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  1. #1
    Scott in Tucson
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    Arizona Trail 300 - April 11th, 2007

    The AZT 300 is back for its second year. Mark your calendars (or don't) for Friday, April 13th, 2007. Start time is 9am at the Parker Canyon Lake AZT trailhead, just like last year.

    <h2>Now featuring more singletrack!</h2>
    Thanks to the good folks at http://www.aztrail-build.org, a new stretch of one-track has been built where last year's race hopped ranch fences, bushwhacked, hike-a-biked and rode pavement.
    <h2>Race site:</h2>
    For more details:

    http://www.topofusion.com/azt/race.php
    <h2>Course overview map:</h2>
    <center>
    <a href=http://topofusion.com/azt/az300map.jpg><img src=http://topofusion.com/azt/az300map_thm.jpg></a>
    (click to enlarge)
    </center>
    <h2>Big talk</h2>
    I've raced or fast toured the GDR, GLR, KTR, CTR, AZTR (700 mile version), and the AZT 300. Out of all those the 300 is my favorite course and my favorite race. It provides the most interesting, most fun and most stimulating challenge. Why? You'll just have to try it to find out.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone to do it. Take it or leave it. If you're ready for a race like this, you know it. If you're not, you know it.

    The record stands at 2:16:57, but that was the first, introductory year. Surely it can be broken.

    Questions? Post 'em here or hit me with an email:

    smorris AT topofusion.com

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Krein; 11-27-2006 at 06:51 PM.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  2. #2
    Scott in Tucson
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    It has been brought to my attention than I'm a moron. My reply, "what's new?"

    I guess I was looking at 2008 when I selected the date, because the original date of the 11th is a Wednesday. Like last year, the race will start on a Friday. Friday the 13th!!!

    That should scare even more people off. Perfect.

    So once again, the race starts on Friday, the 13th, not on the 11th.

    That is all.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  3. #3
    Really I am that slow
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    Rudi Scared me off...

    I'm still thinking about this one fixed.... It's a bit close to the TI3 and getting work off ect... It's on my to do list!
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  4. #4
    giddy up!
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    Tell me this....

    With this course adjustment....how much hike-a-biking are we talking about?

    Of course everyone is different....I'm just wondering if we're talking about 20 miles total.....or 90:-)

    B
    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  5. #5
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey
    With this course adjustment....how much hike-a-biking are we talking about?

    Of course everyone is different....I'm just wondering if we're talking about 20 miles total.....or 90:-)
    Hard to say exactly... I would guess that only 20-30 miles are what most people would consider "hike-a-bike." But you cover ground so slowly on foot that those miles seem a lot longer.

    And of course the hiking miles are interspersed throughout the course. The longest extended section of (mostly) hiking is only a few miles long. The rest are short hills that don't add up to much distance, but they sure add up to a lot of pain.

    Then there's the Grand Loop shutdown, which is my term for being too weak to pedal a moderate incline on a smooth dirt road. That hit me early in the GL, but not until the very end of the AZT 300. That's a real easy way to rack up hiking miles, as I did in the GL.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  6. #6
    I'm how far behind?
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    Sitting this one out

    Scott,

    Good luck in the event this year. If this goes like other events, I'm sure you will see at least double the participants this year. I think I'm limiting my races to the Arrowhead Ultra, KTR, GLR and CTR. See you at one of those?

    jim
    Fatter than most.

  7. #7
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    How, if at all, necessary are GPS skills for this race? I'm a good map reader/compass user, but have no experience with GPS (useless in eastern woods most of the year).
    In other words, will the course/turns be clear on a map or will there be innumerable jeep roads etc. that one would have to figure out without the turn being on a map? My AZ riding experience says this may be a good possibility...
    Thanks, Mike

  8. #8
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    How, if at all, necessary are GPS skills for this race?

    In other words, will the course/turns be clear on a map or will there be innumerable jeep roads etc. that one would have to figure out without the turn being on a map? My AZ riding experience says this may be a good possibility...
    GPS is not necessary, but recommended. On the race site I also provide mileage based cues for all the turns. Trail names and forest road numbers are listed there, so using that in conjunction with a map should be enough to follow the course.

    You will get lost for some amount of time (even I did). But if you're a good map reader, and keep your wits about you during the race, you should be fine.

    Also, I'm pretty sure Kevin (finisher last year) had never used a GPS before the race and I know he'd never seen any of the course. He got lost a bit, but nothing too major. That's the great thing about having the line on the GPS to follow. You can get "a little" lost, but never miles away from the route.

    Scott
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  9. #9
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soloracer
    Good luck in the event this year. If this goes like other events, I'm sure you will see at least double the participants this year. I think I'm limiting my races to the Arrowhead Ultra, KTR, GLR and CTR. See you at one of those?
    I'd be surprised if 12+ people showed up. My guess? ~8. But you never know.

    I may see you at one of those races. I don't have a firm plan for '07 yet.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  10. #10
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    Pre-rides

    I'm seriously thinking of giving this race a go this year. I've started gathering/researching lightweight camping gear, etc. I've ridden a few portions of the trail already(Canelo Hills, Reddington, Box Canyon near Florence), but ideally I would like to break it down into more manageable chunks and pre-ride the whole thing before the race itself. GPS and cue-sheets are fine, but I would be more comfortable having done each section at least once ahead of time. I live in Bisbee, but would be interested in hooking up with anyone else who has ridden any or all of the other sections for some pre-ride action. Thinking of heading over to Patagonia this weekend to look at the stretch between there and Hwy 83/ I-10. Anyone interested in future pre-rides, let me know.
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  11. #11
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    GPS and cue-sheets are fine, but I would be more comfortable having done each section at least once ahead of time.
    Ignoring my own hypocrisy, I'll say that pre-riding takes the adventure out of it. That's what I'm supposed to say, right?

    Of course I had ridden 99% of the course before last year.... though some of it was years ago and my memory was not as strong as I believed it to be.

    This race is an adventure even if you've ridden the entire course 500 times. So I think pre-riding is a great idea....

    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    I live in Bisbee, but would be interested in hooking up with anyone else who has ridden any or all of the other sections for some pre-ride action. Thinking of heading over to Patagonia this weekend to look at the stretch between there and Hwy 83/ I-10. Anyone interested in future pre-rides, let me know.
    Bisbee, huh? Well, watcha got cooking down there? I've always wanted to ride down there, and I'd be happy to ride some of the route with you if you're willing to show some local goods down there.

    No can do this weekend outta Patagonia, though. I'm still building and my longest allowed ride is, though it pains me to write this, only about 3 hours.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  12. #12
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    Trail Exchange Program?

