At 11.05am on Monday October 14th, I was sitting on a sandstone ledge, enjoying the desert views on Getaway Trail, just outside of Moab, Utah. I had just completed 18 kms on Stage three of the TransRockies Moab Rocks mountain bike race. More significantly, I had hit the 888 kms target I had set for Quest #8, TransRockies Quest 888.
The nine TransRockies events had taken place over six months, from May to October and had encompassed twenty-one race days. The events had included one road running, four trail running, two road biking and two mountain biking races. The mountain biking races had proven to be the most challenging. I had completed the four day TransRockies Challenge in August and knew that Moab Rocks would be no walk in the park.
When Stage One kicked off on the previous Saturday morning, I still had 116 kms to cover. The race started in town and headed out on a road parallel to the Colorado River. Soon we were on a desert trail heading out into the wilderness. The major challenge of the day was "Jacob's Ladder", a 500 feet near vertical "Hike-a-Bike' between two canyon walls. I love my 12 year old Gary Fisher Suger Plus 4, but it weights a ton. I completed Stage One in just under 5 hours. However, I took a wrong turn, shortening the course by 3 kms, and was given a one hour penalty.
Stage Two was along Porcupine Rim. My guide book says "The single-track is famous for riding that challenges even elite riders. Cocky riders often take soil samples home along with a serving of crow pie". This stage was 53kms and a good portion of it was along a ridge with a 1,000' drop on one side. I was not cocky. I did not want to fall off the edge or take home soil samples so I rode where I could and walked where I could not.
The Stage Three start was 10 miles to the north of Moab. At 8.58am the familiar notes of ACDC's "Highway to Hell" kicked into to gear and we were off. Two hours later I had reached the magical 18 km mark and I reflected on Quest #8. Aaron and the rest of the gang at TransRockies have been totally supportive and cheered me on at each race. I continued on my way and by the end of the stage I had completed 920 kms for all the TransRockies events I had competed in.
The number one objective of TransRockies Quest 888 was to help kids. So far, $35,000 has been raised for Right To Play, which would give 800 children a RTP program for one year. However, with the matching funds of $3 for every $1 donated it will actually be helping 3,200 kids.
In the "Quests for Kids" initiative, Quest #8 is finished. Now it's time to look forward to Quest #9 in March 2014, when I'll be leaving the desert for the sea.