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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone iterested in going out to Happy Gorge with me to watch the Irondog Racers? Happy Gorge is about 160 miles out on the Irondog Trail from Big Lake. 05SDI will be working the hill at Happy and I plan on meeting him there.

We can either go to Shell Lake and stay Saturday night, or blaze the trail from Big Lake Sunday morning ahead of the racers - but I gotta warn you, I'll be going mach 10 without stopping
Not a ride for posers.

PM me if interested, cabin rates are $50 a night at Shell Lake, full bar at the lodge
hot meals. It's only a short ride from Shell Lake to the Happy.

See map for route from my cabin at Big Lake to the Happy Gorge.
 

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Irondog,
Yep we'll be working the hill Sunday.
Spending Saturday night at Finger Lake (Winterlake lodge Oh the food is SO worth it!)
Spending Sunday night @ Shell lake.
You'll see us on the hill. I'll be on my red gade, and will be riding with 3 other sleds; '03 red/black XC6, '02 blue RMK7, and an '01 800 Mt cat.

Hope to see you there!

OH and those of you guys that think you ride fast...... It's like 89 miles of cross country riding to the first check point and some of the racers will cover that in about 70 minutes (or so) depending on visibilty.
If you are a fast rider and want to ride with Irondog ask him to spot you about one minute for every ten miles you plan to ride and you get to ride with him for about a 1/2 mile as he catches and passes you! The good thing is he'll have your order ready for you when you get to where you are going. (I'll take the cheese burger with everything)
05SDI
 

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High Life said:
When's the date on that? That would be fun.
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The race leaves Big lake this Sunday @ 11:00 (?) (2/12/6)
Irondog I believe is leaving Saturday Spending the night @ shell lake.
I am leaving Saturday from Nancy Lake (buddys cabin) and going all the way to Finger lake (about 150 miles) We'll be spending Saturday night at Winterlake lodge. The food alone is worth the trip. (They serve dinner @ 5 PM don't be late!) Then Sunday night we'll stay at shell lake lodge.

Winterlake lodge; Phone: (907) 274-2710
Shell lake lodge; Phone: (907) 733-2817
Skwentna Roadhouse; Phone; (907) 733-2722

Skwentna has fuel @ about 6.00 a gal (that's what I heard)
Shell and Winterlake lodges may or may not have fuel you'll need to call.

estimated mileage only from Biglake
Skwentna 87
Shell lake 25+ miles from Skwentna
Finger lake 25+ miles from Shell Lake (there are some great swamps to play in)
I think one can get from Skwentna to the Happy hills and back with the 3 extra gallon jerry can and still have some gas to play. I don't have the same engine as you guys but for the last 2 years it took just under 6 gallons to get from Skwentna to Finger lake and that was using as much gas as it took to have some swamp fun! (read WFO) I was in my 05 gade 600 SDI both times.

05SDI
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The race starts this Sunday 2-12 from Big Lake.

The easier - take your time - play in the swaps - enjoy the scenery option would be to go up to Shell Lake Saturday and stay the night.

The more difficult - nonstop - WFO - take no prisoners ride would be to leave Big Lake two hours before the start of the race. Not the best ride for you Summit guys, you need a bump sled with heavy duty springs and shock valving for that.

There is a lot more snow out in the Skwentna area then there is around the Susitna Valley, there's some really good riding out there, gas is expensive out there though, in the $3 - $5 range.
 

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You guys are lucky you didn't go with me on Sunday. It was pouring down rain from Big Lake to Finger Lake, then snow flakes the size of quarters at the Steps and Happy Gorge.

I went alone and met up with 05SDI at the Gorge, the ride out was good, other then the rain. The trail was OK, lots of fresh wet snow and the single track trail had 2' to 3' high banks - it was like riding in a luge. I didn't play around too much, I wanted to get to the Gorge before the racers.

By the time I made the 168 mile ride to the Gorge my gear was soaking wet on the outside, but my under garments were only damp from perspiration, thank god for water proof Klim gear
My feet and hands were soaked though - it didn't bother me to much as it was 36 deg F.

The ride back was hell, the trail was all tore-up, deep trenches and deep suspension eating pot-holes in the soft wet snow made for thigh burning stand-up riding. I was glad when I finally made it back to the Yetna River and could sit down and get some speed on. It was 10:30pm by the time I made it back to the cabin. The wife had the sauna fired up and a cold beer waiting form me when I got there.
Four Advil, two muscle relaxers and a couple more beers and I slept like a baby.
 

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By the time I made the 168 mile ride to the Gorge my gear was soaking wet on the outside, but my under garments were only damp from perspiration, thank good for water proof Klim gear My feat and hands were soaked though - it didn't bother me to much as it was 36 deg F.
You must have gotten better Klim gear then I did. We rode in the rain on Saturday and the only time I have been wetter was while swimming. Klim works pretty good, but there was nothing gonna keep us dry on Satuday.