    Sounds like a great idea. The main trail in Bisbee itself isn't that long(+/-2hrs.), but it makes up for it with the views of town and the technicalness. Most of our long rides are near Sierra Vista in and around the Huachucas, and the guys I ride with are always more than happy to share the loot! My friend Dejay from Tucson came down last weekend for a nice eight hour loop, and brought a couple of friends. The friends turned out to be Pua and Ron from Team Mata! What an honor to be able to share my favorite trails with an endurance athlete of her stature! She was killin it on the climbs!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  13. #13
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    I am one of the guys skidmark rides with and I am also considering the AZ300 in 07. I presently live in Sierra Vista, but a native of Bisbee. I learned very early in my young bicycling experience that if you want to ride a bike in Bisbee there is only one way, up! I am 3 years into endurance racing and it seems my passion increases constantly. I have great support from my family for this race, such that my daughter's first communion recital will be changed one month later since the original date falls the same weekend of the race. My only concern is that my father is an old school cowboy and he will want to give me his input on how to pack for the adventure, won't be light!! Glad you are putting on this great endurance/adventure race in our backyard, I'm confident you will have a good turnout this year and years to come. Count me in, can't wait!

  14. #14
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by betoman17
    I am one of the guys skidmark rides with and I am also considering the AZ300 in 07. Count me in, can't wait!
    Welcome and thanks for the post.

    A small bit of news. Tim McCabe has confirmed ~3 miles of new singletrack at the very end of the race (Alamo Canyon). It's currently signed and he was able to GPS it for us. When I get the new Colossal Cave trail GPS'd I will put out the final GPS data and cue sheets for the course, probably in January. Both of the changes are pretty minor and only improve the course.

    Tim reports the trail is rideable, climbs less than the old road, but has one place where the trail is very narrow and a sheer drop on one side. Should be interesting if you're there at 2 am.

    Also, the latest issue of Mountain Flyer has an article about the race. Check it out if you can get your hands on a copy.

    Hope to see both of you Southeast AZ riders at the start line.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  15. #15
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    Betoman and I rode the Patagonia to Hwy 83 section yesterday. Using just the route sheet and no map, computer or GPS, we managed to make it without getting lost or missing any turns. What a great section, with sweet views and some super fun jump riddled descents! That was also our first time on Elephant Head. I can only imagine what it will be like trying to ride that in the dark! Looking forward to hitting the next section soon!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  16. #16
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    Skidmark and Betoman glad to hear you are planning to do the race I had hope to ride it last year but got tied up doing the full AZT as a tour instead. Zach McDonald and I are planning to do the race this year as well. Not so much to race but as a training ride for future touring.

    As for not needing a GPS on the section from Pat to 83 not surprising as the roads and trails in that area are fairly well traveled. Things are a bit different when you get north of Tiger Mine Road where the trail sees very little traffic. Not that you can’t do it with out the GPS it is just that the trail can be hard to follow. If you plan to do very much night riding I would highly recommend the GPS.

    T

  17. #17
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    Happy New Year! Great to read all the posts about the ride.
    I'll be riding the AZT 300 with Tim McCabe. I've been learning from him and Lee Blackwell and planning for the event. Gathering lightweight gear, learning GPS and riding as much as my schedule allows.
    I would also like to pre-ride as much as possible before April. Especially the sections from Parker Canyon to Patagonia and from Patagonia to Hwy 83. Can they be done in a day as a loop? Or better as an overnight or shuttle?
    Thanks, looking forward to the event!

  18. #18
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    Greetings,

    Parker to Patagonia fresh and packing light, takes between 5 to 6 hours, with plenty of hike an bike. Patagonia to Hwy 83 is 99.9% ridable and it took Skidmark and myself approx. 7 hours. I personally would not plan an overnight ride due to the low temps. The cue sheets are easy to follow and accurate. Glad to hear you are joining us, it will be an awesome experience.

  19. #19
    Scott in Tucson
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    Update

    I updated the GPS data and cue sheets for the 2007 singletrack additions. To get them, head over here:

    http://www.topofusion.com/azt/race-route.php

    I rode the new singletrack additions yesterday. Definitely some good stuff in there. I especially liked the trail between Interstate 10 and 3 Bridges. Last year we had to take a crappy eroded 2-track for that ~1.5 miles. One spot was so bad a dismount/portage was required (basically a 6 foot deep pit).

    Now we're on a smooth, fast and flowing singletrack:

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/davidson.jpg>

    That's followed by a brief stint on a 2-track featuring several sweet jumps!

    The trail in Colossal Cave Park is almost done. It's flagged so I GPS'd the last ~50 feet even though it isn't built yet. That's going to be a major improvement over the super-steep hike-a-bike that was the cowboy trail.

    Unfortunately, many of the fences on the trail have still have not had gates installed (~6 of them). Some of them have had the lowest wire cut, though, making it easier to slide under. I'm not sure how many of these will turn into gates before the race starts. At least a few of them will.

    I don't anticipate any changes to the GPS data or cues, unless I run into a re-route or something while out scouting the course. Thanks again to Tim for the GPS data for the new 1-track at the end of the race.

    OK, it's 75+ degrees outside, I'm going for a ride.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  20. #20
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    Anyone want to car pool/ shuttle cars for the start and finish? I am driving down from Gunnison CO and would like to have my truck at the finish. Any one interested let me know Jefe

  21. #21
    Scott in Tucson
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    Hey Mark,

    Was it the SV and Bisbee crew out riding the Cienega Corridor section this weekend? Someone told me some guys were riding the trail (to Oracle?) and had mentioned something about the race. I got there about 15 minutes after the riders left, apparently.

    If so, what did you think of that piece of trail and how far did you ride?

    Several new gates have been installed since I last posted here. Now I believe there is only one that you need to go under. There are two that you can just step over (no climbing necessary), both by Three Bridges.

    Race date is creeping up -- one month away. The recent warmth makes me fear heat/water come April 13th, but actually, this weather is just about ideal for being on your bike more hours per day than you're off it.

    Looking forward to seeing how this year's race goes for everyone.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  22. #22
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    Yeah, there were three of us out riding that section on Saturday. Definitely some of the sweetest singletrack that I've ridden as far as the AZT goes. You can tell that the layout of the trail was influenced by MTBers, with good flow and lots of switchbacks, as opposed to some of the Canelo Hills sections where the trail just goes straight up. We then rode out to Reddington, where the heat kicked my ass. We didn't start the climb till about noon, and by the time we got to Catalina Hwy, I was feeling pretty crappy(stomach issues due to the heat), and my buddy Gabe(not doing the race) was feeling at least as bad as I was, plus he was almost out of water and was having knee issues. Beto had to get back, so he bailed down the Hwy to town, while Gabe and I opted to continue. Then the search for water began. Neither Molino Basin nor Prison Camp had running water, so we bummed some from some friendly young campers at P.C. Not a race legal move I know, but at this point Gabe was dry, and I was pretty low as well. Topped off with water, we tried to continue with the assault of the Catalina Hwy, but we were both wiped. Around Bear Canyon we spied a likely spot to stealth camp, eat dinner, and hopefully let both of our guts recover.

    First thing in the morning we tackled the rest of the climb for breakfast. We topped off with water at the Palisades Visitors Center(luckily open), where we were told by the nice lady running the place that the water spigot at the Butterfly trailhead was shut off from October thru April, and that she wasn't sure if it would be back on in April or not, so it might be a good idea to call up there near the start of the race to see if it is useable or not. Otherwise Summerhaven or the firestation would be the next available water? A long stretch to ride without a resupply, so pack extra from Tucson for sure.

    Next was Oracle Ridge and the "Traverse of Death"! The name says it all, but the technical descending that follows was wicked fun. Then dessert! The Cody Trail! This was my first time on that section and it made dragging my whupped a$$ along Oracle Ridge worth every painful minute. Back into Oracle and the awaiting car by 2:00 P.M., and fish tacos at Rubios. I can't wait till April!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  23. #23
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    Yeah, there were three of us out riding that section on Saturday.
    Awesome, thanks for the report.

    The heat seems to always be brutal coming over the saddle above Molino Basin. South facing, afternoon sun, exposed trail, and hike-a-bike = hot hot hot. Funny that we're talking about heat in mid-March.

    Yep, no water at Molino or Prison. I wouldn't count on the spigot at Palisades being on by race time. I didn't stop there last year, so I don't know if it was on or not.

    Glad you enjoyed the ride. You will like the stuff north of Oracle too. Some really great descending in there. It's the driest/hottest stretch, though. Carry lots.

    Nice job sticking with the ride all the way to the end.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  24. #24
    Scott in Tucson
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    Two weeks to magic time

    Yep, two weeks from today the race starts!

    Ready? I'm not. (yet)

    I just wanted to make a few notes. First, we have folks doing the race who aren't basing out of Tucson, so I'm going to forgoe any pre-race meeting in Tucson. Instead:

    Pre-race meeting will be 8:30am at the Parker Lake AZT Trailhead, April 13th.

    It's everyone's responsibility to know the rules and course, but I'll go over a few things and answer any questions at that time. If you think of any questions beforehand, please post them here.

    Everyone should review the 'self-supported' rules now posted on the AZT 300 site:

    Rules:

    http://topofusion.com/azt/race-rules.php

    These were taken from the Great Divide Race site (thanks Mike).

    Also, I recommend everyone read through the following thread, started by Mike, about self-supported ethics and safety.

    Self-support and safety. Expectations?

    It's long, but well worth the effort.

    Finally, I added some text to the main AZT 300 page that everyone should read. This is mostly to make it sound more like an unorganized, unofficial event, because that's what it is:

    Quote Originally Posted by AZT 300 site

    This is not an organized or sanctioned event in any way. It's simply a group of friends out to ride their bikes on the same route at the same time. We'll probably compare times afterwards, but more importantly, we'll compare experiences -- the highs and lows the trail and mountains offered us.

    The Arizona Trail 300 is a race similar to The Grand Loop and The Great Divide Race. All we provide is a route, a start time and tabulation of results. Period. There is no race organization, no checkpoints, no support system, nothing. You are completely on your own, just as you would be if you chose to ride the Arizona Trail on any other day.

    If you want to be included in the "results" you need to follow the rules of self-supported travel set on the rules page. This means things like support crews and water caches are not allowed. This is done in order to ensure a level playing field as well as the safety of the riders.
    Thanks and see you all on FRIDAY THE 13TH!
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  25. #25
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    Tucson-Oracle Ridge-Tucson Trip Report

    I did the Tucson to Oracle Ridge-Tucson loop last week (skipping reddington by going to La Milagrosa). A little under 100 miles from my house in 13 hours. It was in the 80s all day and I drank a little over 2 gallons of water.

    Great trip with some amazing single track on the back side of the ridge near Cody #9. The Oracle Ridge trail is wicked; make sure to wear knickers or leg warmers as you go done to reduce the amount of scrapes from all the downed trees. I did not see water in Molina, prison camp, or Palisades. There is water before Bear Canyon Picnic area if you have a pump and are willing to hike down a bit.

    I am going down to the race on Thrs morning with a shuttle if someone needs a ride. Just contact me... chadfbrown at yahoo.com

  26. #26
    Tucson, AZ
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    Carpool

    I can give you a ride down there. I have a friend dropping me off.

  27. #27
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    Roll Call

    This sucker is getting close! So who all is showing up? Anyone else singlespeeding it? Fixie? I'm in, but one of my riding buddies had to bail due to family commitments. I've got a ride lined up from Sierra Vista, and one for the trip home(hopefully from Superior). My custom Carousel Designs seat bag arrived last Monday, and the thing is sweet. It holds my sleeping bag snugly under the seat with no need for a rack(couldn't find one I like anyways). Tarp-tent and pad on the bars, Jandd frame bag for tools and tubes, and three bottle cages for a little extra water capacity, along with a 100 oz. bladder and two more bottles on the pack. I also picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi X-Alp shoes with a more hike-a-bike friendly design. My goal is just to finish, and gain some experience for maybe doing the CTR later this summer. Here's to hoping it's not too hot this weekend!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadfbrown
    Great trip with some amazing single track on the back side of the ridge near Cody #9. The Oracle Ridge trail is wicked; make sure to wear knickers or leg warmers as you go done to reduce the amount of scrapes from all the downed trees.
    If you think Oracle Ridge was bad, wait till you see some of the spots in Canelo Hills! Hate Plants a-plenty!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  29. #29
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    This sucker is getting close! So who all is showing up?
    I'll be there (and riding).

    I don't know of any other singlespeeders this year. Tim and Zach from Tucson are definite. I've heard from three others that seem like they will be there. Lee Blackwell is probable.

    But with these events you never know until the actual start.

    Sounds like you are ready. Did you ever get out north of Oracle, or will that be unexplored country for you?
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  30. #30
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    If you think Oracle Ridge was bad, wait till you see some of the spots in Canelo Hills! Hate Plants a-plenty!
    I forgot to mention that Tim, Zach and Lee spent a day in the Canelos (with a crew of others) ripping out many a Hate Plant. They worked on a section that hasn't seen a tool for ~5 years.

    For the record, this was expressedly against my wishes, as AZT 300 race director and supreme overlord. Torn flesh is a key part of the AZT experience.

    Also, a crew of youngsters was reportedly on the Oracle Ridge trail during the winter.

    Thanks for the work guys!
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    I'll be there (and riding).

    Sounds like you are ready. Did you ever get out north of Oracle, or will that be unexplored country for you?
    Nope, if I make it that far it's all virgin territory for me, except for Box Canyon which I rode a few times when I lived near Florence and was just getting into MTBing back in '97 or so. Hoping I'll be able to put some of my Border Patrol skills to use and just track whoever is in front of me!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  32. #32
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    Hoping I'll be able to put some of my Border Patrol skills to use and just track whoever is in front of me!
    I will be doing the same thing. I am new to endurance mt biking and actually plan to faithfully bring up the rear, so if you have any navigation problems just wait for me and my GPS (that I am still trying to master).

    I am definitely going to show up...

