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1  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2019 CTR Preparation & Plannning on: November 30, 2018, 07:22:19 PM
No date announcement yet...according to Facebook, the RD is currently determining the date...
2  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Abandon Bikepacking Seatbag for Dropper Post Priority...questions on: November 30, 2018, 07:19:48 PM
Adam, I second MikeC's thoughts - it's all about compromise. I personally wouldn't want to ride a lot of the trails that I love to bikepack on (including the AZT and CT) without a dropper. That being said, I'm not willing to give up on a seat bag. So I usually limit my dropper travel to 3" or so, and I use a Revelate Designs Vole dropper-specific bag - the plastic sheet on the underside protects the bottom in case I occasionally use all my rear travel and buzz the tire with the seat bag. And with the slacker front end geometries and longer travel forks on the bikes I'm riding these days, a bit more weight on the handlebars than I used to prefer has been fine.
3  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2019 AZTR 300/750 Race Preparation and Planning Thread on: November 30, 2018, 07:04:41 PM
Yeehaw, John! That sounds awesome, especially the bit of new trail toward the top of Lemmon! I consistently have so much trouble staying awake for that much pavement.

Count me in for another run at the 750!

Just kidding  icon_biggrin
4  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Bikepacking Roots 2018 Community Survey on: September 06, 2018, 11:57:47 AM
Thanks so much for sharing that here, John!
5  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: April 15, 2018, 12:14:13 PM
Scott, Steven says he can clean that Reddington cache up tomorrow!
6  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: April 15, 2018, 12:02:07 PM
Has anyone been out to Redington yet?

I'll shoot Steven Terry a message and see if he can take care of it. I think that's where he had dropped off some gallons before the race. 
7  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: April 13, 2018, 10:11:22 AM
Aaron - keep crushing! I can't even imagine how hard that climb up Oracle Ridge was, but now all the big obstacles are behind you!
8  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: April 13, 2018, 10:09:55 AM
Hey all! I'm staring at my computer back at home, thinking my brain is now able to put together sentences, but I might have not yet have had enough coffee yet this morning. It was fun reading all the discussion from during the race - there are so many inspiring rides and stories on out on the trail. My own ride was an amazing experience - really fun overall until hitting Grand Canyon. The riding on the AZT is, as everyone knows, unrelentingly challenging, and this year more than ever, I was really enjoying the technical riding since it was so engaging. I pushed a comfortable pace for the 300, shared some great hours of riding with Neil and Kaitlyn each, and then followed their tracks into Picketpost.

Kaitlyn's ride was so spectacular to see first-hand - after all the energy she's put into past AZT race and time trial efforts only to be met by bad luck, everything came together for her on this one, and she stomped out one of the fastest rides ever in the 300, and with a smile! Her persistence and vision has proven to be a formidable combination. Although she and I aren't together any longer, we're still one another's biggest supporters, and her massive ride provided a deep well of inspiration for the remaining days of my ride.

North of Picketpost, I transitioned into pushing the pace on the most rideable sections and dialing it back and being patient on the more technical and unrideable terrain. The heat nearly melted me on the new dirt sections near Gold Canyon, but being off pavement and at the base of the cliffs at the edge of the Superstition Mountains was well worth the extra effort and time. Highline Trail is improving nicely, but it's still quite an adventure to traverse. And the 50-mile boulder field (as described by Cjell Mone a few years back) north of there was just as rocky as ever. (John Schilling: I said hello to all those rocks for you - they asked how you have been and when you're coming back for another visit!). By Mormon Lake, I was still feeling strong, so I continued to push the pace all the way into Flagstaff, quickly grabbed some food, and climbed into the night. I was excited to get out north of the Peaks to sleep that night, but as soon as the descent began, I couldn't keep myself on the trail despite feeling wide awake, so I had to stop. That was the first sign the lack of sleep was starting to really catch up with me.

After a few hours of sleep, I hit it out across the dirt roads and 2-tracks of the volcanic field, once again feeling strong, but the fatigue in my legs was becoming more obvious. I was eager to get to the Canyon, and after a quick stop at the post office in Grand Canyon Village to grab a pack, running shoes, and trekking poles, I found myself at the South Rim. The crossing was uneventful, but it was a struggle - one foot in front of the other, tired legs, a knee that was not happy with hiking downhill, and patience that was wearing thin. My running shoes were actually less comfortable with the heavy pack than were my cycling shoes, so gave up on the running shoes just a few miles into the hike. By the wee hours of the morning, my brain decided it was time to get creative and started spicing up the darkness with all sorts of strange hallucinations. I had been pushing the sleep deprivation envelope too far, apparently, and it got a little frightening at times as I neared the North Rim. The crossing took ~14 hours with just a few quick breaks along the way, but it felt like it could have taken days.

