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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning on: November 16, 2011, 03:03:33 PM
mtnbound


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« on: November 16, 2011, 03:03:33 PM »

I am interested in doing the CTR 2012 edition.  I have followed the racers the last two years and it looks incredible (incredibly hard and awesome!).  I am a newbie so everything about this race will be new to me.  And, I have never done a multi-day bike ride but plan on doing several before the race to test myself and equipment.

Has a date been set for 2012 or am I jumping the gun?

I have started planning my training and gear prep since I expect it will take me until August to prepare for this monumental adventure.  I read last year's planning thread (yep, all 27 pages!) so I have some understanding about planning but would be interested in advice for training over the winter months.  I have some thoughts but would enjoy hearing from experienced riders.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 09:35:34 AM
dream4est


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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 09:35:34 AM »

Monday, July 30th, 2012 - 6am

My 2 cents on a first attempt in the CTR:
Race something else this season first to get used to the concept, like ITT of the Grand Loop or AZT 300 or DaveH's Utah race. If that cant be done, no biggie but the first 2 days of the CTR can be overwhelming.

Work on your fitness MORE than working on gear choices this winter. I think that the goal should be the best shape/lowest weight that is acceptable in your life. I mix it up and run many miles/do tons of pushups,curls, upper body. You can finish with average fitness ( I did in an 08 ITT, 09 and 10 races) but it makes things more difficult and mentally challenging.

As long as your camping gear is light, it does not matter really what choices you come up with. Bivies, tents, tarps, sleeping bags, no bag, etc. have all been tried and some things work well for some people but not for others. Custom bike bags are a great thing, but you do not have to have the best to compete. Homemade gear works just as well IMO.

Bikes: 26 or 29, HT or FS, all seem to work well if set up right.

Do not give yourself a time limit to complete the race that is unrealistic. In my experience that results in quitting before Durango nearly every time. Having to catch a flight or make a wedding or whatever will ruin your race effort mentally. Maybe Krefs (AZT 300/750 record holder) can do that, but the average human will succumb to the added stress of a time limit. Any excuse in your mind to quit will be madly amplified by the stress of an event like the CTR.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 04:36:39 PM
mtnbound


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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 04:36:39 PM »

Thanks for the response and your insight!  In winter, I would like to work on upper body strength & core at the gym and bike outside when possible (I'm in Ft Collins).  With crappy weather, would all day snow shoeing/hiking help out or is it better to cycle for shorter periods (on the trainer - gag!) in the gym?  I can only muster 60-90 minutes on a trainer.

I am trying to keep the cost down and thought about making a bike seat bag, so good to know others have done that.  I don't think a frame bag would fit much stuff on my bike ('06 FSR Stumpjumper).  I have looked into a bivy but too cramped/claustrophobic for me.  I am thinking more of a 1 person tent (probably just take the fly and the footprint and skip the mesh tent to save weight) that weighs around 2 to 2 1/2 lbs (Big Agnes has a couple).  

I like the advice about not setting a time limit.  That does seem a way to set up unneeded mental stress. I will be back of the pack but that's OK since my goal is simply to finish this monumental race - the race is really against myself to see how I measure up against the CT.  I have set goals for daily mileage but realize they are just goals and plan on being flexible.  Hmmm, I wonder if there could be an "award" for lanterne rouge!

Thanks for the info on the start time/day.  Does it always start on a Monday?  The last couple of years, I noticed that.  It seems like it would reduce the time needed off work if it started on a weekend (for us back of the packers) so the begining (and hopefully) the end will be on the weekend.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 05:32:15 PM
dream4est


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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 05:32:15 PM »

I would bet that the race starts on a Monday due to the Hwy 285 stretch from Shawnee to Kenosha Pass. It is a very dangerous stretch of road to navigate during heavy traffic hours (weekend).

