Nature's Bakery

The Donner Party

Pounding out the hours of Endurocross laps and motos during the week always tends to gets tedious toward the end of the season so it is always nice to mix things up. As a racer I am always on the lookout for fun one off races to do to fill up my schedule and keep at it racing. I caught wind of an event being put on at the Donner Ski Ranch in northern California and had to go give it a shot. I started checking the weather reports about a week before the event and things weren’t looking too promising. Nothing but rain and snow were in the forecast but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! I got up to the event Sunday morning, after it had been raining three days straight up to the race day. I was in for a mud race that was for sure! I grabbed a hand full of fig bars and set off to walk some of the track and to see what I was getting myself into. The rain had made for some insanely hard conditions and I knew the competition was going to be tough. The race was set to be two hours long; racing through the toughest conditions the Sierra Nevada Mountains have to offer, knowing this I gave my pit crew some fig bars to snack on and some for me to have when I would come in to pit for fuel and whatever else may be needed. As I sat on the starting line waiting to take off, it began to snow. At that point I knew it was going to be a long two hours! I got a decent start, probably running right around 5th, but made quick work getting myself to the front. I was in second right behind the leader when I noticed I had clipped a rock and broke off my rear brake. No rear brake, awesome I thought to myself. How was I supposed to finish this race with no rear brake! I made the pass into the lead and decided I didn’t need brakes, this was a crazy choice and probably a little risky on my part but I figured using the front brake and technique I could make it work. Sure enough I did. As the laps went on my lead grew larger and larger. I came into the pits right around half way where I would get fuel, fresh goggles, and a quick fig bar for some energy to hang in there for the last hour. The subzero conditions made the racing extremely tough and truly miserable. I couldn’t feel my toes and fingers at all, there was over an inch of snow on the ground, and I thought the promoters would call the race for sure. Well, they didn’t, and we raced the whole two hours. The laps grew longer and longer but I set my sights on what I wanted to do, win. There was no better feeling coming into the finish line to see the checkered flag and to know I had won the Donner Hare Scramble, by minutes, and with no rear brake. Although the race was one of the most demanding races I’ve done, and without a doubt the coldest, I had a great time and will definitely be back to do it again next year!