This was a tight race for the team. Still fried from the 48hr Nomad a few weeks earlier and prepping for the Cowboy tough a few weeks later. This was a race that all of us wanted to do so we made it work. I had very little extra vacation because of so much travel/racing/wedding. So I figured I would suffer a little more.
I Left Boulder, CO Friday after work, driving into the night to Driggs, ID. I arrived around 1am. Thankfully I had the best two teammates, Thomas Mckeen and Danelle Ballengee. They did all the pre race work. Marking the maps, loading up on food and gathering intel. The next morning, we drove up to Grand Targee ski resort for the start.
We were off with a bang!! exploring the local mountain bike trails. We took an early lead along the fun single track. Next up, we had to race our bikes to the top of the ski hill. Skiers are lucky enough to get a gondola ride. But the hike up was amazing among wild flowers. The ride down was even more fun. So many interesting route choices! Off the mountain, we started the real maze of endless local trails. Just a few minutes behind the locals we were very happy with our performance.
We pushed on gaining on them by the waters edge. Our team worked together flawlessly; everyone taking turns and pushing hard. Off on the canoe, we paddled well. But this is where we made our mistake. Instead of turning around on the paddle after the second CP. We continued upstream along bends and curves almost to Victor, ID. Crap!!. Make sure you match up your rivers correctly folks!
We flipped the boat around, discouraged how we went from 1st to last over such a simple mistake. We pushed on determined to finish well and explore more of this beautiful area. We quickly started picking off teams. Pushing hard up almost 5000ft on our bikes. A mix of hiking and riding depending how loose and steep the terrain.
As the sun fell, we found ourselves at a HUGE foot O course. This was going to be the decider. We took off, knocking out some easy CPs but as we got into the meat of it, we started to realize how big the O course was. For the shortest points, the time cost was about 25minutes, but further ones could be over an hour each way. We continued to push but this was when the 48hr race just 2 weeks earlier really took a toll. We got tired, We got loopy, and we got quiet. We walked along like zombies never willing to stop. We kept knocking off points and making good decisions talking if we had to but time was not on our side. We ended up skipping 2 points to make the 28hr time cutoff.
We were out of the woods and back on our bikes around sunrise. We pushed forward. Flying down rugged single track that lasted for over an hour. We moved closer to the finish. Out of the woods we pushed hard down the road to the finish!!! What a team effort! We pushed hard, we pushed through low spots and frustrations and never even thought about giving up. At the end of the day we got 3rd to some of the best US racers and local pros.
Now time to drive home before Work on Monday Morning.
18hrs driving to and from race, 28hrs racing, 1 tired Ryan.