Pained, Shamed and Famed

by Gordon Pairman 

   The dust has settled on the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE 2004 and a full report will be up on their website soon (  Passes that were conquered by BIG DOG entrants included Webster, Taylor, Mosquito, Imogene, Black Bear and Engineer.  Quick runs to the top of Pikes Peak and Mount Evans found riders slowed by thick clouds, rain and ice balls.

     Some highlights included “Baby Dog” George Courtsunis from New York shaming himself by throwing his R80 G/S over an edge above the Apex mine, requiring the help of four other riders to get it back onto the jeep trail.  Courtsunis was unhurt but the BMW suffered minor damage (mirror and headlight pod).

      KLRs accomplishing some odd feats overshadowed the long awaited battle between the KTMs and BMWs.  For instance, while a R1200 GS and a LC8 KTM 950 Adventure raced over Stoney Pass, it was a KLR 650 piloted by Chris Jones from Atlanta, Georgia that followed with a helmet camera capturing the handlebar banging.  Both riders had to yield to Wildman Wolfgang Glaeser on a R100 GS who led much of the way!

     While numerous crashes claimed mirrors, Tourtech footpegs, and dented expensive gas tanks, no BIG DOG entrants required pain serious enough for hospitalization.

Gordon Pairman, from Tucson, Arizona tempted fate several times will crashing his BMW R100 GS on the baby head rocks of Taylor Pass.  Caught on film in his 15 seconds of fame, Pairman was shown riding sideways as he rode off the jeep trail and into the bushes.  Pairman added to his fame by winning the World’s Wheelie Contest.

     Eric “Wolfman” from Boulder, Colorado led a collection of fully loaded KLRs and stripped BMWs with his Suzuki DR 650.  As one BMW F650 GS owner said later, “I’m looking at swapping my F650 for one of those DRs next year.” 

     While basking in the late afternoon sun in Gunnison, 14 time BIG DOG entrant “Little Dog” John Richardson from Evergreen, Colorado declared the mapping out of the route this year made the event his best yet.  10 year entrant “Bee Dog” Barry Finch, from Connecticut, on a BMW R100 GS, was enjoying the company of first time entrant “SOB DOG” Sean Finch, his son.  The oldest entrant, Vance Griffitts, from Playa Del Rey, California, on a BMW R80 G/S, at 71 years old, showed his little brother Jim Griffitts, on a BMW R80 G/S from Boise, Idaho, how a two year age difference leads to more knowledge and better riding as they raced back and forth across the Continental Divide for three days.

     Sponsors for the BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE 2004 included: BMW of Denver, BOB’S BMW, KTM of North America, Wolfman, Dual Star, Happy Trails, Aerostich, Dual Sport News and Global Motorcycle Adventures.

      The 2005 BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE is slated for August 12-14.  In the meantime there may be a BIG DOG ADVENTURE INVITATIONAL RIDE to the bottom of South America in December 2004-January 2005.

WOOF, from BIG DOG ADVENTURE RIDE Central 8/18/04