Four-person teams will pedal from Swanny City Park in Moab to St. George starting at 8 a.m. Friday, June 7. One rider from each team will be in the saddle at a time, with every participant doing three stints of about 44 miles.
The race continues through the night and ends when the last team has reached the finish line at Vernon Worthen Park in St. George – 516 miles from Moab.
“It’s a challenge for the riders and for us,” said race co-director Cortney Stewart.
His brother, Daniel, conceived the race as a way to see some scenery most cyclists don’t encounter. The course follows backroads and byways and also hits Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks.
“[Daniel] knows all the roads down there and thought this would be a spectacular place to have a bike race,” Cortney Stewart said.
This is the fourth year the race has been held and 400 people representing 100 teams have registered. That’s up from 60 teams last year, Stewart said.
Racers may pick up packets at Swanny City Park Thursday afternoon before the race or at the race site Friday morning. A free pancake breakfast will be available at the park from 6 to 7 a.m. before the race begins.
“It’s a great way to carbo load before the race,” Stewart said. “We have a mandatory team instruction at 7:30 a.m.”
Once on the road, teams must be self-sufficient. Stewart said food, water and sleeping arrangements are the responsibility of the riders.
A police escort will lead the teams out of Moab. The course heads south on U.S. 191 through Monticello and Blanding before turning onto state Route 95 to Hanksville. From there, riders will pass through Torrey, Henrieville, Panguitch and Cedar City before reaching St. George.
Race organizers warn that the 120-mile stretch between Blanding and Hanksville has no services, so plenty of water and food should be carried. Vehicles supporting individual teams should make sure they have adequate gas.
There’s plenty of gaiety when teams arrive in St. George, Stewart added. Organizers recommend that teams arrive at the finish line before their final cyclist so they can unload their bikes, and ride back a mile or so to meet their teammate and cruise over the finish line together.
Participants and their families will be treated to a free barbecue lunch at the St. George park. An awards ceremony is planned for 7 p.m. Every finisher receives a ring to commemorate the accomplishment. Race packets include a cowbell to cheer racers on, and a race T-shirt.