Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    MST
    Posts
    668

    Grand Traverse... What have I gotten myself into?

    So I finally pulled the trigger on a Grand Traverse registration this year. Won't be racing to place high, just going out with a goal of finishing. I have extensive backcountry experience, but most of the tours have been to score good snow and rip fun lines. A few endurance events, but nothing much beyond half marathons. Certainly never anything approaching the 12+ hour sufferfest that is the GT.

    While I feel relatively confident in physical ability if I can sustain a training plan over the next few months, I'm a little unsure of how to approach this from a gear perspective. Current setup is geared more towards the down than the up, so I'm guessing I've got to look into a smaller/lighter setup for the race. I imagine getting it done on a traditional AT setup is doable, but not recommended?

    Looking for some advice on how to plan for this... Do I need to go ultralight everything or are there certain pieces of gear (boots being the obvious answer) that may help this experience suck just a little bit less?

    Any other tips and tricks from those that have completed the race?
    go upside down.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    In a van... down by the river
    Posts
    8,986

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    cb, co
    Posts
    4,343
    Haven't done it, don't want to. But yeah, you'll want a setup just for this to make it more enjoyable. I never see anyone on setups that look fun to ski. There aren't many turns to be had other than off Star Pass.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Aspen
    Posts
    1,875
    I've run aid stations and have a lot of friends who've done it over the years.

    You see young tough guys doing it on 1500-2000g skis, 500g bindings and midweight boots, but a vast majority have gone at least sub-1200g ski, sub-300g and sub-1200g boots (with many in full skimo setups). I think you need to weigh your ability to train/prepare and thus use heavier gear vs the desire to finish and finish happily. If you can't stack the bricks to have a big day on heavier gear, I'd find a way to save weight.

    I'd go light on the boots and look to ideally borrow a light ski setup for game day (ie a skimo friend's older setup). That's what a few buddies have done.

    Work on transitions, dial in the nutrition are two other biggies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    none
    Posts
    7,581

    Grand Traverse... What have I gotten myself into?

    ^^
    Totally agree. Youíll just be skiing Spar at the end. Not like the Power of Four were your skiing Bingo Glades.

    Hopefully they finish at 1A again this year.
    If they do, Iíve got a big hot tub for you!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    mammoth lakes, ca
    Posts
    113
    nice one ronmex! my wife and I are signed up too.

    i raced it in tlt6's and 93 underfoot light-ish skis in 2016 and wouldn't do that again. slogging for 8 hours rather than 10 hours is well worth it in my mind. i'll be taking aliens and skinny skis this year for sure.

    my gear beta: whatever setup you use, bring at least 2 pairs of skins and at least 1 with a tail clip. i saw so many people dealing with skin glue failures, especially those with pure race-style skins.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Mostly the Elks, mostly.
    Posts
    1,031

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Teton Valley
    Posts
    19

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Exit, CO
    Posts
    494
    Quote Originally Posted by CMartin348 View Post
    Lost me at:

    WARNING: Long, mostly words, about a nordic/skimo race. Read at your own risk of boredom, irritation and displeasure.
    The older I get, the faster I was.






    Punch it, Chewie.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    PRB
    Posts
    27,192
    Quote Originally Posted by CMartin348 View Post
    That's a mag, in case anyone was wondering.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Down In A Hole, Up in the Sky
    Posts
    31,479
    Geez, around here that is just skiing from Teton Valley to Teton Valley, and vise-versa.
    Which, btw, is pretty badass.
    Forum Cross Pollinator

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    7,787
    https://cripplecreekbc.com/products/...caAtzREALw_wcB

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    5,129
    Have a couple buddies who are in just your spot....they tried to rope me in but I connected the two who wanted to do it rather than submit myself to the pain.

    May try to volunteer at an aid station just to admire those who chose such an adventure.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Montrose, CO
    Posts
    3,680
    I occasionally think about attempting it one of these years. I've worked an aid station a few times and have a ton of friends that have done it, including that nutcase with a blog upthread. One piece of advice I've heard that may be obvious, is if you aren't pretty comfortable in the dark and extreme cold, build that into your training. Starting in the dark and going through the night is something a lot of folks don't have much experience with.

    As far as gear, go light, there isn't much in the way of real skiing. Good luck and have fun!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    427
    I did it last year. I have done the Leadville 100 on a bike in pretty decent time, and a lot of other endurance cycling events. GT was way TF harder than Leadville.