Daily mileage goals for folks who finish in 7 days or more can be problematic too. A good example would be not clearing Georgia Pass on day 1 (mile 80 or so). Those who do get good mileage on day 2 and clear 10 mile and Searle/Kokomo (usually). Those who dont have low mileage on day 2, sometimes half of day 1. But then you can bust out a 100 mile 24hrs after that and reach Beuna Vista if the slow progress on day 2 does not demoralize you. I guess what I am saying is wake up each morning and forget yesterdays mileage or issues and just plug away.

As far as bike bags go, I bet Jeremy11 from this site could make you a nice bag for that small front tri area Stumpy, and he charges about half of what the big boys do (around 70-80 bucks).
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 06:15:50 PM
DanHickstein


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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 06:15:50 PM »

Hi mtnbound,
I spread the load between a bag behind the saddle, the sleeping bad and pad on the bars (in a dry bag), and everything else in the back pack. I also put two 20 oz water bottles on the frame so that I could carry less water in the backpack. I tended to load more things onto the bike on the road sections and keep more things in the backpack during the tough singletrack sections. The seatbag/handlebar-roll setup is cheap, solid, and works pretty well as long as you don't mind having some weight on your back.

I started on Saturday evening last year in order to avoid taking off more than a week of work. It worked out pretty well. This time I'm thinking about flying to Durango and riding back to Denver. This way I don't need to bum a ride back from Durango and, if I'm still feeling strong after the CT, I could ride all the way back to my house in Boulder. Anyone else interested in a Sunday morning departure from Durango?

I think that some snowshoeing would be good training for the CTR: unless you are a cycling god, there will be plenty of slogging uphill with a bike on your back. I was glad to have done some running during the summer before the race to make sure that I had tough feet! Smiley

But why are we talking about bikes? It's ski season!  thumbsup

Cheers, Dan
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 05:54:49 AM
bartspedden


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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 05:54:49 AM »

For training during the winter I like ski mountaineering. There's so much to explore out there on a pair of skis. Hell if you really wanted to you could ski lots of the CT! I snowshoed for years, switched to skiing and had way more fun!

And since you live here, iPod should take advantage of just riding the CT for training when you can. It's a fantastic  trail with lots of variety.

For me there wasn't really a way to prepare for the mental challenges of the race. It was just something that I had to live through. For planning purposes I had some general ideas of how long it was going to take, but once the race started I was just living from hour to hour.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 11:18:40 AM
mtnbound


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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 11:18:40 AM »

dream4est - The Highway 285 section does look treacherous.  Still, I am considering starting that Saturday to take less time off work.  I see what you mean about daily mileage goals - the section just past Georgia Pass is intimidating, with tons of climbing, and I expect it to be demoralizing.  Since my main goal is just to finish, regardless of time, I won't put much emphasis on mileage goals.  Like you said, just get up each morning and start riding.  Probably tape a reminder on my bars, something like "just keep pedaling"!  Forward motion, no matter how slow, is still forward motion.

Dan - I do want to keep it cheap and am working on how much to place on the bike and how much in the backpack.  However, I won't get too specific until early spring (Marchish), when I want to start trying different setups to see what works best.  I don't want to buy too much equipment but will get what is necessary.  I will get a 1 person tent (but likely not take the tent, just the rain fly and ground cloth).  I have a 12 year old North Face's Cat's Meow sleeping bag but haven't weighed it yet.  It's a good backpacking bag but not particularly packable or light - probably just shy of 3 lbs.  What weight do most racers have for their bags?  I probably won't ski this year but good to know snow shoeing is good training for CTR!

bartspedden - I like the idea of riding sections of the CT as training.  Get a good idea of how sections will look and you get to ride an awesome trail!  I figured the mental aspect is hard to prep for.  The best I could come up with is just to get some weekend overnight trips in.

Training so far has been not so good over the Turkey Day holiday - spent 40+ hours in the car so no training occurred.  But getting a ride in this afternoon, which should be good since the weather is close to 60! 

