Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Race report: Taming the Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

How do you tame a teton?  I didn't quite figure it out, but had fun trying.  This past weekend we headed up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the 9th race in the ICup series: Taming the Tetons.

I thought only Carl, Bob and I would be making the drive up through Afton
 the antler gateway at Afton

to Jackson, but Erica T. took me up on an offer of our one spare bed at The Hostle ($99 per night for quad occupancy as compared to the $220+ I was finding a couple of weeks ago).

Drew switched around his trip at the last minute, so now we were 5 in the room.  I felt like I was back at geology field camp.

Friday after check in, we did a lap of the course

and saw this brave guy

There were some spots on the trail where the board bridges didn't quite cover the mud holes, and lots of semi-technical descents, which I had forgotten about since I raced this several years ago.  I had also forgotten how much fun the trails are.  Jackson is one of the ICup courses I would rather ride than race, since it is a hard course to get to full race pace on because of the twisty technical terrain.

After one lap, Drew, who was trying to maximize his miles and climbing over the weekend in preparation for TransAlps, went out on another ride up the mountain while we cleaned up.  Then we got some grub at Calico's near Teton Village.  Very tasty pasta.

I can't say it was the best night's sleep I've ever had, but it was probably better than Drew's, which was spent on an air mattress on the floor in our tiny room.

Saturday: rise and no-shine.  As we lay in our beds thinking about getting up, it started pouring rain. Luckily, the shower was brief enough that it only helped to make the course tacky.

Time to race. The four Expert Women started at the same time as the Pros, but we did 2.5 laps to their 3.

Start of the Pro and Expert Women.  I'm in the back center with the orange bike.  Erica T is on the left in pink and Erika P is in second off the line.

 Start of one of the Sport Men categories. Carl on the right. 




Drew and Dusty were great support.  They handed us water bottles, cheered loudly, and took most of these great pictures.

Me coming through for lap #2.  I'm tossing a water bottle and Drew will hand me another (as he snaps this picture. Multi-talented!).
 I didn't feel like I raced very well.  I started out in 3rd, but could see the gal ahead of me through half of the first lap. I thought I could catch her on the technical sections, but then I lost sight of her and I had a good lead on the person behind me, so I sort of settled into sub-race pace.  I'm disappointed in myself for not trying even harder, but I guess it was good enough to earn me 3rd place and a pair of (really nice) socks.

Meanwhile, since his domestique duties were completed, Drew set out to climb to the top of the tram, after which he earned a free ride down on the tram.  I guess they say if you get up to the top on your own power, you deserve a free ride down. 

We both deserved some ice cream
 and a nap

before heading into town with the group for giant burritos at Pica's Mexican Taqueria

 Sunday a group of us set out for high adventure.  We had heard from a couple of locals that there was good riding near Teton Pass. We didn't have a map, but figured there would be signs.  There were signs, all right, but we still didn't know what kind of trails they were.  We ended up exploring the Arrow trail (awesome buff forest single track complete with gushing melt-water stream crossings on slippery logs)

and Phillips Canyon trail (steep enough and rocky/rooty enough that there was no way we were going to be doing an out and back).

Ali took a nasty header into the icy creek and gouged open her forearm, but other than that, we made it through mostly intact.  We then climbed back up about 1500 feet on a road and the brand new Ridge Trail (very nice forested trail with great views of the valley below)

to return to our cars.  Sub-3-hours, 17 miles, and 2600 feet of climbing and descending.  Fantastic ride on tired legs. Stuff all those legs in a car for 5 hours and we were glad to be home.

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