  33. #33
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    Zach and I had a great ride this weekend out on Reddington over to Molino for a camp out then back to town. I think we are ready and the weather doesn’t look to bad for the start. We may be slow but we plan/hope to finish.

    Tim

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    For the record, this was expressedly against my wishes, as AZT 300 race director and supreme overlord. Torn flesh is a key part of the AZT experience.
    (humbly bows) Supreme Overlord, I am not worthy to tear my flesh upon thy AZT 300 this year. I can only hope that the race lives on and I will get the chance to suffer mightily in '08.

    Would you mind if I linked/copied/stole/plagiarized your nice rule page for the CTR also? Great stuff.

    And good luck to all the racers this year! I'm sure it will be one hell of an experience!!! Looking forward to reading about some of your adventures!
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

  35. #35
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    No good I'm out

    I'm out.

    Unfortunately late Tuesday night/Wednsday morning I came down with food poisoning! I was up all night, first throwing-up, followed by a mass exedous of bodily fluids from the other end. My innards are still feeling pretty shonky this morning, I'm dehydrated and feel weak as a kitten. There's absolutely no way, even if I'm feeling better by tomorrow, that I'll be able to start, let alone finish a ride of this magnitude without putting myself and others in danger.

    I'm reminded of a few years ago in Moab, when a local took me and a few friends on an epic fifty mile, mostly downhill ride from the top of the La Sals down to UPS/LPS and Porcupine Ridge. He had suffered the same thing earlier in the week, and despite feeling better started to suffer the effects of heat exhaustion. We were only a mile and a half from the road and the waiting cars when he got so bad that we had to stick him under a rock in some shade and go for help. Not good. I wouldn't want to ruin anyone elses ride dealing with something like that.

    Anyways, good luck to those able to start, and I hope that everyone makes it to the finish. I'll get over the dissapointment, and re-adjust my sights on the next big ride. There's always next year!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  36. #36
    Scott in Tucson
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    6 starters

    Just a quick update.

    After raining most of the night, race morning dawned with fresh snow below 6000 feet. Quite a surprise for mid-April in southern Arizona. Heat/water were not a problem throughout the first day.

    Six riders lined up at the AZT 300 start line. 48 hours have now passed, and at least two are off course. Those two are myself and Lee Blackwell. I rode my bike back to my house, leaving the race, in order to tweak and regroup before setting off to attempt the Grand Enchantment Trail. The first ~130 miles of the AZT 300 were a shakedown for what's to come.

    I must say, they were quite the 130 miles. I hadn't ridden 95% of those miles since last years race, and I was struck by how much fun the course is to ride on a mountain bike.

    I rode some of those miles with two riders (Tim and Zach), who are still on course. They are hoping to finish in five days, riding mostly during the daylight hours. They are off to a good start, but have many challenges yet to come.

    Two other riders, Chad who posted here, and Gavin, may or may not be on course. Chad had a very light setup, and was shooting for three days. Lack of map/GPS preparation forced him to wait for slower riders throughout the first 30 miles of AZT. His whereabouts are unknown; though yesterday there was a two mile stretch of the route that had no tire marks on it, so he may be off course (he also may have missed a turn, which would be bad).

    Gavin, from California, had an interesting setup, but unfortunately I never got to see that setup in action. He was still fiddling with his bike when the race started, and no one else in the race saw him after that.

    However, we followed Chad's tire tracks late Friday night, and there appeared to be an additional track Saturday morning. So there is a chance Gavin passed the "tour" riders (Tim, Zach, Lee and Scott) as they slept. But again, there was the two mile stretch, with a short section of sand, that had no tire tracks.

    I will post more pics later on today. And, of course, any race updates, as I get them.

    It's a beautiful time to be out on a bike.

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/canelo-tour.jpg>
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  37. #37
    Scott in Tucson
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    I spoke to Tim on the phone this morning. He and Zach were just leaving Tucson, and seemed to be in great spirits.

    At ~140 miles, they are conceptually at the halfway point of the race. Take a look at the map in the first post on the thread. However, if you notice the profile, they have a LONG day of climbing in front of them. Currently sitting at 2500 feet, they won't top out until ~8100, with plenty of up and down on the way. Over 10,000 feet of climbing, in fact, over the next 35 miles. That's a major, major effort, and why Tucson will always be a favorite drop out point in this race.

    Once on top of Mt. Lemmon, in the shade of cool pines, they'll have a chance to refuel on pie at the pie shop, then they face one of the most difficult and tiring portions of the race: Oracle Ridge. The downed trees, overgrowth and rough conditions make for serious hike-a-bike and very slow going. It's a huge net loss of elevation, but it sure doesn't feel like it.

    Still no word from Chad or Gavin. Chad mentioned that he only had three days for the race, so we should hear from him tomorrow, finished or not.

    This race is obviously very exciting to me. It's such an amazingly challenging course, in many ways. It's not singletrack all the time (thankfully), but it's a mountain biker's course, without a doubt.

    A few more pics:

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-1.jpg>
    It was not warm at the start. L to R - Lee, Tim and Chad
    </center>

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-2.jpg>
    Tim and Chad approaching Red Bank Well
    </center>

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-4.jpg>
    Lee and Tim on Salero Ranch Road
    </center>

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-6.jpg>
    Yep, there's water in AZ. Junked trucks, too.
    </center>

    <center>
    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-7.jpg>
    Lee, Zach and Tim climbing towards the Devil's Cashbox.
    </center>
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  38. #38
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    Sweet! I"m sooo jealous! You guys couldn't have asked for better weather. I'm finally starting to feel human again, but just taking the mutts for a short hike wore my ass out this morning.
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  39. #39
    Scott in Tucson
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    Chad Out

    Chad emailed to say he pulled the plug at 175 miles, sometime this morning. He had muscled out the 10,000 feet of climbing to the top of Mt. Lemmon. But he had pre-ridden Oracle Ridge (see his above post), which may or may not have influenced his decision at that point. He also said something about having too much homework to be out for more than three days.

    Hopefully he'll write in with a few of his experiences out on the trail.

    Congrats on a strong effort, Chad.

    A couple contrasting pics on the route. The first is from the Elephant Head trail, and the second is freshly built (and quickly growing in) AZT near Davidson Canyon, both Lee Blackwell.

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-9.jpg>

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-10.jpg>

    Tim and Zach are either hunkering down for a cold night in the alpine, or perhaps testing their meddle on Oracle Ridge in the dark. I hope to hear from them (and Gavin) tomorrow.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  40. #40
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    Sweet! I"m sooo jealous! You guys couldn't have asked for better weather. I'm finally starting to feel human again, but just taking the mutts for a short hike wore my ass out this morning.
    Yep, that first day was absolutely ideal. It was something else to be hiking in the Canelo Hills (at ~1mph) without my head on fire. Out there, anything over 70 degrees is HOT.

    The night was a little chilly, but not too far off a normal night for April. I think one or two people might have underestimated the cold, just like last year...

