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  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    TR - Dixie 200 revisited

    A few years back I did the Dixie 200 bikepacking race in SW Utah (https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...ighlight=dixie). I had wanted to do it again, but a fire in June 2017 put it on hiatus temporarily. The Forest Service has put some impressive effort into reopening affected trails, and Dave was able to piece enough of them together to come up with a revised route for 2019. It moved to August from June as well. 406 was interested as well so we headed out Thursday afternoon from SD.

    The route still includes Thunder Mountain, some Grandview Trail, and now full Virgin River Rim Trail, but changes how we get between them. It also adds Navajo Lake loop, Cassidy trail and newly rebuilt Right Fork of Bunker Creek. Dark Hollow is still closed, supposedly til summer 2020. The route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28677561

    Day 1:

    Seven of us lined up to start, half what was there last time but not unusual for this event. Might take a couple years for word to get out again




    7am start was right at sunrise, and it took a while for the sun to climb above the hills




    Not sure if this was a bit of fog or dust from a massive flock of sheep grazing nearby




    We started off at the west end of VRRT and then jumped off to do a lap around Navajo Lake loop. I'd never ridden the loop before, had more short punchy climbs than I expected.




    Also wasn't expecting the lava field at the east end, but it was cool.




    Too early for a swim, so just took in the views




    I was not looking forward to the next part, a 1,000ft HAB up the Marathon trail. Marathon is a mix of steep singletrack, non-existent singletrack, and sections of forest roads of varying quality.

    The section below required a bushwack from the road to get to, but was rideable from here. I think a couple riders missed this section.




    More Marathon trail, marginally visible through the sage. The black area beyond is another lava field




    No sooner had I seen a Caution - log trucks sign, this guy came rumbling past




    It was clear after that. Every open spot had a huge RV parked in it but there weren't many people around. Seems lots leave their rigs there during the week to hold their spot




    Lava field




    Same broken bridge as last time




    This time we were climbing up to Sydney Peaks, and this section was a lot of HAB for me. All of today was above 9,000 so far and now we were cranking it to 11.




    Finally at the top...had to go over and check out the view




    Traversing across to top of Bunker Creek




    More view, much of it now burned






    Bunker Creek was a bit harsh riding a hardtail, but was over quickly. A new singletrack extension below it is nearing completion. Ran into the trail crew on the road who said it isn't done. I was hungry and wanted to make sure I'd get to Panguitch before closing, so I skipped it. A few others rode it and said it will be good with some traffic. Burger at the Burger Barn was excellent.




    The new route goes east from Panguitch Lake on some forest roads, then crosses north of the highway and takes more forest roads all the way into Panguitch. They weren't great or terrible, and went by pretty quickly.



    Made it to Panguitch before 9:30 and resupplied at the gas station. 406 had been ahead all day and had gotten a motel room in town. I wanted to keep going and get the next big climb over with. So I kept going about 12 miles further on route, first pavement and then onto Fremont ATV trail which started near the airport. The climb was easy for the first 7-8 miles then grades picked up and I suffered the last hour or so, finally stopping just after midnight. Good results on the day, around 91 miles.
    Last edited by evdog; 08-28-2019 at 03:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Day 2:

    Woke up a lot of times during the night, wasn't sleeping well at all. I had planned to get up around 530. Woke up at 5, 5:20, must be 5:30 by now why is my alarm not going off? Hadn't set it of course. But it was in fact 5:30 so I got up, ate and packed. Rolling by around 6:30 just as it was light enough to not need lights.

    I had 16 miles to go to get to Red Canyon. The first four were rolling jeep road




    Great views opened up as the sun rose




    Singletrack started unexpectedly early on the Hancock Trail, a seldom used trail that was pretty raw but rideable




    Lonely cow. Usually they run away when a rider approaches, this one just stood there and watched me




    Cassidy trail is pretty nice. I had not ridden this section of it before. Some short steep HAB's but otherwise it was rideable.




