Welcome to the 2015 Desert RATS race! Whether you’re already part of the RATS family or this is your first time joining us in the desert, you’re going to love this year’s event. 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. This year’s changes have been posted on our site and we’re excited to put those changes into place for next year. Here are just some of the changes that will make this year the best yet.
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.