Rigs of the 2023 Arizona Trail Race (AZTR)
The annual Arizona Trail Race kicks off Thursday, with riders setting off on a spectacular 300- or 800-mile route across the Grand Canyon State. With help from this year’s participants, we’ve collected rig and gear details for 40 of the folks lining up for the grand depart. Dig into all of them here…
The Arizona Trail Race is an unofficial challenge that takes place every year on the Arizona Trail, which snakes its way across the state. Two distances are available: the Arizona Trail 300 is a 300-mile event that has been held every April since 2006, and the Arizona Trail 800 is the complete traverse from Mexico to Utah, which was was offered for the first time in 2010 as the AZTR750. Both events are run concurrently, and for 2023, they start at the same location and same time on the Arizona/Mexico border. As if the riding wasn’t challenging enough, the AZT800 riders must carry their bikes 21 miles across the Grand Canyon, as bikes aren’t allowed on that section of the route.
Perhaps the most exciting story is that there are five women going after the Triple Crown, with the 2023 Arizona Trail Race as the final piece of the puzzle. For those unaware, the Triple Crown of bikepacking is awarded to riders who complete the Tour Divide, Colorado Trail, and Arizona Trail Race in a single season. Be sure to keep an eye out for Lael Wilcox, Katya Rakhmatulina, Alexandera Houchin, Hannah Simon, and Kristen Tonsager. Additionally, Jefe Branham and Alexandera Houchin set new singlespeed records on the 800-mile route last year, so we’ll be watching the one-geared riders closely too.
As always, with the help of event organizer John Schilling and the riders, we gathered a list of 40 rigs, each accompanied by the name, age, hometown, and a brief kit list for each rider. Check them all out below, then head over to the event tracker to follow along live and find the updates we’ll be posting during the event. But first, here’s a quick rundown of the 2023 Arizona Trail Race route, as there are a few noteworthy changes this year.
The 2023 Arizona Trail Race Route
by John Schilling
The 2023 edition of the AZTR is hopefully going to see less vegetation encroaching the trail due to a lighter monsoon season. However, the heat will be a factor over the first week of riding as summer doesn’t quite want to let go. On the route, there are notable changes for both the 300 and 800. The first is the addition of the Casa Blanca Canyons Passage of the Arizona Trail near Patagonia. Formerly known as Temporal Gulch, there is now a complete ribbon of singletrack through the Santa Rita Mountain foothills (outside of the wilderness boundary).
Up on Mt. Lemmon, there are major changes to the routes. The 800 riders will mostly push their bikes up the official AZT Wilderness Bypass route, dubbed the Lemmon Pusch (Pusch Ridge Wilderness). At the top of Lemmon, the AZT has been officially moved off upper Oracle Ridge in favor of Red Ridge and Catalina Camp trails linking back to Oracle Ridge at Dan Saddle. Farther up the route, the 800 riders will find more singletrack near Sunflower, a vastly improved Highline Trail as part of a restoration initiative and a small reroute on the North Rim. One possible detour is still in effect near Blue Ridge on the Mogollon Rim due to a prescribed burn in the area. Keep those dots refreshed!
Age 30 / Anchorage Alaska (USA)
BIKE: I’m riding a Santa Cruz Blur, with SRAM XO1 drive train, code RSC brakes, DT Swiss 232 ONE 120mm fork, RockShox Sid Ultimate deluxe 150mm shock, Mason X HUNT search 29 MTB Dynamo disc wheelset, Schwalbe wicked will tires.
BAGS: DTF dreams custom handlebar bag, Woolf Tooth b-rad bag, Bedrock bags dropper saddle bag, Osprey Syncro 20L backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: KLite Ultra Racing Lighting System w/ Bar switch and USB Charge system all powered by my HUNT Dynamo wheels. I am racing to support the Vermont Bicycle Shop flood relief fundraiser, make a donation here.
Age 48 / Carbondale, Colorado (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be piloting “Badger,” my singlespeed Why Cycles Wayward all the way to Stateline. Badger is geared 32x22T with an Absolute oval up front and a Problem Solvers SRAM adapter in back. The front wheel is a Mason X Hunt with a SON dynamo hub. The rear wheel is an Industry Nine Hydra. Both sport thick Maxxis Rekon cactus-flingers of the 29×2.6″ variety.
BAGS: A much loved Rogue Panda Canelo bar-harness leads the way. Gondola seat pack, custom frame bag, and top-tube bags by Rockgeist. Pronghorn front-roll and feedbags by Revelate Designs. I’ll wear my canyon carry pack – a slightly homespun Osprey Stratos 24L-all the way from MM 103.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The dynamo has one job: to juice my Garmin 1040 and a couple of small electronics. I’m leaving the dynamo light at home. Instead, a Fenix PD35 (helmet mounted) paired with a Fenix BC26R (bar mounted) will shine up my nights. A handful of tiny Nitecore 10000mAh power-banks will keep my phone limping along on fumes. I debated several shelter solutions before settling on my Zpaks Altaplex tarp-tent. I can quickly deploy it like a bivy sack to keep the desert crawlers out, while retaining the peace-of-mind that comes with carrying a fully capable shelter. A full length z-rest and Zpaks 20F sleeping bag will keep me cozy during the frigid nights beyond the Mogollon Rim.