    It is mostly flat, the one real climb up Starr pass isnít that bad honestly. Itís the grind of it thatís the hard part. I would get a full on skimo setup, with an Alien RS or other similar boot if you donít wanna drop coin on a full race boot.

    I would train as specifically as possible - LONG flattish sufferfests.

    Itís cold as fuck. Get your layers, and especially hydration dialed early in the season. Camelbacks will freeze and leave you stranded. Rotating soft flasks seems to be the way to goÖ

    Good luck! It is a really hard race.
    Iíd go to Aspen and run the last 6 miles of the course ahead of time as it is pretty hard to get a good impression based on elevation profiles.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    1,072

    Grand Traverse... What have I gotten myself into?

    Itís been a few years now but Iíve done it several times, 5 maybe 6 but Iíd have to go count the t-shirts to check. And have buddies who have done many more than I.
    Gear wise think light, and then go even lighter - full skimo race setup is the ticket.
    Honestly canít imagine doing it in regular weight touring gear - sure it can be done if youíre strong or masochistic but Iíd see a bunch of people with that stuff at start in CB and not many at finish in Aspen cos they give up or donít make the cutoffs. Trying that just sounds like turning a sufferfest into a truly horrible miserable never to be repeated sufferfest. Richmond ridge has got to be soul crushing in heavier gear later in the heat of the day.
    As others have said going full gas at midnight is a challenge if you havenít done it before but most important is probably just getting miles in training, pacing and dialing in nutrition and hydration strategy
    Last edited by dcpnz; 12-02-2021 at 10:39 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Amherst, Mass.
    Posts
    4,490
    Quote Originally Posted by CMartin348 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Lost me at: WARNING: Long, mostly words, about a nordic/skimo race. Read at your own risk of boredom, irritation and displeasure.
    Here's the executive summary at the very end (after finishing almost exactly 100% off from the winning time):

    "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 will probably need to buy a bunch of gear you'll never use. But there is something about it..."

    EMGT was originally a nordic backcountry race. Still is for the course layout, but given that nordic backcountry race gear never became a thing, and given that skimo race gear evolved rapidly, the race is now always won by skimo racers on skimo race gear, although some nordic racers on modified nordic race gear sometimes do very well.

    Given that the West has so many amazing skimo races (e.g., Powderkeg, Power of Four), I'm always baffled at the popularity of the EMGT, but I suppose it's become one of those bucket list things, and it also appeals to aerobic endurance athletes who aren't very good downhill skiers (who are a far larger component of the western skimo race fields as opposed to eastern).
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    MST
    Posts
    668
    Thanks everybody for all the great info. Will definitely look into a new setup, but probably (out of stubbornness) will end up going a little heavier than full skimo so that I can at least use it occasionally outside of this race.

    How many transitions would you say there are in a typical year? Other than the obvious ones at the top of Star Pass and Aspen Mountain, any others where itís clearly better to rip skins and ski/skate?

    Also, any recommendations on good training routes relatively close to the front range? As I said earlier, most of my objectives focus on the down or are at the ski resorts just to get some exercise. All of those have less distance and more vert. Would love some tips on where I can get more miles with less vert.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    go upside down.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    prb, co
    Posts
    118
    https://cripplecreekbc.com/blogs/bac...lorado-classic

    traverse from top of berthoud to WP?

    I find i can log a bunch of miles at allenspark, but fair amount of vert.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    7,787
    Quote Originally Posted by RonMexico View Post
    Also, any recommendations on good training routes relatively close to the front range? As I said earlier, most of my objectives focus on the down or are at the ski resorts just to get some exercise. All of those have less distance and more vert. Would love some tips on where I can get more miles with less vert.
    Trail Ridge road could be good if you want to pick a distance and turn off your brain.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Access to Granlibakken
    Posts
    9,445
    Quote Originally Posted by CMartin348 View Post
    Good read, thank you.

    By this time in the race, there was no rhyme or reason to who was where. At the pre-race meeting I had assumed that the folks with PDGs or Aliens, 65mm skimo skis and spandex suits would all destroy us, but this was not the case. I started silently congratulating myself "ha, passed another spandex!" whenever we'd slowly amble past one of these folks. But then someone would come along on Coomback 114s or something 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."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •