Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vapor Trail 125 2012 is ON

Well folks, the 2012 season is taking shape and it’s time to start
thinking about whether you’re up to the challenge of the 8th annual
Vapor Trail 125. 

Registration is open.

As is our tradition, the event will happen the
weekend after Labor Day, this year that’s a start at 10 PM on
September 8 and a finish on Sunday, September 9.

The moon will be a waning crescent, rising just before midnight.
Sorry, we always hope for a huge full moon like last year. Sometimes
we get it but this year we don't!

The course will be the same kick butt course that we’ve ridden for the
past several years. This year the registration fee will be $150. As
always there will be 5 fully stocked and staffed aid stations, the 4th
passed twice. And there will be a post-ride barbeque.

All the previous 7 events have been ACA training rides. USA Cycling
has absorbed ACA, so this year we'll be a USA Cycling event. If you
have a USAC license, write it onto your entry form, or bring it to
registration if you have it by then. One-day licenses will be
available for a nominal fee.

Ready to say yes to the pain? Send me an email, I’ll put you on the
list. Questions, send me an email. If you've never done the event and
I haven't seen a race resume from you, please send that as well. If
you're a past finisher, there's your resume.

To contact me: 

Download the entry form here:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Here comes the 2011 Vapor Trail 125

Saturday night, tomorrow night.

I have had only minimal involvement in the planning and execution of the event this summer. I'm a Salaryman now. But it's being capably managed by Absolute Bikes and Heidi and Fawn.

starting line
This is going to be probably the best moon setup in the history of the event: waxing gibbous with 97% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated, rises at 5:46 Saturday, sets 4:59 AM Sunday. But lately it's gotten pretty wet. All this week (starting symbolically the day after Labor Day--weather change foreshadowing autumn and winter), rain has come to our valley. Not summer-style late day thunderstorms, but rather the quiet steady rain of the off season.

Will we have some variation on the weather of the 2009 event? Will it be clear and cool, classic central Colorado September weather?

We shall see. All will be revealed tomorrow.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weather and what-all for this year's event

It's been cloudy and raining every afternoon since Labor Day. This has had me gnashing my teeth and muttering. A repeat of last year's Rocky Mountain Hurricane?!?

Looks like that might be a no:

If this is right, we're going to have some classic autumn weather. Clear. but probably also COLD overnight.

Speaking of overnight, full moon? No sir.

It'll be a thin waxing crescent, but that won't matter at all to us, because it will be setting an hour before the start. No moon kids. Stars should be brilliant though. There aren't many streetlights up on the Continental Divide either. Look for an unobstructed but shivery view.

Bring your warm stuff!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Getting ready to get at it for 2010

One Week.

The view from the High Point of the Vapor Trail 125 course for 2010. 12,600 ft. elevation.

Here it comes, another Vapor Trail 125. One week from right now there will be about 50 people fiddling with gear, twiddling their thumbs, or maybe chewing the nails off their thumbs.

One really cool thing is that the good people from are going to be covering our little event. Most of our riders will be identifiable as little blips on a map that you can pull up on the web at Check us out. Wish us luck!

Friday, April 30, 2010


Before you get all fired up and get your britches in a knot...there are NO changes to the course this year outside of returning to the 2008 course (and 10pm start) after amazing weather last year forced a major re-route and postponed the race 2 hours.

The two major changes this year are on the administrative side of things - the first being the resignation of Tom Purvis as race director. After numerous years at the helm, Tom decided to pursue a 50mile round trip, cubicle sitting, 9 to 5er (why... we will never know!). With little free time on his hands Tom has decided to use his free time to train for the race instead of deal with its organization which I fully understand and support. With Tom no longer in the shop, Fawn Walker and I have stepped in as race co-director newbies after a quick internship from the Master. So far so good, things have run smoothly but I'm sure there will be hiccups along the way.

The second major change is the addition of an entry fee. The race will now cost a dollar a mile (with no refunds for miles not completed). Since the inception of VT, Shawn Gillis (owner of Absolute Bikes, Salida) has foot the bill for the race including all fees for permits, licencing and has provided amazing spreads at all the aid stations and the finish line BBQ. It was only a matter of time before free was no longer possible. As the race has grown in popularity and numbers over the years it was time to relieve Shawn of this burden. At $125 this is still an affordable race with the fee covering all race costs and any extras going to the local volunteer trail group, Salida Mountain Trails. I was a little concerned at how this change was going to sit with some of our faithful returning riders but all I've had are positive responses which is amazing and a true testament to the quality of people involved in this race. Thanks to you all for your support.

As the snow recedes and the trails begin to melt out, the thoughts of training for VT ramp up. As with any race, the best way to train is to get on the course so...come by the shop in Salida for trail conditions, directions to different sections of the course and perhaps a trail guide. We look forward to meeting the 2010 racers and helping you out as much as possible as you prepare for the adventure that is VT125!!



Monday, September 14, 2009

Photo Album, 2009 VT125 (110)

Vapor Trail 110

We had a huge weather system pass into the area just in time to totally mess with this year's event. At 9:30 it was pouring rain, lightening flashing all over the valley. We really had no choice but to put off the start from 10 PM to midnight, just hoping that we would even be able to start then!

At around 11:00 PM things looked much better. The rain had stopped and there were even some faint stars thowing through an unsettled night sky.

The two hours between the planned start time and the actual start were nervous and uncertain. Lots of milling around, staring at internet satellite images and scratching chins. It had already been determined that two sections of the course including some of the best singletrack would have to be cut in order to accomodate the later start and uncertain conditions. Lots of us--probably all--were contemplating the practicality of doing the event at all even if it went off. However, all but two of the registered riders did start in the spirit of wait-and-see.

During the first climb to the Colorado Trail, lightning flashed silently on the horizon. Most of us knew that there was another cell in the storm west of us. We all knew it was likely that the conditions we started in could be just a break in the harsh rocky mountain weather.

Then about 3/4 of the way up, it began to rain. Spotty at first, then stronger. Some stopped to put on rain gear, others just turned around and called it a night.

For myself, I just decided to keep going until I got uncomfortable. I was soaking wet from wearing too much clothing from the start. But I wasn't cold. The rain that came down wasn't making me any wetter than I already was. Then it stopped raining again.

When I reached the Colorado Trail I was one of the final riders. Lots of folks were hanging out with the timers and sweep riders. I learned later that half the field had dropped by Aid Station 1. Many dropped without starting the first section of singletrack.

For those of us who decided to wait and see, it wound up being a really great event. 19 of 38 starters finished. Only two riders abandoned after Aid Station 1. And it was a spectacularly beautiful day. The cold snap seemed to have brought autumn to the mountains. Lots of aspen turned, especially above 10,000 feet, and there was fresh snow on the high peaks visible at dawn.

Image created with TopoFusion

The shortened course was 109.68 miles. And there was still 18,200 ft of climbing.

Josh Tostado was the first to complete this recreational group ride. He rolled in at 10:43 AM, 90 minutes in front of Jason Stubbe, who is an incredibly strong rider and veteran of many vapor trail 125s.

Eszter Horanyi was the first woman to finish at 1:14, tied for 4th place overall, an amazing effort!

The complete results are at

Great event this year. My thanks goes out to all the participants and volunteers. Thanks, and hopefully we'll see you next year!