Editor’s note: We’re thrilled to welcome Edyn Teitge, a young (14 years) endurance racer and gravel rider hailing from Colorado. Edyn is rolling on a purpose built Rodeo Labs TD4 for the remainder of the 2023 and the 2024 season, and we’re excited to see where he takes it, including a planned ride in the 2024 Tour Divide.
Rebecca’s Private Idaho or RPI is a multi-day gravel bike event in Southern Idaho. I decided to race the Queens Stage Race (QSR), which goes 186 miles through three timed stages and one rest day/social ride. The first day is one of the most beautiful and technical stages as it winds up the Harriman, a non-motorized double-track trail at the foot of the Boulder Mountains.
For stage one we arrived an hour early with some extra time to get my bike ready and warm up. My dad dropped me off and left for a meeting, so I was stuck to get ready on my own. It was a very cold 34 degrees F when we arrived, so I sheltered in a big puffy jacket and some Nordic pants to stay warm. Since stage one was one of the shortest stages, at 35 miles, I brought some rollers to get a good warmup. By the time the sun finally came up over the mountains, we were about ready to rally and I was toasty from my warmup.
The race started with a countdown and then Rebecca Rusch hitting a massive gong. We didn’t go off too hard but it definitely wasn’t an easy pace. For the first five miles, I was able to ride with the lead group and then I dropped off and rode solo for a bit. After about twelve miles the course turned onto a steep single-track climb where I was able to pass a few people that had fallen off the lead group. After the steep climb, there was a really fun descent and even though it was a bit bumpy on gravel bikes (I was on my TD4), it was awesome. On the descent, I hit a rock hard with my front wheel and I just crossed my fingers that I didn’t get a flat or crack my Rodeo 2.0 rim, I didn’t so that was a relief. The race then went back down the Harriman where I connected with a group of two other riders and we created a draft line. I unfortunately took a corner too fast, got out of control, and rode off the trail. After that, I lost the draft and had to race solo the rest of the time. The race passed the start/finish area and turned around about five miles farther down the trail. At the turn around you were able to see your nearest competitor and someone was close to my tail, so I went as hard as I could but got caught less than a mile from the finish. I tried sticking to their tail but had barely anything left in my legs. Still, I was happy to place 12th overall in the men’s category, as I was up against some pros.
The second stage was the hill climb time trial. It was 50 miles long, but only four of those miles were timed. It started with a roughly 20-mile neutral rollout where everyone got to talk to each other. This was fun, as there was only a little talking on the previous stage, with everyone pushing it hard. I was pretty excited for the TT because one of my strong points is climbing, and I also had been training for sprints with the NICA races I had been doing. At the end of the neutral rollout was the start of the climb, where everyone gathered to wait until they got to start the TT. I started off around 14th and went as hard as I could trying to catch as many people as possible. The climb was pretty steep and we gained over 1000 ft, but I was able to maintain a speed of around 10 mph. When I got to the top everyone was encouraging. After catching my breath and watching a few other finishers, I connected with a group and headed down. There was a 20 mph speed limit going down the pass because people were still time-trialing it, but once we got down past the start of the TT, we could go as fast as we wanted. It was a sketchy descent as the road was bumpy and everyone was tight together, but the TD4 felt good and secure on the downhill.
Day three, Saturday, was the rest day/optional social ride. I decided not to do the social ride because I wanted to get as much rest as possible before the big stage. The Baked Potato is the biggest stage of the QSR, it is 103 miles with around 6000 ft of elevation. The weather looked like it would be rather interesting with it calling for rain the entire day. We started the race at 8 a.m. with a short neutral rollout to get us out of town. We started racing just before the base of the Trail Creek climb. I was able to stick with the first group for a couple of miles but then decided to drop off. With a hundred more miles to go, I didn’t want to blow up. At the top of Trail Creek, a local friend from the valley, Joel, caught up to me and I jumped on his tail. We each took turns pulling and were able to average 30mph until we caught back up to the group ahead of us. When we were going up Wildhorse Canyon the leader of the group swerved last minute to avoid a fresh cow pie and everyone down the line had it flung up at them from the tires ahead. This happened a few other times and I cannot say it was a highlight of the race.
I stuck with this group for about half the race until I had to, unfortunately, pull off for water from an aid station. I spent the next 30 miles alone, struggling against a headwind, trying to catch up with the group ahead. This is also where it also started to rain and get colder, and while I was riding, I put on a few extra layers. After an eternity of being alone, a group from behind caught up and I jumped on with them. This group was much less organized than the first group I was with but it was still good to get the draft. The road had become muddy from the rain and we were in such a tight formation, trying to get the most draft, that a ton of mud was flung up, right to the face. It would cover everyone’s glasses, making it hard to see and I found myself wiping my glasses off with my gloves. Half of the time this worked, and the other half it just smeared and made it worse. I started to hit a wall going up the technical El Diablo, a part that Rebecca put in just to torture you before the downhill to the finish (She has to keep the name Queen of Pain somehow, right?) This is where I lost the group I had been riding with, but I kept on pushing because I knew the finish was soon. On the final climb, I passed a few people who had also fallen off the group ahead and was able to catch a few more on the descent. I finished the Baked Potato 19th overall, including those who didn’t race the QSR and had fresh legs. I was the 10th QSR rider to come across the finish line and I got eighth overall in the QSR General Classification.
Overall, it was a really fun race and I am super happy about how both myself and my new rodeo whip felt and performed. I definitely will be back to do it again and thanks so much to all the people who helped make this race possible for me!!