Guiding principles are self-support and equal opportunity.
1. Complete the entire route, under your own power.
- An (*) will be given to any rider who completes the route but misses between 0% and 1% of the published route (3 & 8 miles respectively). A finish time will be recorded. A full finish requires 100% route compliance as defined by the GPX file.
- Snow detours, official closures and signed re-routes are not counted as they are approved deviations. Any rider who misses between 1% (3 & 8 miles) and 5% (15 & 40 miles) 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%, 15 & 40 miles. No finish time will be published.
- It is highly encouraged for riders to record their ride via GPS, Strava, Trailforks, etc. In the event of a discrepancy, the track may be requested by the Race Director. The rider will have 7 days to submit the track, if requested. Any tampering with the gpx file with result in relegation.
2. No support crews, no pacers
3. No caches
4. No motorized transport or hitch-hiking, EXCEPT for travel to hospital/medical care
5. Gear – Nothing required, nothing prohibited
6. No eBikes
The following are allowed, but not encouraged. Please use sparingly. (Excessive use can lead to relegation)
- Unplanned support from other AZT racers is OK
- Trail magic (from strangers) OK – but please, no begging
- Mailing stuff ahead to Post Offices is OK
- Using public AZT water caches is OK (sparingly! do not rely on them!) As riders, we really shouldn’t need any water from either the Tiger Mine (Oracle) or Kelvin cache boxes, Freeman Rd is a little more understandable.
- Please be aware that hikers rely on these cache boxes much more than us riders.
- No personal or race specific caches, please
- 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 pacers!
- Mobile bike service is allowed. If a bike shop wants to offer mobile service for AZTR riders, but doesn’t normally offer mobile service, this must be declared at least one month prior to the Grand Depart.
For the full Arizona Trail 800 the following rule is STRICTLY ENFORCED:
* You must carry your disassembled bike from the south to north rim of the Grand Canyon. Absolutely no riding or pushing (rolling) of the bicycle is allowed.
* If you are caught rolling or pushing your bike you will be disqualified and banned from all future events. No exceptions.
Being a Good Citizen
Beyond all ideals of self-support and equal opportunity, the most important ‘rules’ have to do with being a responsible citizen, and thinking about the reprecussionsof your actions. Obeying the law and following these guidelines are FAR more important:
– Practice strict Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics. See: lnt.org Just because an imaginary clock is running doesn’t mean you can cut corners.
– Trail etiquette – the future of the race 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.
– If you are directed off the AZT (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. There are a lot of them on the trail. The general rule is: unless you can actually see another rider coming behind you, always close a gate you open. Do not assume people you were riding with are actually coming.
– 800: We are extremely lucky to be able to carry bikes thru Grand Canyon National Park. Please, please, be on your best behavior when in the park. This means:
* Be overly kind and courteous to all trail users.
* Camping/sleeping is NOT allowed anywhere in the canyon unless you have a permit.
* No riding of bikes. Both wheels must be off the ground.
* Don’t get in over your head. Over-carry water, food and energy (yes, carry energy!).
There are a number of public water caches on the trail. These are OK to use, but not encouraged. We cannot have the race depleting them because they are relied upon by thru-hikers. Topping off is OK, but do NOT land at a cache dry, or plan to take an entire gallon from one.
– Never, under any circumstances, take water with a person’s name written on it. Their life may be depending on it. Violating this is grounds for instant disqualification.
– If you encounter a water cache box that is depleted (less than 2 gallons), has trash, or is otherwise in disarray, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. All of us are responsible for them, and any issues will be blamed on the race. If we are not responsible, it could easily lead to the end of the race. – Bring and study the water chart (PDF) on this page: https://aztrail.org/explore/water-sources There are other water sources out there and they may save your thirsty lips plus reduce the overall impact of the race on the trail. The fact is the caches are not needed to travel the trail by bicycle, so racers should NOT be relying on them. The race organizes volunteers to check on the caches, clean and replenish them before and after the event.
Absolutely NO unattended food and beverage caches, PLEASE! These are a bad, bad idea for so many reasons and if we cannot control ourselves, they will be the undoing of the race. Do not leave drinks or food unattended, in a cooler, or otherwise, anywhere on the route, especially not at a water cache! Besides being against the spirit of the race it’s bad trail form, causes litter, is bad for wildlife and wilderness.
Trail magic is truly unexpected and from a stranger who is not there specifically for the race. If you know about the race and are out on the course you should not offer *anything* to a racer, unless they are dropping out or otherwise continuing not a part of the race. Then by all means, help to your best ability.
Racers are responsible for educating their friends/family about the rules of the race and what is and isn’t acceptable for visitation, caches, trail magic, etc.
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 please go ride the AZT on your own and don’t have anything to do with the event. Thanks.
Also I am happy to hear well reasoned arguments about changes.
