November 16, 2024
The B (49 miles) and C (22 miles) routes will start at 7:30am. The A route (76 miles) will start at 5am.
You will start at the Picketpost trail head off of Route 60 near Superior, Arizona. This is about 60 miles east of Phoenix and about 5 miles west of Superior. If you pass the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, you’ve missed the trailhead turnoff. You can get directions to the start here.
The trailhead has pit toilets, but no water. Also no trash receptacles – pack it in, pack it out.
Camping is NOT allowed at the trailhead. There are however, a bunch of places to primitive camp beside the road that leads to the trailhead.
The Punisher will once again be split into 3 different lengths so that you can choose the amount of punishment you deserve. Make sure you review the GPS files.
The C ride will be the shortest AES ride ever. A measly 22 miles and about 2300 feet of climbing. In place of FR4, you’ll get to ride new trails in Arnett Canyon. The route will climb on dirt roads part of the way up Montana Mountain. The descent back down will be on the Arizona Trail back to the Picketpost trailhead. Easy peasy.
The B ride is heading south this year. It is actually a subset of one of the previous year’s A route – without crossing the Gila River. You will head south on the Arizona Trail to FR4, then turn south on FR4 (it is not closed in this area). You’ll climb up on the ever lovely Telegraph Canyon road, then down, past Ajax Mine to Box Canyon. There will be a hard left to get you over to Martinez Canyon. After traversing the “brass knuckles” you’ll end up at the Gila River not far from the Arizona Trail. Filter water at the river, then head north to the AZT – all the way back to Picket Post.
The B ride has an opportunity for a time bonus. You’ll notice a little additional part of the route in Box Canyon. This goes to a section where the canyon gets very narrow – really cool to see. This is an out and back of about 3.75 miles. Do this and take a selfie. Your selfie, along with your GPS track, will get you an hour deducted from overall time.
The A ride (aka: The Pulverizer) will be the same stroll in the park as last year. You’ll begin by heading south on AZT down to the Gila River. You’ll cross the river (good chance to filter water) and start climbing to Florence-Kelvin Highway. You’ll then bomb down that dirt road all the way to Kelvin Bridge. From there it is AZT all the way back to the start.
READ THIS IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT DOING THE A RIDE:
The A ride is a seriously difficult ride. It is only for very experienced and capable back country endurance cyclists. One of your sources of water is the Gila River – and that needs to be filtered. If you cannot meet the following criteria, don’t even bother:
1. You must have a GPS and know how to use it. There are no trail signs and it will be very easy to get lost.
3. You need to be prepared to be on your bike for 10-15 hours or more. Some VERY fast folks have done this in 10 hours. Expect it to take longer for most everyone else.
4. You must have lights and be comfortable with riding at night in challenging terrain.
In a race of this length and remoteness, water is a concern. Bring as much as you can! We’ve done some scouting and found some possible and some dependable water sources. Water sources are marked (as waypoints) on the GPS files.
It is HIGHLY recommended that you bring, and know how to use, a GPS for this race. The Legends of Superior section has lots of areas where it is easy to miss the trail and get off course. Using a GPS and paying attention are the best ways to stay on course and not get lost. GPS files for all three courses can be obtained at the links below.