    Bummer you couldn't make it, but you absolutely made the right decision. This is not a ride to start if you aren't 100%. There's always next year, or also the solo (or duo) time trial. Nuthin' too special about the date I set for the race.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  41. #41
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    a good ride

    I really enjoyed the great friends on a great trail. Best wishes to Tim and Zach still out there.You guys are something!
    Gavin, best to you also if you are still out there riding.
    Thanks for the nice pictures Scott.
    CU in Pb

  42. #42
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    Sweet Single Track Indeed!

    I loved the course. It was great to ride with you guys. I tip my hat for those still riding (Gavin, Tim, and Zach). Special thanks to Scott for helping me with the GPS and cue sheet.

    I will post my story later after I finish some more of this hw.

  43. #43
    Scott in Tucson
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    Start line (Zach, Scott, Lee, Tim, Chad, Gavin):

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-12.jpg>

    Gavin and Lee's bikes:

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-13.jpg>

    Chad's bike:

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-14.jpg>

    Happy to be out on the bike:

    <img src=http://www.topofusion.com/images/diary/azt300-2007-11.jpg>
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  44. #44
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    Definitely some interesting set-ups. Gavin's looks pretty dialed in, and that front rack on Lee's bike has gotta be home-made. I've never even thought of putting bottle cages on the fork legs before. They'd have to be pretty snug fitting though, and I imagine that you'd want to drink a little from each bottle, not completely empty one before the other!
    You COULD do it on a geared bike, but I wouldn't reccomend it!

    Derailleurs are for failures!

  45. #45
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    Hey Scott-

    Thanks for keeping us all in the loop on this race and the great time we're missing out there. 10,000' in 35 miles during a 300 mile race - OUCH!

    Also really great to see everybody's bike setup. Damn that trail is calling...
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

  46. #46
    Tucson, AZ
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    Trip Report- Chad

    I showed up to the Parker Canyon Trailhead at about 8:00 a.m. having camped out the night before in the campground just minutes away. I was a little nervous packing since this was my first time doing an endurance race before. While I was looking around, I realized that everyone had a lot of stuff compared to my gear. I started to doubt my packing and get more nervous.

    I was aware that I was going to get tired of eating packets of GU and cliff bars so I managed to squeeze in some last minute whole grain frosted minnie wheats and OJ. I was hastily packing and eating to meet the 9:00 start time. Earlier that week, I had tried to put the track on my GPS. Having only put from Colossal Cave on, I figured I had to be behind someone.

    We all took off (except Gavin, who I never saw again) at 9:00 with some colder than expected weather and some sweet downhill sections. I got ahead of Tim, Zach, Lee and Scott (the “tour” riders) in the Canelo Hills for about 15 minutes. This dream of racing ahead quickly faded when I realized that my cue sheet was going to be bit harder to follow. At one of the gates, I stopped to make sure I had taken the right course. I hard nothing for a few minutes until I saw Lee come over and say “There he is.” I decided to continue to follow the tour riders until I felt comfortable since they made me feel at home.

    That came for me when we hit Harshaw Road outside of Patagonia. As we hit the road, I think that Lee got a flat tire. I said goodbye to the gang, reset my GPS and headed off to Patagonia. In Patagonia, I stopped at a Famer’s Market to get some water. I still had half of a bagel in my bag, so I did not buy and food. I filled up all my bags (about 1.75 gallons worth) and headed off before seeing the others. I walked back in and asked “Do you guys recycle?” The cute lady said yes. Patagonia, ah yes, would be a great place to live, no?

    I rode to FS 143 passing the Patagonia Creek Preserve. Birds chirping in the distance, green lush river bed, what else could I ask for? Before coming to one of the smaller passes, I sat down to have an early lunch. I kept checking back hoping to see the tour riders. During the entire trip, I found myself looking back whenever I was eating or resting to see if there was another ride behind me. I guess this is part of the marathon runner in me. I am used to running side-by-side next to people, passing, and battling the entire 3 short hours of the race. This one was slow and steady, oh yeah, and solo throughout the race.

    I pressed on after eating some gel and my bagel. I got over the large pass just in time for an amazing sunset. I raced downhill in the last twilight hours and up towards Elephant Head. This was some of the hardest to follow using the cue sheets. I was lost for at least 30 minutes looking for the marker.

    I managed to somehow get to Madera Canyon before lights and GPS started to fade. Turns out I forgot to switch the lights in my handle bar light and grabbed the wrong second pair of batteries from the GPS. Naturally, it seemed obvious to go towards the “lights” and get more batteries. I looked at the topo map and it seemed like the road to Green Valley was mostly flat. I took the chance of roading it to Green Valley with the hope of continuing on in the dark.

    I bought some batteries, doughnuts, Gatorade and some water at the convenience store and began to retrace my steps. Midway through the Santa Rita Range, I decided to pull over for a “quick break.” It was about 1 a.m. Having ridden about 16 hours non-stop, my butt was a little sore and I my contacts were getting dry. I pulled my bag with emergency blanket out and crashed fast forgetting to set my alarm. That was okay though, I was ready for bed just wasn’t ready to give in. I had a cold night. I brought a small fleece blanket and an emergency blanket (I put the later around the former to great a home-made, very, very lightweight sleeping bag). I slept on and off most of the night, glancing down at my watch periodically.I woke up to a hotter-than-expected morning at 730 a.m. I ate my doughnuts and rode the last flat, paved 4 miles to the Box Canyon (FS 62) turnoff.

    As FS 62 begins to head up into the canyon after the bridge, I began to see one set of tracks in the dirt. I assumed that Scott had passed me the night before. However, when I got to the AZ Trail that intersects the FS 62, there were no trail marks. I remembered Scott mentioning that he would be doing some “off course scouting,” so I assumed those to be Scott’s. At the gate of the AZ Trail, I needed some tunes if I were going to crank this next section out. I found genre on my Ipod, “Rock Alternative.” I raced down towards Highway 83. Once on HGWY 83, I was trying to catch some roadies in front of me on the downhill sections. I eventually caught them and began drafting them until the Sahuarita Road turn-off.

    I had a quick lunch at the I-10 culvert. I was really impressed with the single track after Cienega Creek. The only problem is that I was distracted by the huge, ugly castle in my vision. I kept asking myself, who would build such an ugly house. At the top of the pass, I raced down toward the ranch. My stomach was yelling “foooooood, fooooooood, feed me” as I read the cue that mentioned burritos and ice cream. I decided to continue instead of stopping for food. I saw few mountain bikers on this section of the trail.

    Nearing the picnic area, I searched for the water spigot only to ask the scout group where it was. They showed it to me and I refilled two of my bottles trying to keep it light. I also decided to take a quick 5-minute rest. About 3 miles out of the picnic area, I finally had the GPS track in my system. I was excited. I loved the next section. I rode it as fast, determined to make it to Mt Lemon before the end of the day. I pressed on passing a few more bikes on the trail before jumping out at Old Spanish Trail.

