Self-Supported Guidelines

“The Rules”

This is simply a mountain bike route, and you may ride it (almost) year round however you’d like. If you are participating in the Grand Depart or doing an ITT, all riders proudly follow the self-supported guidelines to maintain fairness for everyone involved, and to not put the event at risk. Questions? Ask before you ride!

Guiding principles are self-support and equal opportunity.

*This is a self-supported ride, not a race, and you’re 100% responsible for your safety and actions while you ride.*

1. Complete the entire route, under your own power.

  • Am I doing this myself?
  • Am I relying on others?
  • Is this an unfair advantage over other riders, who may not live close by or have friends/family near the route?

2. No outside support from individuals or crews- this includes pre-arranged camera/media crews. Feel free to self-document all you like. If you want a camera crew to document your ride, either do it on your own or expect an *, no record times will be noted for media support.
3. GPS trackers are encouraged for riders, but not required- UNLESS you want your time documented officially and/or are going for a record, then tracking is required. In that case, it’s recommended to also have a backup GPS recording (wahoo, RWGPS, Strava) in case your breadcrumb gets funky on Trackleaders and you need to prove your time.
4. You may utilize what is commercially available to all riders, but any bookings (hotels etc) must be done AFTER the time of roll out. Pre-booking is prohibited. Yes, it can be hard to find a place to sleep as you get close to urban San Diego… it is hard for everyone. This also means you may not go to friends/family/your homes if they are on route.
5. No motorized transport or hitch-hiking, EXCEPT for travel to hospital/medical care, but you must return to exactly where you left off to continue the route.
6. Carry your own kit- no sharing of equipment between riders
7. No caches
8. No pacers or drafting
9. No eBikes

10. Don’t go so hard that you cannot self-rescue. This isn’t even a race. Push yourself, but use caution- the route can be very committing, the terrain rugged, and the weather extreme. Carry extra water and calories, an appropriate medical kit, and have a backup plan. You are 100% responsible for you and your ride. There is no SAG. 4-7L water capacity is recommended for several sections of the route.

The following are allowed, but not encouraged.

Please use sparingly. (Excessive use can lead to relegation). Riders are responsible for educating their friends/family about the rules of the GD and ITT, about what is and isn’t acceptable for visitation, trail magic, etc. You won’t be gone that long, enjoy the solitude.

  • Unplanned support from other SC400 racers is OK
  • Trail magic (from strangers) OK…Use your best judgment in the self-supported spirit regarding trail magic. ‘Trail Magic’ should never be expected or abused.  ‘Trail Magic’ is when, but not limited to, an enthusiastic and kind individual offers a rider a candy bar or soda pop or beta or hug…. No requests.
  • Visitation by spectators (friends, family) is OK if they are local to the route, the visit is near town/services and the visit is short. No pacing from friends/family during events! Save this for a tour
  • Mobile bike service is allowed. If a bike shop/mechanic wants to offer mobile service for all SC400 riders, but doesn’t normally offer mobile service, this must be declared at least one month prior to the Grand Depart.

Being a Good Human

  • Beyond all ideals of self-support and equal opportunity, the most important ‘rules’ have to do with being a responsible person, and thinking about the repercussions of your actions.
  • LEAVE NO TRACE – Just because an imaginary clock is running, you can’t cut corners. In fact, pick up some of that trail trash while you’re out there! Thanks!
  • Trail etiquette – the future of the ride depends on everyone being OVERLY courteous to all other trail users. Just because you are racing does not mean you have right of way. Yield to EVERYONE; it’ll be a good rest and good karma. It is a privilege for us to use these trails, especially in a group start.
  • If you are directed off the track (by signs or personnel) for logging, fire, or other official reasons, by all means, leave the trail and return as directed or as soon as it makes sense to return. Obeying the law trumps following the route, every time.
  • Gates. Always close them behind you. This is specifically important on the Coast to Crest Trail in the grazing areas.

Don’t like it?

As always, if anyone disagrees with these rules or otherwise doesn’t want to follow them (or the route!), that’s perfectly fine. No judgement here, just ride the Stagecoach route (or another route) on your own and don’t have anything to do with the event. Thanks.

I am happy to hear well reasoned arguments about changes.

What happens if you deviate from the course? Then I have to do math.

  • An (*) will be given to any rider who completes the route but misses between 0% and 1% of the published route. A finish time will be recorded. A full finish requires 100% route compliance as defined by the GPX file.
  • Detours, road closures and signed re-routes are not counted as they are approved deviations. Any rider who misses between 1% and 5% will be relegated, but still have a finish time recorded.
  • An Alternator is any rider who deviates from the defined GPX file by more than 5%. No finish time will be published.
  • It is highly encouraged for riders to record their ride via GPS, Strava, Wahoo, Trailforks, etc. In the event of a discrepancy, the track may be requested by the organizer. The rider will have 7 days to submit the track, if requested. Any tampering with the gpx file with result in relegation.
  • A note about record attempts: A record attempt for a fastest known time, FKT, may only occur on the full route. Any long term trail detour will be evaluated by the organizer to determine if a record will be recorded. 


Q: Do I have to use a tracker?

  • Only if you want to have your time documented. They add a level of safety, having an SOS button (that you should absolutely not push unless it is a true, dire emergency), and they’re fun for spectatorship. If you’re registered for the GD or an ITT, you will be sent info on how to register or rent a tracker from Trackleaders.

Q: Do I need to follow the GPX track on a navigation device, or can I just use the cue sheets?

  • Having a navigation device is highly recommended There are a lot of twists and turns, and nuanced singletrack areas. The cue sheets are just supplemental, and for the GD and an ITT, you must follow the GPX accurately.

Q: What if my bike breaks?

  • If you wish to continue, then you must hike, walk or crawl to the next town or place you can get it fixed. You must return by your own power to the place you left off to continue the route, if you skipped anything.

Q: Are cell phones and social media allowed?

  • Yes, but remember that services you choose to use must be commercially available to all riders.

Q: Can I stay in a hotel or AirBnb?

  • Yes, as long as it is not booked before roll out. You may not stay in an Airbnb/etc that you OWN, however

Q: What type of media coverage is allowed?

  • Media taken broadly of the event of all riders is allowed. Having a couple photos snapped of you isn’t a big deal either. But having a crew or friend/etc following a rider to get media content on route during the GD or ITT is not allowed. If you want content, get it on a pre-ride or another time outside of competition.

Q: Can registered riders group up and ride together during the event, or during an ITT?

  • Of course! This happens naturally, especially at the GD, and is a great way to make friends on route. Just keep in mind, it’s a solo competition, so no sharing of supplies and no drafting. Some unplanned support between riders is OK. You may not have friends/family join you during the GD or ITT, this is considered pacing.

If you have questions, ask before riding. If you’re looking for loopholes, this type of unsupported event may not be for you, or you might need more time to prepare. These guidelines we follow are for fairness and purity in the ride, and should be something to be proud of, not to try to work around.

Need more on self-support?

Please read the Colorado Trail Race’s Rules and the Arizona Trail Race Rules.