Age 36 / Tucson, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding AZTR300 on a 2021 Yeti SB130 CLR. I opted for my usual SW tire choice of Maxxis Minions with a 2.5″ DHF in the front and a 2.4″ DHRII in the rear, a fresh SRAM Eagle GX mechanical 1×12 drivetrain with a 30T oval chainring, and DT Swiss wheels with an upgraded star ratchet (thanks Guru Bikes!). OneUp handlebars, Industry Nine stem, and a OneUp dropper post round out the build.
BAGS: If Miles issues an award for bike bag hacks, I hope this rig is in the running. Custom split frame bag from Rogue Panda, handlebar buckets from Sturdy Bag Designs (Thanks for the custom colors, Joe!), Mag Tank top tube bag, and a frankenroll on the handlebars that’s a mix of a Rockgeist barjam, Oveja Negra cradle, Rockgeist dry bag, and Oveja Negra handlebar pouch to stabilize it all. Custom Sturdy Bag Designs seatpost/jerry can bag. Mix of Revelate Terrapin seatbag and Wayward Riders Louise dropper post saddle bag cradle. Revelate Joey on the downtube to house 2L of water. Not pictured are the Tailfin SFM mounts and 1L Nalgene bottles to add some water carrying capacity for the Gila River section of the AZTR300.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I brought a small stove for hot coffee and oatmeal in the morning. That’s my big luxury item for this whole trip. Other highlights include an Outdoor Research Helium Bivy, and a lot of down items that I’ve used bikepacking around the Southwest. I’m also wearing an Osprey mountain biking backpack that will carry 2.5L of water, food, and a few light layers.
Age 52 / Thun (Switzerland)
BIKE: 2022 ToutTerrain Outback 27.5 steel with Pinion P1.18 gearbox and Gates Carbondrive. Cane Creek Helm MKII Air 29″ fork with 130mm travel and Kinekt Active XR suspension seatpost. WTB KOM Tough i40 Rims with Continental CrossKing 27.5 x 2.8″ tires. Satori Falcon Aero handlebar with Ergon GP1 grips. LOOK Trail Grip pedals. This is not a race bike but rather my comfy world traveller.
BAGS: Made myself a HF welded framebag from PVC coated PES, my own harness with 3D printed attachments to the handlebar holding an Exped Endura 25 compression bag and my own bag on the handlebar for the 1.5L bladder. Arkel Dry-Lites on Tubus steel rack (15-20 years old). I left a Mammut backpack at a Hotel in Flagstaff when I started biking south to get down to the start.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My Pedalcell broke shortly before the trip and the replacement didn’t make it on the plane. I will have to relay on powerbank and a 4-port charger for electronics and lights. Optimus Polaris stove. Therm-a-Rest Prolite Apex sleeping pad and inflatable pillow, Exped down sleeping bag and Tarptent Moment DW Li Tent. Wahoo Element Bolt and iPhone with MapOut App for navigation. 4l MSR Dromedary to add water capacity. My Gravity Works Filter broke this week, will replace it with a Grayl Geopress, and therefore another heavy and bulky item on my gearlist.
Age 35 / Tucson, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: Soma Juice, Shimano 1×12 (30T chainring), home built wheels (DT Swiss 350s to WTB and Ibis rims) with Maxxis Recon 29×2.4 tires, Fox Float FIT 130mm.
BAGS: Bags by Revelate, Nuclear Sunrise, Diday, and Roadrunner.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My trusty Brooks B17 saddle and a Mystery Ranch 20L backpack.
Age 36 / Helena, Montana (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a Niner SIR 9 hardtail. This bike has been run over by a truck and is still holding strong—it’s ready for the Arizona Trail! I’ll be using a Maxxis Rekon 2.4″ front tire with an Ikon 2.25″ in the rear. Fox 120mm Step Cast fork. Cane Creek bar ends, Ergon GA3 grips, SRAM GX 32T X 10-52T. Specialized Power saddle to keep those sit bones happy, Race Face bars with Deity Copperhead 35mm stem. Specialized Carbon Control wheels with DT Swiss 350 hubs.
BAGS: It’s a mixed bag. Defiant frame bag that is custom made for the SIR 9. On the bars: Oveja Negra Front End Loader with a Mountain Laurel 12L dry bag. Revelate Designs Mag Tank 2000 next to a Revelate feedbag. Mini Thang down tube cage with 1L bottle. Osprey Stratos 24 with 1.5L capacity, 2L bladder in frame bag. 20oz bottle for feedback and two 17oz soft flasks.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Bandana for sun cover and cooling. MSR Trail Shot filter, Pearl Izumi X Alp shoes, Sierra Design 20 Deg quilt for cold nights.
Age 36 / McCall, Idaho (USA)
BIKE: Esker Hayduke Ti, Pike 130, DT Swiss EX Wheels, SON Dynamo/DT 350, 30x22T Singlespeed.
BAGS: Dispersed, Rockgeist, Rogue Panda.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: kLite Ultra, Fenix Lights, King Cage, GG Blaze Backpack.
Age 25 / North Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
BIKE: I will be riding a 2018 Salsa Timberjack, newly converted from 27+ to 29. I’m running a GX Eagle drivetrain with a 32T chainring in the front, We Are One Fuse rims laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs, 2.6” Maxxis Rekons, XT four piston brakes, a 120mm Fox 34 Stepcast fork and a Jones Loop HBar. My bike has brought me many wonderful places and I look forward to visiting Arizona for the first time!
