The second edition of the Smoke ‘n’ Fire is in the books.
We had great weather this year, highlighted by extremes from mid 90’s to the mid 20’s – a 70 degree spread! Not unusual in September for our high desert environment.
The re-route was especially challenging due to the 90 plus degree heat. A couple riders claimed it was closer to 100 degrees as the were climbing out of Pine and baking on the exposed ride into Fairfield. This is not a permanent change, but nature spoke this year.
We officially had 65 riders with SPOT devices and there were a few that did not opt for using the tracker. Of the 65 that started we had 16 that scratched for reasons from mechanical to physiological to just plain mental fatigue.
Riders came from 11 different states – from the south and east coast to the west coast and Alaska. And a few folks came from Canada and two from Switzerland. Pretty amazing considering this is a second year event.
We also had some big names in the endurance game come and take on the challenge. From the 2015 Tour Divide record holder to the Queen of Pain, plus a 2015 Triple Crown Challenger finisher. Lots of bikepacking veterans came to play as well as a collection of folks new to the sport. And a strong tandem duo gave it hell, and promise to be back next year to take care of unfinished business. Pretty great stuff all around!
Talking with our friends at Sun Ray, Java and other local businesses, the impact of our event is very positive. And I’ve heard from a couple of the smaller business owners on route that they loved having riders come in, share stories, and consume their body weight in food and drink….in one sitting. They were all appreciative and very supportive.
The roll out at 6:00AM Wednesday morning was smooth and almost everyone was ready. Almost. Some people were caught off guard, or snoozing, or expecting something more formal. Hey, this is bikepacking and at 6:00am you roll. The pomp and circumstance happened the night before.
There is so much support for our event, but there are several honorable mentions:
-Sun Ray Cafe for the hospitable pre-ride get together and post race hang out.
-Java for opening early to allow riders to ingest calories and get their caffeine fix.
-Tri Town for sidewalk support, water, beer and cookies 24/7. Thanks Dom and Antonio.
-And photographer extraordinaire Rob Huguez for the great photographs and support.
-Trackleaders and MTBCast for feeding our endurance spectator fix.
-And thank you co-conspirators for your patience…..Tyson, Bart, Lisa and Eve.
Until next year, keep the wheels turning.