2023 will be the ninth year of the Lost Elephant (formerly the Kootenay Gravel Grinder). It will also be the year for a new route.
In 2017 and 2018 the Lost Elephant visited Invermere and the upper Columbia Valley and we are stoked to have a route that will take us that far north again. Barring any unforeseen wildfires or landslides, this year the Jumbo is going to borrow from the TransRockies Gravel Royale and take you over much of that same terrain, but in a single push, with no support, while throwing in a few extra twists, turns and creek crossings along the way. The Dumbo will keep pace with the Jumbo for the first 130km, then it will depart on its own adventure before rejoining the big loop 120km later. If last year’s standout memory for many people was the exasperation of walking their bike up and down Koko Claims, then we expect that the same rider reaction to come early in 2023 at the 33km marker, when the road disappears and a very difficult, 400m long hike-a-bike section is required.
JUMBO: The 2023 Jumbo route might be a bit harder than 2022 for a couple reasons: not only will there be an extra 1300m of elevation gain, but perhaps more importantly, after the 195km mark there will be no resupply opportunities forcing you to carry more rations over all the biggest climbs. Once again you can expect a wide variety of riding surfaces. The Westide Legacy Trail between Fairmont and Invermere is a beautiful new 25km stretch of paved bike path. There is a short side trip onto the buff and bermed singletrack around Nipika. And of course there will be a succession of rugged, high mountain passes to cross. As is becoming tradition, the route will finish on the flowy Chief Isadore Trail because it tends to produce smiles on the faces of those with any energy left to spare.
DUMBO: The Dumbo should be slightly smoother sailing in 2023. It is the same length as 2022, but with a little less climbing and fewer difficulties overall, most of which are encountered in the first 100km that is shared with the Jumbo (yes, you will have to do the heinous hike-a-bike mentioned above). Oh yeah, and zero resupply options, so make sure to pack your snacks wisely.
If all this stirs your lust for sore wrists and tired legs, come and join us for another elephantidean stampede across the west slope of the Rocky Mountains.
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