State Trust Permits
State Trust Land Permit Required: The AZT 800 route crosses State Trust Land (off the AZT itself) which means all riders must purchase a recreational permit. They are available at the link below, and can be purchased / delivered online. Please note that AZT 300 riders do not need a permit, since there is an easement for the AZT wherever it travels on State Trust Land. The 800 requires a permit due to using roads and trails that are not AZT, but on state trust.
From Grand Canyon
At request of Grand Canyon National Park: Groups of 11 – 30 individuals day hiking through the canyon as part of this Race will need to obtain a Special Use Permit through our office. You can find details about our permit requirements at the following link: http://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/sup.htm
In other words, in the unlikely event that 11+ riders arrive at the Canyon simultaneously for the crossing, you will need a group permit.
A backcountry permit is required if you plan to camp below the rim at either Bright Angel or Cottonwood campgrounds. Walk-up permits are often available at the backcountry office located in the Grand Canyon Village. https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm
Self Supported Guidance
A few more words on self-supported bikepack racing.
Remember the guiding principles are self-support and equal opportunity. Two important questions to ask yourself when thinking about the rules are:
1) Am I doing this myself?
2) Am I relying on others?
3) Is this an unfair advantage over other riders, who may not live in the USA or have friends/family near the route?
Placing a cache of food or water for yourself on the route is not fair to those who do not have that cache or the ability to place it.
Taking food from a friend that ‘dot-stalked’ you is not fair to those that don’t have friends nearby, or maybe those who don’t have friends!
Having a friend meet you to hike across the Grand Canyon and keep you awake/motivated is not fair to those that do not have a friend capable of hiking Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim.
With that said, the rules of the AZT do allow for minor violations of these ideals, with the idea being that small forms of support and unfairness do not make much of a difference in the long run, and that we are taking ourselves too seriously if things like innocent spectating and cheering of a racer are prohibited.
What does this mean? Some example forms of limited support allowed:
– Dropping in unexpectedly (not pre-planned) on a racer to cheer them on and ride for a few miles. Even better if it’s near your residence and you are visiting the racer near services (so there’s less concern about providing food/drink/services).
– Don’t follow the race — limit one ‘drop in’ per race/racer.
– Taking a candy bar or beer from a stranger that happens to be on the route.
– Calling anyone in the world for support — after all time spent talking is time not moving forward on the route.
– Pre-shipping yourself a package (e.g. a pack for the Grand Canyon) to a post office.
More background, adapted from the original Great Divide Race
With thanks to Mike Curiak.
The general idea is to race the Arizona Trail, under only your own power, and to be self supported between towns. Once in a town, you can buy a meal,stock up on trail grub, even get a room for a shower and some quality sleep.
The overriding principle is simply to do it all yourself. All of the pedaling, pushing, bike wrenching, food buying (and eating…), water filtering, suffering, and all logistical figuring.
Do. It. Yourself.
Prearranged outside support is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, assistance with navigation, delivery of supplies, lighting, or lodging.
Competitors can stock up on food and other items at stores along the route.
If you need something that you didn’t bring or can’t find on the route, you may have the item(s) shipped to you: * via a commercial delivery service (UPS,Fed-Ex, DHL, Airborne, or USPS) * to a post office.
This means that NO, you cannot have a friend deliver anything to you, and NO you cannot have anything shipped to a friend’s house along the way. Commercial shipping, to a post office, period.
Competitors may only advance on the route via their own power.
If your bike breaks, you can continue to the next town on foot. Competitors may, in the case of an emergency, take a ride to a medical facility, with no threat of disqualification. Once you’ve solved your issue, you must then rejoin the route exactly where you left it, and you must do this under your own power.
This is a solo competition, but during the race it is likely that some racers may choose to travel together. This IS permitted.
HOWEVER, racers MAY NOT draft other racers and MUST maintain separate gear. Limited forms of sharing (small items of food, a small repair item) is considered trail magic and is OK.
The intent of these rules is to establish an equal and fair opportunity for all racers, and to eliminate any advantage gained by those who live near to or have friends/family along the route.
One last word on the rules: The original intent of this race was to ride the route as fast as possible in the simplest/purest style possible. As time has gone on people have begun looking for loopholes within the rules that’ll save them time on the course.
This is human nature and all of us do it in different ways in our everyday lives. With respect to the race, we ask that you please consider the long-term ramifications of finding and using loopholes–the race will only get ‘easier’ and (conversely) require more rules/regulations as time goes on.
This goes against all of the principles that the race was founded on.
People: Please don’t bring The AZTR down to your level–elevate yourself to the level of The AZTR. If you find yourself looking for loopholes, consider taking another year to prepare before racing. Most likely you’ll go faster and enjoy it more as a result.
Need more background on self-support?
Please read the Colorado Trail Race’s Rules FAQ.
QUESTIONS? Better to ask before the race starts.