Grin & Bear It and Summer GT refuel
[ by Than Acuff ]
This is possibly the most prolific summer of events for Crested Butte Nordic as they intensify for the 38th Grin & Bear It on July 24th and the 8th Grand Traverse Summer Run and Bike presented by Black Diamond. September 4 and 5 with a good follow-up of registrations ahead of schedule and events potentially reaching their maximum.
âI’m confident they’ll fill up,â said Andrew Arell, CB Nordic Events Director.
It all starts with Grin & Bear It, a classic local event that has gained traction as trail running continues to gain in popularity. The Grin & Bear It is Crested Butte’s oldest track challenge and takes place every summer, including the COVID-modified virtual event last summer.
Last summer was to be the start of a new course option. With the Baxter Gulch trail open, CB Nordic Vice President Martin Catmur and Arell came up with the idea of ââcreating a longer loop trail option for the annual event in addition to the classic city trail at Green Lake. and back via the Green Lake trail.
âWe wanted to give Grin and Bear It a whole new life after more than 30 years,â says Arell. âCreate a little more of a tough challenge and reinvigorate trail runners, especially local trail runners, into a new competition. It made sense once the Baxter Gulch trail was created to have a full loop.
The new loop begins at the same location as the classic route, but heads towards the bench and onto Journey’s End Road before entering the freeway to the Baxter Gulch trailhead. From there it’s just a gentle high mountain trail that follows the Baxter Gulch trail to the Carbon Creek trail, then turns right to finally join the Green Lake trail, then back down to the start point / d arrival of the Nordic Center.
But, with COVID still putting the kibosh on big events, CB Nordic opted to do a ‘virtual’ Grin & Bear It last year, including the new course, in which attendees would run one or both courses. solo and times were recorded and recorded via an app.
Although virtual, it was not without enthusiasm, as veteran Grin & Bear It racer and classic course record holder Tim Parr won the 25 kilometer loop course in 1:59:16 and then to Tied with Cam Smith for the 15-mile stretch of the original Green Lake Trail course with a new record time of 1:03:12.
Now that we are all back to normal, this year will be the first race of the new course as planned, with a loaded start line heading for the hills.
âThis is the ‘unveiling’ of the new course,â says Arell.
At the time of going to press, the longer loop course sees the majority of registrations and Arell believes the “classic” course will be just as popular.
âI expect a strong local contingent in classic racing,â said Arell.
Whether you do the new loop or the classic round trip, all participants will be treated to French toast and beer at the finish line.
The Grin & Bear It also serves as a good warm-up / challenge for the CB Nordic event September 4-5, the Grand Traverse Summer Run and Bike presented by Black Diamond.
Last year, CB Nordic passed both races with a few modifications as participants were organized in waves and, with Pitkin County (where Aspen is located) still prohibiting large events, runners and bikers followed a course. , some would say a more arduous course. , all in Gunnison County.
âI think the course hurt the runners,â says Arell. “The bikers said they really liked it.”
This year will be a return to normal, with a slight adjustment for the runners, for both races. The riders will depart early Saturday, September 4 at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, rather than in town as has been done in the past, and finish in Aspen. The next day, the riders will line up in Aspen and then finish in the base area of ââCrested Butte Mountain Resort.
The races will also determine the Triple Crown winners by awarding the men and women the fastest combined times since the ski race in March and the race and bike races in September.
âSo far we have 16 men and 10 women in the race for the Triple Crown,â Arell said.
Registration is even more exciting, at least for CB Nordic.
âIt’s taking shape,â says Arell. âRegistration is stronger than ever. It is still open but we are approaching capacity. Each year we have progressed and these events now have mature legs. “
All information and registration for the Grin & Bear It can be found at cbnordic.org. Registration and information regarding the Grand Traverse Summer Run and Bike events are available at thegrandtraverse.org.