Nevada's Toughest mtb Race
Utah to California - 514+ Miles - 36,000'+ Climbing
FKT - Neil Beltchenko - 57 hours
You've Been Warned!
Caution: The Comstock EPIC mtb Race is very difficult and dangerous. Not suited for beginners. The Comstock EPIC has long sections without access to water or food and includes multiple significant hike-a-bike sections. A past participant had criticized the Comstock EPIC route as "a dangerous mix of remoteness and no water". Each Comstock EPIC participant must study the route, have a water & food resupply strategy and a strong level of fitness.
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Comstock Epic Race Guidelines
Description: The Comstock Epic is a Self-Support Mountain Bike Race starting at the Utah/Nevada borderline and finishes at the Nevada/California borderline. The Comstock Epic is an underground race. This race is not organized, sanctioned, supported or permitted by anyone. There are no entry fees, awards or prize money. The Comstock Epic route follows mostly dirt roads and has significant hike-a-bike (see video, fast-forward to video time 19:40). The Comstock Epic does not have any route signs or markers. Navigation and self-preservation is completely up to you. Heed the TNT Principles & Advisories.
Race Support Rules: The Comstock Epic is a Self-Support Mountain Bike Race. Use only resupply services available to all racers. No cache drops. No prearranged outside support or assistance. No electric or gas motor assistance. If you leave the route, you must return to the same location to continue the race. No prearranged commercial resupply, with one exception--Ike's Canyon Guest Ranch (Access to Ike's Canyon Guest Ranch requires advanced paid reservations). The Comstock Epic is not only an endurance race, but a strategic resupply puzzle. Do you carry extra water & food to avoid detours to resupply towns? Or, do you travel light and take the energy & time penalty to ride off route to resupply towns?
Resupply: Check ahead of time to confirm that commercial resupply businesses will be open during the time you'll be riding. At the start--Border Inn. At mile 96 is Lane's Truck Stop, Motel, Convenience Store, Restaurant or off-route in Lund is Wipple's Family Country Store & Grill. At mile 277 off-route 8.5 miles south is the small town of Carvers with Shoshone Market Convenience Store. At mile 347 Middlegate Bar-Grill & Motel (call to confirm Grill hours, Middlegate also has a tiny supply of convenience store items i.e. sodas, candy bars). At mile 402 off-route north 1/3mile is Fallon Dairy Queen or continue 1 mile northwest to all commercial services in Fallon. At mile 454 is a Marverik's Convenience Store-(store 412)-Hwy 50 & River Boat Rd. Check ahead of time to see if other resupply locations will have water available. Cave Lake State Park & Fort Churchill State Park. If natural sources of water run dry, the distance between water can be as much as 155+ miles. Be smart and make sure you have a resupply plan before you start. Study the route before you start.
TNT Principles and Advisories
1. Water: Access to water is the most important consideration when planning your Nevada crossing. There are no 100% reliable year-round sources of water between towns. Check ahead of time to see if State Parks, commercial businesses and other drinking water sources are available on the day and time you will need access. Make sure you have enough water to cross Nevada. Don't beg for food & water from local ranches. Plan ahead, start with a resupply strategy and begin your Nevada crossing with more than enough water.
2. Know Your Route: The Comstock Epic route is not a signed trail. The Comstock is expeditionary and follows existing roads, trails and sometimes hard-to-follow derelict two-track roads. Knowledge of how to use GPS devices, gpx route files, and topographic maps for navigation are a safety requirement. Study these routes before you start.
3. Weather: WEATHER ON THESE ROUTES CAN SEVERELY INJURE OR KILL YOU! Travel with appropriate foul weather clothing and gear. Snow storms, hail, heavy freezing rain, strong winds and ride-stopping-mud are possible year-round on these routes. Be prepared for extreme temperatures that cause life threatening conditions such as dehydration and hypothermia. Within a short period of time, temperatures can vary between extreme hot and extreme cold. Be weather wise when choosing a campsite or entering flash flood prone areas. These routes cross the Great Basin and high mountain ranges which are subject to thunderstorms that cause flash flood conditions. Canyons, gulches, arroyos, and even low-lying flat terrain can quickly be covered by deadly flash flood torrents of water. You don't want to drown in the desert.
4. Campfires: No campfires! Don't be stupid with open flames, wind and dry conditions.
5. Barbed Wire Gates & Fences: These routes pass through many barbed wire gates and barbed wire fence locations. At night, wire gates and fences are difficult to see. Be cautious and always on the look-out for barbed wire gates and fences.
