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How to succeed in the Tour of the White Mountains

  • By Stephanie Jones
  • Published Sep. 14, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM EDT
2011 Tour of the White Mountains. Photo: Bennett Barthelemy


Come race day, participants have plenty of poison to pick from with 60, 35, 15 and 10 mile distances to choose from and a kid’s race for the little shredders, too. The terrain and tour options provide a less intimidating endeavor for first-time and newbie racers but also offer more challenging options to keep even the most experienced racers excited and on their toes.

Each of the shorter distances touch on, and the entirety of the 60-mile course pieces together, sections of at least 10 of the best trails that the White Mountain Trail System has to offer, consisting of mostly singletrack and a small percentage of scenic jeep road.

All distances start in the high-desert atmosphere of Show Low Bluff, weaving and gently climbing through Juniper and scrub brush of the quintessential Panorama trail.

Eventually, 35 and 60 mile participants peel off to climb a rocky jeep road to the wonderland that is the higher altitude Los Burros trail area – Aspen trees and all. It’s here where 60 milers will encounter the only hike-a-bike of the day, right before cresting the highest point of the course and beginning a most ripping, flowing descent through unforgettable singletrack back down to the infamous Blue Ridge trail.

The technically challenging rock gardens of lower Blue Ridge have been the Achilles heel of many racers in the past, resulting in this year’s course re-route where racers will instead gradually climb the buffed-out upper Blue Ridge trail to the rocky and tightly winding Ice Cave descent.

With a stream crossing, a burly switchback climb and a few more miles of flowing singletrack between the racers and the finish line at this point, there’s not much more one could desire from a good day on the bike.

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