Stagecoach 500 (beta mode)

For 2015 we will have the option to ride a longer course. 

mtn91

As the 400 route has become honed in over the years- and boy is it ever a good course for 2015- I’ve come to believe we might be ready for more options. This year’s option will be a prototype, rough around the edges. We may never run this course again. I like to think of it in the same way you might have one of those “Enjoy By” craft beers. Here today, gone tomorrow.

This route follows some of what we originally sketched out for the Stagecoach for its first public year in 2011/2012, heading down Palm Canyon singletrack (aka Palm Canyon Epic) and coming into the Imperial Valley around the East side of the Salton Sea. The course will go to Slab City/Salvation Mountain/Niland (aka Hipster Jerusalem) and make its way to Westmorland by way of agricultural roads. This course addition will join the current SC400 course in Ocotillo Wells.

The riding on the extension is deserty, and rural. Palm Canyon is considered by some (me) to be one of SoCal’s greatest singletracks. It’s downhill trending, but will take a while to get done. There will quite a bit of pavement through Indio and Mecca getting to the North end of the Salton Sea. The riding in the vicinity of the Sea can range from sandy & rocky to very sandy to hardpack. In the microcosm of the extension, a fatbike or “plus sized” tire is a good choice.

Agriculture is king in this area. You’ll see Date Palms, expansive farming, little Mexican markets, the American Canal, a and remnants of the push in the 1950’s to make this area a seaside resort. We will see hot springs, mud pots, palm oases. I have seen quicksand, once. Some folks in this area are living off grid. Some are not. Most are not used to seeing mountain bike touring in the area… We will be riding below sea level. The human history in this area is rich, and the geology is very unique, special. I will attempt to aggregate some resources to read up on all of it and share it here.
For now, here’s a link to a trip we took a few years ago to Slab City.

Let’s do it.

Here, some FAQ’s that might come up about this extension:

Why have an extension?
Because it is there, and I love the Imperial Valley. And because the Stagecoach 400 has gotten pretty popular, so we need to expand some options to keep it “core.” I kid.

If the Stagecoach 400 is good, the 500 must be better, right?
Not necessarily, unless “longer” is by definition better for you. The 400 is really good. In my opinion, it’s a good balance of Mountain, Desert, and Ocean. These were the founding principles of the SC400.
The 400 route is really, really good, very well put together. The extension is more “western” and definitely rough around the edges.
Ride what’s right for you, bro.

What sort of bike does the extension favor?
Probably a fat bike. Or maybe a “Plus” of some kind.

How are resupplies?
Not too bad, by rural desert standards. I’ll have all the info I can muster in the cues.

What’s the time limit for the SC400+ extension?
We will work with Trackleaders to add the extension on the regular 400 tracker… I assume that can be done, but I can be wrong. As for time, we give 5 days for the 400… let’s do a max of 6 days for the 500.

When will the cues & GPX be ready?
I’m setting a deadline to self for March 1st. If you’re local to SoCal, maybe consider letting this one be a surprise. Y’all preride too much. Onsight it baby!

Is Palm Canyon really cool?
Totally.

How about Slab City?
Yep!

Can I get an advance track of it so I can run it before March 27th?
No.

But I’m a big deal on Instagram.
Don’t care. We will run it together on March 27th. It’ll be fun.

Tagged: Hubcyclery, Salvation Mountain, self supported endurance ride, Slab City, Stagecoach 400, Stagecoach 500, Stagecoach 500 extension

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