So close. I coulda shoulda woulda finished the Wasatch Classic. But I blew it.
The quick version: I started a bit slow, then felt amazing. Nothing could stop me. Except getting lost. Twice. I was going to run out of light and food so I had to cut out the Crest/Mid-Mountain loop and call it a day.
The illustrated version:
8 of us met in Midway at 6am, including Adam
, Essam and John from Colorado, Rob from Arizona, Reed
, Derrick and me.
Rolling out of Midway:
Derrick, Adam and I climbed the 5000 feet out of Midway together. Here is Derrick trying to conquer the WC on his single-speed:
The views back toward Deer Creek were spectacular:
I rode the singletrack up on Ant Knolls for the first time. It is some of the best in the Wasatch:
And then there were the views. It honestly does not get any better than this:
But these aren't bad either:
Adam on the ridge:
After Tibble (which has been entirely ruined by motos, in case you haven't heard), things started to get interesting. I was feeling great on the climb and made it to a Y in the road. I looked on my map, looked at the signs, and looked at the turn-by-turn instruction sheet, and was positive I needed to turn right. Well, after about 1000+ feet of climbing, I realized that I was mistaken. After cussing up a storm and nearly throwing myself off of a nearby cliff, I turned around and got back on route.
The wrong turn meant I was on my own for the rest of the ride. I thought I could still finish if I could ride strong until Catherine's pass. I made it to the top of Dry Fork and figured out how to start up Catherine's Pass. Then I made like the pioneer children and walked and walked and walked.
About half-way up Catherine's Pass (who is this Catherine Lady, anyway? I was so sick of that bitch about half-way up. I wonder if she was related to Scott? Have you noticed that Scott named everything in the Wasatch? Scott's Pond (Sundance), Scott's Pass and Hill (Big Cottonwood), Scottie's Bowl
, etc. Man, what an egomaniac), the trail turned to snow, and I eventually lost the trail, as well as the tracks of the WC'ers that went before me. I didn't have a GPS, so I saw a pass that looked like where I needed to be heading and started hiking up.
Eventually, I was hauling my bike through areas like this (I told you Catherine was a bitch):
It was brutal, but you can imagine my relief when I got to the top of the pass. I looked down the other side expecting to see a trail down to Lake Catherine. My heart sank when I looked down and saw this:
No lake, no trail. After spending a while looking at the map and the peaks around me, and walking around another ridge, I realized that I had ended up at the top of Alta. I was tempted to slide down the snow banks to the bottom of Alta and call a ride to get home. But I realized that Adam would be waiting for me in Midway and I had no way of getting in contact with him. Rather than risk showing up on the nightly news, I spent the next hour or so walking across snowfields, rocks and cliffs with my bike (Damn you Catherine!):
I finally traversed over to Catherine's pass and made it down to Brighton (which was no easy feat either, by the way). Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't have enough light or food to make it around the Crest/Mid-Mountain loop, so I had to climb over Guardsman and roll down into Midway.
As you may have guessed, during the hike over Catherine I swore that I'd never take a bike over her again. But I have to admit, it did make for an amazing and memorable adventure. I'm pretty sure that I took my bike across sections where a bike has never been. Not that that's always a good thing. Plus it's not Catherine's fault that she's so steep and rocky, or that I got lost, so I should probably stop cursing her name.
By the time I made it home, I had this nagging question in the back of my head about whether I could have finished if I hadn't spent so much of my time and food while lost. I'm pretty sure I could have, but there's only one way to find out...
P.S. I should mention that the Wasatch Classic is officially doable. Reed finished it. And maybe Rich - I haven't heard what happened on his ride yet. I should also point out that Reed only finished after making his first attempt last year and getting lost on the same road I got lost on this year. So maybe it's a sign of good things to come.