6. Rattlesnakes, Mountain Lions, etc: These routes cross the Great Basin which is the natural habitat of rattlesnakes, mountain lions, ticks, wild horses and other potentially hazardous wildlife. While riding on these routes, there is always a possibility that wildlife could cause serious injury or death. Don't mess, play, harass or kill wildlife. Be smart and give wildlife a wide berth.
7. Trash: "Pack it in.....Pack it out!" The quickest way to route closure is leaving trash behind you. Leave the route better than you find it. Not only carry all of your trash out, pick up other trash you find on the route and carry it out.
8. Communication: Always have good communication devices while traveling in Nevada's backcountry. Mobile cell phones and satellite tracking transmitters (i.e. SPOT, Garmin inReach) are important safety equipment. There is limited mobile cell phone service on these routes.
9. Livestock & Wildlife: Do not chase or harass livestock or wildlife. Help keep cross-Nevada and backcountry routes open by respecting rancher's livestock. Backcountry Nevada animals have a difficult enough time surviving without the stress of being chased.
10. Respect Private Property: Do not camp on private property unless you have the owner's permission. Do not camp on abandoned private property without owner's permission. Don't be the person who causes a route closure by camping on private property.
11. Gates: Leave rural gates as you find them, unless signed otherwise.
12. Be Visible: Always have forward, side and rear lights or reflectors on your bike.
Comstock Brass Tacks
514+ mile, Border-to-Border, Self-Support Mountain Bike Race
Start: UT/NV borderline on Hwy 50
Finish: CA/NV borderline on Hwy 28
81% Dirt (70% dirt roads, 8.5% two-track, 2.5% single-track) + 19% Pavement
The following resupply segments begin and end at food resupply locations along the route. There are off-route resuppply towns (some at a significant distance)--study the route for access to off-route resupply towns & emergency escape access to highways. There are other seasonal natural water sources along the route that are not listed because there is no way to guarantee their availability at any particular time of year. Refer to pdf resuppy maps below for more resupply locations. Always confirm--by calling--the days and hours a particular location will be open.
The following distances & climbing totals are the minimum. With cycle computer variation, resupply detours and unforeseen route changes the following distances & climbing totals will likely increase.
Segment 1 - UT/NV Borderline to Preston - 95.8 miles
The Start is at the welcome to Nevada Sign.
The Border Inn is directly across from the starting location and has a motel, convenience store and restaurant.
This segment has 3 mountain range passes (Snake, Schell Creek, Egan)
Highest Elevation 8,677'
Lowest Elevation 5,122'
Segment 2 - Preston to Middlegate - 249.9 miles
This is where your resupply strategy will be tested. If you don't detour off-route for food-resupply, there is a 250 mile distance between Preston and Middlegate.
This segment has 8 mountain range passes (White Pine, Pancake, Fish Creek, Monitor, Toquima, Toiyabe, Shoshone, Paradise/Desatoya)
Highest Elevation 10,109'
Lowest Elevation 4,605
Segment 3 - Middlegate to Fallon - 54.7 miles
This segment has 1 mountain range pass (Sand Springs)
Highest Elevation 4,640'
Lowest Elevation 3,909'
Segment 4 - Fallon to Maverik, Dayton - 51.7 miles
This segment has 1 mountain range pass (Dead Camel)
Highest Elevation 4394'
Lowest Elevation 3,954'
Segment 5 - Maverik Dayton to NV/CA Borderline - 62.5 miles
The Finish is at the welcome to California Sign.
There are several restaurants and the Tahoe Biltmore motel at the finish - Crystal Bay, Nevada. More restaurant and motel options 1 mile west on Hwy 28 in Kings Beach, CA.
Spooner Lake State Park charges a $2 p/bike entry fee!
This segment has 2 mountain range passes ( Virginia, Carson)
Highest Elevation 8,152'
Lowest Elevation 4,349'
2017 pdf Resupply Maps (segments 1-4, segment 5 omitted, needs updating)
--Confirm info before relying on info!--
Change on segment 1 resupply map, location E (Lane's Truck Stop - Preston) has been reported closed.
Q: Where are the gpx files?
A: Here is the Comstock EPIC, other routes will be available soon.
Q: Is there any plan for a group start in 2020?
A: A start date of Sunday, June 8th has been mentioned.
Q: Will the Comstock EPIC have LIVE Tracking?
Q: Do participants need to register or sign-in for these races?
A: No. Just show up and enjoy. Remember these races are not organized, sanctioned, supported or permitted by anyone. Each participant decides to race independently on a selected route on a selected day and perhaps other participants select this same route and day. Participants are solely responsible for navigation and self-preservation.
Q: How does a participant get to the start of these races?
Q: Why so long to respond to questions?
A: I don't have a phone or computer and have limited access to internet.