The four event race starts in Grants, NM at an elevation of 6,500 feet, and climbs to the spectacular 11,301 foot summit of Mt. Taylor.
* Racers start with a 13 mile bike ride on a paved road seeing the change from desert cactus to ponderosa pine. The course winds through the streets of Grants and begins the 1800 foot climb.
*At the end of the paved road, bikes are parked and racers must run the next five miles on gravel roads. The road generally starts out dry but usually runs to snow packed. This part of the course will climb 1200 feet in elevation.
*Runners then turn to cross-country skis to challenge the next 1200 foot climb of the mountaineering ski course that covers two miles. During the final yards of this course you must face the notorious "HEARTBREAK HILL" that lays waiting for weary racers.
*The remaining one mile climb on snowshoes gains 600 feet to reach the 11,301 foot summit of MT. TAYLOR where a person can see for over a hundred miles on a clear day.
*The race is only half over. You must reverse the four events and race the 22 miles back to the start/finish line in Grants - a total of 43 miles.
The weather in February can be extremely unpredictable and can change drastically throughout the day. We encourage athletes to prepare for a wide variation in temperature, wind chill factors, and precipitation.
*We have had race days where the temperature has been in the high 50s with minimal winds and no precipitation. We have also had days where the temperature was in the low 40s with wind chill below zero on the face of the mountain.
*Whiteout conditions can exist on the top half of the mountain.
*Course conditions may mean exposed rocks, tree roots, cattle guard, etc. We cannot be responsible for the damage caused by these and other road hazards to yourself or equipment. Please choose appropriate race equipment!
* Plan for these changes in temperatures by layering your clothing, so you can make adjustments along the way. It is helpful to have extra clothing, gloves, hats, and jackets at each of the transition points.
A contingency plan is in place provided the mountain lacks enough snow on race day.