    I stopped at Basha’s and Subway to refuel at about 4:30. Headed down Houghton, I was able to see Mt Lemon. I was anxious to see if I could get a picnic ground that night. I was at a little over 2500 feet when I started the pass and assumed that I had to get to at least 5500 feet to get to Molina Basin (the first campground on Mt Lemon)

    I started up Redington with a nice foot-long, chicken teriyaki in my belly ready to use as energy. As I approached the halfway section of the first major climb, I stopped to take in the view. I van approached, stopped, and began to shoot paintballs at a sign about 200 yards away. I laughed because I knew I was next. I nonchalantly bent over picked up two rocks and waited from them. The guy in the passenger sign must have seen me since he rolled up his window, a sign of “truce” from the enemy. The girl driving pointed at him, like saying “I didn’t do it, he did.” Cars continued to pass me as I continued to the top. The entire time I could hear different rounds of guns being shot at different speeds. My peaking out at the top of Redington before sunset is nothing short of a miracle. I was determined to try to find a campground on Mt Lemon that might have some inviting people and even maybe a fire raging.

    As I turned a corner, I could see the “firing range” and some kids (or what appeared to be kids) shooting off their guns. Right before dropping right into the Italian Spring Trail, a group of college guys asked me if I had seen four cars. I said “no” and mentioned the Bellota Spring Road. I also took this time to put on my headlamp. Passing the AZ gate near Redington Road, I saw some pretty big eyes glowing in the distance. I grabbed my knife out of my seat bag and put it in my pocket. About 30 minutes down the trail, I heard more shooting, this time it seemed to be louder. I saw some light in the distance. I thought it might be some hikers, but it was off on the forest road. As I passed, a few of them shouted something at me that I could not understand.

    At the pond (near the wash), I stopped to change my GPS batteries. While I was fumbling for batteries, I realized that my seat bag was still open. As I looked inside, I realized that my pump had fallen out. That was very disappointing. Without my pump, I felt alone, very alone. More bullets and mortar rounds being fired in the background. The same group of college guys passed me. They wanted to know how I got down so quickly to this spot since they had drive all the way around. I mentioned the trail and my route. They wished me luck. Nice guys. The thought of getting a ride back down the mountain flashed through me head. “No, no, stay the course,” I told myself.

    I continued on thinking about what I would do if I got a flat tire. I put more layers on as I went through the cold washes, hoping to make it to Molina Basin

    Next, I started the hike-a-bike section below Molina Basin. Slowly, I inched forward. I constantly looked at my GPS to see if I was close to the pass. It was about 10:00 when I got to the top of the pass. I saw a campfire and lights at Molina Basin! I raced down the single track hoping to warm up in front of the fire. Oh it was going to be a good night! I was sooooo excited! As I came to the picnic area, I was disappointed to find that the “campfire” was the entrance light and the other “lights” was only the place to pay. Everyone in camp was sleeping.

    Anxious to find some people at Prison Camp, I took the Catalina Highway. I had no luck. I stopped and hydrated for about 10 minutes. I tried to eat food since I was hungry, but for some reason I had a hard time stuffing down a small cliff bar. My body was going in the I-do-not-want-to-eat mode. I decided to press on and try my luck at Palisades. It was too cold for me to stop and sleep. The highway was long and steep. During the ride, I thought about the backside of Mt Lemon, having no pump, the “cold” temperature, the downed trees, and hike-a-bike sections. I decided I needed some music to stem my fears. Also, I decided to put my watch away so I did not have to worry about the time.

    I got to Palisades a little after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I pulled out my fleece bag and emergency blanket, made some padding with some needles and leaves and laid down. I tried to go to sleep, but I was waking up every few minutes to some cold air. I was cold and miserable. As I was shifting, I tore my emergency blanket. It only added to the growing cold. I pondered the next section of the trail. At about 430 I got up, packed, remounted and headed home. I had reached my 1st goal. Make 2nd: to finish the race in 3 days is simply delayed until next year.

    It was a very cold ride down the mountain. After Molino Basin and the pay station, the sunrise coincided with a small sliver of the moon showing over Redington. It was the perfect ending to a great epic. I got some coffee at Circle K, asking the clerk if I could stay inside for awhile and warm up. I felt good about my 1st race and my distance (truth is I never really mt bike over 40-50 miles a day). I headed on the Rillito Bike path to my house saying “Good Morning” to every early bird that was out exercising and outside. Besides, isn’t that why we do this, to be outside.

    Best Section: Cienega-Colossal Cave
    Coldest Moment on Bike: pond before Molina Basin
    Best food: Subway foot long with Chicken Noodle Soup

  47. #47
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    Other Races

    Nice pics of the setups. They were very interesting to see.

    If anyone is planning to head north for some of the other endurance races (GL, CTR, etc), I'd love to carpool.

  48. #48
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    Don't shoot!

    Thanks for the write-up, Chad! Can't believe all the gun (visual and aural) encounters you had. You were really going for it hard with your super light bivy and resourceful mindset. I wanted to keep reading how you got up at 0430 the last day, and finished up the race... But, alas, being cold and miserable can take its toll quickly. I hope to see ya there next year!
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -TJ

  49. #49
    Scott in Tucson
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    Chad,

    Thanks for sharing your race experience. Sounds like you learned quite a bit, about the course and about yourself and riding long distances.

    Many of your experiences mirror my own on the course. Especially some of the desperation when out there solo night riding in unfamiliar country. It's difficult to quiet that.

    Green Valley for resupply -- that's a new one. Not a bad improvised detour at all, actually. The road climbs gently and it isn't too far off.

    Re: guns at Redington. That is a problem, and I wish the race could be run so it's not on a weekend. Weekdays are quiet out there. I rolled through the Redington area fairly early in the morning and had some vehicle traffic but no gunfire.

    Navigating Elephant Head / Hopkins in the dark is difficult, especially if you've never ridden it. You did make it through OK, but I think you missed the "faint road" that turns right off Bull Springs road and takes you ABOVE the Hopkins/Whipple visitors center. This is an easy turn to miss, but the cues talk about it and the mileage is accurate.

    You would have popped out below the visitor's center. There is a road that takes you up towards Elephant Head, but the course goes on the Devil's Cashbox from there. It's very important to stay on the course!

    Also, taking the highway from Molino Basin to Prison Camp is a BIG no-no. It doesn't matter now, of course, since you didn't finish. But the course takes the singletrack (sometimes hike-a-bike and definitely much more effort), so cutting it there would automatically DQ you. You would have had to ride back down the highway to rejoin the AZT at Molino if you wanted to continue on.

    I'm sure you know that, but I want to emphasize the importance of staying on the exact route for future AZT 300 racers (not to mention other races). Taking a detour on a road because you are tired/cold/miserable is absolutely not acceptable, unless you intend to rejoin the route right where you left it.

    Again, Chad, congrats on a strong effort and hopefully we'll see you next year so you can reach goal #2.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  50. #50
    Tucson, AZ
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    Rain?

    We just got rain here on the northwest side of Tucson. I figured I would check the doplar to see how the conditions are fairing for the boys still out there. Looks like they might have rode through a little patch of rain recently. I hope to hear some reports about them conquering the race.