    Ran into some locals




    Lots of variety too - red dirt, white dirt, pine trees, scrub




    This view was spectacular. Photos don't do justice how much the colors popped




    There were a few tough but not too long climbs out of each canyon. And then a long fun descent down to the Hwy in Red Canyon




    After a quick stop at the campground for water I braved the bike path overrun with tourists on rented bikes shuttling back to Red Canyon. Then finished the 2 mile climb up to Thunder Mtn trailhead




    Was hurting by this point and had to push the bike up all but the easiest grades, so I just slowed down and enjoyed the views




    Always a favorite spot




    For those who have ridden Thunder Mtn - have you ever noticed this sign and wondered what Grandview trail is? I sure did.... It runs for about 85 miles around the south end of both the Paunsaugunt Plateau and Bryce Canyon NP.

    I was pretty baked by the heat at this point so I decided to crash out in the shade and have a nap. Ended up resting for almost 3 hrs. 406 caught up to me here and had run out of water, so he had to finish Thunder Mtn and get water at the ranger station. He'd catch me again just as I was riding away on Grandview.




    Grandview is a mixed bag. Some sections like this are great. Some are terrible, and some barely exist. Cool backcountry adventure riding.




    Lots of character




    Another good section, with some steep HAB in the upper right




    Flowing stream was reported at Hillsdale Canyon so we checked it out to see if there was enough for a soak. There was, just barely. Very refreshing.




    Beyond Hillsdale Canyon it got tough for a few miles, climbing steeply to several saddles and then dropping steeply off the other side. Two of these required some painful downhill HAB as well.




    Near the final saddle was this piped spring with clean fresh water flowing into the upper corner. It was starting to cool off by that point as well, so things were looking up. And not just because a 1500ft road climb out of Proctor Canyon was up next.




    Made it part way up the climb before dark, but missed the best part of the sunset.




    406 decided to camp about 3/4 of the way up the climb at a nice flat area since it had good views and cell coverage. I wanted to get past the next section of Grandview trail and preferably to the spot where we would drop down off the plateau, another 12 miles farther. Feeling good and temps were nice, so why not.

    Up top was a pretty cool sight. We had seen smoke from prescribed fires earlier in the day. Now, up top, I could see flames along two distant ridgelines. Not a great pic but it was impressive to see a whole ridgeline glowing in the dark.



    Got to my desired end point right around midnight again. Had a quick bite to eat then crawled into my sleeping bag. 57 miles on the day.

  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Day 3

    Slept much better the second night and woke up around 530 again. Maybe there was a temperature inversion over night because it was warmer than it had been the night before.

    The mission for first thing this morning was to drop down off the plateau and hit the highway up to Tod's Country Store for breakfast and re-supply.


    Got started and needed lights on the descent down Pole Canyon, it was hard to follow the trail at times but was all rideable. Kind of a trip riding through stuff hoping you were actually on the trail




    It was chilly too, classic cold air drainage. Put on extra layers for the road descent. TONS of deer everywhere.




    Made it to Tod's around 8, stocked up on breakfast burritos, snacks for the day and a pepsi for breakfast. Then it was off for another few miles of pavement climbing followed by 13mi of dirt road to VRRT. The last 2 miles was steep HAB up this ATV trail.




    VRRT is pretty nice trail, and though a bit steep in places it was only unrideable in places due to loose rock. This section almost earned the middle-finger-photo treatment




    After some climbing I got to the first of the good views. Great spot to have lunch... The ride will follow the whole ridgeline above pink cliffs far as you can see here.




    Side view




    VRRT is a series of climbs and descents much of the way. The worst climb was out of Cascade Falls trail head. Long and fairly steep. But some nice trail in there too.




    Helped this guy off the trail




    OK, this section definitely deserved the finger.




    Up top the slope mellowed out and lots of good riding was had. Then the reward for all the climbing - a good 15 min of sustained descent




    Finally made it back to Navajo Lake where the route would double back on the 9 miles that we rode on day 1. I kept expecting tough climbs but aside from some very short sections it was all rideable.