BAGS: Custom Rogue Panda frame bag. Rockgeist Mr. Fusion (Porcelain Rocket) seat bag. Revelate Designs Sweet Roll up front. King Cage Manything on the fork and downtube, for water and a repair kit. Top tube bag is Bedrock. Two Outdoor Research “Water Bottle Tote’s” on the bars, one for water and one for bottomless snacks (I’m looking forward to seeing how many burritos it can fit).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will be wearing a Salomon Active 8 vest and shipping myself a sturdier backpack (repurposed from its school days after some bleach and hand cut foam) along with trail runners and hiking poles, to the South Rim for the Grand Canyon carry. For lighting, I have a Cygolight Ranger 1400 and a Fenix BC26R on my bars and a Serfas 500 on my helmet. Etrex 20 for navigation. My sleep system is an OR helium bivy, with a Therm-a-Rest Neoair and a Katabatic Alsek quilt. I hope to have cozy and restful sleeps! I am likely carrying a small homemade alcohol stove. My dad and I have matching set-ups that have been on several trips together. This time around my dad’s setup (and my dad) will be cheering from home.
Age 51 / Florence, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: Binary SuperBxc, NOX Wheels with Industry Nine hubs and Maxis Ardent tires 2.25″ up front 2.40″ behind. 1×12 SRAM drivetrain with 26T Wolf Tooth chainring. Flex handlebars for wrist/hand comfort.
BAGS: Broadfork frame bag, Rogue Panda gas tank bag, Rockgiest top tube bag and Tailfin rack with a bag designed by Jay Petervary.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Redshift seat post and Sea to Summit pillow.
Age 56 / Florence, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: Salsa Spearfish, 1×12 SRAM drivetrain with 26T Wolf Tooth chainring, NOX wheels with Maxis Ardent tires 2.25″ up front and 2.40″ behind.
BAGS: Rogue Panda frame bag, top tube bag and gas tank bag, Revelate designs handle bar bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Xerocole Desert hiking boots and Tectonic flat pedals.
Age 42 / Phoenix, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: Same bike as last year: 2023 Specialized Epic Evo Pro. Increased travel to 130mm from 120mm, cause why not. Fox Factory 34/DPS/Transfer. Specialized Fastrack Grid T7 2.35 F/R. Shimano XT 12s drivetrain, 30T Wolf Tooth ring, and XT 4P brakes. Custom Nox Farlow Carbon 29er wheels w/DT350 rear and Son 28 Dyno front. Klite Adventure package (light/charger). Last year was eye opening and incredible to say the least…started with the 800 and paired that down to the 300. Doing the 300 again this year and looking to evolve to the 800 in the next year or two.
BAGS: Custom Rockgeist Frame Bag, Revelate Salty Roll, Revelate Mag Tank and Mountain Feed Bags. This year I’m trying out the Old Man Mountain Elkhorn rack with their Juniper Trunk bringing up the rear. Osprey Talon 22 backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Mountain Laurel Designs Bivy, Sea to Summit Spark 20 bag, Sea to Summit pad. Etrex 32x, an assortment of rechargeable and lithium batteries, hoping to dial in my dyno charging management. Rapha Cargo Bibs, Specialized Recon 3.0 MTB shoes, Club Ride shirt.
Age 34 / Cloquet, Minnesota (USA)
BIKE: Chumba Sendero 32x23T.
BAGS: I have my sleep kit in a bag that BarYak Joe made for me. I’m using Austere Cams and straps that Joe ordered/sewed for me. All my cheetah print bags are made by Andrew at Dispersed. I’m NOT riding with a seat bag because I just smashed my face into some rocks when my bag sucked into my wheel. The backpack is the Osprey Sirrus 24: the smallest bag I found with a frame (I have an older version that doesn’t hit my helmet while riding.)
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m wearing La Sportiva TX4 approach shoes for the whole thing, including the hike. I still love the AXS Reverb dropper, so I’ll run that for this race. The kLite makes me so happy, so I have a SON hub to power that, but didn’t hook up the charging stuff. Otherwise, the bike is my usual AZT set up.
Age 39 / Truckee, California (USA)
BIKE: Specialized Epic Evo. 30T chainring with SRAM Transmission drivetrain. AXS dropper, 4 piston brakes with metal pads, 180mm rotor up front. Ergon gel saddle to keep the butt happy. Enve M630 wheels with i9 hubs. I’m running 2.4″ 60TPI Rekon Race tires for something a bit lighter and faster rolling. Garmin 1040 Solar for navigation. Fenix BC26R for bar light and Fenix UC35 on helmet. Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit shoes for all the hike-a-bike and GC portage.
BAGS: Bedrock Bags custom frame bag and handlebar roll. Topeak top tube bags, Revelate feedbags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: 6L water capacity (3 on bike, 3 on back). I’m really loving the 4 piston brakes. I will be carrying everything for the Grand Canyon hike from the start, so will have a larger pack than normal and will bring hiking poles. Sleep quality and staying warm is a priority this time, so I’ll be cozy in a fluffy 28F bag and air mattress.
Age 28 / Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the 300 on a Soma Juice I’ve put together, originally a parts bin build until I realized how much I like the bike. DT Swiss 110mm fork, 30×22 oval single speed. 29×2.4″ front and 27.5×2.8″ with an I9 single speed hub rear because I’m late to every trend and that’s the only way to fit that big squishy tire in the back. Took note of previous year’s rigs and bought some Rekons.