Back on the bike, I was weaving all over the road in the day's first light, trying to keep my eyes open and to not be too alarmed at my brain's growing dysfunction. I got frustrated with myself for letting things get that far and ignoring the early signs that I should have been sleeping more. But that internal dialogueseem and a steady stream of food seemed to wake me up, and before I knew it, I was blasting into Jacob Lake with a huge tailwind. Fresh cookies, coffee, and the thought of the trail's amazing final descent to the border got me excited again. And that last segment of AZT was delightful - my grin returned, I hammered as hard as I could, and by mid-day, I could see the end of the trail. A few tears flowed, I stopped to absorb the view, and then I dropped off Buckskin Mountain on what's got to be one of the sweetest sections of the entire AZT, wrapping up the 30-hour push from the Peaks to the Border.

It was a huge relief to finish, but having really enjoyed so many of the miles, I was somewhat sad to have things come to an end. My final ride time was 6 days, 6 hours, and 6 minutes according to Tim's race-starting clock, a rather beastly time as has been pointed out. This ride was so incredibly different than my 2010 through-ride - that year I knew so little about the trail, what to expect, if I could even survive the adventure, and so on. This time, it was all about controlling the controllable variables as carefully as possible and keeping my focus 100% on moving forward quickly and with a smile. And all that worked out - I had zero mechanicals, only one crash, only found my frustration growing a handful of times, and really enjoyed the experience. I'll share a bit more about my gear and all that jazz over on Instagram in the next few days, so check that out if you're so inclined. And thanks to all of for exuding so much positivity - I could feel it while I was out there!

And now I'm watching all the dots with all of y'all! Dusty's ride that just ended at the Utah border was so impressive - a huge congrats to him!
9  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: April 04, 2018, 02:29:35 PM
For anyone driving from Picketpost south yet today, do not go through Florence. A big country music festival had traffic backed up for miles north of Florence.
10  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: April 02, 2018, 08:56:34 AM
One other note on water - High Jinks Ranch ( is just a few hundred feet off the AZT below Oracle Ridge after you end up on the Cody Trails ( They have a water spigot at their front gate for AZT users - that would be a great place to tank up if not heading into Oracle so as to not need to take more than a bit of water from the Tiger Mine water cache.
11  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 26, 2018, 08:20:05 AM
Another update from GCNP on the water situation in the Canyon. Apparently the transcanyon pipeline broke in multiple places, yet again:

Drinking Water in the Cross-Canyon Corridor
date updated Mar 16, 2018

On Friday, March 16, 2018 Grand Canyon National Park will begin phasing to Level 3 water restrictions and conservation measures due to a series of breaks in the Transcanyon Waterline. Until park staff repairs the break and water in storage tanks reaches sustainable levels, the park will remain in conservation mode.

Drinking water is available at the following inner canyon locations: Phantom Ranch, Bright Angel Campground, and Indian Garden. The South Rim water bottle filling stations- including those at the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trailheads- are turned off.
12  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 25, 2018, 10:06:04 AM
I talked to a few Flagstaff folks yesterday, and they're currently riding up to 8,500'. Word is that Aspen Corner should be fine in 2.5 weeks if no more snow falls and it stays warmish. The descent off the  north side could still have a bit of snow, but it sounds like things are melting out steadily.
13  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 21, 2018, 08:28:24 AM
In this area there have also been confirmed cases of rabid foxes (two).  Riders need to be aware of this especially if camping.  The warning is for all of the western Superstision Mtns. 

More of 'em!? When riding Montana Mountain a year ago (just off the 750 route north of Picketpost), Kaitlyn Boyle got attacked by a rabid fox that came charging out of the bushes at her! She was off her bike to hike across a wash, and she put her bike between her and the fox. Twice the fox lunged and latched onto her front tire. She swung the front end of the bike with the fox clamped on all around and up and down into the ground until the fox finally ran off, yelping as it went. Fortunately, both Kaitlyn and her tire escaped unscathed (that was a dang good test of Terrene's "Tough" casings).

