Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gravel Conspiracy 2014

When: Sept 5-7th 2014
Where: Duluth to Grand Portage and back to Duluth
What: 250 miles of gravel, dirt and Forest service roads roads on the north shore of Minnesota

Friday morning September 5th we will meet in Duluth, load bikes into a box truck and board a 55 passenger coach that will deposit you just short of the Canadian border. around lunch time.

Day 1 will see you ride from Grand Portage to Grand Marais over some of the roughest roads in MN. You will go from the lowest point in the state, to near the highest point, and back to the lowest in 65 miles.

Day 2 will send you one a rollercoaster ride down the Laurential Divide to Silver Bay. Past conspirators will remember Bally Creek, Mark Lake, and Honeymoon Trail.  We even are gonna be revisiting Heartbreak Hill, but this time going down it! Then a quick break at the Trestle Inn for some beers and tetherball

Day 3 will take us along the shore to Gooseberry falls, and then we turn inland  before coming back into Duluth.

For the sake of logistics I have reserved a 55 passenger bus and leased a Box Truck to transport people and their gear from Duluth to Grand Portage.  I will make sure that your belongings are delivered to you each night from the box truck. If you wish to ride the bus, I would ask that you purchase a bus ticket. You are not required to purchase a ticket to participate in the Gravel Conspiracy. As always the Gravel Conspiracy is a free event.
As always you are on your own. If something goes wrong, you are on your own. THERE IS NO SAG. There is no cell service. You could die!
More will be revealed in the coming days. To Register click on the registration link or just fill out the form.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Northern Promises





A beautiful start.

Starting up the shore. The group would splinter quickly

Rob was on the prowl for some gnar.

LisaT motors on all smiles


Monika Sattler would soon fashion a voodoo doll named Joshua Stamper. Photo cred Ben Oney

We ended up having to have a gas station potluck when the casino closed the kitchen.
   

John Carline rolling towards the Canadian border.


Ben Oney is the rose between two thorns PhotoCred: Ben Oney

Yeah, I Hauled pizza out to the middle of no-where. Photo cred: Ben Mullin

Bryce, why you bleeding all over the place? PhotoCred: Ben Oney

Ben Mullen captured the engineering prowess of beavers

We made time to break bread as a group. Photo cred: Doug Krone




Greatest bloody mary EVAR? Photocred: Doug Krone





After Bryce tried to put a hole in his hand, he volunteered to run the aid station, which meant that I got to ride on the last day! Thanks Bryce!

Dallas Wynne rolls in as a 2 time GC finisher

John Carline is also a 2x finisher, and Scott Spoo finshed his first GC

Bob was our resident meteorologist!


 
Monika and Chukker rolling down Bally Creek
Bryce shows off his puncture wound
Ben Mullen captures the essence of the north shore.
"There is a whole ocean of water down there, and you can drink it"
Many thanks to all the participants for bringing their A games. Everyone had fun and got to make some new friends.
Gravel Conspiracy 2014 will start on September 5th. We will start in Duluth, take a tour bus up to the canadian and then ride back to Duluth. Details will be forthcoming.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Laurential Divide Routes


 Ok. The routes are finalized.  Look for a series of emails from me over the next 36 hours that will include your schedule, cue sheets and GXP files.
Stage 1: Sept 13th GM to GP 52miles
 Stage 1 Start Time is at 12 Noon: GM to Grand Portage (GP) will start with 15 miles along hwy 61 then it turns straight up as you move away from the shore.  Expect road surfaces to be very poor with large rocks in the double track. Once you cross Tomohawk Trl you must be extremely alert as there is a very active logging operation in the area.  I will mark this on the cue sheets. You will then proceed into the Grand Portage Reservation and on to the Casino.  Dinner is on your own.


Stage 2: Sept 14th GP to GM 85 miles
Stage 2: We will leave the casino at 9am and traverse the northern border of the US and Canada (you will almost be able to smell the poutine, we are so close). There are no sources of potable water on the northern part of this route. I know this because I ran out of water and ended up having to drink untreated lake water. In a few more days we will find out if I have been living right.  I will set up a aid station around Greenwood Lake.  There is well water access on the lower third of the route at the kimball lake campground, and this will be marked on your cue sheets.
Oh Canada!

Stage 3: Sept 15th Lutsen Figure-8 65 miles
Stage 3: Depart GM at 9am and start running the ridges south. We will actually ride in a large figure-8 so I will set up a aid station at the crossing. 
This is a subtle reminder that we will be in a very large, very remote place.  It took them 12 years to find these guys and the crash site is less than 20 miles from a US highway.  Know how to navigate and Be prepared!









