Category Archives: Exploratories

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-311 Segment 4 West Hunt Creek Trail

Dixie-311 Segment 4 West Hunt Creek Trail

Is a lot cleaner than it was on Friday. Click on the below pic to see DH get his action on and a panorama of West Hunt Creek Trail.

The trail goes this way.

Dave wasn't dropping me today ;-)

AND I didn't have to pick up and lift my bike over any deadfall on the trail. Hucking my bike over trees makes me tired. I think Dave should pack his chainsaw on all our exploratory rides from now on. I like it :-)

The Ergon BC3 pack gets it done. Beastly!

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

Laying down tracks

This weekend Dave and I took our first trip of the year up to the high country to lay down some GPS tracks on parts of the Dixie 311 and Dixie-Lite courses that needed scouted. We split up and each rode different parts cause there is quite a lot of it that needs checked out!

We started on Saturday at Red Lake Reservoir above Paragoonah. I've never been up there and was amazed at how beautiful it was.

Dave headed north towards the Tushar mountains and I headed south to check out Spruce Trail

Spruce Trail started a bit too steep to ride then turned awesome

At 8k the Aspens are still dormant but the ground is an emerald green carpet with little yellow flowers.

Everything is a bit soggy with snow melt and the creeks are pumping

I was turned back this time at 8.5k by snow.

Somebody got a shiny new bike

Bike, snowshoes, or both?

With all the chat about snow levels on the AZT route I thought I'd offer some insights on how those snow models transfer to actual on-ground conditions.  Click for the bigger version...

The red line was my planned route, the blue was as far as I was able to go due to conditions.  Where I was forced to turn back (just E of the blue ball) the trail transitioned from south facing, dry trail to north facing, 2+ feet of snow trail.  Exposure is everything.  That was at an elevation of `5800.

If you've got a GPX track of your route, TopoFusion, and a web browser this is pretty easy to do for your own route:

1.  Start here: www.nohrsc.nws.gov/ then select the interactive maps on the top left.  Zoom into your region of interest.

2.  Copy and save the image of your region of interest. Make sure you've got a couple of well spaced "anchor" points.  I used Enterprise and New Harmony and it looked like this:

3.  In TopoFusion, have your area of interest in view, then go to window->user map library.  Add the image from step 2 above.  You "calibrate" the image to the TF maps by a few different methods, my preferred is to do it manually, dragging the image handles until your anchor points from your image overlay the same points on the TF maps.

4. Click the hand top left in TF and now you've got a superimposed snow model over your GPX track.  Pretty slick, eh?  Hit the 3D button and you can get a good idea where the trouble spots will be.  North facing = lingering snow.

Here's one I'll be watching closely the next couple of months!

The Dixie Three Eleven

New website for this race:  http://2-epic.com/events/dixie311.html

Be sure to check out the maps:  http://2-epic.com/maps/311map.html

Unless you are doing TD there's a big blank spot on the multi-day calendar in June.

I have a solution:  The Dixie Three Eleven!

311 miles of bikepacking bliss awaits.  The route includes the choice parts of Trans Utah - Virgin River Rim trail, Pole Canyon and the Sunset Cliffs, Grandview trail - and adds so much more.  Thunder Mountain, the Skyline Drive trail in the Tushars to name a couple.

From the section in the Tushars:

Grandview:

Thunder Mountain:

Fremont:

The long road sections of TU are not present in this route.  The trail/road ratio is similar to CocoBob.

What:  This is a multi-day self-supported mountain bike race.
When:  Friday, June 25 8:00 AM
Where:  Near Parowan, UT.

It is no accident that this event fits in with the new CTR plan on LW Coaching.  It's got all of the elements needed to refine a CTR assault in August.

Stay tuned for full details and GPX track.

Are you in?

Update 4/19

A preliminary track is ready.  NOTE:  this is preliminary pending a couple scouting missions.  It will work for general planning.  The route will no doubt change close to race time based on scouting missions.

Changes:

  • Added Spruce trail on the Markagunt
  • Added Louder ponds trail on the Markagunt
  • Added remote trail network atop the Sevier Plateau, including a singletrack descent of Mount Dutton
  • More singletrack in the Tushars
  • Removed the Navajo lake loop (the complete VRRT should be plenty, eh?)
  • Added trails south of Hwy 20

The profile has changed a bit.