The Ripsey ride will be split into 2 different lengths so that you can choose how much AZT goodness you wish to experience.

The loop (60 miles) will be a the best choice for those who have the endurance. This route will climb on dirt roads all the way to the Freeman Road water cache on the AZT. From there you get to blast down the roller coaster ride known as the Boulders segment. After some relatively rugged jeep roads and some not very well marked twistys through the desert you get to do the famous “Switchback Hill” up to the Ripsey ridgeline. Pause to take in the views before ripping along the ridgeline. Finally you drop down to the finish on an extended downhill section.

The B loop will start the same as the A, with a lovely grind up Florence Kelvin Highway – to the very top of the world. From there you’ll take Tecolote Rd. and some dodgy singletrack over to the AZT. You will be momentarily sad that you missed the Boulders segment, but soon enough will be dropping down into Ripsey Wash and facing Switchback Hill. Once you reach the Ripsey ridgeline and marvel at how fricking big Asarco Ray Mine is, you’ll be heading toward that final epic downhill.

Entry Fee:
Yeah, yeah, it is still free. However, we are requesting that everyone bring a gallon of water for the Ripsey water cache – since we’ll be right there. Let’s fill that box up!

March 7, 2020
The A (60 miles) will start at 7:30am.
The B route (30 miles) will start at 9am.
Camping is allowed at the Ripsey trail head – although there are no facilities

You will  start at the Ripsey trail head off of E Florence Kelvin Highway near Kelvin, Arizona.  Google map directions to the trail head are here.

In a race of this length and remoteness, water is a concern. Bring as much as you can! We’ve done some scouting and found some possible water sources – non of which are 100% reliable. Water sources are marked (as waypoints) on the GPS files.

For the A loop the Freeman Road cache “usually” has water – but that is totally dependent on kind people restocking it. If you happen to be in that area (EVER) it is good Karma to bring a few gallons for the cache.

Both A and B loops go by “Bathtub Spring”. This has always had water when I’ve been through there, but a recent report said it was dry. This is a cattle trough, so you’ll want to filter any water you get from it.

The Courses:
It is HIGHLY recommended that you bring, and know how to use, a GPS for this race. There are some sections on the AZT where the trail is not terribly well marked. Using a GPS and paying attention are the best ways to stay on course and not get lost. GPS files for both courses can be obtained at the links below.
Ripsey A
Ripsey B


A course (60 miles)
B course (30 miles)

Post ride:
Bring a chair, beverages, food, whatever. Hang out and watch the folks doing the longer routes come in. Spend some time getting to know the super cool people who share this strange compulsion to push themselves to their limits. Witness the pain, utter exhaustion, and sense of accomplishment of anyone who finishes the A loop.

Special bonus!
Old Time Pizza in Kearney (520 363-5523) will deliver to the trail head. There is a $10 delivery fee, so it is a good idea to do a bunch of orders at once. Bring cash.


13 responses to “Ripsey

  1. Do folks ride gravel bikes on the 60 mile route?
    I rode part of the Ripsey Ridgeline about a decade ago and it didn’t seem that technical. Considering the first half of the lap is road…

    • I wouldn’t but with the biggest possible tires, sure, a gravel bike. It’s not that technical but somewhat rubbly and very sharp in spots, and some ruts you’ll pound through. Could easily snakebite a low volume tire or tear a sidewall or snap a skinny seatstay. Many switchbacks that would be hard for a gravel bike to sweep. Hardtail or rigid mtb is my recc. Just did the long loop this wknd. There was no water at Kelvin Florence Hwy TH cache box, a decent amount at Freeman Rd TH but this race could wipe it out. Trail angel Pete was not at Freeman Rd TH like the past 2 years, but he has stashed sugary snacks at a stealthy spot in the Boulders section. Look for a subtle sign on the trail. Gonna feel pretty hot out there this weekend. Old Time Pizza delivers beer! And there’s a menu item called a Buffalo Chip… probably should get that.

  2. Ian Nienhueser

    Any updates on the water situation?

  3. I’ll drop 10+ gallons at the Freeman cache on Friday on my way to Kelvin. I presum this exempts me from the entry fee of 1 gallon for Ripsey. 🙂

    • Freeman Rd cache is well stocked but the race will make a dent. Ripsey cache is empty and the race wont make a dent. I think splitting your 10 between both caches would help the most.

  4. no ebikes I suppose?

  5. results are up

  6. Having done it, no way would I ride my gravel bike on this route, and I ride my gravel bike pretty much anywhere. You have to go slow when the trail gets fun. This single track was way too fast and way too fun to have missed out on the blur I saw trying to make up time for my lost time on the road section.

    Thanks all – great event!

  7. Ian & Tom – are you sure your finish times are correct? My ride time was 6:18 so assuming we left at around 7:42, my posted time of 2:00 p.m. is correct and I know you finished ahead of me.

Leave a question or comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s