I am glad someone enjoys all that Irondog stuff, but it is not for me...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been over on the Irondog site reading the race BLOG's. Sounds like this years race in a motherf#!*r, lots of open water, overflow and a flood warning in Nome. Only three teams made it into Nome today, all others are on safety hold until the morning, 4 teams are out on the trail, no - strike that, out on the water and nobody is sure where they are, they're over due and may be sunk


Ten teams have scratched and another two will most likely scratch before to long.

Here's a link to the Irondog BLOG, scroll through at least 1/2 of the first messages to get to what's been going on today.

Irondog BLOG clicky
 

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Jeff gave me an invite on Saturday. I was ready to ride until he said he was going to log 150 miles. That dude took me on a 50 mile trail ride that dang near broke my whole body. I just can’t hang with you guys, must take some crazy training to get conditioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Jeff only gave you half the story, 150 miles was oneway. You would have been twice as sore on Monday


Here's a pic of Ron Zugg coming out the top of the Gorge, note how deep the snow banks are. They were twice as steep inside the Gorge.
 

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Irondog said:
Snowdog, you're going to have to change your member name to "Digger" if you keep riding with Mikemo.

I can't believe you didn't make it through that huge opening.
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It was not as huge an opening until I went through sideways!


It took a while to figure out the technique fof the day. Within 10 feet of the trailhead we had to cross our first down tree. That should have been a sign of things to come. After the trail was set (either by foot or by the first sled), you could pretty much crawl up any of the hills. Speed was not your friend in the 5 foot deep ditch to the top.

Jason is out working one of the Irondog check points. I am not sure which one, Mikemo may know. He is going to be up here riding for a few weeks, he may try and give you the hard sell on running the Irondog next year...


If this spring weather keeps up maybe we will do another BBQ while he is here. I will have to see if Bri can invite any of her hot friends...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I saw Jason at the tech inspection, we talked, we dreamed, we wished it could be - if only a dealership would meet us half way
I think he said he was going to work the McGrath check point. It looks like Jason's last partner did even less this year then last, Dane must be thrilled.

I'd like to get out and get my feet wet (no pun intended) with you guys, I'll be in town another week, so give me a call if you plan on going out again. All my other riding buddies are hell bent on flat, hard, fast, long distant riding. I look like a duck out of water with a renegade set-up to ride powder. I'm burning through hyfax faster then MikeMo goes through a case of Redbull.
 

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Mike was sucking down the RedBulls on Saturday, that is for sure...


I am waiting on some news about my sled. I hope I can be up and running for the long weekend. I have a couple of PowerTEK connectors that need replacing.

I had Dane and James in my office pool...


There was some talk about another trip to Valdez, but now we have some decent snow around here. Hopefully I can get my sled in and out in time for this weekend.
 

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Hey 05SDI was it that bad out there? Sounds like voulenteering is not much fun and they don't give much respect other than the riders. Fill us in on what went on out there since the website is useless for info and stories. Sounds like they are on the way to fairbanks now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I rode from Big Lake 3 hours before the race started to the Happy Gorge to meet up with Jeff and 3 of his buds. It was raining from Big Lake to Shell Lake - the trail was good, smooth and fast. Snow got deep from Shell to Finger. From Finger to Happy the snow was deeper, the trail was single track with 2-3' high banks. Forget about getting off of it if you had a short track. Jeff and his buds did a good job putting the trail in to the Happy and setting up the Gorge.

We kept the trail filled in as riders climbed through it. Once all but 4 race teams were through the Gorge we all headed back toward Finger Lake, the trail was all tore up with deep pot holes and trenches. We ran into two teams about a mile from the Gorge and gave them the skinny on the trail ahead and I gave them 4 bottles of water. Another mile up the trail we found team #7 on Polaris Fusions stuck up to their necks off the trail. Jeff made a sweep past the rider stuck in a ravine and on his way out snagged an alder with his ski and did a superman with a twist over the handle bars. The 3 of us other guys waded out and pulled the stuck guy out and stomped a trail out for him. They would have never made it out if we wouldn't have helped them. They were the last place race team.

Another mile up the trail we found a trail class team with the rear skid out of their REV. They broke a center shock and were attempting to install the skid without the shock and had planned to ride it. I told them it would never work without the shock - it would just ratchet the track. They didn't have the bolts to reattach the bottom shaft that the shock mounts to. Lucky for them I had my suspension bolt kit with me and I gave it to them, I couldn't believe they didn't have a bolt kit with them.

We didn't see any other riders on the trail back to Finger Lake. I left them at Finger and continued on my own back to Big Lake. I was slow going as the trail was bumpier then hell, I was glad to make it to the Yetna and put some speed on.

There was a lot of new snow out there, I saw Tyson Johnson's dad at Skwentna, he was headed to Puntilla to put the trail in for the racers, there was 3' of new snow between Puntilla and Rohn. I wish we would have know that when we were at the Happy, we were only 15 miles away and could have done it for them, Next year we'll have to get a sat phone so we can call and be called.
 
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