WestX – Ultra Gravel Race

What is WestX?
A self-supported, 450-mile gravel ride from Almo, Idaho to Beaver Dam, Arizona along the Utah and Nevada border. The inaugural run will start on May 25, 2018 at 9:00am (Pre-race dinner 6:00pm May 24).

We’re going to keep this simple.
Open Mens
Open Womens

Trophies will be provided, and everyone will know you’re the Fastest Gun in the West… Until the next year when the next crop of upstarts comes to take the title.

To express interest or if you have questions, use the register interest form on this site.

Thanks,
Cooper, Cori and Jay (the founders and organizers)

News

Latest news from the trail…

WestX Promo Video!

Big thanks and shout out to Underbelly Creative for pulling this promo video together! We had a blast with the video crew, enjoying the WestX trail and trying not to laugh while we were on camera. Hope you enjoy the video, share it with friends and come out for the race in May.

Rules

  1. Don’t be a jerk.
  2. Riders must ride from the start point to the finish point, following 100% of the course (side trips are fine if you return to the point where you left the course). All forward land travel must be human powered. Do it all yourself, under your own steam.
  3. It is the rider’s responsibility to know and observe local laws. Don’t do anything that would discredit the race.
  4. Drafting is prohibited for solo riders. Riding together with another rider is permitted, but you should ride side by side and avoid shielding from wind in any way. 
  5. No Helmet, No Insurance, No Ride.
  6. Having a GPS tracking device and or emergency evacuation insurance is a really good idea, cell phone coverage is minimal and towns are few and far between. You are on your own.
  7. Start time begins based on a receipt purchased in Almo, Idaho. End time is based on a store receipt purchased in Beaver Dam, Arizona. The clock will not stop for any reason.
  8. While riding at night (defined as between 6:00 PM and 7:00 AM), each bicycle must be equipped with a properly functioning front and rear lighting system and this system should be on at all times.
  9. No doping.
  10. 3rd party support is prohibited. All food, drink, and equipment must be carried by the rider or acquired en-route. Do not make race arrangements, drop supplies or organize support before the race begins. Only accept repair help or purchase supplies en-route that others can also receive along the way.
  11. Riders should act in a spirit of self-sufficiency and show good sportsmanship.
  12. Enjoy the ride.

Enforcing the Rules:

The rules apply to all riders. Time penalties may be imposed and riders may not appear in the race results due to rule violations. Penalties for violations will be decided after a rider has completed the course, or quit the race. Riders should self-police the rules. It is honorable to declare any rule violations and self-disqualify or suggest a fair time penalty.

DISCLAIMER

WestX is a challenging race. Riders should not expect support or recovery if things go wrong for them in any way – riders will be alone. Understand that this is a personal challenge against the clock. By signing up riders get nothing but an excuse to plan and execute their own adventure, one which is dangerous and has serious risks for those unprepared.

This race is definitely not for everyone and may not be for you. The race route plots out a serious adventure through remote sections of the Western United States. In remote areas services, food and water are limited. Riders will need to do their own research to find out where critical services are located.

Riders alone are responsible for their own safety on the course and for the logistics of their own ride. Riders are urged to take planning seriously, study the route and the services available. Please do not be someone who needs rescuing without a very good reason. Do not divert critical emergency services unless it is a matter of life-or-death.

What to Expect

Road Conditions
80% of the roads are unpaved, and gravel graded. If they have recently been bladed the gravel can be deep in places especially the shoulders. If they haven’t been bladed recently washboards and ruts are common. Between Lucin and Wendover the roads can be very rough, with deep washboards. In the Hamlin Valley spring run-off often runs across the road and sandtraps are frequent and deep. Most riders will have to walk across some of the deepest sections. Modena Canyon and Enterprise Reservoir areas are fast with steep drop-offs along the side of the road, watch your speed especially after dark. The 20% pavement follows state roads and highways. Cars and trucks on this roads will be moving at desert highway speeds, make sure they can see you.

