would be the hot set-up.
    I made a thread in tech talk, but imo the ideal setup would be an AT boot with a bellows, then a normal skimo race binding with a tele cable in addition. If you could get a lightweight (somewhere around 1kg?) boot, mount this whole setup on a fishscale ski like a Voile Objective BC. This way you could still ski fast and hard (not that this matters at all, but I refuse to go full tele again) with your heel locked, throw skins on for the climb up Star Pass and the initial resort climb, but use tele/fishscales for all the rolling shit in between. It would also be a fun setup for doing similar long terrible sufferfest days! Or maybe something like that Meidjo tele binding and one of the new ultralight Crispi carbon tele boots... lockable heel + tele option on a fishscale ski would crush.

    If you wanted to do it simply though, then yes leather boots with 3 pin bindings on some metal-edged fishscale XC skis would be far better than even skimo level AT gear, imo.

  15. #15
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    PNW
    Posts
    4,758
    I forgot to say congrats. Big effort, dude.
    PE, Mechanical Engineering
    University of Bridger Bowl Alumnus
    Alpental Creeper

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    532
    Nice read! Iím definitely never doing that.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    In a van... down by the river
    Posts
    4,211
    That sounds terrible.

    Sounds similar to mt biking WRIAD or Kokopelli... no thanks.

    Good on ya for gettin' it done, though.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,127
    Wow, well done!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    inpdx
    Posts
    12,093
    i read it - thanks for writing it up!

    must be a great satisfaction to understand the race in an athlete's mind...
    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    But by the next morning, I was already scheming about how I could do better...
    as i read, i wondered how you'd feel about the next one


    great job!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    SLC
    Posts
    4,470
    thanks for the kind words everyone! and don't let me get you down on the race if you are thinking about it... "it's just like having fun, only different."

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    412
    Nice job finishing and getting some shots against Colorado in there

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    767
    Congrats!

    Having done that race myself a few times I definitely consider it ďtype 2 funĒ.

    Re gear - I think thereís a reason most people are on very light or full on race AT setups these days. That stuff didnít exist back when this race started but now itís just best compromise for covering long distance, with short steep up and downs and variable conditions. Would have to be very specific conditions and/or a truly exceptional skier for full on nordic gear to make sense now. I used to ponder putting a tech binding on a metal edge nordic bc ski with fishscale but they actually weigh more than skimo race skis and I think mohair skins can be almost as fast and definitely more versatile.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sandy
    Posts
    1,350
    Nice write up! I've had the GT in the back of my mind for a few years, and even reading this I still kind of want to do it. Maybe I have a few screws loose.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    tetons
    Posts
    6,740
    bravo guys
    sounds like a slog but it's so funny how the long term memory is bad for these types of events
    Towards the end you are like "why TF did I want to do this? I do not want to do this anymore" Then the next day you start wanting to improve upon the last....
    skid luxury

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    11,931
    Nice type 2 tr. Congratulations.

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