Finishing time: 3.5 days + 1 hour.
Wow, the Stagecoach 400 course was harder than I had anticipated. The straight lines on the map made it look so simple and easy, leading me to consistently underestimate how long it would take to cover various stretches.
Yep, the map wasn’t all that forthcoming about all the slogging through sand, some hot/windy sections, and the lovely false summits. Then add some delays because of waiting for a store to open at 9am (a critical, desert resupply point) and a large nail that miraculously tore a hole in my sidewall… blah, blah, blah. All in all, a good ride at a respectable pace.
- 1 rattlesnake – wasn’t happy to see me on the trail and coiled back as I passed by
- 1 random snake – most importantly it wasn’t a rattlesnake, so who cares
- 1 red-tailed fox
- 2 road runners
- 5 deer
- 1 big white owl that came from behind me, flew over my head and out into my lights – yikes!
- 10 coyotes – no sighting, but listened to them yipping and howling as I rode into the night
Advice for other racers
- After you leave the highway south of Borrego Springs, be prepared to ride through a lot of sand until you reach Stagecoach. Drop your tire pressure and start slogging.
- If you want a fast time, it is absolutely crucial to buy enough food in Borrego Springs to get you all the way to the Perkins Store (~98 miles from Borrego Springs). On your way, you can get water from a hose on the north side of the Stagecoach store, but the store won’t open until 9am. You’ll kill a lot of time if you have to wait for it to open (I did). And carry enough water to get you to the Perkins store. The faucet at the Noble Canyon trailhead might not be on. It was off when I got there.
- When riding through then northern section of San Diego, there are a few sections on a four-lane road where the GPS tracks put you on the sidewalk going against traffic (shortly after a bike path ends and you cross a bridge). Ignore the track and ride on the correct side of the road with traffic. I talked to Brendan and the reason the track is funky along that part is that he had scouted and tracked that section while riding the opposite direction (north to south).
- Before heading out of Escondito, stop at the Shell station food mart (24hrs). It’s the last resupply before Anza Sunshine Store (~75 miles). It’s about 200 yards off-route. (N 33*04.099′, W 117*04.018′) FYI: “*” is supposed to be a degree symbol.
- In Warner Springs, I checked and saw a newly posted sign saying that the PCT store is now open from April 8th to May 20th between 8:30am and 4:30. It’s in the community resource center across from the fire station (easy to find).
- When climbing up through the Mesa Grande Indian Reservation, there is a spigot w/hose in front of a maintenance building. I was really happy to come across it. (N 33*08.498′, W 116*47.212′) FYI: “*” is supposed to be a degree symbol.
Some recommended gear
- Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves – first time I used them and they worked great
- Pearl Izumi Sun Knees – they were giving me some slippage problems at first, but I eventually got them to stay up
- Geax Saguaro 29×2.2 tires – worked great for the road and when I lowered the pressure for the sand