What's So Stupid About a Pony?

Howdy, pony-pokers! Welcome to your home for all things ultra-distance and ultra-dumb and ultra-Pony Express-related. Ever since a brave crew of orphans and horses decided to deliver mail for the reasonable price of $130/half oz (current USD), folks’ve been dreaming of finding a faster way across Utah’s remote West Desert. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s a car. The answer is a car. But bikes are fun, too! And here’s your chance to saddle up yer iron horse and mush that puppy across the oceanic immensity of the West Desert all in one go! Or two rides since we have a bikepacking ride now.

Leaving in the wee hours of Friday, Oct. 7, riders will haul keester all the way to Wendover in one sitting.  Along the way, they’ll see antelope, horses, all the mountains you could ever want, gravel, the curvature of the earth, and, of course, the vast and alien beauty of Utah’s West Desert!  Other people?  Probably not.  Shade?  No.  There will be two aid stations to prevent you from dying and one guy in a pickup.  Like the Pony Express riders of yore, it’s just you and your steed until one of you keels over.  Except no changing bikes at every station.  Orphans still preferred.

Which Bike Should I Ride During This Bicycle Ride?

If you have to ask, you’re probably going to die. But here’s some advice, anyway.

People have ridden on everything from drop bar touring bikes to mountain bikes.  The touring bike people were wrong.  But pretty much anything that can handle big tires and low pressures will get you across.  Knobs are highly recommended.  Anything for comfort, which is key.  You are going to be on the bike for a long, long time. So steel, suspension, titanium, carbon leaf springs, whatever you need. Be one with your saddle, because if you try it on a saddle you’re not sure about, you’ll become one with the saddle in the absolute wrong way.

You need to be able to carry enough water and food on you for at least the 60 miles between stations. There’s no best way to do this, but you need to be able to carry enough water for probably five hours without support, just in case.  You also need to carry whatever you need to make sure you make it to the finish.  That means ride like you’re not going to see another human until you hit the museum because, depending on whether or not the aid station people are in the pooper when you roll through, it’s entirely possible that you won’t see any humans out there.  Bring tools, spare tubes, spares for those spares, layers and layers and layers. However many bags you need for all that, that’s what you need.  Be warned that if you carry too much, it gets hard to push all the extra weight all the way across the West Desert. You’ll figure it out.

Inaugural winner, Nathan Manwaring went minimalist.

The Course

Regular Rules

  1. Don’t die.
  2. Don’t cause others to die.
  3. Only motor-less bikes for competitors.  Our SAG drivers are too out of shape to haul an ebike into the back of a pickup.
  4. Respect the rules of the road because the course is open the whole way to local and OHV traffic.  We’ve worked medium-hard to keep everyone away from the scariest traffic.  That means ride on the right when it’s safe, center line and all that.  Exercise good judgment.
  5. Same bike and gear the whole way.  
  6. Leave nothing but tire tracks and tears.  Carry your garbage out.  Accidentally jettisoning equipment into the desert because you forgot your ski straps is allowed but discouraged. Bring the trowel if you think that you might need it. You know which trowel.
  7. Be self-sufficient.  The SAG drivers aren’t carrying spare parts other than pumps – you’re responsible for being able to change your own flats, etc., while you’re out there.
  8. Clarification to #7 that I can’t believe we needed to add: self-sufficient means that you don’t have anyone follow you out on the course carrying your shit. The fewer people we need to pull out of the desert, the better.
  9. If you need to DNF, let the nearest SAG driver know.  There are no heroes when we’re all wearing fancy underwear with butt pads.  They will take you to the nearest aid station for removal to Wendover.
  10. Have fun!  If you don’t, you’ll be DQ’ed.  We don’t mess around with that.


Bikepack Rules

  1. Don’t die.
  2. Don’t cause others to die.
  3. You’re responsible for carrying all your clothing and layers and sleep things and food and basically everything. It’s a bikepack.
  4. Since there will be a lot of people staying the night in the same place, do not be a dick.

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