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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #7 on: December 02, 2011, 02:46:13 PM
bartspedden


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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2011, 02:46:13 PM »

I did some more thinking how best to mentally train for the unknowns of an adventure race like the CTR. Is there really a way to do this? While I'm still not certain,,there is one thing that keeps coming back. I had to build a strong desire to finish. I had to obsess about it to the point where it was my primary thought when falling asleep. Just thinking about the CTR became my happy place. I definitely had some low points (http://www.bikepacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,2502.0.html) but I think that all of the time spent thinking about the CTR prior to the race helped me through the lows. I toured the trail with car support in 2009 (and learned about the race while on the trail), I bailed in Frisco from the race in 2010, and finally finished the race in 2011. While I was a bit more fit in 2011 I think the raw desire to finish is what made the difference.

I'm sure it's probably different for lots of folks though. I'm not a terribly gifted athlete, I'm disciplined and I work hard and smart. Visualization is a powerful tool for me and I also practice chi gong. But in the end I really wanted, maybe even needed, to finish the race this year. Dropping out sucks balls, and it's something you have to live with. I didn't beat myself over it, but I did use that defeat to build a strong desire to finish in 2011.

Hope that helps.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 08:03:06 AM
Laps


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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 08:03:06 AM »

Thanks for asking the question mtnbound and everyone else for the info.  I am in for 2012 as well, and this will be my first ultra race too.  I am a bit overwhelmed with everything, and have the added worry of altitude (I live in VT) Any suggestions for dealing with that?  Or am I just screwed?
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 06:08:47 PM
bartspedden


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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 06:08:47 PM »

Thanks for asking the question mtnbound and everyone else for the info.  I am in for 2012 as well, and this will be my first ultra race too.  I am a bit overwhelmed with everything, and have the added worry of altitude (I live in VT) Any suggestions for dealing with that?  Or am I just screwed?



Check out this post: http://www.bikepacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,2546.0.html
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 09:44:11 PM
mtnbound


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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 09:44:11 PM »

I really appreciate all of the feeback!  Thanks everyone!

bartspedden - I have been obsessing about it.  I have started training and it helps keep me going.  I hope, though, I won't burn out/get tired of thinking about it.  During the race, I was wondering about the mental aspect of it and how to get thru the lows.  I don't know if anyone has tried this before but I was considering recording some inspirations/motivational messages on my phone before the race and play them back when I hit the low points.  I also read Toby Gladden's blog post on how he planned to deal with different mental barriers and thought I might copy those onto my phone too (with some tweaking) to help me get past them.

I got the Fenix LD20 light based upon others mentioning in this forum - it is so light!  I was also going to get BD Storm headlamp - it is waterproof and burns up to 100 lumens while having a long battery life (much longer than the LD20) and it is easier to wrap the band around the handlebars (not sure which light will be mounted where but both lights can be mounted on either the helmet or handlebars).  I didn't find a review in any forum in bikepacking.net on the Storm or on this combo - anyone try the Storm or use this combo?  The LD20 can go up to 180 lumen but only for 2 1/2 hours or 80 lumens for 6 hrs while the Storm can do 100 lumen for 50 hrs (and longer for lower lumens) so it seems a good combo.  The LD20 is 60 grams plus batteries (I read that the typical AA weighs 23 grams so for 2 AA, the total weight is about 106 grams) while the Storm weights about 110 grams with 3 AAAs.  I thought about using two Storms for their longevity but like that the LD20 can boost up to 181 lumens for a short time, if needed.  For those that rode the CTR, were there times when you needed/wanted those extra lumens?

Finally, I went to REI and looked at Garmin's eTrex Vista HCX (the one many recommended on this forum) and the new eTrex 30.  The two are very comparable - essentially the 30 is the same as the HCX but the 30 is the newer version, though it has mostly the same features.  The 30 looks sharper and the graphics and menus are better but that was about it for the differences, except the 30 is $60 more (though the 30 did have an alarm, which could be helpful on the CTR but they got rid of the games that the HCX had - bummer!).  The REI guy said he didn't see any real differences between the two except that Garmin seems to want to phase out the HCX with the 30.  I read that ScottM was going to do a review of the new eTrex - anyone else have any knowledge or experience with these two models?  Thanks again for everyone's input!
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #11 on: December 05, 2011, 09:38:30 AM
jryter


