Few would even entertain the thought of running these five iconic Northern California trails back-to-back, let alone back to back within 24 hours – this would surely be madness! Drawing inspiration from the first 24 hour Hell and Back Challenge done last year on the East Coast, the first Northern California ‘24 Hours of Madness’ started to take shape.
Having completed a “Triple Trail Challenge,” which included the relatively easy trio of Strawberry Pass, Deer Valley, and Slick Rock in a day, and the more challenging Fordyce and Rubicon trails on solid but separate day trips, I knew it was possible to link these five trails. It would require some road travel between trails, airing down and airing up multiple times, and pit stops for gas, but we mapped the trails and figured that maybe, just maybe, if all went to plan, we could squeeze this into an action-packed and sleep-deprived 24hrs. It would be tight, and luck would have to be on our side, but it seemed doable ‘on paper’.
The route would start around 10 a.m. at Fordyce, the hardest of the five trails, then on to The Rubicon, Strawberry Pass, Deer Valley, and end at Slick Rock. I recruited four close friends, and we worked out the remaining details, and then we set out in mid-August, 2020, to conquer the NorCal 24 Hours of Madness.
The Eagle Lake entrance was our starting point at 10 a.m. sharp, from there we made our way to the beginning of Fordyce. Everyone but Spencer drove Driveline Hill, since his JL Sport is open front and rear (no lockers!). We all made the climb without any issues and continued toward Winch Hill 1. Not far past the first water crossing, we had our first major time-sucking issue - Jeff Z. noticed his steering was vague, and a quick inspection showed his track bar broken in half. Having learned my lesson early on in this offroad life to always carry spare parts, I dug around in the back of my Jeep and produced a spare front track bar. My co-pilot, Jeremy Repetto, leaped into action and led the effort to swap out the broken track bar quickly, and we were back rolling again.
• Jeff Hoggstatus (Silver JK, @hoggstatusjk)
• Shane Elliott (Granite Crystal JKU, @selliott197)
• Spencer Petrehn (White JL, @marinespence87)
• Jeff Zell (Anvil JKU, @jeffzell)
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