Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Revisiting the Togwotee Winter Classic 100-Mile Route

When I started organizing the Togwotee Winter Classic races back in 2007, I envisioned a 25-mile race and a 100-mile race. As I prepared maps, scouted the trails, and rode the entire 100-mile route on a snowmobile, I feared that I had created a monster that couldn't be tamed. Was it simply too difficult?

As race day approached, my stress level increased as I worried about racers biting off more than they could chew. Mother Nature made it a mute point and dropped so much snow in the days before the race that nobody attempted the 100-mile route that year and it took most racers over six hours to complete the 25-mile loop. I have not offered the 100-mile race option ever since.

To complete the 100-mile loop would take a strong rider with winter camping/survival skills, careful gear selection, and a good (cold, calm, & dry) weather window. No other snow bike race in the world has this kind of terrain and this amount of climbing. This route scares the crap out of me but I can't stop thinking about it. Is it time to reinstate the 100-mile option again? Maybe...


spruceboy said...

The sheep mountain 150 in Ak has a similar amount of elevation gain - I think somewhere in the 11k to 12k feet of climbing, though over a 150 mile course. It was run last year, but I think got canceled this year to due lack of interest. A better map can be found here. .

Good luck with the race - there can never be too many snow bike events!

Anonymous said...

Was just thinking it's an awful long drive for a 35 mile race.

I formally request the reinstatement of the hundy.

Anonymous said...

Dave, if you build it, they will come. I won't, unfortunately, but they will. Cheers.

Jill Homer said...

The White Mountains 100 has 8,700 feet of climbing according to my Garmin eTrex. The climbing doesn't make it an inherently harder race than the Su100, especially because (at least the past two years) the trail conditions are generally better.

Snow biking is all uphill anyway.

But congrats on bringing snow bike endurance racing to the Western Lower 48. I'm going to be in Alaska at that time; otherwise I would have loved to try to "short" version (as training for the WM100.)

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to unleash the beast. I was at Sheep Mt last year (finished the 100, 150 mile cutoff time was too ambitious except for the ubermen) and the conversation was mainly about how it is time for fat bike racing to evolve with harder routes. Maybe the Togwotee 100 will become the lower 48 standard? I hope to find out for myself one day!

Dave Byers said...

The TWC is tough because the completion of the route depends on:
A) The grooming of all trails involved and often it is late in the season before the entire route is rideable
B) Weather
It is much easier to hold the shorter distances on a set date regardless of the weather.
Maybe I should create a separate page for the TWC 100-mile and offer all the necessary maps/gps files to complete the loop and we can recognize anyone who completes it along with their time? (submission of gpx file required)
I do think March is the best month to attempt the 100-mile.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a great idea, Dave. I know I'm itching to get back to that area and ride.