Vapor Trail 125 - Event Details
For clarity, as of January 2019 the event is in limbo. It last ran in September of 2017. A rock slide closed FS 888 at the beginning of the 2018 high country season. Our event has always been permitted and insured. The Forest Service will not allow our event to use a closed road. This page was written when the event was a going concern. Do not try to register, leaving this here is only for posterity at this point.
A Fall 2019 update: in early October 2019 a citizen work group with the blessing of the Gunnison Ranger Districut of the US Forest Service performed a stabilization and widening project on the rock slide north of the summit. We have not heard whether their relative success means that Forest once more considers the road open, even as it relates to permitted events.
The Vapor Trail 125 is an ultra-endurance Mountain Bike Event. It is by invitation only, entrants are vetted to confirm that each one is ready for an event like ours.
The Vapor Trail 125 is somewhat unique among endurance mountain bike events. It's an all-night ride, but unlike a 24 hour race you won't be at a place where you can re-stock, get shelter, or quit every hour or two. During the 8 hours of darkness you will visit only 1 Aid Station, and will enter a portion of the course where medical assistance is hours away. It gets very cold in that portion of the course, and you'll need to be carrying any clothing changes you might need.
There are long sections of technical singletrack, some navigated in darkness. Riders have to have very good bike handling skills in addition to their climbing fitness, and must have demonstrated that they know how to ride carefully and self-rescue if they have a problem.
We often get requests for entry from people who, for example, just finished the Leadville 100. They think they're ready for something 25% longer. But the mileage doesn't tell the tale. Veterans of both the Vapor Trail 125 and Leadville 100 would agree with this statement:
The Vapor Trail 125 is like riding two Leadvilles in a row, and one of them is at night.
You may have done lots of racing, and you may be very fast. But if the events you conquer are the kind where you can get away with a water bottle and a couple gels in your jersey pocket, you haven't done anything like the Vapor Trail 125. Races like that are great, we have great respect for the Leadville 100. Nothing wrong with dirt hundies and 24 hour racing, but we need to have an idea that you've seen some adventures with a little less structure.
The event starts at 10 PM on a bridge over the Arkansas River at 7,000 feet elevation. Participants ride through the night, climbing above 10,000 feet elevation in the first ascent. Most ride through the entire next day never dropping back below 9,000 feet until the last 8 miles. The course draws a large circle through some of the highest mountains in North America. There are multiple high points near or above 12,000 feet. There are six long sustained climbs that each can take 2 hours or more to complete.
It can rain, it can snow, it can be windy and/or cold. The night is always cold in the high country, temps below freezing can be expected for 6 hours or more. There is roughly 17,000 feet (~5,200 meters) of cumulative climbing (accuracy confirmed by Strava).
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