Another year and another race that is described by Blake Bockius as “by far the most challenging bike race on the planet.” Since 2006, Tucson local and mountain bike adventurer, Scott Morris, has laid out a route that has progressively gotten more and more difficult. Tomorrow, April 11th, a hand full of bikepacking enthusiast will take on this beast, the Arizona Trail Race. In between 2006 and now, this race has grown in popularity. This could be because of the variety of terrain the trail offers, maybe because of the relatively warm temperatures in April, or because it is so darn hard. Either way, it is a perfect race to take on as a beginner, while some of the best mountain bike athletes will get their asses handed to them. There are two versions of the Arizona Trail Race. The more longer and difficult 750 mile version which takes off from the Mexico/Arizona border at 7:00am. The route goes from border to border, traveling through the hot Sonoran Desert, up to Flagstaff, and through the Grand Canyon. The kicker is…you cannot bike in Grand Canyon National Park, thus, cyclists will be strapping their bikes to their backs and hiking down and back up the grandest of ditches.
Arizona Trail Race
The 750
Arizona Trail Race
The 300
                  The record is just over a week set by Kurt Refsnider. Since his record was placed, the course has changed. One of this years story lines is that current Tour Divide record holder, Jay Petervary, will be eyeing to brake Kurt’s record. Another 750 mile participant, Jill Heuckman will be taking on the first of the Bikepacking Triple Crown races. Jill is attempting to race in the Arizona Trail Race, Tour Divide, and Colorado Trail Race all in one season.  She is the first woman to attempt the Triple Crown. Another notable participant is Mark Caminiti who is back for another year, his 4th. The majority of racers tackle the 300 mile version. The route travels on the same trail as the 750, however it starts 20 miles past the boarder, at Parker Canyon Lake. The 300 mile race travels through some of the most beautiful desert landscapes around, and finishes in Superior, Arizona, at the Picket Post trailhead. This should be a very exciting race for spot spectators on Trackleaders this year. Aaron Gully set a new record in for the 300 last year with a time of 2 days 3 hours and 59 Minutes.  A month later, Kurt Refsnider went out on a time trial only to lower the record to 2 days 2 hours and 20 minutes. Both will be lining up at Parker Canyon Lake, eyeing the win. Notable racer Dave Wilson is looking to go for a hat trick on the 300 mile route on a single speed. The past two years he has been the SS winner. Can he do it again? Weather can change complexion of the race. In 2012, it snowed up on Mt Lemmon making many hunker down out side of tucson for the night. last year it was scorching hot hitting nearly 100 degrees in some sections on Sunday. This year looks to be more similar to last year, with maybe a 5 to 10 degree difference on the cooler side. Track the Race…Here

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  1. Pingback: 2014 Arizona Trail Race - Video - Bikepackers Magazine

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