BAGS: Bags are a hodgepodge. Aeroe spider front harness, Swift frame bag, some lovely Revelate stuff. Buckhorn feed bags from when he was located in Albuquerque, and a cheapo top tube bag that’s held up better than I thought it would.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Crank Tank is amazing, such an efficient way to store 3L of water. I’ll be running a small backpack with a 3L hydration bladder as well. Sleeping at least a little, so bringing an inflatable Big Agnes mat and pillow, and an REI flash 1 tent and quilt.
Age 38 / Richland/Sequim, Washington (USA)
BIKE: I will be running a titanium Bearclaw Buck Macho frame (many thanks to the folks at Bearclaw for getting this frame out to me quickly when my other brand Ti hardtail failed unexpectedly in August), Cane Creek eeWings cranks for mashing, Rockshox Pike Ultimate 130mm fork, Nox Farlow rim/SON dynamo hub up front, Industry Nine Enduro S carbon rim/Hydra hub in the rear, and both wheels are wrapped in my favorite Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.6″ shoes. Other component highlights include a 30t 5DEV Ti chainring, 22t Boone Technologies Ti cog, Nukeproof Horizon CL pedals, and Paul Component Klampers/Love Levers/Dropper Trigger/Chim Chim bar ends (all with the purple treatment as I am pretty sure purple makes you look faster than other colors).
BAGS: BroadFork frame bag (thank you Jacquelyn for the last minute mod to fit the new frame!), Goodday Bikeworks Spacer Cradle front rack with a Revelate Saltyroll, Revelate Shrew seat bag, Take A Trip Snack Pack, Tailfin 1.5-L Flip Top Tube Pack, and an Osprey Syncro 20 backpack for overflow pizza/burritos/beer and the Grand Canyon portage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Dirty Teeth MTB Bikepacking HaB Strap to more easily maneuver the bike over the miles of gnarly hike-a-bike, kLite MTB kit for lighting/charging, Fenix BC26R light & batteries for more lighting, Tailfin SFMs to turn my fork into a mobile water cooler, King Cage Ti bottle and Manything cages (because Ti is a chemist’s best friend), and a picture of my sponsor, Ms. P., with a reminder written on the back that she tells me before every adventure, “Make good decisions.”
Age 58 / Scranton, Pennsylvania (USA)
BIKE: I am most grateful to Roaring all the way on a Salsa Rustler morphed with a set of Bontrager Line pro 30 wheels. I’m running Maxxis Ardent 29x 2.4″ tires up front and Ardent race 2.35″ in rear. XT 1×12 speed soul train at 10-50T with a 30T chainring. Huge thanks to the Greenwood Village REI tech shop for the painstaking build out.
BAGS: Revelate Designs Mountain feedbags, Jerrycan, Terrapin 8l, and a custom Bedrock bags frame pack at the core.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Garmin 66i for Nav/C2. A Big Agnes Flycreek 1 (fast fly mode), Therm-a-Rest Ohm 32 degree sleep bag and Nemo UL Tensor for my sleep system. Fenix lights, an Osprey 24L Stratos for the big beautiful Canyon adventure and plenty of Stars and Stripes for inspiration.
Age 41 / Silver City, New Mexico (USA)
BIKE: Mainstream 2023 Trek Roscoe. 12-speed Shimano drivetrain mashup. Mismatchy carbon rims laced laced to XT/Onyx hubs. 2.6” Barzo tire rear, 2.6” XR4 front. Shimano XT 4-Piston brakes. Rockshox Pike, 140mm fork.
BAGS: All homebrewed aside from a Dispersed rolltop stem bag for more snacks. Ultimate Direction running vest worn with 2-4L of water.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Bontrager Verse Short saddle perched atop a 180mm Oneup Dropper, connected to a Wolftooth lever. SQLab 30x 16 deg backswept bars, Ergon GS1 Evo grips, with SQlab inner bar ends to help spread out the burden on the hands. Fenix BC26r on the handlebars and a Fenix BC21r on the helmet for light. Wahoo Roam v2 for nav, with a couple of 10kmAh Anker banks to power it and my phone/earbuds. 30 deg Sierra Designs sleeping bag paired with a silly Klymit X-frame sleeping pad for a few hours of rest. The real standout though is that whisper-quiet Onyx Vesper rear hub.
Age 25 / Tucson, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: Chumba Yaupon, RockShox SID Ultimate, Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″ tires, Industry Nine/SON hubs on Astral Serpentine rims.
BAGS: Frame and top tube bag by Dispersed in leopard print, vintage Rockgeist handlebar sling, Rockgeist Gondola seat pack, old feed bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Zpacks quilt, Mountain Laurel Designs tarp, Coros Vertix 2 for tracking mileage, Bedrock Mountain Clogs, Attaquer Cargo bibs, Osprey Talon 11 for the Grand Canyon portage.
Age 43 / Blue River, Colorado (USA)
BIKE: This is Charlie. Charlie is a very well-loved Santa Cruz Carbon Chameleon who’s seen a lot of miles. Pictured above on a trip a couple weeks ago in Utah. Build kit is all SRAM XX1 or XO1 components, Reverb Dropper, G2 RSC Brakes, Race Face bar and pedals. NOBL TR 37 Carbon wheels, new this year have been a super solid addition to Charlie this year and are both take the beat down of long loaded rides well and look fun and sparkly provided motivation when I’m exhausted.