Friday, July 19, 2013

Recon 2013

Went up north with family this weekend to hammer out some unknowns on the route and donate some blood to some of the locals. Much gnar was had and questions got answered. Final route recon is in a few weeks. Then I will send out the route files. I also tried digitizing some maps for distibution, and have figured out how to use google maps offline with a smart phone in airplane mode so it does not kill your battery. All this will soon be revealed. Patience, weedhopper.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Roster

As a means of confirming that I got your registration email, your name and info should end up here within a day or two. You will recieve further instructions via email within a few days.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gravel Conspiracy 2013: Laurential Divide

It's Back.
September 13th-15th, 2013
Price: Free
75 Co-Conspirators will depart from Grand Marais, MN for 3 days of gravel and dirt road bike riding through the beautiful Superior National Forest, skirting the southern edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Each night will be spent at a resort, campground or public house.

There is no sag, there is no support, no one will come to get you if you get a flat. At times you will be 40 miles from the nearest gas station.
You could get eaten. Bugs. Bears. Cougars (not the sassy, middle-aged kind either).
We would be sad, but its a reality that you have to face. This endeavor is not to be taken lightly.

The Route
Each Stage will be between 60 and 100 miles, and will consist of predominantly Forest Service and logging roads. Note: We will not have the wide open Gravel "superhighways" like "the Grade" last year. Think a healthy dose of double track.
  • The First Stage will end The Grand Portage Casino
  • The 2nd Stage will end in Grand Marais, MN
  • The Final Stage will bring riders back into Grand Marais.
Note: This years course is going to be especially rugged, poorly marked,  and will cover some very mountainous terrain.  You MUST Have a GPS that allows you to follow a GPX or a TCX course. Cue sheets are only a tool of last resort.
Why?
My experience has been that too often in one day events, you get to ride with and meet a lot of really interesting people, but as soon as the race is over everybody climbs into their cars and goes home. I wanted to put on a low key, challenging event, that gave riders a chance to hangout in a beautiful locale, after a full day of riding.
Yay bikes!


Sound Great? Good!

Registration will open May 1st. All the details are here.

Got Questions? There is a good chance that they will be answered here

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2012 Stories


I hope that everyone has had a chance to recover and reflect on all the good times that were had. Just want to thank yall for all the kind words, and present some of my thoughts for what I would like to do next year.
First, while this is not a race, there is plenty of folks that wanted to go to the front and push the pace. Drew was chief among them, and was the first finisher on the first and last day.  His dominance was only interupted by my faulty GPS track on the 2nd day going from Bearskin to Ely.  Aaron Alto was able to capitalize on Drews detour, and was the first finisher on Saturday. I actually gave up trying to keep track of peoples times when riders started wanting to leave early and late, some staying on track, some taking more well established routes. Regardless, everyone got their monies worth.
Drew, Deathrider, Lisa, and Charly all have their own stories to tell, so I will let you check them out yourself.
After collecting feedback from the participants I think that we will make a few changes for next year.
  • Stage lengths are going to get trimmed.  I want these events to be a challenge to people, but I also have to recognize that not everyone is capable of averaging 18 mph, and having riders unprepared to finish in the dark was a little too risky. This also gives everyone a little more time to hang out and enjoy company. Expect to ride 60, 90and 80 miles next year, but expect a little more up and down.
  • The date is going to be pushed back one week for the sake of Ted Loosens marriage and so that there is a little bit of a break between the Dakota-50 and the GC. Next years date is going to be September 13-15th, 2013.
  •  The GPX and TCX files that you get next year will be the actual route that I have ridden, not a transposed version that I created in Bike Route Toaster. This is what caused the one snafu this year on the 2nd day.  If I feel the need to flag a route section I will use a VERY distinct type of flagging (like purple polka dots) or chalk mark the ground.
  • I am probably going to have a short list of things that I would like to see everyone carry (front and rear lights, a space blanket, etc)
  • We will be using plastic name plates next year.  They will be waterproof, rigid, and will make a nice keepsake.
I did encounter a problem this year that I really do not know how to get around, about 35% of the folks that registered did not show up.  This is nothing new, but it does present a problem when I am turning people away and telling sponsors that they will be getting a set amount of exposure.  What if I asked you to write a check for a nominal amount of money, and if you show up at the start, you get your check back?  If you withdraw 6 weeks before the event, you would also be able to get your money back (this period would also correspond with Bearskin Lodges cancellation policy). Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.