Here are the final times / pace results from the Comstock Epic Tracker site. So the current record is 3 days 6 hours and 29 minutes by Black Bockius. The "race" course is open so anyone can have a go at any time to beat this years time and be the "winner". With the holiday weekends weather the races head to deal with a lot of mud, hike a bike, and delays so there's definitely room for someone to lower the time. What do you think folks? Any takers?
And here's the write up by the RGJ:
By Benjamin Spillman, RGJ 6:24 a.m. PDT May 27, 2015
Five started, two finished. After 550 brutal miles rider says, 'I'd like to ride it again'
(Photo: Jason Bean/RGJ)
It was calm and sunny with 60-degree temperatures Tuesday when Blake Bockius pedaled through Incline Village and rolled to a stop at the California state line.
To passersby Bockius, wearing bright blue kit and white helmet, wouldn't have looked much different than the countless other cyclists who ride through the Lake Tahoe resort town for exercise and to take in scenery.
But the small group of people along the road cheering and clanging bells to welcome his arrival knew better.
They knew Bockius, 53, of Truckee, pedaled, pushed and dragged his bike more than 550 miles in three days across some of the most remote and brutal mountain biking terrain in the lower 48 United States.
When he crossed the finish line at 12:29 p.m. he became the first to finish the Comstock EPIC, a bikepacking race from Baker to Incline Village that's about as tough as any course the sport has to offer — at least according to the only two who managed to finish it.
"I think it is just epic to be able to say you mountain biked across Nevada for sure," Bockius said. "I just kept trying to move, that is the key to these, just forward motion, whether you are walking your bike, riding your bike, whatever."
Two hours after Bockius crossed the finish line Kurt Sandiforth, 40, of Carson City became the second person to complete the race. There won't be a third. At least for awhile. Three other riders who started Saturday morning dropped out within the first 100 to 150 miles.
Blake Bockius of Truckee pushes his bike through mud near Fallon on the route of the Comstock EPIC, a 552-mile race across Nevada. (Photo: Trevor Oxborrow/Contributed to RGJ)
"I really underestimated the course," Sandiforth said at the finish line. "I hit three different spots yesterday that just had me dragging the bike, wheels completely clogged up, going nowhere."
Bockius and Sandiforth were the most accomplished bikepackers in the race. They left Baker Saturday around 6 a.m. with Josh Billings, Jesse Reeves and Ted Oxborrow.
Although they were the first to complete the course as part of the Comstock EPIC race there could be more. Under the guidelines of the race, anyone could ride the course at anytime. Whoever posts the best time this year would be the 2015 winner.
The race is unsupported, which means in addition to having no organizer and no prize money, riders can't accept any outside help along the way. Not even a glass of water. Each rider has to procure his or her own food, water, shelter and other necessities during the race.
That means when the going gets tough the riders have to endure it with whatever resources they can carry with them.
Endurance athlete Blake Bockius gets a hug from his daughter Emma after completing the Comstock EPIC backpacking race at the California/Nevada border near Lake Tahoe in Crystal Bay on May 26, 2015. Bockius completed the 550 mile route across Nevada, from Baker to Crystal Bay, in just over three days. Bockius' friend Todd Huckins is seen on the right. (Photo: Jason Bean/RGJ)
Oxborrow, 73, an avid bikepacker who helped draw the course and make the race possible, got waylaid by storms and was stranded for hours in Cooper Canyon, just east of Cave Lake State Park in Ely.
Billings, 38, of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Reeves, 31, of Reno got bogged down in mud near Sawmill Canyon south of Ely and bowed out around Lund. They're riding home via a different route.
That left Bockius and Sandiforth as the only remaining competitors from the group. Sandiforth led the race early but fell behind Bockius around the remote Monitor Valley in central Nevada between Eureka and Austin.
He said soggy conditions, the result of a relentless battery of storms pushing across the state over the past two weeks, contributed to knee pain that slowed him down on much of the course.
"We were having to fight so much resistance," Sandiforth said.