BAGS: My bags are mostly split these days between custom Rockgeist Bags (thanks Greg) and custom Wolf Pax bags (thanks so much Kya for indulging my ideas). In addition, I’m use my Old Man Mountain Elkhorn rack to make space for all the water I need and deal with the fact that my short inseam doesn’t lend to have a lot of triangle space. Rounding out the kit is a Blue Ice Firecrest 28L pack that will serve as my pack for carrying across the Grand Canyon.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Blue Ice pack I’m using is less that half the weight of many comparable packs and I’m hoping that it’s the ticket for the bike portage and will hold up well since Blue Ice equipment performs so well in rock and alpine environments. The Sea to Summit Spark UL 28 degree sleeping bag has been an asset the last few years and I’m happy to have it with me for 800 miles as well as an Outdoor Research Helium Bivi. This makes for a pretty cozy sleep kit. Fenix lights BC26R are on both my helmet and my bars for all the night riding in the shorter daylight. Overall, nothing too different from the CTR other than making way more space for water and bringing a pack for bike portaging. The crux has been figuring out how to carry everything from the start and have enough power for lighting without having a dynamo.
Age 37 / Goodyear, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: I will be spinning 32x22T along the 300 this year on Pinky, my trusty Surly Karate Monkey. Wheels are Profile Elites laced into NOX Farlow rims and wrapped in Vittoria Barzo 29×2.6″ tires. The Fox 34 Step-Cast and Roost Ti bars are there to take the edge off the AZ chunder. Magura Trail brakes to slow down all of the food and water weight I’ll be carrying.
BAGS: Frame and top tube bags are from Rogue Panda (shop local!), seat pack is a Rockgeist Foxglove and my handlebar setup is an Oveja Negra Front End Loader with the Lunchbox attachment.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Sleeping system will be very minimal, a ground tarp with a Nemo Ultralight Pad and Kelty 20 degree bag (in case I get stuck sleeping on Lemmon). Navigation will be done with a Garmin Edge 530, and I will be carrying an Osprey bag to maximize the amount of water I have. Lights will be (2) Light and Motion Rando 500s that I will cycle through and charge as needed. Cache batteries will keep everything charged since I’m not fast enough to make a dynamo system work properly.
Age 37 / The Great Lakes (USA)
BIKE: Chumba Stella Ti SS 34 x 24, i9 wheels, Cane creek Helm 130mm, BarYak cockpit.
BAGS: Dispersed frame bag, tool bag and feed bags. You rock Andrew!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I love the Klite and BarYak cockpit is dope!
Age 52 / Edmonton, Alberta (Canada)
BIKE: I am riding a Canadian Rocky Mountain Element C50 while trying out the SON Dynamo Hub and KLight Headlamp.
BAGS: I have a combination of Apidura handlebar and seat bags with a Rockgeist frame bag (thanks to Rockgeist for a rush delivery!).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Going with a Garmin Edge 1040 and Inreach. Excited to also try the Princeton Tech Apex headlamp.
Age 29 / Oakland, California (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be racing the AZT on a 2017 Kona Honzo CR Trail DL, courtesy of my sponsor, Jackson Lester, with a 130mm travel Fox fork and Maxxis Rekon tires (2.6″ front, 2.4″ back) with Exo+ casing. I’ll have a 30T chainring and will be seated on the Ergon SMC Saddle for comfort.
BAGS: The highlight of my setup is the puma print bags from Dispersed Bikepacking. The Dispersed bags, designed and built by an elite bikepacking racer, are inspired in a way I haven’t seen from other bag makers. For water and the occasional Grand Canyon crossing, I have the Osprey Sirrius 24L backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: When it’s time to rest, I’ll rely on an Enlightened Equipment 10 degree quilt, Nemo sleeping pad, and a tyvek tarp, along with an emergency bivvy for when things get weird.
Dave Roch (Donut King)
Age 43 / Eagle River, Alaska (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding AZTR on a 2023 Ibis DV9. The bike features a Shimano Deore 1×11 drivetrain with a 28T One Up Components Switch oval chainring, Shimano XT brakes, Fox 34 fork, DT Swiss x1900 rear wheel and WTB Sti 23 up front a new pair of Maxxis Ardent 2.35” tires, and a PNW Rainier dropper post. For comfort I will be riding a Brooks B17 saddle and Ergon GP2 grips. One other modification is a handlebar extension to hold my electronics.
BAGS: I will be using a custom Rogue Panda Designs donut pattern frame bag. I will have a Revelate Designs Salty Roll and two Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbags on my handlebars. My top tube bags are a Revelate Designs Gas Tank and a Rogue Panda Designs Rincon also decked in donuts. My seat bag is also Revelate Designs, I decided to go with a smaller bag with the Shrew.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: 3L Apidura frame bag bladder, OR Helium Bivy, Garmin GPSMAP 66i for tracking/navigation/emergency beacon. Fenix Lighting PD35 handlebar mounted flashlight.
Age 43 / Eagle River, Alaska (USA)
BIKE: Ibis DV9 with a 12-speed 10-51T cassette and 30T AbsoluteBlack oval chainring, Vittoria Mezcal 2.25” tires and a Fox 34 SC fork with 120mm travel.
BAGS: Mostly Revelate Designs with a custom frame bag from Rockgeist and a Rogue Panda Canelo handlebar harness.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My trusty copilot Danger Duck will be making the ride with me sitting out front on my Bar Yak Ultra alongside my Fenix BC30 front light and Wahoo Roam.
