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  • Writer's pictureMadison Rose

The Grand Teton Picnic, Women's supported FKT

A human powered mountain triathlon // 11 hours 43 min

🚴‍♀️Bike 23 miles (Town Square to Jenny Lake)

🏊‍♀️Swim 1.3 miles across Jenny lake

🧗‍♀️Free solo the Grand Teton (8K climbing)

🏃‍♀️Run back down (20 miles total)

🏊‍♀️Swim back across lake 1.3 miles

🚴‍♀️Bike 23 miles back to town square

THIS ^ would not have happened without the immense stoke, support and absolute legendary friends I have that came out and supported me! Thank you.


02:00 Town square. Alone. The full moon at my back I start pedaling in the dark. 30 min in, Christian Johansen comes flying down the road in his Subaru blasting my favorite songs, screaming in the night. Legend.

(Bike: 1 hour 21 min)

03:22 Jenny Lake overlook. I transitioned to start swimming (the part I dreaded the most). I hopped in the cold water and started swimming across the lake for 1.3 miles. Christian paddle boards next to me with no paddle. After 53 min my hands touched the dock on the other side of the lake. I got naked and switched to a running mindset. I was an hour ahead of schedule.

(Swim: 53 min)

04:36 From the boat dock to Lupine Meadows TH I skipped alone in the dark trying to keep my HR low for 3 miles. Jimmi Ryan meets me at the TH ready to absolutely rip. By the time we got to the lower saddle in ~2 hours 30 min, I feel myself slowing down. Part of me expected us to go as fast as we normally would (note: you don’t do anything faster than you normally would after you’ve already biked 23 miles and swam 1.3 miles). My legs feel like a big sack of potatoes but we press on… now for the fun (and my favorite part).

Jimmi and I scamper up the OS route, soloing up the summit block, passing roped up parties. I started talking gibberish while Jim maintains a level head, leading us with a perfect pace, nailing the line with excellent route finding, all while stoking me out to the other parties– like your favorite coach-dad would. (He knows that if people know I am going for speed that I wouldn't hold anything back).

**Thank you to the Exum Guides and people we saw on the Grand that let us move quickly past you. This made a big difference!

08:47 Every time I reach the summit of the Grand it feels different. Reaching the summit this time in 3 hours 41 min (Lupine to Summit) feels extra satisfactory because I started from town. We took a short break, and now I have to do the entire thing over again in reverse. An hour and 15 min ahead of my prediction, Jimmi and I quickly ran down the OS. At the lower saddle I said goodbye to Jim and literally let my wobbly f**cked up legs rage down the mountain. Blisters burn my feet, I fell on my face hard, I grunted and moaned, but I kept running. I made bear noises because I felt like a bear. The section from Lupine Meadows to the boat dock was a disaster-cluster-f***. I whistled and yelled “excuse me” and accidentally shoulder checked someone *I am so sorry. I wanted to be done with the run with a burning passion and hundreds of people were on the trail. This section was my low point.

(Run: 6 hours 47 min)

11:19 As I approached the boat dock, I heard Adele Priestley yell for me! and I couldn’t be more stoked to see her. I didn’t know what to do. I kinda wanted to cry, but I ended up laughing and saying - this whole thing is so screwed up. She smiles, gives me coconut water and a snack. I have been kinda eating during the day but no food tastes good. It’s the hottest point of the day, I want to throw up but I don’t.

11:26 I somehow lost my swim cap in the hot mess but I hopped in the water anyway. It feels amazing to be floating and not on my feet. After what feels like forever freestyle swimming, I look back at the boat dock and it looks like I am 20 feet away WTF. I think about the mantra Francine Bartlett X Medicine Wheel gave to me before this endeavor, “Every stroke is sacred, every stroke is a blessing.” Along with other mantras I have like “you can do hard things,” while trying not to drown. I am the most ineffective swimmer according to all of my friends so I just tried as hard as I could and made it across that damn lake fueled by pure grit and nothing else. Adele is my queen. My feet touch the slimy rocks on the other side of the lake, thank god. Jim has jumped into the water and is cheering me on.

(Swim: 56 min)

12:23 I crawl/limp to shore. The entire shoreline suddenly rejoices in cheers. Where did these people come from? Jimmi has told the entire overlook of tourists that I am going for a speed record and they are ecstatic! This makes me smile and gives me extra boost to keep pushing. Jim literally shoves crumbs of pop-tart into my mouth and I wash it down with root beer, which turns into an explosion. I put my shammies on and all of a sudden Stephen Shelesky and I are biking hella fast.

12:33 Luckily it’s mostly downhill on the way back to town, because at this point I’m even more delirious and not speaking English to myself or anyone else. Stephen and I crank 21 miles with a headwind and I tuck behind him. All of a sudden I hit his back tire and eat sh** on the road going 25 mph, full OTB and double flip onto pavement and then into the ditch, still one leg attached to the bike. F***

Luckily Stephen rides it out and is unscathed. We are 4 miles from town square. We quickly fix the handle bars and derailleur which got twisted and I look down at my bloody arm and shoulder and say I am okay — let’s finish this thing! We make it into town, ride under the antlers just as Jim and Christian jump out of the car cheering.

(Bike: 1 hour 10 min)

13:43 Finish. I can’t believe it. What a hard adventure. I still have more reflections and a lot to think about but one that kept coming to me throughout the day was how lucky I am to have such amazing friends that are so willing to support my goals. This WOULD NOT have happened without their love, stoke, athleticism, special skill sets, and excitement and HOLY SH** I am beyond grateful to be surrounded by such great friends and community. Can not express my appreciation enough- I am the luckiest person in the world.

(Total elapsed time: 11 hours 43 min)

Scattered thoughts: You can do hard things.

But why do you do it? What pushes you, drives you? Why do you feel like you “have to” do something? What are you trying to prove? Who are you proving it to? Pain is temporary. Jackson is a very hard-o place to live LOL. Push yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable and that you are not good at. Try hard. Be kind. Take an extra breath and moment to look around because you are surrounded by so much love.

special thanks to

@tom_licata_ for the paddle board

@kristie.ryan for the bike shoes

@space_cowboyfloyd for the stoke

@hobacksports for the bike tune

@medicinewheelwellness for a healing space

and lastly, @treefighter for creating this ridiculous and awesome adventure challenge.

More info on the Picnic:

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