Stagecoach 400 FAQ

Route FAQ:

What’s the proportion of dirt to asphalt?
The route is about 75% dirt. 

How much climbing is on the route?
31,000 ft.  

When is a good time to ride the route?
Fall, winter, spring. Winter is a great time to ride, especially for the desert stretches, but the mountainous stretches can be freezing and/or covered in snow, so check the forecast and plan accordingly. The desert gets dangerously hot into summer, and Coyote Canyon is closed to everyone June 1- Sept 30 to protect the ecosystem of the Bighorn Sheep in the canyon.

What kind of bike should I ride?
That’s entirely your decision. The dirt roads vary from smooth and fast to very rocky, the singletrack is fun and engaging, and the desert sand can be a big variable depending on conditions. A hardtail mountain bike with substantially strong and decently wide tubeless tires is a great choice.

What is the toughest part?
It’s all tough. The city will toy with your psyche. The mountains are tiring. The desert is the most committing. The climb back up into the mountains is long. 

How much water do I need to carry?
This depends on many things, but generally a capacity of 4-7L is good depending on temps. When in doubt, carry more. 

Will I be able to stay in a hotel every night?
Probably not, but maybe. You should expect to carry lightweight packing gear.  

What is the closest town to fly in to?
Palm Springs. Ontario is further away but could save some bucks. San Diego is a 2hr drive to Idyllwild.

Tell me about lodging.
There are many lodging options in IDY, such as Idyllwild InnSilver Pines Lodge , and Idyllwild Bunkhouse

Is there car/tent camping near the start?
Yes. The Idyllwild Regional Park and the Idyllwild Campground both offer camping within biking or walking distance of all services. There are great “free” spots close to town in the National Forest, some will require permits. 

What are some services in town?
Idyllwild has a great coffee shop, grocery store, brewpub, and dining that ranges from charming greasy spoon to gallery/social bistro

I heard about donating for some detailed cue sheets and updated GPX. How do I get that? 
You can email to inquire about the route. The cue sheets are helpful, and are updated throughout the year as needed, and again before the spring group start. You can also click here to donate, and you’ll be sent the cues/gpx to the email you provide. 

Grand Depart FAQ:

Is there an Individual Time Trial option?
Yes! See the Registration page

Will there be a leaderboard?
Yes. We will have a leaderboard provided by found here

Is GPS use mandatory?
Of course not, but it might be a really good idea. …It’s a really good idea. 

Is InReach/SPOT use mandatory?
Strongly suggested. All riders will be required to use a Garmin Inreach or SPOT satellite tracker to be followed on the leaderboard. If you don’t already own one, trackers will be available to rent from Trackleaders 

How come?
In part because they can enhance your personal safety, and they provide a means for spectatorship.

How do I register my InReach or SPOT tracker or sign up to rent one?
Registered riders will receive a link to the SPOT signup page.

When do we get the SPOT trackers?
The rental SPOT trackers will arrive in Idyllwild before the ride day. They’ll be available for distribution that day and at the pre-ride meeting on Thursday. Don’t forget to bring 4 premium level Lithium AAA batteries to power it.

What will the weather be like?
The weather on this weekend, historically, has been on all ends of the spectrum. We could have cold, snowy weather in the mountains, and/or it could be sweltering in the desert.  Freezing to triple digit temps are all potentially possible, we won’t know until we get closer to the day. 



18 responses to “Stagecoach 400 FAQ

  1. You say the route is mostly double-track. What condition are those roads typically in? Is this race doable on a cyclocross bike, or is it a MTB-only affair?

  2. Fonk, I just updated the FAQ

  3. Hi, you stated you can rent a Spot from Trackleaders for approx. $40, how do we rent them? I will be travelling from the mid-west and won’t arrive until Thursday late afternoon? Do we reserve it through you and then pick it up at HubCyclery when we arrive Thursday afternoon?

