Mountains – Desert – Ocean – Inland Sea… is now a thing!
We’re just toeing the salty water here. A full blown Salton Sea bikepacking route is in the works. The original Stagecoach 400 route was envisioned to go around the Salton Sea (and other places TBA) but it didn’t make sense for the final mileage goals. Admittedly, it isn’t quite as good as it’ll get to be. Particularly in the area between Ocotillo Wells and the sea. The better way forward isn’t what I’ve published, but I didn’t have a GPX track for that, yet. It’s rough. It’s good, and we’re going to use some hive thinking to make it even better now.
We’re offering a net 110 mile addition this year, totally optional, and encouraging desert-loving (and oddity-loving) riders to give it a whirl. This much is ready for prime time- barely.
On that note: please use it for good, not evil. This has been years in the making, and there’s so much interpretive information I’d like to convey- and can’t for this go- that stuff will come by this fall. I’ve been working with locals for years, riding it piece by piece, spending a lot of time there… my goal is to shine a light on this area, to bring more positive attention here. Instagram it and Radavist it (that’s a verb now?) and get stoked on it. The final product is due by this fall. Enjoy!
And we’ve got a lot cooking!
Here’s what’s going on:
If you haven’t yet registered, here’s your link.
We maintain a “core” route very similar to what we finalized in 2016. This is the base for everything Stagecoachey going forward. An amazing tour in itself, and the basis for time tabulation for anybody “not-racing” or ITTing. That’s the 385 mile classic, awesome Stagecoach route we all love so much.
For anybody touring and open to additional adventure, there’s a beautiful beach stretch in San Diego (low tide only), Coronado Island (daylight hours only), and a huge bonus stretch around the Salton Sea. (cool weather only)
Yep! The Salton Sea.
Since 2012, this has always been in the background as something I’ve wanted to have part of the route, but for one reason or another- route kinks & weather mainly- it just never connected well enough to make sense. The new choose-your-own-adventure format lends itself very well to bring in the Salton Sea at long last.
The Salton Sea plugin is part of what’ll soon be a stand alone route, strictly for touring purposes. It is not a race in any way, at all. It demands stops, photos, and slowing down.
In that spirit, I’m working hard to provide worthy cues and interpretive information for the many wonders this area has to offer. I want to do the Salton Sea bikepacking route justice. More to come.
Route files coming to your inbox this week.
You’ll get the first communique this week, before Thursday. This’ll be the gpx files, and rough schedule of events. The cues will take a little bit longer.
The 2017 ride will start on Friday March 10th.
This group start ride will be counterclockwise, as we did in 2016. We found it made the ride more pleasurable for most of the group and had a lighter impact on the Anza Borrego Desert section of the route.
The 2017 event will benefit an Idyllwild charitable organization TBA.
Small route improvements pending include more options for riding along the ocean, including a stretch of beach riding available at low tide, and some new restaurant & brewery options throughout the route.
The latest 2016 Stagecoach 400 GPX file, cue sheets, route addenda, and interpretation have been sent out to all the riders participating in the smARTS Project fundraiser.
Sink your teeth in and we’ll see everybody in about a month!
April, March, February… March 11th.
Suck it, El Nino.
“Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement. Let’s face it, the Stagecoach 400 was meant to be a March event all along.
After a couple consecutive HOT years, we (the Team Keepin it Real Steering Committee) selected a February start date for 2016. Conventional wisdom would call that “early” but then again we’ve been living in a drought-ridden California for almost as long as the Stagecoach 400 has been running, so we figured we could kick conventional wisdom out the door. Then came El Nino.
Yay, it’s gonna be so much fun! exclaimed some folks, excited for the novelty of riding in the cold, and rain. Well, we decided that’s just not keeping it real.
The “TKIR Steering Committee” spoke, and we’re moving to March 11th. Here’s why:
- March stays true to the “Spring Classic” spirit of the ride. Yeah you can use it to spring board to other big events.
- March gives us another month to train, or procrastinate. Your call.
- March gives us another hour of daylight. (just under 11 hours in February, about 12 in March)
- Average warmer temps. Average lower precipitation too.
- We’re less likely to cause trail damage in March.
- Better attendance. This is a popularity contest, after all.
- We’re becoming popular in SoCal, and that’s what SoCal folks want.
So there you have it. March 11.
Some of you have noticed the route description on the main page has changed to describe a counter-clockwise route direction. Yep! That’s what’s happening.
Here’s the deal– since 2012, the group ride has been running to the desert first, while folks still have as much energy & wherewithal to “get it done.” Now that we’re running the group ride earlier (February) we don’t have to worry so much about high desert temps, and the desert will be (slightly) less daunting.
Going counterclockwise will also lighten the group ride’s footprint in the Anza Borrego desert, where some of our riders raised some flags last year. Riders will hopefully be a trickle rather than a swarm from now on.
Importantly, the CCW change will mean more realistic daily stops for more “middle pack” riders. Where the old route direction meant a near-mandatory 112 mile first day, the new way will bring riders to Lake Henshaw resort at approximately Mile 80, which for many will be a welcome stop. Likewise, at the tail end of the ride, riders will be able to go full stop or freshen up at Agua Caliente before jumping across the desert, then have practical stops in Ocotillo Wells, Borrego Springs, or even Bailey’s Cabin on the way up Coyote Canyon. (Coyote Canyon ain’t that bad a climb, btw)
Additional goods: CCW opens the door for the Salton Sea extension that some of you probably know we’ve been working on… and the CCW direction helps scramble the brains of record-seekers while encouraging new creative thinking on the part of pretty much everybody attending. And that’s how we keep it real.
What’s next: we’re working on a route change in North County San Diego that’ll offer new/better camping opportunity and better long term trails for varying weather conditions. Once that’s done, and we have this year’s beneficiary donation page set up, we’ll be opening up registration for the 2016 group ride.
The 2016 date is set for Feb 12th, and we’re solidifying the latest route addendum. The official route is (at long last!) a loop rather than a lollipop shape, with the additional turf being added in the San Jacinto mountains, coming up Bautista Canyon to Anza Valley. The loop brings route mileage out to a full 400 miles.
Some pics of the new stuff: