1 - We make it to the starting line with backpacks
bursting at the seams with gear and feeling like we’ve
just shown up for the Tour de France on a Schwinn Stingray
with a banana seat.
How come we seem to have so much stuff and others
have so little?
All we have is the mandatory stuff…it’s too late
to worry now. The countdown begins and the teams are off!
The race starts with
a strenuous climb of the Peruvian Gulch trail, an incline
that gains 3500 feet in a mile and a quarter reaching
11,000 feet. We
choose a strategy of conserving energy on this tough
opening section of the course and to let the others
burn up as we pass the remains along the way.
Huffing and puffing our way to the top near the
back of the pack we are rewarded with incredible alpine
views that others are likely going too fast to enjoy.
Topping out on Hidden
Peak, we traverse a knife-edge ridge, a jumbled mass
of sharp broken rocks with over 500 feet of exposure
on either side.
Picking our way through the ridge and gazing
at the surrounding terrain is why we’ve come here.
This makes it worth the stress of preparation.
On top of the second summit of the day at 11,700
feet, we’ve reached CP 1.
At CP 2, we are presented with our first
route finding challenge. We can follow a two-track road down to the bikes.
It’s simple, but indirect due to many switchbacks
on the mountain.
Choice B involves reversing our course about
¼ mile and running 3000’ down a scree field and following
a river to the bikes.
It looks good on the map, but we could encounter
terrain too steep to handle and may run into some tough
We could also be rewarded with a quick trip to
the bikes, but we decide that we’re not ready to take
chances as a new team and that we will play it safe
with option A.
alpine section is followed by a long bike ride through
We’re excited about the opportunity to get off
our feet and make some progress on the bikes.
That is, until we see the trail.
It’s an uphill singletrack trail that only a
horse could love.
The next 9 hours will have us pushing our bikes
through the mountains instead of riding them.
We arrive at the Timpanookee Campground checkpoint
at midnight and as
we rest for a few minutes, we listen to the sounds of
a bear growling nearby.
After a long
day and night, we finally arrive at Transition Area
1, Utah Lake Campground, at 4:50 AM to find our crew,
Jerry and Randy Bauer, ready for us.
We decide to catch a couple of hours sleep and
hit the water at daybreak.