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Dispatch from Edyn: Into the Drift

Editors Note: Edyn is one of Rodeo’s supported riders, and really excels in endurance and ultra endurance situations. His latest outing was another frigid, challenging fatbike race in his home state of Idaho.

After spending a cold night cramped in a van with one bike, two people, and a dog it was time to get up. Frost covered the windows and I could hear the wind outside. We had arrived in the dark so I had no idea what the area looked like but after stepping outside onto the cold crunchy snow I could see the beauty of where we were.

Breakfast was bacon and eggs and after that, it was time to start getting ready. It was a bluebird sky with firm trails. Everyone was lined up with the countdown starting when I looked down and realized I had forgotten my thermos. I ran back to the car and grabbed it and by the time I had run back, everyone was just starting to roll out. I raced to get on my bike and try to gain some places and before I knew it I was already with the lead group. I went out the front with one other guy and we rode alone until about halfway to the first aid (Strawberry aid) where we were passed by Shalene, the skier who ended up winning the race. Another guy caught us on a bike before the aid station and rolled in together.

At Strawberry Aid I had a cup full of mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of bacon and after filling up my water and eating a few more snacks I was ready to roll out. A few of us did so as a group but eventually, we split up. We all regrouped before a turn onto an ungroomed trail with none of us wanting to go first and break the trail. There was a short steep descent where I was all over the place and eventually crashed off the trail but with the soft snow it was more fun than not. Since I was a lot lighter than everyone else I was able to float much better on the snow and I got out ahead. When we turned onto a slightly firmer trail I was quickly caught and ended up riding in a group of three until we got to the second aid (Sheridan aid). The stop at Sheridan was a longer one at about 45 minutes and it was hard stepping back out into the cold air. It was already dark so I knew the next many hours would be tough. I left Sheridan with one other person, the girl who ended up winning in the women’s bike category and we road together almost to the end. The first ten-ish miles were groomed and downhill which made it fun and fast but we eventually hit where the groomer had turned around and once again it was a slog through soft snow. 

There were three steep ups and downs that were keeping us from the third and most comfortable aid. I had only heard stories about the Warmspring aid and right now it sounded pretty luxurious. A big warm room with heated bathrooms, comfortable beds, and, of course, lots and lots of food. However, there was still the business of getting to the aid before I could celebrate. The climbs were torcher and just as I started to enjoy the descent there was, once again, a climb. The climbs were impossible to ride so it was head down pushing a heavy bike in the soft snow. After getting to the final summit it was a quick descent and then a flattish downhill for a couple of miles. I could see lights off in the distance and slowly but surely we were getting closer.

Once we had gotten to the aid station I was greeted by hot food fresh off the stove, despite the fact it was two am. I went through the normal routine of taking off my layers to finally get to my hydration vest, filling up my water with some drink mix, and filling my thermos with hot coffee. I then ate a warm quesadilla and some ramen, once I was full I lay down for a few minutes. I didn’t want to sleep because I knew if I did I wouldn’t be able to get back up. The total stopped time at Warmspring aid was just about one hour and we rolled out right as the next few people were coming in. 

Just a mile from the aid was the start of the final big climb. Luckily it had just been groomed which made life slightly easier but still the majority was pushing. The top wasn’t a satisfying summit instead it was rolly ups and downs which made it feel like you were going nowhere. The rest of the time to the final aid just went by with nothing monumental happening and just the constant pedal strokes and cold wind keeping me awake. The Drift 100 course is sort of a big figure eight so the final aid was Strawberry. I didn’t need anything but I still sat inside for twenty minutes before gathering the courage to step back out into the cold. The last miles to the finish consisted of some short steep ups and downs, then a long and fast descent, and finally, what felt like a hundred miles of flat; it was in reality less than ten miles but it certainly didn’t feel like it. The finish felt like it kept getting farther and farther away but eventually, I made a familiar turn and I could see I was getting close. After getting up the final 100-foot climb to the finish flags I knew I had made it. I could finally rest, and not only had I made it but I had gotten second overall and was the first biker! 

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1 Comment

  1. Rad, Edyn! I love your voice. An excellent writer as well as athlete.

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