Desert RATS 2015
Desert RATS is the longest running stage race in North America and 2015 will be the best year yet. Many things about this year’s race will be unique. It’s a reunion year with amazing deals for previous year’s RATS and their friends (click here for details), and we’re also really excited about new improvements. This run caps the Gemini Adventures season in June with a 148 mile crossing of the iconic Kokopelli Trail. Starting in Grand Junction CO and ending in Moab UT, it’s the kind of adventure that will change your life. The beauty and authenitic challenge of living in the backcountry for a week, along with the deep friendships made, make this a journey for racers in many different ways. Every year, we ask racers to take a post-race survey so that we can continue improving your personal experience. We continue to make improvements based on these recommendations and this year is no different. We’ve listed some of the changes below, the whole crew is so excited to make this the best year yet.
Desert RATS is more than just a race. It is not only a journey through true backcountry desert but within yourself. While some will race, most are there to test their mental and physical limits. Don’t expect to set personal records for the distance you’ll cover, you will need to pace yourself for the heat and terrain. You must have patience and grit in order to not be fighting your own frustration. The race is about the experience, pushing yourself and making friends along the way.
At Desert RATS, the adventure is the goal. It’s about reaching deep within yourself, adapting to adversity and overcoming the challenges in front of you. Those who enjoy Desert RATS the most come into the experience prepared and willing to be flexible in every way.
The racers who truly enjoy the event and gain from the experience are those who appreciate the beauty of the land, the camaraderie of other adventurers and the thrill of relaxing in the Colorado River at the end of the day. This adventure is not for everyone. It’s not an expedition to survive or a race to win, it’s an experience to live.
While every racer’s week is different, the common experience is the grand scale of the event. The heat is extreme, the beauty is vast and the friendships run deep. Our hope is that as you travel this incredible landscape you will discover a piece of yourself.
1. Earlier start on the first day of the event.
The new start time of the race will be 10:00 am on Monday morning. The new early start time on the first day will not only allow the racers to put some miles behind them before the heat of the day but it will also give them time at the end of the day to recover, hydrate and rest up for the long day to follow.
2. Additional course markings on Day 1.
In order to keep racers on course throughout the first day, we will have flagging highlighting difficult turns. Previously, racers followed the correct trails by a combination of maps, Expedition Journal’s written instructions and BLM sign posts. On the first day there are two turns in particular that do not have clear BLM markings and have led to wrong turns that will now be marked.
3. Three additional aid stations will be added on Day 2.
In order to help racers along the long grind of the second day, two water drops will be turned into aid stations (Western Rim AS and Westwater Mesa AS) and will be stocked with food, drinks and staffed with medical crew. The third new aid station (Pumphouse Road AS) will be approximately four miles from the finish line. It will be that little boost to bring them in after they have been out there for a long, hot day.
4. Day 5 will begin at Dewey Bridge.
This new start line will cut the 52 mile Expedition day down to 43 miles. By starting at Dewey Bridge, there won’t be a need to shuttle runners to the start line and will not only allow an earlier start to the day but it will also allow racers to climb into the mountains, through the hottest, driest, most remote section of the entire course before the heat of the day and on fresh legs. What was previously a water drop at the top of the road will now be the Canyon AS at 5 miles into the day. The shorter distance means that more racers will finish before nightfall and the cut-off at the end of the day will be midnight.
With these and other minor changes we’re committed to making 2015 Desert RATS the race of a lifetime!