Weather
Average temperatures in May tend to be 70 on the high side and 40 on the low, but can, of course, be higher or lower. Rain and light snow are possible. With the rain you can expect the normally dry stream beds that cross the road to be full of water, these are not deep but can be swift and full of debris. 30-degree shifts between day and night temperatures are common, whether riding or sleeping be prepared for a cold night near freezing.

Water
Water is scarce. There are occasional ranches, water troughs, and stream beds but you should not count on their availability. Known water sources are Almo, Grouse Creek, Wendover, Border, Modena, Enterprise and Beaver Dam. Distances between these known water sources are between 80 and 100 miles. Having capacity for and carrying 1 gallon of water between the long stretches is highly recommended.

Wayfinding
The route details will be provided in both GPS and cue sheet format to participants. Signage, in general, is scarce and road markers are nearly non-existent. Use of a GPS and back-up maps is highly encouraged. Know how to read a map and plot your location on it before you start the ride. Turns are easy to miss and people are regularly lost in the West Desert. As mentioned below don’t rely on cell phones for anything, maybe 10% of the total route has cell coverage.

Wildlife
Wild horses are abundant along the race route, as well as deer and antelope. Hawks and eagles are also fairly common to see out hunting for jackrabbits. Although rarely seen during the day, you can expect coyotes to be very vocal yipping, howling and barking at night around your bivy site.

Communication
SPOT or other satellite-based tracking devices are highly encouraged. Cell phones will not work on most of the route. The major water stops will all generally have cell coverage as well as businesses with phones (except for Modena).

Emergencies
The organizers will help and other riders should help in an emergency situation. Having said that, don’t count on others to be there to help you. You should come to the race ready to deal with whatever situation you find yourself in. Have a back-up plan and a back-up to that plan. First responders can be potentially hours away if they know where to find you. Extraction insurance is relatively cheap and not a bad idea.

Transportation
If you need transfers to or from the start and finish locations, pick-up and drop off service is available from Saint George Express. They will transport bikes but ask for advance notice so they can plan for the additional space needed. The Burley, Idaho and Mesquite, Nevada stops are near the start and finish. Other riders may also be coordinating rides to the start or from the end. As we get closer to the event we’ll post additional options on this site.

Pre-Race Riders Dinner
Not required but we highly encourage riders to attend the pre-race riders dinner at the Almo Creek Outpost Steak House in Almo. Dinner will start at 6pm May 24, 2018. Casual opportunity to get to know one another and compare notes before the race starts in the morning.

Lodging
In Almo check out the Almo Inn (right next to the restaurant where the pre-race dinner will be held). In Beaver Dam try the Beaver Dam Lodge.

How to Prepare

While we can’t cover every detail here are some tips and ideas that might help you start to plan for WestX.

The Engine
Whether your planning to ride through the night or bivy overnight, you should be able to ride 120 miles of gravel comfortably and recover enough to do it again the next day. While there are a few climbs, this route is generally pretty flat, but the road surfaces can be very rough. Work out the fit and comfort issues in advance and in your pre-rides throw in a dose of sustained rough riding to make sure you have your set-up dialed in. (Blisters on your hands or saddle sores that develop on day one are not going to get better as the race progresses).

The Bike
Lots of personal preference here, but whatever you ride it needs to have the capacity to hold 6 hours of food, at least a gallons of water, as well as your cold weather, and emergency equipment. Tire slashes are always possible, multiple tubes and patches are cheap insurance.  General spares (chain links, misc spare bolts, and cables) and the knowledge how to repair whatever breaks is important. Dust and or mud will creep into everything if you have equipment sensitive to fine particles have a backup plan. Dry lube is highly recommended.

Navigation
Maps and GPS files of the route will be provided in advance. Study them, know the mileage between turns and carefully consider the distances between water sources. A word of caution, from satellite photos you’ll see lots of alternative roads or what look like roads especially in the Hamlin Valley. These are cattle and wild horse trails that frequently fade to nothing. Stick to the official route.