Age 41 / Tucson, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: I’m racing the AZT 300 for the first time (aside from doing it as part of the 750 back in April 2019) on my Revel El Jefe SS, 30×22, Maxxis Rekon tires. I’ll also be carrying a small but heavy backpack which will have 4L of water in it and 2.5 lbs of Tailwind… more on that later.
BAGS: Rogue Panda custom framebag, Happy Jack Snack Sacks x2, and custom top tube bag I’ve named the “AlamoGordoLongo,” which is great for those of us who don’t have enough dropper post clearance to run a top tube/seat tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m currently not at all heat acclimated as I spent the summer in the North Cascades, where it barely cracked 70 degrees. I got heat exhaustion in Pinyons and Pines back in May for the first time in my life, and I wasn’t able to eat solid food for 12 hours. Since the forecast is for high 90s and it’s been real steamy in Tucson since I got here a week ago, I’m changing up my usual “real food” strategy to make sure I have half my intended calories as liquid. We’ll see how that goes, especially with the limited water sources we have here in the fall after a subpar monsoon season. I’m also pretty new to singlespeeding, I attempted Pinyons and Pines on my SS in May but we all got pulled off the course at around mile 200 due to death mud. Hoping to make it a bit farther this time… ideally the entire 300 miles! I’m gearing a bit easier than I did last time, and I think I might try flat pedals even though I suck at them, since singlespeeders get off more. But I also might change my mind last minute.
Age 30 / Marquette, Michigan (USA)
BIKE: I will be riding a Specialized Epic Evo with a 130mm Fox 34 on the front. I will be running Shimano XTR 1×12 with a 30T chainring.
BAGS: I have custom bags from Morrow Packs, a Bedrock Bags Moab Handlebar bag, and an Apidura downtube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will be using an Osprey Stratos backpack for the Grand Canyon portage and a Patagonia Dirt Roamer Pack for the rest of the trip.
Age 39 / Salida, Colorado (USA)
BIKE: ‘ilo’ is a Ti Solace Cycles OM-2P. It rolls on DT Swiss EX511 wheels with drilled schrader valves and DT Swiss 350 hubs. The boots are Schwalbe Wicked Will 2.4’s. The drivetrain is a Pinion C1.12 with a Gates Belt. A PNW dropper post, Cane Creek bar ends, and 120mm Rock Shox Sid Ultimate keep things comfortable during the rowdy bits. Sinewave Cycles Beacon v2 to light the way via cache batteries. SLX 4-piston brakes keep the descents under control.
BAGS: Shaka Packs custom cotton duck frame bag. Rockgeist custom XL top tube bag. Salsa EXP cradle up front. GONEX feed bags. Not pictured is a 24L Osprey Manta hiking pack with a 3L bladder.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Pinion and Gates combo is ridiculous. Riding 800-miles with a loaded hiking pack will be interesting. Folding hiking poles and my Shimano AM903 shoes should help me conquer the Grand Canyon in comfort. Water capacity is 8L.
Age 52 / Littleton, Colorado (USA)
BIKE: Oddity Single Speed, 32x23T. The build consists of Paul Klampers, Ignite Cranks and Ring, KickA$#Cog, Wolftooth grips and pedals, Berd wheels, Kenda tires and a Garmin 1040.
BAGS: Jpaks in all the right places plus a Tribulus Endover front bag for those longer sections between re-supplies.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I love everything about this bike, but items of note would be Jpaks bags due to the fit and shear usability and organization they provide. The Oddity frame is otherworldly from a ride comfort standpoint. I’m currently obsessed with my Paul Klampers as well. I’ve got 7.5L of water carrying capacity, including 2.5L in my pack.
Age 54 / Schumacher, Ontario (Canada)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the AZT300 on a 2019 Rocky Mountain Instinct Carbon 70. The bike is mostly stock with a few minor modifications: new tires (Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 on the front and Maxxis Minion DHR 2.3 on the rear), a 30T chain ring (stock was 32T) and a new X01 rear derailleur (stock was GX). Other features of the bike include a Fox 34 Performance Elite 140mm fork and a Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite 140mm rear shock. Both the fork and the rear shock are fully lockable. Pedals are Time ATAC.
BAGS: All bags are from Revelate Designs. Most were purchased back when the company name was Epic.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My luxury item is a Sea To Summit Soloist tent. It adds a bit of weight but is well worth it when the weather turns ugly. I’ll also have a Montbell Hugger down bag and a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite to complete my sleep system. I’ll also be carrying an eTrex Vista HCX for navigation. Lighting includes a Princeton Tec Apex on my helmet, a Serfas SL-255 on my bar and a planet bike rear flasher.
Age 39 / Brevard, North Carolina (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding my Specialized Epic Evo on the AZT 300. Hoping my SRAM AXS batteries last, and my Fox StepCast fork provide me enough squish to make my ride smooth! I’m running Ground Control tires with the Grid casing mounted on my trustworthy Industry Nine Trail 280 wheels.
BAGS: I’ve got an awesome custom teal frame bag from Greg over at Rockgeist and also running the Rockgeist top tube bag and Gondola seat bag. I love the super solid Revelate Pronghorn harness and dry bag combo so I’m sticking with that on the front.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be taking my MLD bivy and a sleeping bag liner to keep me (barely) warm at night and enough food to get me halfway to the finish. I’ve got a BeFree water filter and iodine as a backup and trusting my Garmin Etrex 32x for navigation.
