Photos by Kai Caddy
Despite reroutes around landslides that made the route longer than ever, Jeff Kerkove of Buena Vista, Colorado, set a new course record at this year’s Doom, a “beautifully evil bikepacking route in the south.” Jeff’s impressive time of just 42 hours and 23 minutes earned him a first-place finish on the 390-mile route that packs in around 43,000 feet of climbing as it winds through some of the most remote stretches of the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas.
Writing on Instagram, Jeff said he slept just 30 minutes during his ride, adding that the route is aptly named and “does everything it can to shatter your mind and body into a thousand little pieces.” Jeff said he didn’t encounter a single flat inch of terrain along the full route, and the climbs with 10-30% grades never relented. He pushed his bike up a dozen climbs because his legs gave out or he couldn’t maintain traction on his rear wheel.
During his ride, Jeff also struggled with resupply options, which are few and far between. Arriving at the limited shops during their opening hours was a challenge, especially as they weren’t always open during their posted hours. He made his final resupply of the trip just a few minutes before it closed for the day, potentially saving his ride.
Jeff summarized his experience: “It’s really hard… and we should do hard things from time to time. This event is going to grow as people seek out those ‘near impossible’ challenges. If you’re looking for that next new bike adventure – put Doom on your race or touring schedule.”
Hats off to Jeff on an incredible effort. He was followed by second-place finisher Edward Rogers with a time of 48 hours and 56 minutes, and third-place finisher Jocelyn De La Rosa, who finished in 49 hours and 39 minutes. You can follow along with updates from Doom 2023 over on Instagram.
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