WHAT A DAY! PIERRE’S HOLE 2022 RECAP
Photos by Cody Downard
What a weekend on the race track! The 2022 Pierre’s Hole Mountain Bike Race will go down as one of the wildest and wettest races Grand Targhee has ever seen. Over the course of the day, riders experienced nearly everything imaginable. There were heavy rains, blue skies, bottomless mud, slick corners, wild swings in temperatures, unrideable sections of trails, and an array of mechanical issues. Despite all the adversity that riders faced, the day was filled with plenty of muddy smiles.
The morning of August 6th started off with a shocking amount of optimism. While the rainfall had been consistent in the days leading up to the race, it had not been nearly as heavy or constant as the forecast had called for. When 7:00 am rolled around, it was not raining, and most of the course was in good shape, all things considered. Yes, there were slick corners, muddy sections, and places where walking bikes might be necessary, but for goodness sake, it’s a mountain bike race. That’s part of the beauty of mountain biking, battling the elements, and being out in mother nature. Then the rain started. A course teetering on the edge of passable quickly deteriorated. If you were a fan of being in mother nature, then you were a pig in mud quite literally. By 8:00 am, the race was no longer a competition against your fellow riders. Instead, it had turned into a fight against the elements and the little man in your head telling you to call it a day and hit the showers. Given the trail conditions and the heavy rain, there was no shame in waving the white flag.
The majority of riders called it a day before they crossed the finish line. The reality was there weren’t excuses on Saturday, only darn good reasons. The mud claimed many bikes, making them unrideable despite a racer’s will to continue. Sheets of rain combined with dropping temperatures in the morning forced others to seek the warmth of the lodge and a change of clothes. Many folks just called a spade a spade. You had to have a screw loose to convince yourself that it was a good day to ride your bike. But that’s part of the reason we love our biking community here in the mountains. We’ve got a lot of folks who enjoy some classic type two fun, and August 6th provided plenty of it. Nearly one hundred riders battled their way to the finish line. We tip our cap to all of you. This is a feat you won’t soon forget. An honorable mention to the 100k riders who completed 50k before calling it a day. One lap on that course was no small accomplishment, no matter what you set out to do at the start. Of course, as the afternoon rolled on the sun showed signs of coming out and by the time awards were given away the sun was shining and the temperatures were climbing. A typical day in the Tetons you might say.
As always, there were some incredible individual performances. The young guns showed up in force as Carter Anderson took the top spot in the 100k Open Men’s division at just 20 years old with a time of 5:27. 2nd place was claimed by 22-year-old Chris Mehlman, who was in pursuit with a time of 5:46. Joseph Goettl, age 30, rounded out the top 3 with a time of 5:57 and was the last rider to break the 6-six-hour mark.
In the 100k Open Women’s division, local rider Brittany Buckley took the win with a time of 8:59. Claire Brandhorst from Alta, Wyoming, placed 2nd, and Katie O’Connell of Driggs, Idaho, completed a Teton Valley podium.
James Roloff won the 50k Open Men at just 22 years old with a time of 2:55. In the 50k Open Women’s division, age was merely a number as Kelly Biscombe walked away with the win at 48 years old. Caedran Harvey and Kristen Waddle completed the Jackson, Wyoming sweep and were just off the back wheel of Biscombe.
Cary Smith put down a blazing 100k time of 6:18 on a single speed to take the win and was just off the podium of the 100k Open Men. At age 57, Mike Baughman was the oldest rider to cross the finish line, but his time hardly reflected that. He completed 100k in 8:34 to take the Master’s victory. On the other side of the spectrum, 15-year-old Isabel Warner was the youngest rider to finish as she raced to the top of the 50k Women’s Junior podium with a time of 5:03.
There were so many incredible rides throughout the day. Crossing the finish line is a feather in the cap for any rider, regardless of time. Thank you to all the riders, volunteers, course workers, sponsors, and support staff who made this year’s race possible. We look forward to seeing you all next year for another memorable Pierre’s Hole.