Brian Head odyssey: The aftermath
a long and eventful or adventurous journey or experience.
And that is exactly what this race entailed. The Brian Head Odyssey was 47 miles of rough terrain, steep inclines, high elevation, and the beloved sheep dog.
“I’d been looking forward to this race all year. The course includes two of my favorite downhill trails of all time, Bunker Creek and Dark Hollow, and I knew the gorgeous Brian Head vistas would make for some epic racing.” -Christine Mullins
The Odyssey takes what was the idea of the Epic and twists it into a crazy hard day that will have you giggling on the flowy descents and cursing on the climbs. It will challenge you both technically, physically, and mentally.
“After finishing the race, I think “epic” may have been an understatement! Every part of the race was mentally and physically demanding. From the steep sustained climbs to the long technical descents. But there was so much payoff for all our hard work. Ripping fun singletrack and basking in the beautiful backcountry views. This is not a race for the faint of heart... and can push you to your limit... but if you can make it to the finish line, it will be one of the most memorable and rewarding days you’ll ever have on a bike.” -Christine Mullins
The day started out COLD. Bone chilling cold to be exact. It had been raining up there almost every day for weeks on end. The ground was saturated, the sun hadn’t yet peaked over the mountains, and the wind was deadly. But the racers? There was a certain energy about them. They were buzzing with anticipation. The idea of getting their wheels spinning was consuming their thoughts and you could see it.
“I don’t race much anymore, but when I found out what the course of the Odyssey included, it was too good of a challenge to pass up. After a lifetime on the TT bike & racing triathlons, my mountain bike skills aren’t the best, but I have been working on them over the last few years and once I realized I could actually make it down Dark Hollow just fine, I signed myself up! Living in Cedar City, I went up there a few times to ride the course but only made it the full distance once because – wow – what a beast! What I love about the Odyssey is that it doesn’t just reward raw talent or highest fitness or most skills. If you don’t take care of yourself out there at that altitude and make sure you’re pacing, eating, and hydrating super well, you can easily bonk or blow up. Even in the last 10 miles, nothing is guaranteed! Race day itself was everything I had hoped for, and I am super stoked with how it all came together.” -Sarah Jarvis
Following the riders up the first climb, you could feel the burning in their lungs and calves. Despite the challenge, they cruised up the first climb. Once they got to the single track, you could see a small wave of relief come over them. Surrounded by the trees and vast views, they found their groove.
I definitely underestimated how much the elevation would affect my performance, and I felt like I was only able to give a tiny fraction of my best on the day. I can't wait to come back next year for a rematch with more preparation and a better idea of what to expect from the course. -Christine Mullins
Throughout the day, rides began pouring into the finish line. Not one person came in without a smile on their face. I think it’s safe to say, the Brian Head Odyssey was nothing short of an adventurous journey.
“What a fantastic day in the mountains playing in mud and enjoying a proper smashfest!” -Sarah Jarvis