Last week a large crew of bikepackesrs took on the Arizona Trail Race, a race that has both a 300 mile option and a 750 mile border to border option. It’s a stunning route in many regards, but some will say it is one of the more challenging bikepacking events out there – no matter what the distance. This year was a bit different in that more riders lined up to go all the way to the border than they did for the 300 mile version, which has never happened in the past. I traveled the length of the race and took a visual account of what the racers were going through.
Arizona Trail RaceRiders gather at the Mexico/Arizona border south of Sierra Vista, minutes before the start of the 2016 Arizona Trail 750 mile bike race.
Arizona Trail RaceThe lead pack of the 750 on their way into the revered Canelo hills.
Arizona Trail RaceRiders of the AZT 300 mile race listen intently as event organizer Scott Morris gives few final words of course info.
 Arizona Trail RaceElliot DuMont of Tucson, AZ displays proper bikepacking race attire. Wear tutu, ride faster.
 Arizona Trail RaceKicking off the AZT 300 near Parker Canyon Lake.
Arizona Trail RaceBeth Shaner on her way to a 3rd place finish in the 300.
Arizona Trail RaceNeil “The Belt” Beltchenko and his rig heading towards Tucson.
Arizona Trail RaceUltrarunner Joe Grant riding his handmade hardtail Reeb Dikyelous.
Arizona Trail RaceCalvin Decker throwing out the shocka, in good spirits.
Arizona Trail RaceKaitlyn Boyle leads the women in the early stages of the 750 miler.
Arizona Trail RaceTracey Petervary all high fives and smiles on her Salsa. Tracey would win the 300 mile version for the women.
Arizona Trail RaceSarah Jansen walked her bike 30 miles into Payson after a broken crank, waited for a new one to be sent to her for repair and continued on to finish the 2016 AZT 750 and will be the first woman to touch the Utah border in 2016.
Arizona Trail RaceItalian Maurizio Doro with Race Organizer Scott Morris.
Arizona Trail RaceA lone rider hikes his bike up the rolling Catalina Foothills in Tucson, Arizona.
Arizona Trail RaceRedington Pass proved to be a difficult warm up right before the 22 mile climb to summit Mount Lemmon.
Arizona Trail RaceNeil Stitzer hikes his bike up switch backs before descending into Molino Basin.
Arizona Trail RaceThe finish is why the suffering is worth enduring. 
Arizona Trail RaceNeil Beltchenko on his way to crush the 6 year old course record set by Kurt Refsnider in 2010. Finishing the 750 mile course in a blazing 6 days and 12 hours.
Arizona Trail RaceAZT bliss.
Arizona Trail RaceRiding into the night below the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.
Arizona Trail RaceA well earned beer at the finish, Joe Grant takes a seat after taking second in 7 days and 12 hours (3rd fastest time for the AZT 750).

Arizona Trail 300 Results


Neil Beltchenko – 2:05:38 Neil Stitzer – 2:06:25 Hunter Keating – 2:07:00 Alex Harris – 2:09:18 Pete Basinger – 2:11:20 Joe Grant – 2:12:30 Adam Marcinkiewicz – 2:17:43 Sam Aspacher – 3:01:34 Nick Woodland – 3:02:16 Maurizio Doro – 3:03:10 Adam Haughey – 3:04:57 T-Race Petervary – 3:05:41 Mike Prochaska – 3:07:16 Barry Ritchey – 3:07:17 Mike Barklow – 3:07:39 Jason Wolf – 3:09:12 Paul Kruger – 3:10:11 Matthew Mueller – 3:11:56 Jason Hanson – 3:13:24 Sarah Jansen – 3:16:29 Mike Haas – 3:16:36 Dave Wicks – 3:17:54 Beth Shaner – 3:18:17 Paul Spencer – 3:18:35 Todd Denham – 3:22:36 John Schilling – 4:01:37 Brad Mattingly – 4:02:38 Rod Taprider Dagneau – 4:03:35 Erik Aune – 4:03:59 Clint Conner – 4:04:10 Brett Stepanik – 4:04:11 Cedric Vivanco – 4:04:37 Riley Barclay – 4:06:50 Jeff Brooks – 4:07:16 Katharina Merchant – 4:09:27 Shannon Marshall – 4:09:28 Brian DeBlanc – 4:09:51 George Harris – 4:14:01 Dave Kirk – 4:22:48 Ron Thomson – 5:10:15 Casey Johnson – 5:11:10 JC Cullen – 5:16:47 Sara Dallman – 5:17:55 Ian MacNab – 6:04:43 Don Stump – 6:19:10 Jack Mahler – 9:13:20 ITTs: Randy Sooter (03/06/16) – 3:12:29 Scratches: Elliot DuMont, Jeff Poitras, Jerry Quesnel, Kurt Refsnider, Leo Aceves, Mark Seaburg, Tom Wolf, Derrick Perrin, Alexis Ault, Amanda Demler

