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Sawtooth Relay

The next adventure, ‘twas a great one, Sawtooth Relay. I got a text from my buddy a few weeks ago saying: “So where’s the adventure this weekend?” 1. I was flattered that he asked me that and 2. What a way to live life! Life is an adventure. Undoubtedly it’s easier than people make it, just get off your butt and make some plans. Netflix can wait. Therefore Blane, if you ever read this, thanks for the inspiring text. It will keep me motivated to continuously find what’s next.

Can Matt Run the Distance?

May 10th: A good friend asked if I wanted to come visit her in Idaho. I said sure. My reward miles were in abundance, and heck, an opportunity to get out West? Absolutely. I had to jump on it. As I was booking the tickets, she informed me of what we would be doing that weekend. Running a 60-mile relay race through the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Whoa, Matthew is not a runner, and a flat-lander. Queue a fast track training program to get ready.

Fast forward to June 9th, I was sitting at Flying M Coffee House in Boise, , wrapping up the week. The place was pretty hip. Like the hip kinda place where no two chairs are alike. I was a little out of my element, but pressed on. Our schedule for the weekend was set. Cruise up to Stanley, find a place to camp, and be at the starting line by 7am Saturday morning.

With a few hours to kill, I wanted to check out some local shops. I gravitated to the outdoor stores, and with that, landed on a gold mine. ‘Outfitters R US’ is a co-sign shop. For the flat-landers reading this, it’s a Goodwill for outdoor gear. The stop to peruse quickly turned into over an hour long shopping scavenger hunt. There was so much to investigate, what deals could be found? I ended up buying a pair of mountain biking shoes, 3 kits for riding, and a rock climbing helmet. Something I know couldn’t be done at any store in the Midwest. All things I needed, bought at a fraction of the cost. Stoked was a word that came to mind.

Tackling Sawtooth Relay

Now that my inner shop-a-haulic was quenched (jk I don’t shop), it was time to head to the mountains. I picked Bailey up and we were on our way north, in search of hot springs and a good campsite to break in her new engineering feat: The Tramper. We took highway 21 which followed the Payette river.

With spring conditions, most of the hot springs were washed out. We did find a spot that got the job done. It’s amazing sitting in a pool of hot water just feet away from a class 4 river. Humbling, to say the least. Many mental pictures were taken, but sadly, none of the digital variety.

Stanley, where our exploit began, is a little town of 63 nestled in the Sawtooth Mountain range. As we were almost in town, Bailey spotted a sign that said Lake Stanley, turn right. Both sharing a love for water, we had to check it out. Coincidently, some camping spots were available. It was a no brainer site to break in her new set-up


Dinner was delicious. Bailey @baileykrstic knocked it out of the park with beef stew, rice and beans. A perfect combination complex carbs to fuel is for tomorrows race.

You know how weathermen are always right? Well, let’s just say they were not calling for snow. This was our view at 5:30 am. Snow. I was set to start the 1st leg of the race at 7am. It was going to be an interesting morning. Did I mention it was June 10th?

Sidebar: Sawtooth Relay - The race is broken up into 10 legs all ranging from 5-6 miles per leg. The starting point was in Stanley, elevation 5,600 ft and ending in Ketchum, elevation 5,200. The race is relatively flat, with the exception of legs 5 and 6; a climb and downhill at the Galena summit. Up 1,500, down 1,500. Start times ranged from 2 am Saturday morning all the way to 10 am.

The Heat is On

With snow falling, the starting bell rang as we started the race. I was nervous and excited. How was the Midwest boy going to handle a distance race, in the mountains? Thankfully, I ended up doing just fine. At this time I think I owe a majority of that to my team: ‘The Team 4mally Known as Prince.’ A real rag-tag group of people thrown together at the last minute. It was awesome. We all came from different backgrounds and stepped up to race because the team needed people. As each runner set off on their leg, we used Bailey’s truck as the rally car. We’d drive by hooting and hollering, roll ahead to the next pull-off, get out of the car, and do it all again. It was an awesome way to pass the time, and fuel our runners!


In just under 8 hours, our team finished in Ketchum, Idaho. Ketchum is home to Sun Valley. In addition it was great to see the town during the summer. Vastly different in the winter.  Greeted with food and beer tickets, it was a great way to end the day. The mountains are crazy. 7 am, 30 degrees and snowy to 65 degrees, sunny, and beautiful.

Sunday was a  rude awakening. My legs were quite sore and needed to get shaken out. We tried to find more hot springs, but were unsuccessful. To get the blood flowing, trying to break up some latic acid, we did a small hike in the foothills of Ketchum. Idaho is stunning.

Cheers to conquering another adventure with a great group, in a beautiful pocket of our country! Sawtooth relay was great! Never stop pushing yourself to the limits, you might be surprised what you find when you get there.

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them."

- M. Scott Peck, Author 'The Road Less Traveled'

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Matthew "Matty-K" Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.

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