Photos by Norb DeKerchove
The Idaho Smoke ‘n’ Fire 400 is a roughly 400-mile self-supported mountain bike race traversing some of Idaho’s diverse geography on two-tracks, gravel and dirt forest service roads, challenging singletrack, some hike-a-bike, and a few paved roads. The loop-shaped route features nearly 41,000 feet of climbing with big expanses and sweeping views. The 2022 grand depart took off from Boise two days ago and has a massive group of 83 riders out tackling the route, including an impressive group of nearly 30 women, the majority of whom are part of the Idaho Women’s Bikepacking group we’ve covered here on the site.
This year’s route was rerouted last minute due to an aggressive fire in the Sawtooth Valley, following an out-and-back route instead of the usual loop. While it was slightly shorter than normal, the route is still following a large portion of the original route. After 2 days, 7 hours, 47 minutes, Jay Petervary just became the first to finish the 2022 event. According to the Smoke’n’Fire website, the last time Jay participated in the event was in 2017, with a finish time of 2 days, 3 hours, 10 minutes (2:03:10). That year, the route was also rerouted due to fires. Tim Root and JP had been battling it out since the start, yo-yoing the entire race, but an issue forced Tim to scratch around mile 300.
“Conditions were fierce this year. Day one saw afternoon temps over 100 degrees, but there was a fortunate cloud cover for part of the day. Then early evening rain came, followed by temps below freezing in the Stanley Valley. That’s Idaho, with a ~75-degree swing in temps. In addition to the ladies representing, our youngest rider is a remarkable young 13-year-old. He has been in the top eight riders since the start of the race and looks like he’s not slowing down.” —Norb DeKerchove, Event Organizer
Hot on Jay’s heels is Lauren Brownlee, who pulled ahead of Dan Mueller, Dan Kelly, and Daniel Perry somewhere around 2 a.m. today. She’s been moving steady ever since and is currently just a few miles from the finish, positioned in second place. An impressive effort by everyone!
There are still many riders to follow along live. Head over to the event page to track their progress.
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