Arizona Trail Race (750) Results


Neil Beltchenko – 6:12:28 Joe Grant – 7:12:12 Maurizio Doro – 8:08:38 Sam Aspacher – 8:08:38 Mike Barklow – 9:02:11 Mike Prochaska – 9:05:10 Jason Wolf – 9:09:39 Rod Taprider Dagneau – 10:05:27 Jason Hanson – 10:05:53 Dave Wicks – 10:08:14 Riley Barclay – 11:08:20 Brett Stepanik – 11:08:21 Paul Spencer – 11:08:27 ITT: Cjell Mone'(03/28/16) – 9:00:13


  1. Would have been nice to mention the women’s winners….

    • Hi Jackie,

      It appears as if he did mention the women’s 750 winner quite clearly. Sarah Jansen, read above. The 300 results are posted below for everyone to see. This, to me, really looks like a solid job at equally covering both the men and women during an event that is incredibly hard to shoot. Riders are spaced out by hours and days, etc.


    • Smithhammer

      “…Tracey would win the 300 mile version for the women.

      Did you miss this part?

  2. Thanks for sharing this beautiful photo journal Nico. I think that a lot of us bikepackers are intrigued by the AZT but have not yet seriously considered it. These are the kinds of posts that continue embedding it in our psyche as a reality rather than a dream. Great visual depiction of the course.

    • Nico Barraza

      Hey Ben,

      Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed the short photo journal. I, too, am thinking that I’ll be at the starting line next year with a bike. It was too much fun watching it all unfold this year. A truly memorizing event amongst a great community.

      Nico Barraza

      • Ben and Nico,
        Definitely do this race. This was my first time doing the 300 and had a great time (in a suffering kind of way). A must do!

        Great job on the pics too!


  3. Nico, your photos are amazing. You were in great spots to catch the action! The beauty that is experienced on the Arizona Trail is awe inspiring. This was my first year to try the 300 and am proud to have finished. It was such a incredible “race” for all of us. Speaking of, the list of 300 finishers should be updated, there are more of us 🙂

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      Waiting for Scott Morris to update them. Same with the 750 Results. We will add, when Scott adds them to The Arizona Trail Race website.

    • Hi Shannon,

      Glad you liked the photos. It was hard to shoot such a long and drawn out event, but super fun and exciting as well. I believe Neil is waiting for Scott to update the 300 miler results on the website to fully load all the results for the 300 and 750 etc. I hope to ride one of the distances next year. Cheers and great job getting it done!


  4. Sarah Jansen … the first woman to touch the Utah border in 2016.

    Good job to Sarah on recovering from the mechanical, but she hasn’t finished yet.

    • Nico Barraza

      Hi Fact Checker,

      Right you are. However, seeing as there are only two women left in the 750 mile race – I found it crucial to be able to include at least one of them in this report. Sarah is already dropping into the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and I imagine she will finish no matter what. Give it 1-2 days and this will indeed be a fact, if it is not then i’m sure the proper edit will take place. Since I was asked to write the piece immediately following the top men finishing – I wanted to include a female winner for the 750 and give equal credit to the female riders who partook in this event etc. Neil can update the caption to future tense if you’d prefer. I.E. “She will be the first female rider to touch the Utah border.”

      Hope that clears things up a bit,
      Nico Barraza

  5. Cool to see the photos up so quick as the memory hasn’t even been processed yet 😉 Thanks

  6. Pingback: AZTR, work-in-progress | jansenaztr750

  7. I scratched this year, but loved every mile of the AZT300. Thanks for sharing the photos. They are great. Will be back at it in 2017 for another run. What a great way to spend time with your bike.
    -Derrick Perrin

  8. Great photos, especially of my friend Sarah! Do update the finisher lists if you can! It’s nice to have the lists all in one place!

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