    Made it back to the truck just after 830, after sunset but not yet needing lights, so I'm counting that as back before dark. Another 62 miles on the day, making it 205 for the trip. Pretty stoked on how it went. I cut about 13 hours total and 5 hours moving time off my previous times, albeit with some differences in the route. I think this year's route was harder though - more sections tackled in the non-optimal direction. 406 had been feeling sick day 3 so rode pavement back to the end. We opted to drive home that night rather than ride on Monday. My legs were pretty shot by that point.

    Good times... Huge thanks to Dave Harris for putting this together! It is such a cool and varied route! I'll be back again at some point.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    431
    Nice report, congrats on a great ride!

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
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    20,273
    thanks, I've been wondering about that area for a while.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
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    12,320
    Very cool. Definitely want to spend some time in that area.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Bearsden, UK
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    1,197
    Nice one! The new route looks like a good one, too bad Dark Hollow is still out of commission, that was such a good way to finish a big ride.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Norcal
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    Great Trip report as usual!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    I will add a few photos to Evdog's tr. Route is really good, I think Sept would be best time to do the ride, before rains and when it is less warm. I didn't have much time for training and living at sea level, had low expectations. Ripmo is about 29 lbs and I had 29 lbs of gear plus a few pounds of water.

    Evdog on VRRT:


    Topping out above 11,000 ft on day 1:


    Scenic in the burned area:


    Bunker hill is lots of fun:


    I found the new lower Bunker hill trail, it still needs lots of work but has some fun features:


    and nice views:


    I opted for a motel in town that night. Around 80 miles and 7000 ft of up for the day. Felt surprisingly pretty good at the end of the day.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    I was up early and riding before sunrise to get out of town and hopefully to higher elevation prior to heat.

    Some nice views along miles of ATV trail:


    Some cool rustic trail:


    Evdog gave me bad info on water refill in Red Canyon, so I ended up doing Thunder Mtn trail on empty around 1pm:


    Went off course dropping down bottom of Thunder and up Red Canyon to the USFS visitors center for water and cooked some lunch. Caught up to Evdog on start of Grandview:


    Grandview has some fun parts, but also some painful parts. I was done at 9pm and found a nice campsite. 61 miles and 9000 ft of up.
    Last edited by 406; 09-04-2019 at 03:57 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    Slept well and up before sunrise ready to ride, but puked up breakfast. Wasn't sure what that was about, but it was tough keeping anything down all day. 10 more miles of Grandview trail mixed in with some roads.

    I was glad I did not do this section in the dark, awesome views:


    Grandview is raw, but I love this kind of trail:




    Goes right along the rim:


    Final stop on Grandview, at the start of Pole Canyon(really fun steep down trail):


    The bad part about doing the last part of Grandview in the morning was having to do 10 miles of highway 89/14 in the late morning. Rotting dead deer every half mile didn't help my stomach situation. Had some food and drinks at the gas station at Long Valley Junction. Felt much better, but got cooked on the first climb up 14. Iffy water options on the route after the gas station, so I opted to stay on 14 for 8 miles and turned off on some dirt roads to rejoin the route at Navajo lake. Found a nice swimming spot for lunch:


    Final 10 miles of trail was really nice, I was rushing to get it done, but stopped to get a photo on the final down back to the truck:


    Day 3 was 58 miles and 6000 ft of up for me. With 4 days route could be done at a very enjoyable pace...although I think I could have pulled off 3 days if I had trained more and not got dehydrated on day 2.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Juneau
    Posts
    818
    Sweet pics. and TR.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by 406 View Post
    With 4 days route could be done at a very enjoyable pace...although I think I could have pulled off 3 days if I had trained more and not got dehydrated on day 2.
    You could pull it off in 3 days for sure if things went right. I had same issue with dehydration and puking in 2015, ended up resting more and taking 3.5 days - you just have to deal with things as they come up. Next time don't listen to other riders re water sources whose memory of the route is marginal

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    home
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    737
    Solid work, and great pics and thread. Will have to add this ride to the list!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Perfer et obdura, hic dolor olim utior tibi. -Ovid

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
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    Super cool. I need to try bikepacking sometime.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    NAZ
    Posts
    475
    Thanks for the pictures guys. I need to get up there one of these weekends.
    It sucks to suck.

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