These are the rules.  Quite simply they are the Tour Divide Rules, which have become the standard for many self supported bikepacking events.

The American Trail Race is based on one guiding principle: Cycle the American Trail Race, as fast as possible in a solo or (tandem or paired) self-supported fashion.

The Particulars:

Who: Any determined cyclist may challenge the American Trail Race at any time, in either direction, to qualify for the American Trail Race General Classification.  We place emphasis on the Westbound route, especially during the months closer to June, due to weather constraints.

When:  Grand Depart is June 1st, 2019.

  1. Spirit: Above all, attempts are intended to be solo / self-supported, self-timed, and observed as one stage, i.e. the clock runs non-stop. The challenge is complete upon arrival to the opposite The American Trail Race terminus from start (Cape Lookout, NC or Port Orford, Oregon). There are no required checkpoints or designated rest periods on course. There is no finish time cut-off.
  2. Modus operandi: To complete the Route, a rider may resupply food / equipment, rent a room, launder clothing, even service their bike at commercial shops along the way. The intent is to ride unsupported between towns, and function self-supported when in towns. Any services utilized must always be commercially available to all challengers and not pre-arranged[1]. No private resupply, no private lodging. The American Trail Race strives for equal opportunity within the General Classification. Whether doing an independent time trial or tackling the grand départ, the American Trial Race requires that every challenger—from those living along the route to those living on other continents—have an equal playing field. Therefore, outside assistance[2] with navigation, lodging or resupply (especially receipt of supplies from a non-commercial shipper) is prohibited. Visitation: Amercian Trail Race racing is not intended to be a spectator sport! However, route-town locals only may interact with (i.e. visit briefly, cheer on) thru-racers as they pass through their locale. 
  3. American Trail Race Route: Aside from potential rerouting , challengers must ride 100% of the American Trail Race ‘main route’ as denoted by the Ride With GPS route.  There is a supplemental GPX file of the official American Trail Race ‘race route’ revised annually.
  4. Treat all people you meet along the route with your upmost respect.  Tip the waitstaff.  Be kind.  Be courteous.  Remember that you will be sleep deprived.  Quite often you will be smelly.  You may encounter people who have never seen a bikepacker before.    A simple smile can be your best friend.

[1] Pre-arranged is defined as prior to the start of the race clock. It refers to arrangements like motel reservations or special orders of parts or food

[2] Outside assistance is defined as any third party assistance in navigation or lighting and any non-commercial assistance in food resupply and/or lodging. A service is deemed ‘commercial’ when it is for commerce, equally available to all racers (ITT + group-starters) year after year.

Advancing (forward) on the route by any means other than one’s own pedal power is strictly prohibited.  No drafting. Use of any type of air scoop or umbrella sail intended to harness wind power is also prohibited.  Use of any electrical motor for propulsion is strictly prohibited.  The American Trail race is a solo (or tandem) challenge, however, racing in the company of other challengers is tolerated.  Again, no drafting, and each rider must maintain separate gear.

In the event of a serious mechanical that renders a bike unrideable, a rider may hitchhike by motor vehicle in ANY direction to repair the problem. The location of the incident must be well documented by SPOT tracking or other GPS logger. A rider may also receive assistance returning back to the exact location of the breakdown to begin forward progress. Again, the entire incident, form breakdown to return to the route must be fully documented by GPS.

A challenger may ONLY accept motor vehicle assistance off/back to route from bystanders and passersby or, in the case a commercial transportation source is available. ‘Bystander/passersby’ refers to purely coincidental encounters. A racer may not accept a ride from a race spectator (a.k.a ‘super fan’) or contact friends and/or family (private parties) living along the route for direct assistance.

Shipping/receiving supplies (to the course): In the name of equal opportunity for international riders and to minimize the the American Trail Race ‘footprint’, challengers are encouraged to race as reliant as possible on commercial services along the route. However, in advance of a start, a competitor may cache food or equipment resupply at US Post Offices only, care of general delivery. Typical practice is to ship a replacement chain and fresh bike shorts to the halfway point on route. If a racer misses a resupply due to PO closure, that box may be forwarded to another PO down route.

8a. Once a race clock begins, a rider may be assisted by a third party in receiving emergency repair/replacement items only. Food resupply is not considered an emergency. Emergency items must be shipped using a commercial shipper such as USPS, UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL, etc. Items may not be delivered privately by family, friends or even anonymous persons. Items may only be shipped to a commercial address (P.O., motel, bike shop, restaurant etc.), provided that address is equally available to all racers. Use of a private address (residence) along the route is forbidden. Use of the social media to ‘broadcast’ for help (ie. conjure ‘trail magic’) is also forbidden.

The American Trail Race is a web-administered, do-it-yourself challenge based on the purest of wagers: the gentlemen’s bet or agreement. Nothing to win or lose but honor.

The American Trail Race 2019 begins June, 1st, at Cape Lookout, North Carolina as a ‘grand départ’. For this common start: Again, the American Trail Race simply provides a web-based framework to present rider progress.

Riders are require to have 2 front facing lights, and 1 rear facing light.  Reflective gear and bike decals are not required, but are highly recommended.  There is about 1,000 miles of total pavement riding, so please keep that in mind.

There are no checkpoints or officials on course

Riders alone are responsible for their safety

Riders alone must police their conduct

Riders may be contacted in the event of a live re-route due to unforeseen circumstances, i.e. rock slide, construction, etc.

Riders alone are responsible for communicating with their loved ones

Online GPS tracking is also not intended to ensure rider safety. It is for info-only, and validation of course compliance