WASATCH ALL-ROAD No. 1 Recap
New to the calendar of epic gravel racing, The Wasatch All-Road has officially left its mark. The Full Yeti Course (100 miles with over 12,000 feet of climbing) and Mini Yeti Course (35 miles with over 4,000 feet of climbing) was a kick in the teeth from mile 3 to 16, climbing 4,000 ft of the Wasatch Wall. Just as your legs warmed up, summiting at 10,000 ft, the Mini Yeti route takes you through a ripping descent of dirt and asphalt back to the start/finish in Heber City. While the Mini Yeti was no small feat, the Full Yeti took riders even further.
After powering up the first ascent stretching mile 3 to 16, Full Yeti riders settled in for an extra 88 miles and 8800+ ft of climbing before they would cross the finish line. With the initial climbing stage in the bag, the Full Yeti riders cruised down a loose gravel descent weaving through the Uintas, eventually making their way to Strawberry Reservoir and feed zone 2.
The next section of the All-Road course proceeding feed zone 2 forced riders to grind their way back to the summit, quickly making up 2,400 ft of elevation they just lost. After a refuel at feed zone 3, riders headed towards Duchesne Ridgeline. This 10 mile stretch of hero gravel lifted spirits after battling over chunky and loose gravel for the previous 58 miles.
After reaching Wolf Creek Pass at just under 10k feet in elevation, a mile of clean asphalt descent had riders coming into feed zone 4 at mile 70.5. This stop was the last chance to refuel before tackling a grind of a climb, past Mill Hollow Reservoir and the final push back to Lake Creek summit.
A 5.6-mile climb at 5.6% grade meant the Mill Hollow segment of the race gave riders plenty of time to think about their last 2,500 ft of climbing. On its own, The Mill Hollow climb is not bad but at this point in the race, it proved to be a beast. As riders crested that final summit, they had a few more miles of loose gravel, peaks, and pastures to roll. By mile 83 riders moved back to asphalt, dropping 3,200 ft in 15 miles, with the finish line in view.
Navigating various surface conditions of “gravel” roads, riders powered up enormous climbs with endless quaking aspens and towering pines overhead. Utah’s expansive Wasatch range and high elevations pushed everyone to their limits whether you finished in 3 hours or 11.
The 2021 Wasatch All-Road Race did not disappoint. While extremely challenging in its own regard, the All-Road is absolutely not for the faint of legs, just ask some of our riders:
“It’s been a few years since I suffered through a long race like the All Road. I felt pretty intimidated by the course. I knew that keeping myself happy was going to be the key for me to have a successful day. My goal was to have as much fun as possible and smile as big as I can! To that end, I chose to ride a MTB. It would give a few more line options when the road was rocky or loose, it would be more comfortable, and it would be more forgiving when the fatigue really set in. I can’t say I smiled all day and there were moments when I was downright grumpy…but all in all, I enjoyed my time out there. I had fun on the Wall and Duchesne Ridge – two absolute gems we got to ride as part of the course. It was the right bike for me for the day.”
“I was looking forward to the Wasatch All Road event, I knew the route and how beautiful this area of Utah is. Most of the roads are well-maintained gravel with a couple of sections of unimproved ‘double track’ roads which I honestly really enjoy as it mixes up the day and keeps you on your toes. The length and vertical definitely got my attention, but in addition to those factors, the one that got everyone more than expected was spending almost all day above 8,000 feet, and many times close to 10,000. For a first-year event, it was impressively well run with an amazing number of volunteers which goes such a long way when you’re pouring so much effort into an event. I was in a world of hurt at times, but I will definitely be back for more next year!”
Was there a perfect whip for this course? I’m sure that’s debatable. Here is what we rode…