Temps were in the 20's and I was sure glad Brad had a fire going when we got there. As soon as I got in my sleeping bag, I had to pee but decided to hold it all night instead of get out of my warm bag (it was that cold).
We got up around 8:30, had breakfast around the fire and waited for the 15 or so other riders to arrive.
About 10am we rolled out of camp and dropped off the mesa....literally. Dug crashed, I crashed, and Christian crashed and rolled 30 ft or so down the mesa. He came up with a dis-located shoulder and ended his ride after just 10 minutes. It turns out dropping off the mesa is a bit sketchy. Steep, loose, and narrow. Parts of it were ridable but it was hectic with so many people .
Once off the mesa, we crusied along. Temps were in the high 40's and sunny. Perfect. A single speed was the right bike as we hit a lot of mud as we rode towards the Jem trail. Anyone with gears had a hard time shifting.
With a group this big, we quickly realized that finishing the original route before dark was going to be impossible. Here we are at 18 miles in trying to decide who is doing the full route and who is going to take a short cut. After watching Brad, Kenny, Josh, the Holley's take off at race pace, the rest of us decided to find a minor short cut.
The route ended with a nasty 1,000 foot climb (hike a bike) back up to the mesa. It took close to an hour to hike this section and we were all feeling it. For some reason, this 40 miles felt more like 100 miles. It must be the off season. But it sure felt good to ride on some dirt.