Saturday, May 21, 2016

Gravel Conspiracy 2016: September 9-11th

Its that time again. Mark your calendars for September 9th through the 11th, 2016.
Registration for the 6th Gravel Conspiracy is open (click on the registration link above).

The tentative route (I am finalizing the route next weekend) will be to start from around Silver Bay and ride to Ely via double track, dirt roads, and gravel.
Second day will see us on a big loop west of Ely, and then returning to town for a 2nd night. This really simplifies the logistics.
The last day will have us rolling back to Silver Bay.

As always, I take care of the transportation logistics of getting your stuff from the start to your lodging, but if you want to bikepack it, RESPECT!
I will post the formal agenda in two weeks after I finalize everything with local authorities.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2015 Happened. And then I went on a Bike tour

GC15 was a blast, despite getting a toad of a truck from Penske.
I wanted to post about this earlier, but I went on a bikepacking trip after GC. I will spin that yarn later.
Here are what other people have to say about GC15:

Ben Oney: "This year was my 3rd Gravel Conspiracy (I missed the first one). Each year I finish this event amazed that there aren’t 300 people demanding a spot on the roster. Admittedly, GC is hard to define. It’s not a race, but it attracts some fast riders who like to push themselves. It’s not bikepacking, but the route is as remote as anything you’ve ridden and you have the option of carrying your gear and camping every night if you wish. It’s not a party ride, but you’ll have access to a cooler of beer at some key points throughout the weekend."

DeathRider: "The Gravel Conspiracy........To me, is...... three days of riding amongst the best terrain in Minnesota with your pals."

Ben Mullin for CyclovaXC: "You are responsible for you".  That was a direct quote and the general gist of Head Conspirator Josh Stamper's pep talk as we gathered around the truck Friday morning just north of Duluth.  My third year of participation had me translating that statement to "You are responsible for you, and anyone you encouraged to also do this crazy thing."

There is lots'o stuff on the book of faces. Google that mess.

Here are a few from me that I really enjoyed:
I was super pumped to get Nate Ball up here this year!

Filter was defiled

We thought that replacing the filter would fix it. Spoiler Alert: it didn't.

This guy. Sunshine on my shoulder.

Nothing like the morning calm.

Spirit Animal. Kunisher

Organizing the box

The hand off. 
The Wizard says to get your honkey bottom to Silver Bay  for GC16

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lodging for 2015

We will be following a similar route to last year:
How we get from Korkki to Grand Portage (hence the bus ticket)

  • Meet at Korkki Ski area by 8am, load bikes and gear in box truck, and load people in tour bus.
  • Proceed in tour bus to Grand Portage where the real adventure begins
Stage 1: Ride from Grand Portage to Grand Marais (~60 miles)
Rolling down pin cushion

Stage 2: ride bikes from Grand Marais to Silver Bay/Beaver Bay (~100 miles)
Obligatory stop at the trestle inn for lunch and tetherball

Stage 3: Ride bikes from Beaver Bay back to the Korkki Ski area (~50 miles)
Briton Pit mine section

As we are starting to fill up I would like you to think about where you would like to stay for the two nights that we will be out. We will be staying in Grand Marais the first night, and Silver Bay/Beaver Bay the second night.

In Grand Marais (September 11th, 2015) here are some places that I have stayed at or have come recommended:
Art House B&B
Macarthur House B&B
Gunflint Motel
Grand Marais Municipal Campground
Other lodging options are available through the Cook Co Visitors Bureau

The second night (September 12th, 2015) we will be staying in Silver Bay/Beaver Bay (they are only 2 miles apart). Lodging options are limited so make your reservation early.
AmericInn in Silver Bay (its pricey but they have a hot tub and a giant waterslide that will make grown men squeal)
The Mariner in Silver Bay (they want a 2 day stay, but 2 nights at the Mariner is still cheaper than one night at the Americinn.)
The Silver Bay Marina Campground: They have a few campsites at the marina that they do not advertise. You will need to call to reserve these.
Camp 61 Bunkhouse in Beaver Bay (We actually start the last day from right in front of this place)

Questions? Just leave a comment

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Date

Gravel Conspiracy.
September 11th-13th, 2015. Plan your life accordingly.
Same format as last year, but route may change slightly depending if I can get a boat to ferry people across a lake.
Registration opens in March 15th. Registration is capped at 75.
More will be revealed with the passing of time.

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!