Rider Kurt Sandiforth in Kings Canyon in Carson City. Sandiforth, of Carson City, and Blake Bockius of Truckee were the first riders to complete the Comstock EPIC, a 552-mile race across Nevada. (Photo: Trevor Oxborrow/Contributed to RGJ)
In addition to battling mud the riders had to endure days without adequate sleep. Bockius estimated he slept about two-and-a-half hours the first night, 90 minutes the second and 20 minutes the third.
"There is nowhere to go to avoid the mud," said Bockius who, like Sandiforth, had neither a sleeping bag nor a tent. "I found a juniper tree and curled up under there for an hour-and-a-half."
Sandiforth had similar troubles trying to find places to sleep at night.
"The first one in a little shack, the second one in an old truck, the third one I just laid down on the side of the trail for 20 minutes," he said.
Endurance athlete Blake Bockius talks to the Gazette-Journal after completing the Comstock EPIC backpacking race at the California/Nevada border near Lake Tahoe in Crystal Bay on May 26, 2015. Bockius completed the 550 mile route across Nevada, from Baker to Crystal Bay, in just over three days. (Photo: Jason Bean/RGJ)
Sleep was an issue because Bockius and Sandiforth had planned to complete the course in less than three days. But weather conditions slowed them down and forced them to spend a third, sleepless night in the backcountry.
"This is probably the most sleep deprivation I have done, "Bockius said. "Kurt was pushing me, I had no choice, I had to keep moving."
The course crossed 15 mountain passes and included more than 35,000 feet of elevation ascent, in addition to the rain, snow, hail and mud that bedeviled riders.
The tallest pass on the course was in the Toiyabe Range and reached just above 10,000 feet in elevation. Riders reached it via Ophir Canyon from the Big Smoky Valley.
Endurance athlete Blake Bockius gets a hug from his daughter Emma after completing the Comstock EPIC backpacking race at the California/Nevada border near Lake Tahoe in Crystal Bay on May 26, 2015. Bockius completed the 550 mile route across Nevada, from Baker to Crystal Bay, in just over three days. Bockius' friend Todd Huckins is holding his bike. (Photo: Jason Bean/RGJ)
To get over it they had to ascend more than 4,400 feet over about seven miles and cross a snowfield. To make matters more difficult they were crossing the range at night, which meant navigating the steep, slick terrain in the dark.
"Going over that pass was a lot more difficult than even I thought it was going to be," said Sandiforth, a longtime bikepacking rider who was the first to complete the Triple Crown of the sport. "That wasn't a hike-a-bike, that was a heft-a-bike-overhead."
Bockius said the most challenging part was staying warm. The riders were often going through rain, and even hail, during the day and coping with colder temperatures at night.
"I always feel like if my hands and my feet are cold I will survive, it is when my core gets cold it is really hard to warm it up," he said. "And I had that both nights."
Despite the challenges, or maybe because of them, Bockius and Sandiforth were in good spirits at the finish line. Each said he enjoyed the experience, particularly traveling by bike through remote backcountry areas other people rarely visit.
They also got to be part of a race enthusiasts hope will elevate Nevada in the eyes of the bikepacking world.
Endurance athlete Blake Bockius is all smiles after completing the Comstock EPIC backpacking race at the California/Nevada border near Lake Tahoe in Crystal Bay on May 26, 2015. Bockius completed the 550 mile route across Nevada, from Baker to Crystal Bay, in just over three days. (Photo: Jason Bean/RGJ)
In recent years Oxborrow and his son, Trevor Oxborrow, helped identify the route as a race course. It's a combination of the Nevada section of the American Discovery Trail and the Great Basin Bicycling Route.
They're also working to identify another route that uses some of the course but includes more towns, so more casual riders could get the backcountry riding experience without having to sleep on the ground.
The race could help raise awareness about biking throughout the state, especially if it catches in with more riders.
"The scenery was just amazing," Sandiforth said. "It made me really fall in love with Nevada."
With some modifications to his bike setup and less mud Sandiforth added, "I'd like to ride it again."