All posts by Dave

Final Dixie routes updated

It's tough work playing route architect. The previous weekend was snowy in the Tushars, so I had no choice but to go bikepacking for the last 3 days. Tough but it had to be done.

Let's start with the punchline: Both the Dixie 311 and Dixie Lite have seen extensive changes because of lingering snow above 10,500'.  Sydney Peaks and Dark Hollow will not be melted out by race day, and even if they were they would still be full of blowdown.  So they get the ax.  With those 2 trails gone from the route, it didn't make any sense to start in Parowan anymore - the reward for the 4k' jeep road climb was the techy fun of Dark Hollow.  Instead, we will start at the Western terminus of the Virgin River Rim trail at Woods Ranch, a few miles East of Cedar City on UT 14.  GPS files are linked from the above event web pages.

For the 311, the heavy snows remaining in the Tushars means we won't be doing Skyline trail either.  I did find several great trails though!  And, a triple bonus up there is that the higher regions are still closed to motor vehicles.  I didn't see a single ATV in 3 days of riding but elk and deer were everywhere.  More than a few exciting stream crossings should be expected as well.

Another change on the 311:  the Spruce trail north of Horse Valley Peak has what is probably the nastiest hike a bike I have ever done.  We will be skipping that section of (non) trail!

Go grab those GPX files, have a look, and fire away with any questions.  I'm still working on the waypoints/cues and will update here when they are ready.

311 Date Change

Short version: the Dixie 311 will start 8AM on Saturday, June 26 at the same time and place as the Dixie Lite. This is 24 hours later than originally scheduled.

Long version: the primary reason for this change is the resupply option in Circleville. There is but one market, and it is closed on Sundays. I learned this last weekend - on a Sunday of course ;) There is also a gas station, restaurant, and a campground store that are open on Sundays, but the supplies are extremely limited. We will all want to have access to the market/general store as it is essentially the last resupply of the race and right before the most demanding section.

From a timing standpoint, I don't think anyone will be able to hit the store on Sat before it closes. 200+ miles of rough terrain will make that a superhuman effort. But, the front leaders will almost certainly hit the store on Sunday...hence the switch to a Saturday start.

As a bonus all Dixie riders get to start together (311 and DLite). The routes are identical for the first 80 miles or so and rejoin for a short bit on the N end of the Paunsaugunt.

Dixie resources

So you are thinking about doing the Dixie Lite or Dixie 311 but not sure how to plan for so many unknowns? Here are some tips to get you started.

Start with Google Earth. If you don't have it yet, download it - it's free.

Next, download this file: Dixie Resources.  (right click, save as...)

With these two pieces you'll have more than enough information to launch a deep obsession :)    The file includes:

  • The most recent state of the route tracks and waypoints
  • An overlay showing the snowpack conditions to the latest hour
  • current weather forecasts at 5 locations on route

Google Earth of course is connected to massive GIS systems, so you can also search for anything you like near or on route - such as services.  Usually said services pop up with phone numbers and images - this is really a great way to quickly visualize what is available and learn more.

Happy planning!

Sevier Plateau and beyond

I've really been looking forward to laying some tracks on segment 4 of the Dixie route.  I had planned to do it next weekend but it worked out best over Memorial weekend.  This area is rough, rugged, remote...unbelievable though is the quantity of rideable trail, something I honesty didn't expect to find.

It starts up Casto Canyon, ATV track giving way to singletrack, gently gaining elevation amonst killer views.

There's a hidden/unmarked trail veering N called the Hancock trail.  It ascends to well over 9k and is nearly all rideable!

Then it gets interesting...

There is no trail that I could see for the next ~1/2 mile. Riding an open ridge is the scenic way to go.

With some scouting about I found the trail that descends to West Hunt creek, yet more sweet trail.

New carsonite signs, let's hope this means the NFS has blowdown clearing trail maintenance on the books - cause there is plenty of that.

Up towards Adam's Head the route goes.

Most of the world comes into view at one point or another on the way up to the top of the Seviers. TU riders will recognize this landmark.

The area around Adam's head ain't easy. Damn hard actually and I'm still feeling the effects. There is some HAB, and some tree hopping involved. Truth be told, by the time I hit a jeep trail segment I was darn ready for it. At about 10,200' I finally got into some deep snow. Luckily it was early enough in the day it was still frozen - and rideable! No pugs required.

There was less than 2 miles of that before heading off the edge of the plateau down the Snowbank Trail (yes, appropriately named).

Segment 4 is difficult and remote. It stands as mapped. I will encourage any 311 riders to opt to stick to the Fremont trail (really nice ATV route with zero hike a bike) instead of bailing if this stage seems over the top at this stage of the game. If the NFS or me and some volunteers (ahem!) can get up there with chainsaws prior to the event it will be much more enjoyable.

The other piece I wanted to get a read on was the climb out of Circleville (hello Chad, this is for you). I mapped it to go right up the Piute ATV trail. Well, I've had a few close calls with motos out there so the thought of having riders push their bikes up a steep canyon while motos come ripping down didn't sit right, so I found another way. It's in the map below. It's still challenging, but all rideable. You may need to take rest stops though, it's a long ways to climb from Circleville to the Tushars...I'm trying to make that 5k' ascent as direct and rideable as possible.

More pics here in geotagged format

The Dixie Lite

Let's say you are really interested in the Dixie 311 but want to save some juice for CTR, or maybe the 311 is just a bit too much for the amount of time you have.  I have the answer - Dixie Lite!  Many of the great trails of the 311 with the more remote sections removed.  It is 99.9% rideable, I can't think of a single extended hike a bike.

I'd expect 18+ hours of ride time for this one.  It's big, but not a crusher.  Best done as an overnight (or two).

Race start:  June 26, 8 AM, Parowan, UT.

Click the link for the bigger version on Everytrail.com, including a gpx file download.  Note:  this gpx is for planning only, final race route gpx will be available in June.  It won't be much different than this one, just tighter data.  Stay tuned!

Dixie Lite


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