On the day of, Kiel made sure EmmyLou had plenty of food and water. She wore a helmet, of course, as well as ski goggles and a buff to protect her eyes and face from the sun, dust, and rocks.
For 85 miles, the ride went better than Kiel could have envisioned. The route is an out-and-back to Copper Basin with several off-shoot loops that Kiel and EmmyLou could have skipped if they wanted to shorten the ride. Kiel checked in with EmmyLou constantly, making sure she was comfortable, hydrated, and fed. The first big rest stop, and potential decision point, came at the Mile 24, and EmmyLou was in strong spirits. Just before Mile 40, Kiel calculated that they would safely make the time cut, and turned around to let EmmyLou know.
“I said, ‘Emmy, I’m just so proud of you for doing this with me. … It doesn’t matter if we stop now, I’m just really proud of you for being brave enough to try,’” Kiel says. “And, of course, in Emmy’s infinite five-and-a-half-year-old wisdom, she looks at me and goes, ‘You know what, Dad? I’m really proud of you too.’”