    Scott and Stefan, thanks for the suggestions and encouragement. I learned a lot about a GPS, my stamina, and gear. I will invest in some new gel shorts that cover more of my butt (my current ones are too small) and some different gear (better bivy sack that is breathable). I found condensation to be a pain in the emegency blanket (although can you beat a $3 emergency blanket and a $12 coleman fleece bag, both weighing in at 1.5 lbs?)

    About the gunfire... it was pretty loud. I used to hunt (as a kid, one of those things your parents make you do) so I am used to the sound, but it was still a little unnerving and very loud.

    Stefan, I hope to see you out next year. I give props to the "tour riders" that are out there for longer periods of time with more gear, but I wish we had 1 or 2 more guys/gals running lightweight.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein


    Green Valley for resupply -- that's a new one. Not a bad improvised detour at all, actually. The road climbs gently and it isn't too far off.
    .
    I would not have done it if I had known that I was going to stop before the Box Canyon turn-off and sleep the rest of the night. I wanted to keep going with the GPS and more lights. In hindsight, the Molina-Prison camp was a bad move.

    From experience using the cue sheets and the GPS during the course, I would strongly recommend the GPS with the entire course on it. I lost a lot time trying to use the cue sheet (not that they are poorly made rather they take some reading and navigating at times). WIth the GPS, you look down at your triangle/little man and see where you are in relation to the course.

  52. #52
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadfbrown
    In hindsight, the Molina-Prison camp was a bad move.
    That's an understatement. Had you finished after skipping that part of the course, I would have had to DQ you.

    I don't mean to be the fun police, but I want to make sure you understand that if you want to be a part of the race/results you need to stick with the course. Period.

    If you realize you were off the course (that detour by Hopkins) you need to backtrack until you are on the course and then resume following it. Rudi missed this turn last year and failed to backtrack -- he just rejoined the course later on. That's cutting the course.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadfbrown
    From experience using the cue sheets and the GPS during the course, I would strongly recommend the GPS with the entire course on it. I lost a lot time trying to use the cue sheet (not that they are poorly made rather they take some reading and navigating at times). WIth the GPS, you look down at your triangle/little man and see where you are in relation to the course.
    Yep, agreed. Too bad you couldn't get all of it loaded.

    Two last minute cancellations this year would have given you some light/fast people to chase. Next year I'm sure we'll have more people racing rather than touring.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    That's an understatement. Had you finished after skipping that part of the course, I would have had to DQ you.
    .
    I understand that it is a big deal now. Prior to race day, I researched reports and suggestions on how to do an endurance race. I even read yours a few times (well written and a very entertaining). When I read your following quote during race preparation: I crossed the Catalina Highway and muttered a curse at myself for taking the route up the Prison Camp trail, when the highway goes to the same place.http://www.topofusion.com/diary/2006...0-race-report/ I misinterpreted this section of the course.

    Next year, with the GPS and track, I will not get lost or skip a section under any circumstance. Those that read this need to understand the DQing too. It would be a shame, as Scott mentioned, to finish and be disqualified.

  54. #54
    Really I am that slow
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    Scott

    I am so planing on doing this one next year! Although I fall into the fast touring/not so much racing category =)
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  55. #55
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    Last minute cancellation

    I too had to cancel from racing this year due to a last minute schedule change in my childs religious education milestone. Mark (skidmark) and I had been planning this race since last year. Unfortunately, Mark suffered a last minute setback which I am more than familiar with. Mark had invested in gear and physical preparation to do well. We will just have to wait it out until next year and hope all falls into place. For those who were able to start the race, my hats off to you. I have ridden many sections of the course at different time, it is with no doubt a challenge to do it from point to point. Can't wait to hear the stories and experiences from the riders. Once again congrads, you guys rock.

    Beto
    Singlespeed29er-Cult

  56. #56
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadfbrown
    I understand that it is a big deal now. Prior to race day, I researched reports and suggestions on how to do an endurance race. I even read yours a few times (well written and a very entertaining). When I read your following quote during race preparation: I crossed the Catalina Highway and muttered a curse at myself for taking the route up the Prison Camp trail, when the highway goes to the same place.http://www.topofusion.com/diary/2006...0-race-report/ I misinterpreted this section of the course.

    Next year, with the GPS and track, I will not get lost or skip a section under any circumstance. Those that read this need to understand the DQing too. It would be a shame, as Scott mentioned, to finish and be disqualified.
    Thanks for the explanation. That makes more sense. The way I read your writeup it sounded like you decided to take the highway, knowing the course was the other way.

    This makes more sense, and maybe I can make a point (for Tucson locals esp.) that the course takes the trail, not the pavement, there.

    Still no word from Gavin or the Tim/Zach crew. I expected to hear from Tim and Zach in Oracle at some point today.

    I'm heading back out on the trail tomorrow AM. Hopefully the remaining racers will log on and let us know how it went for them.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  57. #57
    Scott in Tucson
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    Tim/Zach in Oracle

    They made it to Oracle today and Tim said he was "whipped."

    High winds were knocking them from the trail, both above Redington Pass on the AZT and up on Mt. Lemmon on Oracle Ridge. It was very windy here in Tucson yesterday, with an approaching low pressure system. I can only imagine how bad it was on the exposed ridges on Mt. Lemmon.

    They camped (cold) at Prison Camp last night.

    Tim reported very poor conditions on Oracle (worse than he remembered) today. He thought there were more "sweet singletrack" sections and less hike-a-bike. He said the section the crews worked on was only about 0.25 miles long. Those 0.25 miles were sweet -- built to wide, IMBA standards.

    But pretty much it was a brutal day for them. Unfortunately Zach has to get back to work (thus the 5 day goal time) on Wednesday, so finishing it is up in the air at this point. They have ~80 miles to go. Some of those miles are fast, and overall conditions improve towards the end of the race (Antelope Peak and the Boulders segments of the AZT are pretty bike friendly), but the last ~20 are also some of the most brutal. Tough call as to how far they'll get tomorrow.

    Best of luck to them. However it turns out, they've had a great ride.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  58. #58
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    Tour riders finish 4 days 15 hours 42 minutes. Zach and I planned to do the race/ride with the kind of gear we would need to carry if we wanted to do an entire tour of the full AZT. This meant that we needed to have adequate gear to camp out for up to one month. Our plan was ride the race course in about five days and that we did accomplish. My in laws gave Scott, Zach and I a ride to the start on Friday morning seeing snow in the mountains was a surprise as we had been more worried about heat than cold for the ride.

    For the first day and a half we rode as a small group with Scott and Lee it was fun to be out on the AZT with good friends enjoying the trail and Arizona scenery. Half way through the second day it was decided that Zach and I needed to get it in gear if we wanted to stick to a five day pace. Scott and Lee left the course at the OHV parking on Box Canyon to explore a possible reroute for future trips/races. Zach and I continued on course and made it to Tucson that night we had a “homeless” camp near 22nd and Harrison. In the morning after eating and shopping we headed out Reddington Road along with all of the ATV riders and gun shooters. At least we were out in the early hours I would not want to go through what Chad did with a lot of people out shooting we heard some shots but not that bad. We made it to Prison Camp just before dark and made the choice to camp low and try to stay warm for the night.

