Faces Behind the Dots: Stagecoach 400
The Grand Depart of the Stagecoach 400, a long-running bikepacking race in Southern California, starts this Friday. Created by Brendan Collier in 2012, and now (dis)organized by Meg Knobel, the Stagecoach features the coast, mountains, and desert all in one ride.
We asked riders about their backgrounds, what they’re looking forward to, bike choice given the variable terrain, and more. Some of these folks are riding in the Grand Depart this Friday, and some participated in the Stagecoach Sideshow, a touring Grand Depart that was held last weekend.
Many of the riders who responded have ridden all or parts of the route before, and it’s clear that the people who love the Stagecoach just can’t get enough. As the rest of us watch dots as the race goes on, Meg, the organizer leaves us with a thought, “I would love to encourage more people to tour this route outside of …
Faces Behind the Dots: East Texas Showdown
The East Texas Showdown is a bikepacking event put on by Patrick Farnsworth, the host of the Bikes or Death Podcast. Starting at Bullet Grill in Point Blank, Texas, the route features a 60/40 balance of gravel to pavement and the opportunity to ride through the Sam Houston and Davy Crocket National Forests. With three route options, participants can experience the event as an all-out race effort, as a leisurely overnighter, or something in between. The Showdown is a 400-mile traditional bikepacking race, the Slowdown is a bit shorter at 280 miles, and the Lowdown, a 160-mile route, isn’t a race at all. Lowdown riders will have the opportunity to camp together and swap stories at a designated group site at the end of the day. Seventeen of the rad folks participating in this year’s event answer questions about their backgrounds and goals, and share some creative strategies for addressing the dogs who are rumored to inhabit the course. The event starts on March 17th. For more information about the event and to watch dots, check out the event webpage.
Faces Behind the Dots: Queen’s Ransom
Created by the bikepacking mastermind John Schilling, the Queen’s Ransom is a 225-loop showcasing some of the best trails in the desert west of Phoenix. This non-competitive ride is a favorite winter getaway for desert bikepackers and is considered one of the best loops around. With three nights of camping as a group, it’s as much about the friendships and community created as it is about the riding. There have been known to be surprise margarita stops along the route and ample resupplies to make it a fun romp around the desert. A great group of women are showing up to this year’s event, and we wanted to showcase their stories in this series.
Faces Behind the Dots: Huracan 300
This Saturday, February 4th, a group of bikepackers will depart on the Huracan 300 bikepacking race. This 370-mile loop in Central Florida includes 100 miles of singletrack, dirt roads, abandoned paths, and occasional pavement. Racers also have the option to take on the “Lite” version of the route which is 340 miles and avoids singletrack and river crossings. Described on the event website as, “the ultimate off-road endurance experience in the state of Florida,” the participants are certainly in for an adventure! We’re excited to introduce you to some of the folks who signed up for the race. Find out what motivated them to sign up for the Huracan 300, what is on their playlists, whether they’re concerned about alligators, and more!
Faces Behind the Dots: Arrowhead 135
Every year, a group of winter die-hards line up for the Arrowhead 135. It’s a 135–mile winter ultra-marathon where people compete on foot, ski, or bicycle. Each winter, the race begins in International Falls, Minnesota, and finishes at the Fortune Bay (Bois Forte Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) Casino in Tower, Minnesota. It’s hard, very hard. Winter ultra-racing is different than other forms of bikepack racing, where factors other than fitness often reign supreme. The ability to regulate one’s temperature, manage moisture, be prepared, master clear-headedness, and exercise patience often yields favorable results.
Faces Behind the Dots – Fat Pursuit 2023
Based out of Island Park, Idaho, Jay Petervary’s Fat Pursuit is one of the most highly regarded winter ultras on the calendar. Covering 200 kilometers of “groomed” trails in the Yellowstone area, the event is notorious for lots of snow, difficult conditions, and extremely cold temperatures. One of the more unique aspects of this winter ultra is the organization’s desire to help people develop winter backcountry experience. They run a camp beforehand teaching winter skills and make sure that the racers in the event have more winter know-how than just the ability to ride a bike fast. Somewhere along the course, all racers have to stop and bring eight ounces of water to a boil using only the gear that they’re carrying on their bike. The Fat Pursuit is more than just a race, it’s a chance for people to test their winter skills in a remote environment with the safety net of checkpoints and a race organization.
Faces Behind the Dots- Arizona Trail Race 2022
The Arizona Trail Race (AZTR) starts this Thursday, October 20. This year, seven women are racing the AZT 300 and two women are racing the AZT 800. A truly singletrack route, the AZT 300 is 92.4% dirt and the AZT 800 is 88.7% dirt. The route starts at the border with Mexico and traverses north through stunning desert country, goes into the alpine of Mt. Lemmon, and continues on rugged and rocky terrain where the AZT 300 ends at the Picket Post Trailhead in Superior, AZ. Two women (Alexandera Houchin and Ana Jager) will continue their trek all the way north to the Utah border. These women will even have to disassemble their bikes to carry on their backs across the Grand Canyon! Read more about the “Faces Behind the Dots” of the AZTR!
Faces Behind the Dots – Utah Mixed Epic 2022
The Utah Mixed Epic is known for linking together some of the more remote and rugged pieces of road and trail throughout the state of Utah. We’ve got profiles of the four women lining up for the 600+ mile loop around Utah sandstone country. From high-mountain to low-desert riding, get their takes on bike setup, water carrying, and ride strategy.
Faces Behind the Dots⎼Smoke ‘n’ Fire 2022
The Smoke ‘n’ Fire 400 is an undisputed success story of increasing the number of women in a bikepacking race field. Steered by Laura Heiner, the Idaho Women’s Bikepacking group has led to what may be the largest women’s field in a bikepacking event. Get to know some of the faces behind the dots of this year’s race.
Faces Behind the Dots – Gunny Loopy Loop 2022
Meet the women of the 2022 Gunny Loopy Loop, Alexis Ault and Cat de Medici Jaffee. Billed as harder mile for mile than the Colorado Trail Race, the Gunny Loopy Loop is a massively challenging route around the Gunnison trails and roads. Alexis and Cat’s paths to the Loopy Loop are well worth a read in our Faces Behind the Dots article.