The Utah Mixed Epic is based on the concept of a rotating showcase of challenging and scenic riding within Utah, rolled into a grassroots grand depart style event each fall.
The consistent, overarching goal each year is a point to point, ~1,000 miles, challenging, scenic route on a wide variety of surfaces (mainly off-road), aiming for minimal vehicle traffic, through different styles of terrain and ecosystems.
In 2020, the concept saw a slight deviation due to COVID-19. The 2020 route was heavily weighted towards a southeastern trajectory to showcase Moab and the Bears Ears National Monument. However, given pandemic challenges, the Inter-Tribal Coalition requested the public avoid visitation to the area. The 2020 route was modified in short order to ~800 miles and 70,000 feet of climbing. For 2021, the goal is to bring it back up to that 1,000 mile marker.
How mixed is "mixed"? You'll encounter everything you can think of. The off-road surfaces will include hyper smooth kitty litter, mild chunk, moderate chunk, boulder gardens (the big brother of rock gardens), slick rock slabs, single track and sand pits. Some of the dirt roads will be passable by passenger vehicle, some roads will only be passable by highly modified 4WD vehicles.
There will be some HAB, which will vary for each rider depending on weight of bike, fitness and technical climbing abilities. In 2020, riders reported an average of 20 miles of HAB spread across an 800 mile course.
There will also be large stretches without services, with the need to filter water in the backcountry. Water in September can be quite low in areas, so on-bike storage will be critical.
The perfect rig is one that can manage a wide range of conditions, but is not over geared towards a specific one. Riders will have to make compromises depending on what is most important to them. A very capable gravel bike with high volume tire clearance, a drop bar mountain bike, or possibly a rigid flat-bar 29er are the best options. Think TD style rig. If you want some squish, you'll enjoy sections a bit more, but it's not necessary. Guidance is at a minimum a 45c tire. setup tubeless, great water carrying capacity, damn good hydraulic disc brakes, and a very wide range of gearing.
This is a completely self-supported ride . Tour Divide rules apply. There will be no services, aid or transportation provided to riders. You are on your own!
The 2021 grand depart is scheduled for Friday, September 24th, 2021 at 6:00 am MST from Salt Lake City.
Email Nextgearadventurecycling@gmail.com with any questions or inquires and we'll get back to you shortly.
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