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.
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 ever 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, and most of them 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).
There are 4 aid stations, and there are some people out on the course during the event, but people who get involved in this event need to know how to take care of themselves. On many parts of the course a rider can be 10 or more rugged miles from any kind of help. That rider needs to have the clothes needed, skills and tools for fixing a bike, water and nourishment, and good judgement. The people who participate in this event have to have done this sort of thing before and proven that they know what to do and what to have in order to take care of themselves. For this reason we require each rider to submit a ride resume prior to being allowed to register.
Officially, all riders are required to have at least one strong light suitable for riding on technical singletrack with a burn time of 5-7 hours. This light should be rated to 200 or more lumens. Also each rider must have a backup lighting system with a burn time of 8-12 hours. This backup light needs to be bright enough for the rider to use to ride slowly on a dirt road and be seen by other riders and vehicles, and bright enough to be used to get out of the woods in the event that the primary light fails. Each rider also needs a rear blinky light which can easily be seen by vehicles overtaking the rider and other riders.
This year, 2017, the event will start at 10 PM on Saturday September 9. The fastest riders will finish in the late morning of the 10th but most will finish in the afternoon or evening of the 10th. To review our Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
The entry fee for the 2017 Vapor Trail 125 is $150. The fee is non-refundable, and your paid entry cannot be transferred to someone else. If you're not completely sure that you want to participate, and you can't afford to lose your entry fee, you probably shouldn't register for the event.
If you would like to participate, contact us and send us a list of the bike races, big rides, adventure rides, etc. Keep in mind; recent experience is going to be more relevant than races from years ago. Convince us that you've done things that are at least nearly as hard as the Vapor Trail 125.
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