Age 50 / Phoenix, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: Making a second attempt at the AZTR 300, this time on a 2023, Ibis Ripley. The rubber up front is 2.4″ Maxxis Dissector, and in the rear a 2.4″ Maxxis Minion DHR II. Drivetrain is 1×12 with a 28T Oval chainring. A OneUp carbon bar and SQLabs seat and grips were added to dampen some of the trail chatter.
BAGS: The upper and lower frame bags and downtube bag are all from Rogue Panda. The Gas tank is from Rockgeist, the seat-pack from Roswheel, and the handle bar bag from RockBros. I’ll carry up to a total of 5.5 L of water, spread across a 2.5 L in an Osprey backpack, an additional 2 L on the handle bars, and another 1 L in the lower frame bag. Shelter is provided by an Outdoor Research Helium Bivy and a REI Igneo 25 F bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The revving sound made when my rear tire grinds against my seat-pack, it sounds like I’m going much faster than I am.
Age 31 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)
BIKE: I will be racing the 300 on a 2020 YT Jeffsy Pro with 27.5×2.4″ maxxis rekons. The bike is pretty stock with some recent drivetrain upgrades and Ergon saddle/grips. The Baryak handlebar rack has been a great addition for my front roll and cockpit organization.
BAGS: I have a mix of bags. I’m stoked on my new Dispersed bikepacking top tube bags. I also have a feed bag, saddle bag, and dry bag prorector from Rockgeist. Revelate Designs feed bag and downtube bag for my cold soak jar/food. I’ll be running a 10L dry bag on my bars and two bottle holders on my forks to keep me hydrated. One wedge bag that I made with recycled dyneema Fanny packs.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Will be wearing a USWE hydration pack for extra water and my hydration packets. Shelter is a tarp and borah gear bivvy. Sleep kit is a Sea to Summit mummy bag and Gossamer gear thin light pad. Garmin Edge 840 Solar for navigation and Fenix bike light/Nitecore headlamp to light my way.
Age 30 / Goldie the Van, Utah (USA)
BIKE: I’m riding my Chumba Sendero set up singlespeed (32×22) with Magura brakes, 2.4″ Maxxis Rekon tires, and a SON dynamo hub.
BAGS: I’m running Dispersed bikepacking bags made by my partner Andrew and me in our van/half-finished workshop in Utah. I’m also carrying a backpack with hiking poles from the start to survive the Grand Canyon portage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I chose Wolf Tooth Waveform pedals and hiking shoes for this hike-a-bike heavy route. I’m using the Garmin inReach Mini 2 for tracking and Edge 1040 Solar for navigation. The handy pouch on the front of my front roll allows for the luxury of carrying un-smooshed potato chips!
Age 59 / Haute Cabin, Vermont (USA)
BIKE: Blacksheep Adventure Klunk (frame, bar, post). Cane Creek Helm Fork Series Fork 100mm. Rohloff Speedhub, SON Dynamo, Cane Creek, ee Wings 165 mounted to a Wolf Tooth chainring, Paul Parts brakes, NOX Farlow wheels, Maxxis Rekon EXO+ tires 2.6, Berthoud Aspin saddle, Ergon grips. Shimano XT clipless/flat pedals.
BAGS: JPaks, Outershell, Tailfin.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Sleep System will feature a Western Mountaineering FlyLite sleeping bag, and MSR Pro Bivy. Camelback Ratchet, MSR Dromedary bladder 3L and 1 Science in Sport water bottle for hydration. Garmin eTrex 30 for navigation, 2 Fenix LD30 lights, Petzl ACTIK Core Headlamp, Voltaic V50 battery for charging lights. Katadyn BeFree water filter.
Age 33 / Salt Lake City, Utah (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be racing the AZT 800 on my custom Waltworks steel 29er, aka “The Stallion”. My build includes a 130mm Fox 34 Performance, Berd Hawk 30 Wheels (super light and compliant!), Vittoria Agarro 29×2.6″ tires, Tannus Tubeless Armour tire inserts front and rear, Mone Carbon Lightbars (plus SQLab carbon innerbarends), X01 Eagle Drivetrain, Tectonic Altar pedals, OneUp dropper, and a Bontrager saddle that I only kind of like.
BAGS: Bags are by Rockgeist: Ultra-PE custom frame bag, LiteSkin top tube bags, 2x Honeypot feed bags, and a Barjam harness carrying a medium Revelate Pronghorn Dyneema drybag. The fork mounted bottles are Fidlock bottles attached with Tailfin carbon suspension fork mounts, and the downtube has a King Cage Ti Manythings Cage. I will be carrying an Osprey Stratos 24 for the Grand Canyon portage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My sleep system consists of a MLD eVent Bivy, a Nemo Switchback foam sleeping pad, and an Enlightened Equipment 40° down quilt. Electronics include a Garmin Inreach Mini, Garmin Edge 840, an iPhone, a Outbound Trail Evo light, and a very large Anker battery bank. My repair kit consists of a OneUp EDC pump and multitool, Dynaplugs, and a few other odds and ends, none of which I hope to actually use. Shoutout to Voile Straps, which I count 12 of on my rig.
Age 41 / Denver, Colorado (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be racing the Revel Ranger V2! She will be sporting a Fox 34 fork, Revel RW30 Rims laced to I9 purple Hydra hubs with Maxxis Recon tires. I’m running a SRAM Eagle drivetrain with the one and only rainbow chain and Shimano XT 4-piston brakes.
