Can you tell me a bit about this infamous ride?
Our ride starts early in Flagstaff to miss the inclement weather that usually occurs in the afternoon. We can’t control Mother Nature, so be prepared for all sorts of weather. We plan to have sag support stops along the way for you to quench your thirst and fill your belly but make sure you carry plenty of water and grub with you. Most riders usually take 6 -7 hours to finish, stronger riders have finished in 5 or less hours. This is NOT a race, we do not keep track of finish times. Ride with caution! Limited medical support (med support is available at Sag 1 only). Sag drivers will be driving along the course to give support to riders in need. When you arrive at camp we’ll have showers, cold beverages and munchies ready for your arrival.
Warning: You might have a bit too much fun on this ride and start high-fiving new friends and doing dance moves you didn’t know you had over the weekend. Just sayin….
When is the ride?
Saturday, August 1, 2015.
- Rider check-in Friday evening from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday 5:30 to 6:30 a.m.,
- Mandatory ride meeting, Saturday 6:45 a.m.
- Ride Start: 7:00 a.m.
Many riders camp at Wing Mountain on Friday night (start camp). This is a primitive camp area with limited porta johns.
How hard is the ride?
You climb a bit from the start, then descend to high desert, then back up to the pines. The last 8 miles or so is a gradual climb. The ride is primarily on forest service and fire roads. There is only one descent that is somewhat difficult if you’re a “roadie”. Remember: This is not a race…have fun…enjoy the scenery, friends and outside time.
How long will it take me to finish?
Most riders take 6-7 hours. Riders in a hurry have finished in under 5 hours.
Will you keep track of our finish times?
Since this is a ride, not a race, we do not keep track of finish times. If it’s important for you to know, you will want to keep track of it yourself.
Directions to Start Camp (Wing Mountain): Flagstaff, Arizona:
From Phoenix: Take I-17 north to Flagstaff. Once in Flagstaff continue driving through town on Milton Road to Highway 180. Turn left (north) onto US 180 and follow the signs for the Grand Canyon. Go approximately 8 miles to Forest Service Road 222. FS 222 is an improved gravel road on the left side of US 180. The turnoff will be marked with a ride sign.
Directions to End Camp: Tusayan, Arizona
From Flagstaff: Take US 180 north to AZ64 (Valle, AZ). Turn right (N) onto AZ64 and travel approximately 23 miles to Tusayan (Do not go into Tusayan. If you have, you have gone too far). Look for the yellow Toys for Tots sign on the right marking the turn onto Forest Service Road 302. Follow the yellow course signs for approximately 6 miles to the end camp. Our Saturday night camp is fringing on the border of one of the most spectacular National Parks. If you’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, take some extra time to visit. You’re so close, it’s one not to miss!
Can we camp at the start on Friday?
Yup! We start near Wing Mountain (see directions above) so we set up home base here. This is an open, primitive area with no amenities. Areas are first-come, first-serve and we ask that when you pack up to leave no trace. There will be limited porta-johns on-site. Most people come up Friday afternoon to stake their spot for the night. RV’s have made it into this area but a forewarning that although this is an improved gravel road it can get sketchy if the road is muddy. More open areas are available just off the road near where start camp is for larger RVs and oversized vehicles if you are concerned about getting stuck. Rider check-in will be open from 5-8 p.m. Our friends from Phoenix Ale Brewery will also be there to provide us with a few cold ones at camp as well. A good reason to get there early, reserve your camp spot and get checked-in for the ride.
Can we leave our vehicles at start camp?
Absolutely! You are responsible for arranging transportation back from end camp. We will transport you and your bike back for a nominal fee ($10) or, better yet, bring a buddy. They can drive your vehicle and gear to end camp Saturday and hopefully set up your campsite for you!
How do I get my gear to the end camp?
If you don’t have someone taking your car and gear to end camp, your gear will be shuttled to the Canyon camp prior to your arrival. You will need to load all of your gear on the truck early Saturday morning prior to ride start. Please label your items as we are not responsible for lost or stolen gear. We will arrange to have riders and bikes* back to Flagstaff Sunday morning starting at 9 a.m. via extra vehicles, trailers, and bus. For return transportation, please indicate on registration form if you need a ride to start camp ($10) or make arrangements to have someone take your vehicle to end camp (directions available at start camp).
What happens at end camp?
This is the best part of the ride and the most talked about! There will be snacks upon arrival at the end of the ride with our Marine League chefs and volunteers whipping up a fajita dinner. Beer bash, with beer provided by New Belgium Brewing and raffle party happens on Saturday afternoon! Our roving photographers put together a great slide show of the event shown at sunset, and afterwards the festivities tend to kick in to gear with a disco party in the pines! (Those who prefer to chill are advised to camp in a location away from the evening festivities). Sunday morning awake to coffee, beverages and a hot breakfast. Guests: For a $20 donation to Marine League Charities ($5 for kids under 13), guests are invited to the Saturday night dinner, beverages & Sunday breakfast.
How does camping work on Saturday?
If you loaded your gear onto the U-Haul Saturday morning, you’ll find your gear near the truck upon your arrival. End camp is an open, forested area with plenty of porta johns. This becomes tent city for the weekend. Due to Forest Service restrictions on the impact to the land, RV’s and cars are not allowed more than 100ft. off of the road. Area will be marked and we will be monitoring the area to make sure this is enforced. Saturday night festivities in certain areas can tend to be a bit…well…crazy. So, if you are one of those who likes their peace and quiet or just wants to crash early, it is advised to camp in the far western part of the end camp (areas you’ll spot when you first drive into camp) The further east you go, the further you’ll be in the party zone.
What should I expect the weather to be like?
We’re in our 17th year of doing this and even we can’t predict the weather. Be prepared for sunny and rainy weather. Bring sunscreen and rain gear. It can get cold or hot. Most of the northern Arizona weather moves in around the early afternoon. Promoters reserve the right to cancel ride on-site due to extreme weather conditions. No refunds. Remember, all monies are donated to our charity.
What happens if the weather is severe? Will you stop the ride?
Depending on the route and weather conditions, we may have to stop riders at one of our checkpoints. If this happens, we will still have the party at the end camp /finish (weather dependent). You are responsible for your own well-being. While we will have SAG support driving the course, there is no guarantee that they be able to get to you very fast. If you fail to bring rain gear, you will be cold. If there is lightning, you will need to get off of your bike and seek low ground.
Will there be medical support?
We do not have medical support on the route but will have medical support at SAG 1. If you do require a medic, we have SAG support drivers available to take you back to Flagstaff or the nearest hospital. We also have the Ham Radio Club supporting our ride so that we can radio in help if needed. There is only one spot on the ride where someone riding out-of-control can get hurt. Please do not be that person.
How should I prepare? And what should I bring?
- Train! Make sure you’re ready to ride 65 miles!
- Get your bike tuned up before the ride
- ANSI approved helmet
- Water and trail snacks
- Extra bike tubes and lube
- Anti-chaffing supplies
- First aid kit/pain relievers
- Camping gear and camp chair
- Ear plugs
- Toiletries, towel, biodegradable soap, etc.
- Rain gear for ride and campsite
- Extra cash to buy raffle tickets or massages
- Good mojo and excitement to be on one of the best rides in the state!
I want to volunteer for the ride. Who do I contact?
Please contact Michelle Weigman. Thanks! We couldn’t do this ride without volunteers!!