October 13, Auburn, California~ As riders from all over the Globe arrived in California for the 56th Tevis, 100 mile Western States Trail ride, fast decisions were being made about the trail. Just a few days before, the first snow storm of the season hit the Sierra Mountains. While it was not enough to bring great joy to skiers, it was enough to close roads and trails throughout the high Sierras.
“We met on the sixth to make a decision to either cancel the ride or change the trail, ” said Western States Trail Foundation President, Kathie Perry. “We could not get into Robie Park (the traditional start for the Tevis at 7,000 ft) as it had 6-7 inches of snow, over the summit there was 18 inches, and Robinson Flat (at 6,700 ft) had 8-10 inches. You could not get in without a 4- wheel drive vehicle.”
Perry knew from her scouts that there was deeper snow in the higher passes on the Tevis trail. The Ride Directors decided that it would be possible to ride the trail backwards from Auburn where there was no snow, and that is what they arranged. In a matter of days, the trail was marked to start from the traditional finish at Auburn at 1,000 feet, continue to No Hands Bridge, across Hwy 49 at the Lower Quarry to the River Crossing and backwards up the Tevis trail to Franciso’s into Foresthill,where there was a Vet Check and hour hold. The trail turned East at Chicken Hawk Road down towards Gorman Ranch Road to Mosquito Ridge Road where the riders turned around and headed back over Chicken Hawk Road to the Vet Check and 1 hour hold at Foresthill, and back to Lower Quarry along the same route to finish at the Auburn Fairgrounds.“We had groomed the trail and it is now 3-4 feet wide on this portion, so we knew it would accommodate riders coming and going,” said Perry. The ride elevations went from 1,000 feet to about 4,000 feet, according to Perry. “The quick change in trail was due to the help of the 600-700 volunteers who help to mark trail, cover vet checks, trail checks, sweep points and every bit of ride minutiae. “If it weren’t for the volunteers helping, we would not be able to manage this ride,” she said.
Perry finished the ride herself, her 28th Tevis start. “I’ve finished 21 times”, she said, “and I’ve been over 10 or 12 different trails in those years. This was not the traditional trail, but not an easy trail. Sometimes there is still snow by July 1st. One year we had to start from Soda Springs and we’ve had to use alternate routes in the past in the high country. As a rider, I thought the trail was well marked and the two way traffic pattern did make for a friendly ride. The return trail in the dark was familiar to the horses, as they had gone that way in the morning.”
The ride did boast a high completion rate of 69%, as 123 riders finished out of the 177 that started the ride. Riders from Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the UAE attended, as well as US riders from as far away as Hawaii.
How was your Tevis ride? Do you want to ride the Tevis? We love your comments!
Final Results: http://www.teviscup.org/webcast/finishline.php