The 2nd year of Bones to Blue dished out a mix of good and bad luck.
Unfortunately, bikepackers are a group of hardworking people. Over a dozen riders were signed up for the group start, but, at the last minute, many couldn’t make due to work commitments. Where are the lazy hippies?
So a mixed crew of 7 riders left from Truckee. About half looked like they were out for a day ride with practically nothing on their bikes. It’s only 250 miles, right?
Air quality was looking bad leading up to the start due to large, multiple fires in California. Luckily, the smoke cleared in time and skies were clear and sunny everyday. It was, however, toasty on the first day, making it tough to stay cool and hydrated.
On Day 1, bad luck took out two riders. Luke’s GPS fell off his bike somewhere along the Donner Lake Rim Trail. He backtracked three times looking for it before bailing. Keith crashed on Hole in the Ground and hit his head/nose pretty badly. He pushed on, finishing the Bones loop in Truckee.
A third rider, Nelson, also pulled out in Truckee after finishing the Bones loop. Not sure why.
Of the remaining 4 riders, Paul had an insane goal of finishing in less than 40 hours, Blake’s goal was simply to finish (after DNF’ing last year), Forest was hoping to finish in 60 hours (similar to his performance last year), and Julie was gunning to finish in a quick 3.5 days, while still enjoying the route.
Paul put down a mind-blowing performance, crushing the route in 37 hours and 56 mins. He didn’t get any sleep, but REM wouldn’t be denied, and, on day 2, it caused him to hallucinate…like seeing a guy playing a piano below Tinker’s Knob. It’s was an amazing run and he set the new course record. It will be very tough to beat.
Blake “took it easy”, pulling back from his usual go for no sleep/go for broke approach, and finished in 59 hours and 40 mins. Having broken his collar bone at the beginning of summer, it was admirable that he even took on such a technical route. Great to see him come back and slay the beast.
Forest finished in 63 hours and 42 mins, a few hours behind his goal. His skimpy sleep kit was fine on night 1, but, on night 2, he woke up shivering near Armstrong pass. Overall, a good run, but he backed off a little from the previous year to enjoy the route more.
Julie executed a very consistent and fast performance, but, on day 2, fell behind the pace she had planned. However, things got a lot more fun when she transitioned her mindset to just tackling the the route as it came. She still met her goal and finished in 84 hours, setting the woman’s record for the new course (that includes Hole in the Ground).
The 2nd season of Bones to Blue was a success and the popularity of the route continues to grow with about 2x as many riders doing ITT’s compared to the group start. Plans for next year are already in the works…more single track, less pavement, and, maybe, a 4-day stage option with designated stops at campgrounds.