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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2011, 09:38:30 AM »

I liked my 29er w/ tubeless tires. I was getting tired of the hiking by the end-so be ready for that--feet are still numb. I would take spare brake pads. I would preride as much as you can. Especially Bueny to Durango--there are some sections that can mess with you if you don't know how much farther you have to go or what you are up against. Notably after the Crest trail to Hwy 114, Slumgullion to Silverton, And silverton to Durango. I think having a goal that is attainable is a good idea and trying to hit it helps me focus. Take extra food at Bueny. Try not to get lost too much. The packs from Relevate were good. You could probably make something but the R&D put into these is worth quite a bit and it sucks to have problems. If you see a storm building try to beat it or wait a few in a dry spot and it will probably/maybe pass. I really thought it was a pretty easy race and not much training required  Wink. Nordic skiing is great conditioning in the winter. Focus on the positive and just push the rest to the back of you mind. You will be riding through some killer country, wildflowers will be awesome. Great wildlife viewing opportunities. People along the way are great and supportive. Something to experience for sure.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 12:00:50 PM
Laps


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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 12:00:50 PM »

Thanks Bart. I have some book shopping to do. How helpful/essential is the CT guidebook?
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #13 on: December 05, 2011, 05:15:43 PM
DanHickstein


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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2011, 05:15:43 PM »

Hi mtnbound,
I used the BD Storm headlamp on my helmet. I attached it with zip ties, which was a little bit annoying, but it worked. It's very bright for a AAA battery-powered light and it was enough for riding technical stuff at night. I think that next year I will try to get a light that is made specifically to attach to the helmet. This is for two reasons: 1) it would save a little frustration to be able to quickly attach/remove the light. 2) I think that moving the light source from the front of my helmet to the top of my helmet should provide a slightly better angle for the light. If you have tried riding at night with only a headlamp, you will see what I mean about the angle of the light - it kinda makes me nauseous after a while.

I have tried wrapping a headlamp around the handlebars and find that it's very hard to get the lamp not to slip when you hit bumps. I used a Princeton Tec EOS last year, and it worked okay. I think it's 80 lumens, which is almost bright enough, but it really chews through batteries at the highest setting. I'm searching for a better AA/AAA powered bar lamp for next year. I wish they made a bar-mount for the Storm!
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #14 on: December 05, 2011, 08:25:18 PM
bartspedden


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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2011, 08:25:18 PM »

Thanks Bart. I have some book shopping to do. How helpful/essential is the CT guidebook?
I think the CT guide book is pretty essential for a first timer. Tons of good info.  My first time touring the CT was without a GPS, all I did was use the distance on my cyclocomputer and the waypoints from the guide book to make decisions.  I would have to pull the book out a number of times each day just to make sure everything was cool. This is fine for touring, but a time sink for racing. However, I think this really helped burn the details of the course into my head and made me a little more intimate with the overall course. This past year I did it without the guide book and just a gps.  I figured for the most part, I knew where I was, and at the weight of the guide book... it was an easy decision to leave it home.  I once tried the companion guide book without the GPS and got lost for about 10 minutes. But it was 10 minutes downhill and it took another 30 minutes to get back to where I started... D'Oh! So for me, I didn't like the companion, I know others love it though, to each their own. In 2010 I cut out all the "unneeded" info from the guide book to reduce the weight and carried a GPS. 

So, I guess in the end it just comes down to how familiar you are with the course. One the one side of the equation you have folks that have never ridden a mile of the CT before racing it, and I would think that the guide book is pretty essential for them for research. On the other hand there's veterans that don't need a map at all. 

Where do you think you fit in?
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #15 on: December 06, 2011, 02:47:26 AM
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2011, 02:47:26 AM »

I am in the "never set foot near the CTR, but I've seen a lot of pictures category" I plan on bringing the guidebook/gps/additional map and compass (seriously).  I have never set foot on the CT and I won't be able to get out to CO until about a week before the race.  I will have the waypoints loaded onto a GPS, and now that you have put the idea in my head, I might buy two guidebooks, and "edit" one for weight. 