    The next morning we headed up the highway to Summer Haven and had a hot bowl of Chili with corn bread and a cup of hot cocoa. It was a cold ride up but with a belly full of good food we headed down Oracle Ridge. I had done the ridge trail in 2004 during a full tour and knew it would be tough but I had no idea how much it had change in the last three years. At the top I remembered a fun sweet single track to get started on now it is all rocky and only gets worse instead of better as you descend. After the ridge and Cody Trail we made fast work of the Oracle State Park piece and headed into Oracle. We only had one full day left to ride and needed to get to feeling human again so we decided to get a room in Oracle and shoot for one last big day to finish the ride/race.

    We slept through the alarm on Zach’s phone and missed out on our planned 4:00 am wake up and awoke at 5:30. Fortunately all of our gear was still packed and ready to roll and we were on our way by about 6:00. I had ridden the Black Hills section before but in March there is less greenery and the trail was a little easier to follow. We found ourselves having to look at the GPS occasionally to see if we were on the AZT trail or a cow trail. All and all we made good time and finished the Black Hills and Boulders sections by late after noon. We made the Gila River by 6:00 and to the Box before dark. After the Box things got tough after 70 some miles of dirt and a lot of single track I was feeling hammered. Orphan Boy mine road goes up and up and on and on for ever or so it seamed in the dark but our ride home was on the way and we had no choice but to keep moving. At the top we rejoined the AZT for the last part of the course. The course is never easy and this last piece is no exception we ended up doing a lot of hiking in the wash and finally after several hours made it to the new single track. I was a little worried about this last part because when I road it earlier to get the track for Scott the trail was very narrow and not real bike friendly. I had heard that there was a work event and some widening had been done and that was the case. The new trail is very nice and we rode most of it to finish with some fun fast single track really made all of the long slow stuff evaporate from my mind. We finished 42 minutes in to Wednesday morning and found Zach’s wife waiting for us in the parking lot.

    Tim
    Last edited by AZTtripper; 04-19-2007 at 06:35 AM.

  59. #59
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    Congrats!

    Tim and Zach,

    Congratulations on staying strong and steady to finish the race.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadfbrown

    If anyone is planning to head north for some of the other endurance races (GL, CTR, etc)
    Interested in the Kokopelli?

  61. #61
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    Thanks Chad I really have to admire your willingness to head up Mount Lemon knowing what awaited you at the top. If I had just ridden the Oracle Ridge trail like you did I am not sure I would have been eager to repeat the beast. Especially when you knew that your schedule might still have prevented you from finishing the race.

    Congratulations on getting as far as you did as fast as you did I am sure with a little more experience could have pulled the whole thing off in good time. There is always next year and armed with the full GPS track and a more refined set up I am sure you will do well.

  62. #62
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    Hi Tim,
    Nice to hear you are in and you and Zach finished. Really quite an accomplishment!!!

    Thanks for the write up. I really enjoyed the time while we rode as a group, so happy to have been a part of the ride even if it was only the first part.

    Scott called me from Klondyke this afternoon. He's out camping tonight part way to Mt. Graham. He plans to be in Safford tomorrow eve, after climbing and descending Mt. Graham tomorrow. It seemed to me he made very good time from Mammoth where he left this morning about 5 am. He had ridden from home over Reddington to Mammoth the previous day.
    CU in Pb

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by ionsmuse
    Interested in the Kokopelli?
    I would love to do the Kokopelli! Do you know of anyone venturing up there?

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZTtripper
    Thanks Chad I really have to admire your willingness to head up Mount Lemon knowing what awaited you at the top.
    Scott mentioned the benefit of waiting until race day to see the course. I now understand what he means. The adrenaline of not knowing what awaited me for 100% of the course (prior to Oracle Ridge) really kept me going. Then the pump (although prob did not need it), loneliness and cold weather really had its toll on me. I am excited that you guys met your goal of finishing in 5 days. I was checking the weather periodically to check on you guys. I could have ridden with you guys the entire time since it was such a friendly atmosphere.

    If I knew Scott was going through Mammoth, I would have mentioned the mexican restaurant La Casita. It was voted "Best in the Country" by my family and me.

    Chad

  65. #65
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    mammoth kokopelli

    Hi Chad,

    Scott probably found La Casita. Due to his speed and diligence he was in Mammoth with time to spare.

    I'd recommend you give the Kokpelli a try. I've never finished the whole thing but enjoyed what I did accomplish. Camping out in that desert by yourself is memorable. Of course if you ride all night you get to just ride by yourself and see those ghostly rocks, and smell the night.

    You have a lot of enthusiasm and wrote up a really good descriptive post. I enjoyed it. I do have some pictures but I need to resize them and post them. I'm about to head to Chihuahua next week on motorcycle, so getting work done to be gone again. Throttle twisting this time.

    Hope you guys remember the Elephant Head Mountain Bike race on May 5. I'm signed up, It will be fun to blast that trail with no load on the bike. It's a one way from Whipple to Proctor.

    I wonder what happened with Gavin?

    Lee
    CU in Pb

  66. #66
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blackwell
    I'd recommend you give the Kokpelli a try. I've never finished the whole thing but enjoyed what I did accomplish. Camping out in that desert by yourself is memorable. Of course if you ride all night you get to just ride by yourself and see those ghostly rocks, and smell the night.
    I hope to go, just need to work out some logistics like getting up there and stuff. I was checking the May 5th Elephant Head Race. You might see me out there Headed up to the Xterra Triathlon at Saguaro Lake this weekend. Looks like we got great weather all week. Ahhhh, Arizona. Isn't it amazing living here with such weather?

  67. #67
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    scott in safford

    Scott arrived in Safford this afternoon. The descent of Ash Creek off of Mt. Graham turned out to be the hardest part of the ride. Scott says it was just choked with debris and downed trees. Took hours to fight his way down.

    I'm going to pick him up in Safford tomorrow.

    Lee
    CU in Pb

  68. #68
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    Hi guys,
    Gavin's dad is a co-worker of mine - he told me Gavin had to quit but he's safe and back in California now. Perhaps he'll post a ride report himself. He intends to come back next year!

  69. #69
    Scott in Tucson
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    Results

    Congrats to Tim McCabe and Zach Macdonald, our race winners!!!

    4:15:42 is a great accomplishment on this brutal route.

    Way to finish it up post-midnight. Nothing like Alamo canyon in the dark, eh? Good times.

    El Hombre, thanks for the word that Gavin is off course and safe. Kinda surprised I didn't hear from him myself.

    6 starters and 2 finishers, just like last year.

    I ended my ride with 320 miles on the clock. It was quite the ride and I was very lucky to have experienced it all.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

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