Dave Harris at 2-epic.com put together a 360+ mile event called Trans Utah. Due to an early winter storm, nobody finished the inaugural TU event of 2008. Dave Kirk, Blair Foust and Troy Marino began their 2009 TU attempt at 8:20 PM on September 25th, 2009.
After 6 or so hours of night riding, Blair and Troy decided to take a rest and get some sleep. Dave Kirk continued on. Troy and Blair would follow Dave’s tracks for the next 5 days, but not see him again. After a short night rest, Troy and Blair zipped down the Jem trail to brunch in Virgin, UT.
The 90+ degree F. temperatures of the Kolob Terrace Rd. asphalt became unbearable, and at 4:30PM, Blair and Troy stopped at the Left Fork Trailhead in Zion National Park. There they scored some water and snacks from hikers. At 6:30PM much of the climb was in shade so they continued and made it to Kolob Reservoir before setting up camp for the night.
Somewhat sketchy Highway 14 climbing got them up to Woods Ranch, then a jeep trail climb put them at the start of the Virgin River Rim Trail. After riding a couple of miles of single-track, they decided to camp near Lundell Spring.
Blair and Troy made it to Tod’s Country Store in Long Valley Junction for some prime rib sandwiches from the self-serve Prime Rib Machine. Troy has a weak spot for caramels and a chewy caramel found the weak spot of his 15 year old dental bridge. Some crazy glue provided a quick temporary fix. Night traveling up dirt roads got the two near Pole Canyon Trail Head. They camped near a small brook among trophy homes and no people. To them it felt apocalyptic. The next morning they ascended Pole Canyon Trail to the Pink Cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. There they rode the Grand View, Mill Creek and Crawford Pass Trails to Pipeline Canyon where they made camp.
Cooler weather and light rain showers blew in overnight. More Grand View single-track got the pair to Skutumpah Road and the Grand Staircase of the Escalante National Monument. Easy cruising got them to the town of Tropic for dinner. They stocked up their packs for the final two days of riding. Troy had to fix the frame of his clear glasses during dinner. Fortunately he had crazy glue.
They made it to an elevation of 8,800 feet before fierce wind and cold forced a bivy before the descent to Pine Lake. Temperatures that night were near 15 degrees F. It was too windy to make a fire until the next morning.
On the Aquarius Plateau, Blair and Troy lost Dave Kirk’s tire tracks and figured he took the dirt road down to Escalante. He was having a great steady ride, but a meeting in Washington State forced him to exit the Route and get to his car.
However, some sections of the GWT where very un-ride-able due to 1000+ downed trees.
They came up with names for the GWT like “Goddamn Waste of Time” and “Go Walk ur bike Trail” as they lugged their gear over the dead fall.
Troy came around the corner and found Blair pinned under his bike.
A log lodged in his front wheel, sending him to the ground hard. After the crash, Blair discovered he needed to adjust his bar-ends. Blair did not see Troy relieving himself and asked “is your tool handy”, to which Troy replied, “it don’t get much handier!” Troy went into uncontrollable laughter for about 5 minutes.
Eventually that evening, the two made it into Boulder, UT at 7:45PM; 6 days, 23 hours, and 25 minutes after they left St. George. The pair needed to find their way back to Troy’s truck in St. George. They hitched a ride to Escalante and hung out there for a day. After a day in Escalante, they decided to start riding the highway and stick out their thumbs. Within a minute, a hunter from St. George, Allen picked them up. His truck handled the rain and headwind much better than they would have on bicycles…
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6 days, 23 hours, and 25 minutes
2 days, 7 hours