Posted by Miles Arbour
There are countless new cycling events popping up all over the world, many of which are self-supported, multi-day rides that follow long bikepacking routes. Although we do our best to keep up with them on our events calendar and through event recaps, many never get covered—but we’re hoping to change that. Although the majority of grand departs have been cancelled or postponed until later in the year, some events and routes are open to ITTs (Individual Time Trials), attracting eager athletes looking to set new records. We’ve compiled a list of FKTs (Fastest Known Times) that have been set in the last two or three months, including each new record holder’s name and a quick synopsis on the ride.
RockStar Gravel: Earl Smith
Earl Smith set out on July 4th from Black Sheep Coffee in Harrisonburg, Virginia, hoping to bag a new record on the RockStar Gravel route. And 23 hours, 57 minutes, and 44 seconds later he rolled up to Texas Tavern in Roanoke as the first solo rider to complete this 255-mile route in less than 24 hours. Although the original Rockstar VA grand depart was scheduled for May, the event has been postponed until October 3rd, 2020. Learn more here.
RockStar Gravel: Laura Hamm
Laura Hamm set out on an ITT on the 255-mile RockStar Gravel route in early June, finishing the course in 1 day, 2 hours, and 34 minutes. Laura rode the route solo and self-supported, and is also the women’s record holder for the RockStar Trail course as well.
Arkansas High Country Race: Jay Petervary
On July 3rd, Jay set out on the 1,030-mile Arkansas High Country Race route with big plans to set a new FKT. After pushing through some uncomfortably warm temperatures, losing his jersey, and riding just under 200-miles per day for five days, he set a new record of 5 days, 12 hours, and 6 minutes.
Kokopelli Trail: Lachlan Morton
After a spring with no events or serious training opportunities, Lachlan Morton set out for a new record on the Kokopelli Trail. The 140-mile route runs from Moab, Utah, to Loma, Colorado, following a mix of technical singletrack and doubletrack, and after some early headlight issues, Lachlan flew through the route in just 11 hours, 14 minutes—besting Kurt Refsnider’s previous record by just 38 minutes. For a closer look, watch Neil’s post-ride interview with Lachlan on our YouTube channel.
Dirty 130: John Wiygul
The Dirty 130 is a 130-mile route in southeast Tennessee and southwest North Carolina, following a mix of forest roads, singletrack, and asphalt. There have been countless ITT attempts on the route for 2020, but John Wiygul set the current FKT on June 13th with a time of 9 hours, 5 minutes, 43 seconds.
BT 700 XL: Kyle Messier
After setting a FKT on the regular BT 700 route in 2019, Kyle Messier returned to ride the BT 700 XL (BT 700 + GNR Route). Nearly 100 riders signed up for the grand depart from St. Jacobs, Ontario, but Kyle still managed to finish in record time, completing the 1,112-kilometer route in just 92 hours.
Oregon Outback: Stephen Hartzel
Stephen Hartzel set off on June 20th in an attempt to beat what was the current fastest time of 28 hours, 4 minutes by Ira Ryan. The Oregon Outback route is a 364-mile gravel route across Oregon, from south to north. Stephen completed the full route in just 27 hours, 27 minutes—raising over $3,000 to benefit Don’t Shoot Portland in the process. You can read more about his ride on Instagram.
The Grand Loop: Kurt Refsnider
The Grand Loop is often referred to as the original bikepacking trail race, a ~360-mile loop following remote desert terrain between Moab and Grand Junction. The loop was Kurt’s first ever ultra race, which he completed back in 2008, but on June 9th, he set out to chase Dave Harris’ record time set back in 2009. After 53.5 hours, covering 371 miles, Kurt knocked a whopping 7 hours off of the previous record—burning over 24,000 calories in the process. During his ride, Kurt slept for 35 minutes total, saw four bears, and had zero mechanicals along the way. You can see photos of his setup and ride stats on his Instagram @kurt.refsnider.
There are a few events that are still in process or are open to ITTs all summer, including the Trans South Dakota Race which starts on Saturday, as well as the Colorado Trail Race, Lost Elephant Ultra, and the Smoke’n’Fire 400—all of which are open for ITTs according to Trackleaders. A friendly reminder that there’s still a pandemic, and we don’t recommend putting yourself or others at risk by travelling long distances to participate in events.
Did we miss any FKTs that were completed in the last few months? Let us know in the comments below.