BAGS: JPaks all the way, baby! The custom checker print Framepak, Toolpak and Footlong EXT Snakpak, accented with an OHS support patch and colorful zipper garages, are back for another round and still going strong from the CTR. The kit is rounded out with a JPaks Dropperpak V.2, Refugi harness, 2 Ruksaks and a BattPak down low along with my custom three-eyed cat front handlebar pouch that will continue to be part of the Triple Crown kit. I will also be wearing a Black Diamond Distance 4 running vest to carry water like a camel through the desert.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be using a custom cuben fiber sleepsak with a Sea to Summit Spark bag for those moments of rest, while the Fenix BC30 bar light and BCR26R head light will keep me riding after the sun goes down. For the Grand Canyon trek, I’ll be carrying all of the gear for the duration of the race. A custom carry harness made through collaboration with JPAKS will be stored in the Dropperpak and a set of Black Diamond trekking poles will mount to the Refugi harness.
Age 36 / Richmond, Virginia (USA)
BIKE: Revel El-Jefe “Orbi”, singlespeed (32 x 22T, with Absolute Black oval chainring). Fox 34 120mm fork. Maxxis Rekons 2.4″ front/rear (exo+). Hope Tech 3 E4 brakes, Ergon SM comp saddle, SQ labs handlebar, SON-28 Dynamo, with K-lite front/rear light and charging kit.
BAGS: Bags are a combination of Rockgeist and Revelate Designs.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: EE Revelation 20 degree quilt, OR helium bivy, Therm-a-Rest Xlite pad, Montbell Plasma 1000 jacket, Fenix BC26r Bike Light and HM65r headlamp with extra batts for both, Garmin Edge 1040 solar, Osprey Stratos 24, and Black Diamond poles for the big hike.
Age 38 / Flagstaff, Arizona (USA)
BIKE: My trusty bulletproof steed is a 2018 Motobecane Fantom titanium hardtail paired with a Fox Step Cast 34 120mm Fork. Drivetrain is Shimano XT 12-speed with SLX crank and a Wolf Tooth 30T front chainring. The rolling bits are Light Bicycle AM930 carbon wheels laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs with Maxis Rekon 2.4″ tires front and rear. Cockpit includes a PNW Components Cascade 125mm dropper with an Ergon SM Pro saddle, 800mm Renthal Fatbars, and Ergon GS1 grips.
BAGS: Home made front harness which looks eerily similar to the Revelate Pronghorn and a home made X-Pac front roll, Dispersed Bikepacking Gear MEGA top tube bag and frame bag, Revelate Shrew seat bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Ultralight Sleep system is a MSR E-bivy, Klymit Inertia X-Frame pad, Mountain Hardware Phantom Spark 28 degree bag, Goose Feet down booties, and a home made Sil-poly Tarp. Bonus items for this race are Pearl Izumi Sun Legs, Outdoor Research Echo Sun Shirt, a Salomon Adv Skin 12 hydration vest, lots of Squirrel’s Nut Butter, and many many calories of Tailwind Endurance fuel.
Age 30 / Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (USA)
BIKE: A Chromag Surface Voyager, sporting a Rockshox Lyric, SON Dyanomo front hub and a Hope Pro 4 rear hub, Maxxis Recons (2.4″), single speed (32 x 22), XT 4 Piston brakes, WTB Volt saddle, XT pedals, topped of with purple Spank handlebars.
BAGS: Frame bag by Dispersed, Revelate Designs Vole saddle bag, Revelate feed bag, Revelate Mag 2000 (not shown), random stem bag, Rockgeist Barjam, and a USWE hydration vest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Bivy, pad, quilt sleeping setup. K-lite front light, Outbound Hangover head light, my favorite Thompson stem, and A Very Short Introduction of Deserts from Oxford.
Age 51 / Huntington Beach, California (USA)
BIKE: 29er Chumba Stella Titanium 2 x 11. Dropper’s key! Tarp & Bivy snuggles, 10L of water (including 3L backpack for more food too!). 2.5″ Double Down Highrollers.
BAGS: Rogue Panda Frame Bag, Revelate Egress and Sweet Roll, Aeroe Rack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Fork bottles from Gear-Blocks.com.
Age 33 / Midland, Texas (USA)
BIKE: In my first attempt of the AZTR300 I’ll be riding my Why El Jefe with a goal of finishing with a smile on my face. Garmin eTrex 32x mounted to an ENVE M6 Handlebar, Paul Component stem, Ergon GP3 grips, Fox 34 130 mm fork, SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrain, RaceFace Next SL crankset with a RaceFace Cinch 32T chainring—hoping to get that swapped out for a 28T before the race, but I’ll be ready to roll either way. Fox Transfer dropper with an Ergon SM saddle.
BAGS: Oveja Negra frame and top tube bags. Up front, a Rockgeist BarJam harness paired with their Ultra PE Dry Bag for a simple sleep kit and extra layers. I’ll have an Osprey Sirrus on my back.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I asked Oscar Salazar at Yellow Rose Cycling Wheels for something light and nimble, but burly enough for multi-day jaunts when dreaming up this bike, and with Onyx hubs laced to We Are One Faction rims with 32 Ti spokes, he far exceeded my expectations. Paired with Maxxis Dissector tires, they’ve served me well so far on sandy west Texas terrain, littered with mesquite thorns, goathead burs, and limestone babyheads.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.