Miles: 14.4 (mile 0 through mile 14.4)
Elevation Start: 7,000 feet
Elevation End: 9,800 feet
Character: Steady climb. Easy on pavement, then steeper on dirt
From the start at 10 PM, racers will cross the little town of Salida, then take a country road west out of town. Pavement for about 7 miles, on a country road that sees almost no traffic, especially in the middle of the night. Then up into the San Isabel National Forest on a graded gravel road that steadily becomes narrower, rougher, and slightly steeper.
Call it a warmup. At the end of this little warmup you’ll be at 9,800 feet, and ready to tackle some tough but pretty singletrack.
A US Forest Service pit toilet will be available at the end of this section.
Here’s a photo of a bird’s eye view of where you racers will be going. Atop the back of “the mesa”, on past the landing strip and up into the high country, all on deserted country roads. Take a good look now, because you won’t be able to see this during the race. It will be dark.