Words and photos by Jefe Branham
Once again the Gunny Loopy Loop featured two loops, the Shortie at 192 miles and 27,000 feet of vert or the Biggie at 315 miles and 45,000 feet. Both Loops started and finished right in Gunnison, Colorado. Lots of climbing and descending, and not much of it is easy. Rough, rugged, and rewarding trail riding, connected by some decent dirt roads is the essence of the Loopy.
This year some familiar faces and some new friends showed up on September 5th at 4:00 AM to see what they could find out there in them hills. The stars were bright in the clear cool morning air and adventure awaited! Despite the perfect weather at the start, there was talk of a big winter storm rolling in Tuesday, day four of the ride, and riders were taking that info to heart.
This year’s Shortie riders had perfect, if perhaps slightly hot conditions. No rain, highs in the 80s, lows in the upper 30s, and dry trails. The riding was damn good too with some rain the weekend before. Over half who started made the loop, quite impressive riding from these amazing folks. I can not state enough how challenging these loops are.
This year’s Biggie was taken on by four brave riders. The massiveness of the route combined with the impending weather made for some on-the-fly route changes and one rider collected from the course just as the snow started to fly. The storm turned out to be a nasty little blast of winter, crazy winds that knocked trees down everywhere, combined with heavy wet, wind driven snow. The kind of weather that no one wants to be out in. It was massive! Still the Biggie is there, ready for next round of strong riders to take it on in 2021.
Times are according to Trackleaders and might be a bit off.
Maxwell Lasky: 2d:10h:10m
Joe & Kristen Tonsager: 2d:10h:30m, (three-time finishers!)
*Bryan Klahn started the Biggie and took the 401 section, then took the Shortie route from Taylor to beat the storm. 2d:07h, great choice!
**Liz Carrington, 2d:09h, Liz had exceptionally wet weather and skipped Texas Ridge section due to storm activity, impressive finish considering conditions.
Jefe Branham: 2d:17h:30m
*Artec Durham started the Biggie and rode all the way to the Top of Monarch Pass, before heading to Gunny to beat the storm.
**Todd Schweitzer rode to the bottom of Canyon Crk, where he was hoping to wait out the storm only to be picked up just as the storm got crazy.
Congrats to everyone who participated in this year’s event. Keep an eye on our events calendar for more great rides and races.
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