The Arizona trail race is 750 miles long from the Mexico- Arizona border to the Arizona- Utah border. 24ish miles of those will be though the Grand Canyon. When I first learned that the route goes through one of the wonders of the world I was over joyed! I had never been to the canyon before and the idea of passing though it on my bike seemed too good to be true. And alas it was. The park service does not allow bicycles through the canyon which is a blessing and a curse for those wanting to ride the whole Arizona Trail. Many chose to ride around the canyon but those racing and wanting to push their personal abilities suck it up and throw their bike on their back. Crazy, right?
The hike takes you some 4,500 feet down to the Colorado River and then another 5,800 feet to get out of it via the north rim. I will be doing the whole hike in one push with the hopes of finishing it in around 15-20 hours. I am by no means running the trail but the goal is to keep moving forward no matter what.
Now on to the exciting part! How in God’s name do you do this? I have some ideas but, if you find a better way please let me know since I haven’t done it yet…
There are a few options on carrying your bike through the canyon. You can either
The Osprey Talon 22 is the go to pack for most bikepackers looking to use a light weight system that will be brought with them for the race and used to carry the bike. This will be my choice for the race because…
There are a few downsides though… The main downside being that with extra space comes the ridiculous need to fill every empty space. I will be working to reduce this need but we will see how it goes.
The nitty gritty of the setup is as follows.
This set up still needs some tweaks but overall it has been working out pretty well! I did have the weight too far to the right side for a few hikes which has led to some back pain but readjusting it has helped.
I will also be using hiking poles for the whole canyon as they help reduce muscle fatigue in the legs and give me something to focus on besides my legs.
Grand Canyon here I come!