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Brian Head Odyssey Course Review

Brian Head odyssey review

I’m both excited and a little bit nervous. The last time I rolled through here things were a bit rough. I like rough, but I’m rolling alone and not sure I want to tackle Dark Hollow solo at any real speed. I’ve heard that the trail was revamped and I’m hoping that it hasn’t been completely sanitized, but also that it they were able to fix some of the “issues” it used to have.

I turn off the main singletrack and head down. I’m quickly met with a berm. Ok, that’s nice. And then another. As I gain speed, the little voice in the back of my head tells me to stay on the brakes. I can’t shake the feeling that one of these berms is going to launch me into the rocky, chunkiness that used to be this trail. With every flowy turn, the grin on my face grows bigger and I let loose just a little bit more.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Brian Head Odyssey is the 2nd race in the Intermountain Cup Endurance Series. It is a new race with a new course. It’s just shy of 50 miles long (a half-distance category is also available) and has about 6900 feet of climbing. All of which happens at high altitude with the low point being around 8500 feet. The race is called the Odyssey because it will be Homeric in scale.

The race will start at 7 am and begins with a paved and dirt road climb up to the base of Brian Head Peak topping out at over 11,000 feet. Singletrack then takes you to the top of Dark Hollow (revamped 2 years ago) where you will drop down to 8500 feet. Don’t worry, a beautiful dirt road climb will take you back up to over 10,000 where you will have the pleasure of dropping the flowy Bunker Creek Trail. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Until you realize you’ve got to climb back up. Once back to the top, you follow singletrack across and then begin the ruckus Lowder Ponds trail. Another dirt road climb through alpine meadows will take you back up to the Sydney Valley singletrack and you are almost home free. Pedal across the top and then you’ve got the Brian Head Peak singletrack and Color Flow to get you back down to the finish line.

After my drop down Dark Hollow, I’m stoked. I turn worried about the climb, but find the road to be much better than expected and I top out. The grin quickly returns to my face as I drop Bunker Creek. And then there’s the climb. It starts out pleasantly, but toward the top, I start to question the sanity of riding a singlespeed. Luckily, the views and temperatures keep me stoked and pushing forward.

Homeric – of epic proportions, heroic.

The Odyssey is not easy. The singletrack has techy sections. The climbs are big and steep and at altitude. Racing around 10,000 feet amplifies the difficulty of everything. The ups feel harder, the downs don’t seem to allow for as much recovery and just thinking can sometimes become a challenge, but the Odyssey offers up in spades rewards for those efforts. The views are spectacular and seem to pop up just when you need the motivation. The singletrack is fun and will put a grin on your face as you bomb down.

And we all know that the biggest reward for doing hard things is knowing that you did something hard. We guarantee a sense of pride upon completion. You will know you did something Homeric

The push back up to Brian Head Peak just about does me in. Every up is worthy of expletives, my legs are burning and there is definitely not enough air to keep me moving. The singlespeed was 100% a bad idea, but it is what is. I make my way through the last miles and my car is as sweet of a sight as I can see. I collapse onto the ground grinning. The views, the singletrack, the climbs, I loved it all.

But mostly, I know I did something.

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