Riders left the start line at 9am this morning in St. George, Utah. In front of the racers lay 50 miles of some of the best desert singletrack the U.S. has to offer.
Unfortunately, temperatures were well below the normal for this southwest desert town and after less than 30 minutes of riding the skies opened up.
As the rain descended across the red sand and clay outside St. George, racing and trail conditions quickly turned treacherous. The heinous mixture of grit and clay teamed up to wreak havoc on drivetrains and brake pads.
Hoping to continue the race, directors were scrambling to reroute sections of the course away from particularly thick muddy sections. Despite their best efforts riders were being forced to abandon with broken chains and derailleurs. Victims to the thick tacky mud that clung to every surface of the bike.
Even the mud could not prevent Cannondale rider Alex Grant from throwing down an impressive race. Veteran of countless endurance races, Grant has proven himself in the never-ending rain and slop of La Ruta as well as the crippling cold of Leadville.
Grant used his profound technical riding skills to establish an early lead in the jaded-rocks and demanding descents of the Zen trail then used his experience and determination to carry on in the demanding conditions.