The kit foxes that come out at night are so much cuter than rabid gray foxes. Hopefully we all just see the cute ones :-)
14  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 15, 2018, 02:26:14 PM
The tracks for both the 300 and the 750 both see minor changes most years. Generally they're posted a couple weeks prior to start, but even then there could be last-minute updates if anything unexpected along the route comes up. Patience... :-)
15  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 14, 2018, 08:04:09 PM
The water caches that are being mentioned are kept up by AZT enthusiasts and segment stewards year-round for all Arizona Trail users, and any "public" water in the caches has been permissible to use during the race since the race began. I don't think anyone pretends to not use it, but no one should be 100% relying on that water being there, and it's not fair for folks to fill up a gallon or more since the water is somewhat limited. Grabbing water at Beehive Well and then topping off a couple bottles at Freeman is far more reasonable.

In recent years, a few AZT racers or past racers will go out both before and after the event to pick up empty cartons and drop of dozens of gallons to stock the caches and replace what gets used (I've taken 20+ gallons out to Freeman right before or during the race the past couple years). In the early years of the trail, the Freeman Road cache was the only one on the trail, but more have popped up. But none are officially maintained in any way, there's no schedule for verifying that water remains, and no guarantees of any sort that one will find water at any cache, so as mentioned above, you'd best know where else you might find water (per the ATA water datasheet  - there are a couple stock tanks a bit off route north of Freeman), or carry enough to get to the next reliable source.
16  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 14, 2018, 07:53:35 AM
I see water sources listed in the AZT water table, but having ridden twice through this area, I have never seen (nor looked for) any of them. Has anyone used anything else than the Freeman cache in the past? What are "tanks"? Do you have to climb up and into them? Is green water bad for you?

Those AZT Association water tables are pure gold, especially the reliability ratings they include. Just because it's been dry doesn't mean that some sources will be unreliable.

"Tanks" can mean almost anything in the Southwest. They could be big earthen tanks that were excavated and fill with runoff, they could be metal or concrete tanks into which water is pumped by windmills or gravity-fed by pipes, they could be trick tanks that gather rainwater and store it in any number of ways, and you'll likely find other styles. But if they have water in them, that's all that matters. If that water is green or brown with algae or has a floating cow pie, it's still water. Treat it generously or filter it and you should be fine. But in some tanks, especially the earthen ones, algae and sediment can clog water filters very quickly, so I'd recommend a back-up water treatment option like Aqua Mira.

As mentioned above, do your homework when it comes to water. Never count on any of the water caches to be stocked - have a back-up plan for where to get water if a cache is unexpectedly empty, and plan to have enough water to execute that back-up plan should the need arise.
17  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 07, 2018, 10:07:35 PM
This NPS website has some good updates on water availability in the Canyon. They've been doing repair work on their fussy water lines, so some of the normally reliable water spigots are turned off.
18  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 06, 2018, 05:29:24 PM
Cursing at the trail will never get you anywhere.
19  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: 2018 AZTR300/750 Race Discussion Thread on: March 05, 2018, 08:21:40 PM
It's finally time for me to have another adventure on the 750!

Scott, I think the Kaibab Plateau is going to be snow-free by April unless there's a big Spring storm. Maybe we should axe that snow detour for this year and put the most rideable miles of AZT into the race for real! Whaddya think?

And my thoughts on a few questions folks have asked...suspension front and rear and knobby 2.4" tires with reinforced casings are what I'd strongly recommend for this route, as well as shoes in which your feet will be happy hiking miles. (And there are still hundreds of miles of rugged trail after the end of the 300!)

Nothing about the AZT is similar to Tour Divide, or any other bikepacking race with which I'm familiar. Come expecting *slow*, challenging singletrack, lots of rocks (and then add a lot more rocks for good measure), ample hike-a-bike, hot days, and cold nights. There have even been blizzards out there a couple different years! It's absolutely amazing, but, as mentioned above, do your homework so you show up with your expectations set within the realm of reason.

And join the Arizona Trail Association if you haven't already. Without all their work, we wouldn't be doing any of this - they deserve a donation from all of us.
20  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Tour Divide 2017 Race Preparation on: December 24, 2016, 12:50:37 PM
I'm going with an MRP Rock Solid fork on my next build. Round tubes makes it easy to mount multiple water bottle cages.

I used the MRP fork in TD back in 2012 absolutely loved it. It smoothed out washboards better than any other rigid fork I've ridden!

Happy holidays to all you TD schemers out there. 6 months to go...time to nail down your training plan and double down on the prep work :-D
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