    Weather – you state that it is a possibility that there could be snow and freezing temps, If there is snow and freezing temps, how long are we up at those elevations? I realize everyone’s speed is different but just wondering if we are up at that elevation for approx. 1 hour or 10 hours or 20 hours? Or if not in hours, approx. miles up at that elevation in the potential snow? Trying to decide if I should put a down jacket in my pack? I would want to avoid having to sleep in those cold of temps as I would then need to bring more clothes.

    Is there a hotel that is close to your bike shop so we could just ride to your bike shop in the morning of the race?

    Thanks for your help.

  4. Chris,
    The SPOT tracker info will become available in a week or a little later than that. You’ll rent them directly from Trackleaders, if I’m not mistaken they will send the unit directly to you, you’ll bring it here to California and send it back after the race.

    Regarding the weather, we will be in and out of mountains for the first 60+ miles, then again for a good portion through the Cuyamacas around 4500 ft. Finally, the last portion will climb from below sea level up to 6500 ft.

  5. Hey guys, all the info you are posting is great. Thanks for the event, I can only imagine the logistics even in an unsupported race can be demanding.

    I may have a Spot, I assume I can simply register it with you guys at the start and get on your Leaderboard that way? Do you know of any Marriott properties nearby, that could be Fairfield Inn, Courtyard etc., I just have some points I can use for the start and finish nights.

    Do you deal with thorn issues down in the desert? I only ask because some sealants work better for thorn punctures like slime vs stans.

    If we need shop support will we need to make a service reservation in advance?

    Thanks again.


  6. Can you please provide an address or Lat/Long for the location where you started the Cue Sheet, I am starting my own bread crumb trail while you upload GPX files.

    Thanks..last post for now

  7. Pingback: 2013 Stagecoach 400 is on! | SCES – Southern California Enduro Series

  8. Good Day,

    You mention an ITT option. I have a spot tracker for recording and was thinking of doing the Stagecoach 400 the third week of March. Should snow be clear by then? I plan to use the race as prep for Tour Divide.


  9. Dan, you bet. The weather *could* be splendid that week in March, but there’s definitely greater risk of cooler weather, mountain snow, or a storm.

  10. Hi Brendan,

    Thanks for the reply. Is there a seperate sign up for ITT option, or should I put my name on the race list from this website? I saw the GPS file for 2013, but cue sheets from 2012 only, are they good enough for the 2013 route or are 2013 cues available? Do you prefer questions like these on the blog page?


  11. That’s fine. The 2013 cues aren’t ready yet, so if you end up going without you’ll want to supplement with the ’12 cues. I’m sure you’ll be good to go if you go in that March timeframe though.
    Since you’re ITT’ing it, just stop by the shop when before you leave, bring us lots and lots of beer, and we’ll high five you on the way out the door. We’ll post your result when you get back. Along with Mark Allen & company, who still need to be posted.

  12. Hi Brendan,

    Beer sounds like a great idea. I may start Monday, March 18th before your shop opens, but I’ll give you a call before I start. Post race beer may be better.
    A couple more questions:
    I loaded the GPX files to my etrex 20 today, and the route stops at 254 mile point. Is the file not complete, or am I doing something wrong?

    Second, do you plan to have the track leaders board up and running by March?


  13. Never mind, figured out the GPS file


  14. I am new to this so have some questions about logistics. Eg how do you keep your GPS powered for multiple days?

  15. Will the stagecoach be March 6? I have seen it posted in several places as the start date. I almost bought plane tickets yesterday but heard from a buddy that the date might have changed. I was really hoping and planning on doing this one on March 6th. Markley anderson

  16. Can an InReach Explorer be used in lieu of a Spot Tracker? The Explorer has 2x the satellite coverage and allows for 2 way text communication via satellite with family or emergency services. It’s a much more robust device than the Spot.

  17. Anybody have any insight into where to park while you’re racing? Thanks.

  18. Is there a date for 2018?

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