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 9, 2019
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.



9 responses to “Ripsey

  1. Weird question I am sure, but I am relatively new to MB and don’t have many rides under my belt (10-15) of mostly shorter lengths (10-20 miles). At what point did you all know you were capable of doing a longer, more remote ride such as Ripsey? I have really been looking into this 30 mile loop – even if not a part of this “race” series – but I second guess how I know if I would be ready for it. Any thoughts to help me along? TIA!

    • Preston,
      If you are in Tucson, climb Mt Lemmon a few weekends in a row to get ready for this event. Climbing is the only thing that you will need to get this event under your belt. The climb up Ripsey is hard and you need to make sure that you are ready for it. Given that you have 10-15 miles, you would want to start riding more too.

    • This is a very remote area. If you get into trouble, it is not easy for anyone to bail you out. While I think this is an excellent loop, it is in no way easy and I wouldn’t recommend to a beginner. Something with easier bailouts (like the Tortolita 50) or more forgiving trail (like Kentucky Camp) would be a better place to gauge your ability to do something like this. Remember, on these remote courses you are responsible for your own safety. That means you need to know how to fix your bike if it breaks and take care of yourself if things go wrong.

  2. Could you please rate the difficultly level of the trail(s) relating to technical skills needed? My mountain bike group likes to ride but we’re not real technical. A little difficulty is OK but not a lot. Moderate is more our speed.

  3. Hi, nice event. One thing. I only really like left turns. Right turns just kinda freak me out. Is there any way you can tell me exactly how many right turns are on the course so I can decide if I want to come?

  4. Registration is open!

  5. Results are posted

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