Have you used Stefan's waypoints?  It seems like that is what most people do, how easy/idiot proof is it? 

(Because I will surely test the limits of it being idiot proof)

Thanks again for the advice!
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #16 on: December 06, 2011, 08:48:29 AM
bartspedden


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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2011, 08:48:29 AM »

While I've never used Stefan's waypoints, certainly others on the forum have with success. The good part about the CT is that it's really well marked and there tends to be plenty of water. With the exception of the 200'ish miles from Mt. Princeton Hot Springs to Silvertion, a town is no more then a day away.

I had a big eye opening with respect to the use of GPSs after the 2011 CTR. A GPS is huge advantage if you are unfamiliar with the course and are good with the GPS. Missing a turn or two on a 500 mile race is not the end of the world, but it is a waste of time and might rattle confidence a little if you let it.  The tough part is staying focused.  To save battery life I don't keep my GPS on, but just turn it on when I have a question.  On sections that have more route finding I will keep it on until I feel like I know where I'm going. A couple sets of spare batteries eased my mind...

For me, following the line on the GPS is great for racing, but I prefer not to use the GPS while just riding. I seem to learn more about the area when I'm not looking at the digital device. As a kid it was awesome to get to the top of a mountain, pull out the map and identify all the peaks.  I love that about the part about learning different ranges, at some point you know where you are because you can recognize other peaks. 

I'll be in the "never ridden a mile" category on the AZT 300 this year, and there doesn't seem to be a book. So I'll be relying on the GPS for navigation, waypoints for water, and a lifetime of playing in the mountains for everything else.  I can't wait!
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #17 on: December 07, 2011, 04:32:11 PM
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2011, 04:32:11 PM »

Thaanks again Bart. I don't have a gps at this point, but I plan on getting familiar with one skiingthis winter. This will certainly be an eye opening experience for me in more ways than one. Good luck with AZT!
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #18 on: December 08, 2011, 11:00:44 AM
joeydurango


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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2011, 11:00:44 AM »

I used the GPS track but didn't use the waypoints.  Following the trail is pretty easy most of the time, but in the tricky areas it helps to have a line to follow.  I also used the databook, which was pretty helpful just for cross-reference.  Pre-race I had traced out all detours on the databook maps to the greatest extent possible, as well as on a DeLorme Gazetteer.  I spent a couple months just studying the Gazetteer, trying to memorize the detours and the route in general.  Once back to Silverton I was in home territory, which helped... especially when a lost hiker near Bolam Pass tried to convince Shaggy and I that we were NOT on the Colorado Trail at all.  After we got him turned around (not without a few suspicious glances from Shaggy, I might add, who was relying on my navigation to Durango), he felt a little silly, since his two sons had been watching the whole exchange with interest.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2012 Planning Reply #19 on: December 08, 2011, 11:24:24 AM
DanHickstein


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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2011, 11:24:24 AM »

The GPS is super sweet and I used it all the time on the CT. But, it's good to bring maps as a backup and to get an idea of the terrain. It's also nice to know what towns you can get to if you have to bail. I had printed maps that covered all of the route. I brought waterproof printed maps from Lat 40 or National Geographic Trails Illustrated for some of the singletrack sections. For the road sections and some parts of the singletrack that I already knew pretty well, I ripped out pages from the Benchmark Atlas: http://www.amazon.com/Colorado-Road-Recreation-Atlas-Benchmark/dp/0929591941
That atlas has really good info on the dirt roads and the Colorado Trail. They are pretty zoomed out, so they quickly give you the big picture about where you are. However, since they are so zoomed out, they can sandbag you pretty good Smiley As an added benefit, after you are done with each map you can just drop it in the recycling!

The databook is also really helpful, especially regarding water sources. It has a few mistakes. For instance, it said that the climbing on the segment just before you get to Stoney Pass Road was 1,000'. I think it was more like 4,000'!

Cheers,
Dan
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