Taking place August 18-24, 2014, the 2014 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will feature 16 of the world’s top professional cycling teams. Led by UCI ProTeams BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Pro Cycling, Team Garmin-Sharp, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing, the race will include some of the top talent in the sport. Taking riders on a heart-pounding journey through the Colorado Rockies, the seven-day stage race will travel 550 miles from Aspen to Denver, making stops in cities known for their cycling culture and history such as Vail and Boulder.
This year marks our 3rd consecutive year as the official backpack of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and we are amped to be following the tour across our home-state! This year, we want to provide you with a couple more ways to win Osprey gear if you plan on attending one of the 7 stages so listen up and stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! (more…)
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures brings you Durango native Jim Philpott’s first entry recounting his participation in the recent Crested Butte-to-Aspen “Grand Traverse” ski race. Enjoy the read…
The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse is a backcountry touring race from Crested Butte, CO through the Gunnison National Forest over to Aspen. The race starts at midnight in the town of Crested Butte and finishes with a scary long groomer (because we were on Nordic gear) down Aspen Mountain to the finish at the base of the Gondola.
The week before the race this year the course received about 30″ of new snow and was getting hammered with high winds so the conditions were expected to be extremely variable. On race day though the weather cleared and with the exception of single digit temperatures and high winds in the early morning the weather was perfect! We even got a little powder skiing in off the back side of Star Pass.
The race is a team event with two people per team; this is mostly for safety reasons as there aren’t many rescue options once the race is underway. Other than endurance, a few screws loose “upstairs,” and a good strong team mate (mine being long time friend and Durango native Todd McGrath), gear selection is the most important aspect.
For my pack I chose my Variant 37 because I could fit whatever gear I needed and whatever gear was required without compromising comfort and versatility…I couldn’t be happier with the Variant for the purposes I’ve tested it with so far (primarily backcountry skiing trips). For skis and boots I chose to run nordic skis and skate boots with some small “kicker” skins for the big hills…of which there are a ton!
We ended up coming in 67th out of 149 racers, not bad for our first go-round, and we had a blast. You can find the rest of the race results here. Enjoy the photos and leave me a comment if you’ve ever done this race and what your experience was like. I’d love to hear other perspectives on the Grand Traverse!
For more information check out Jim’s bio page here.