After racing Pierre’s Hole several years ago I’ve been wanting to make the trip back to Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Wyoming to try this race again. If you’ve never been to Grand Targhee you should just come for the mellow vibe and the insane views. I knew that they added miles of single track to the course this year, so I figured it was a good time to get back up there. The course did not disappoint, the trail crew has done plenty of trail work since the last time I was there. The riding on course was spectacular with lots of high alpine climbing, fast flat out descents, switchbacks, and fast, flowy, rolling sections.
The race started out with a huge climb straight up the mountain and it just seemed to go on forever. That sorted out the pack and I quickly jumped to the front with local legend Cary Smith. We rode together for most of the first lap but at about an hour and a half, he got a small gap on me and by the end of the first lap of three, he had about a minute on me. On the second lap I was feeling good but not great and I just tried to keep a good pace going. I had a couple of close calls because of all the insane views, at one point I came around a corner and the Grand Teton was in perfect view, with a cloud getting sliced in half by the summit.
At the start of the third lap, Cary had a four-minute lead on me and I was just trying to stay strong for the rest of the race. After a wet and muddy start to the race, the trail had dried up and was riding like a dream! I was really enjoying rallying such great dirt. I ended up finishing about 7 minutes behind Cary in second and more importantly, I had a great time at this race with super fun riding and the organizers did a great job putting it on. There was camping on-site for 20 dollars with showers for three days and you really can’t beat that. I definitely recommend this race for anybody looking for a fun track in a beautiful setting, it’s a great event and I will be back again.
This was my first time making the trip to Wyoming to race the Laramie Enduro. I’ve heard so many good things about this race that I was excited to go and check it out. I knew that the 111K race was a fast one with lots of roads and trail riding mixed in through the course and there’s not a lot of climbing in this race, so I was pretty much out of my element in every way. The race venue was beautiful, rolling hills and cool rock formations peppered the landscape everywhere you looked which made for great scenery for the entire race.
The morning of the race was comfortably cool and with some cloud cover, the first couple hours were very nice. Not so nice was the start, with an all out sprint up a ¼-mile hill onto the first singletrack. I managed to get onto the trail in 4th position so despite being out of breath, I was happy to be up front. After a mix of double track and trail we dumped out to a dirt road for the first of many road sections. There were five people in our group and we started a draft line and moved along quickly. When we got to the next single track section we quickly shed two of our group and it was down to Alex Pond, Thomas Spannring and myself. We stayed together through this section and into the next road section but Thomas was riding very well and gapped us. On the next singletrack section, I got ahead of Alex for a little but when we hit the road again he caught me fairly quickly. We worked together for a while, but the road was killing me and Alex was much stronger here, eventually he pulled away and left me to push into the wind on my own.
By about mile 50, I was feeling all the hard effort in the beginning starting to take its toll on me. Fortunately the last 20 miles is a good amount of singletrack and my energy and spirits began to lift, I was glad to be almost done, then just ahead of me was Alex I didn’t think I would see him again and I think he was just as surprised to see me. We both pushed hard to the finish but I just didn’t have it to catch him. At the finish we found out that Thomas had followed the race moto the wrong way and was now behind us, which was a shame because he was very strong and deserved the win, but that meant Alex got the win and I took second.
It was a really fun weekend of racing in Laramie, great venue with free camping and the after party was really fun with a great band to end the day with, definitely not the type of race that I’m used to but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone from time to time and try something new.