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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 11:43 pm 
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So…. Thoughts on the race.

First off huge thanks to Scott Morris, John Schilling and the AZ Trail Association for all the work that has gone into making the AZTR and the AZT what it is!

It was an awesome event, and an amazing experience! Hard to describe, really. I met lots of cool people. It was incredibly tough. Had pretty much any given day been a single day ride, I doubt I would have gotten out of bed before noon the next day. Instead, here I was getting up at sunrise to push on, day after day. But you get into it. It hurts, but then it doesn’t hurt. You just keep going. Toward the end I was hating the race format and having to push on constantly (I had a deadline since I could only get 2 weeks off work). But on the trip home I was already scheming ways to finish faster. I’ll definitely do the AZTR again but not until some planned trail projects are done: Kentucky Camp to Las Colinas, and Ripsey Ridgeline (re-routes for mine projects) and Patagonia to Gardner Canyon, Happy Jack, Babbitt Ranch (replace road riding with singletrack).

Thru-riding the AZT is a huge challenge but doable on whatever schedule you want to follow. If you’re into bikepacking I highly encourage you to try the 300 or 750. If not interested in bikepacking, try some section rides. The AZT is an amazingly diverse, tough and rewarding trail. And it welcomes bikes, which some others don’t. Looking at you, PCT!


Stats summary:

- 844 miles total. +76,800ft/-77,800 elevation gain/loss
- Averaged 63.7 mi, +5,800/-5,870 ft per day.
- Total moving time according to Topofusion was 173 hours or 13 hrs/day. That means my average moving rate was just under 5mph, which is pretty normal for me.
- The cumulative time from when I started moving each day til when I stopped riding was 220 hours or 16.6 hours/day.
- Comparing that to moving time leaves 47 hours total of stop time or 3.5 hours of stop time each day. Removing significant breaks each day still leaves 185 hours. Compared to 173 hours moving time this leaves 12 hours stop time for shorter stops and breaks.

- No real mechanicals – just had to swap out rear disc rotor in Tucson. I bled my brakes once.
- No real issues with gear aside from the feedbag failing just before the end.


Food, water, other logistics:

- I took two 1L Smart water bottles, a 6L MSR dromedary sack and a Sawyer filter with 1L pouch. Sent the dromedary home from Flag.
- Food – didn’t bring a stove. Brought a 2-cup jar and cold soaked noodles/rice meals and instant potatos. This worked great. All other food was store-bought snacks/fruit/candy/burritos and meals in restaurants where available. Also used time at restaurants to charge electronics.
- Stayed in motel on day 6 (Tonto Basin), day 9 (Flag), day 13 (Jacob Lake). This was partly to wash clothes, get a shower, charge electronics. Just picked whatever day this was most convenient. Would have skipped Jacob Lake if it weren’t storming on us.
- I mailed a bunch of stuff home from Flagstaff that I hadn’t used as much as expected or didn’t absolutely need. I’d leave some of this stuff home next time. Also took a risk and discarded more stuff on south rim. Would bring most of that stuff again, just didn’t want to carry it across the canyon.


Changes I’d make for next time:

Gear:

- Get a smaller diameter handlebar bag – the one I have contacts the front tire when the suspension compresses. I locked out my fork a lot because of this.
- Might mount a water bottle on one fork
- Only take 1 hiking pole – didn’t need two
- Bring less clothing – brought a full change of riding clothes, didn’t really use them. Would keep 2nd chamois only. Also leave long underwear top, 1 pair socks (carried 4), flip flops, hat, rain pants
- Upgrade to lighter sleeping bag (could save over 1lb)
- Tough call on a shelter. I cowboy camped half the nights. Used bivy a few times when it was colder and/or damp. 3 nights in motel. Sent my bivy home from Flag. I would have been screwed if the Jacob Lake Inn hadn’t had room the final night. I’d probably take the SOL bivy next time instead of the OR bivy if the forecast is clear. Bivy is a good risk/weight compromise at 530g. SOL bivy is only water resistant at 240g.
- Get better pack with internal frame that won’t twist. I think this would solve the problem of the fork hitting my leg while hiking. The bike would list to the side because the pack twisted.
- Last minute I threw in a full bag of tail-wind thinking it would be perfect for energy at night when I didn't want to stop and eat. I ended up using it throughout the day but wouldn’t bring a full bag again...too heavy. I would buy gatorade or other powder along the way instead.
- Otherwise I did well at not carrying too much food at the start. I did bring 2 tubes of electrolyte tabs but ended up not using them much. Preferred the tail wind. Tabs got mailed home from Flag.


Strategy:

- Starting a day ahead of the group start worked great for me. I met lots of people and got to ride with some of the faster riders which wouldn’t have happened had I started with the grand depart.
- Make sure I get over Molina hike a bike and up to Prison Camp on Day 2 – that’s proven twice too hard to do in the heat of the day (or morning)
- Knowing the trail will help – try to push longer hours each day knowing what is coming up
- Won’t delay a day at the Grand Canyon again. I now know I can push through in one go if necessary. Can easily cut off a full day there. It cost me a full 1.5 days this year since the delay meant I got hit by the storm into Jacob Lake, otherwise I could have finished that night.


What’s next? Can’t get 2 weeks off at once often so nothing this big for awhile. Maybe CTR next year. I might do the Dixie 200 in August now that it’s been reinvented following fires. Also interested in the Big Horn Trail Race. Maybe Stagecoach 400 or Tour de los Padres next year now that April is clear!


Last edited by evdog on Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:28 pm 
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Sincere expression of amazement


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evdog
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:37 pm
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Yeah man! That is incredible from this Piker's viewpoint. Congratulations on your amazing effort and completion. :bang:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:20 am 
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Favorite Trails: san jaun. arizona trails
Thank you for the time you have taken to share this. My stats for this ride are more like 15 years and I don’t think I will finish all of it. The view from the tower isn’t that cool but was cold up top and if you are in the park you can camp there for free.

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