Rule #1: No complaining about the rules.
These rules are essentially a slightly modified version of the Tour Divide’s ruleset. They are not perfect but they are pretty close to what represents the bikepacking ultra-racing ethos.
The Trans Am Bike Race is based on one guiding principle: Cycle the Trans America trail end-to-end, as fast as possible in a solo, self-supported fashion.
Who: Any who would like to RACE
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 Trans Am terminus from start. There are no required checkpoints or designated rest periods on course. There is no finish time cut-off!
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. No private resupply, no private lodging.
Trans Am Bike Race strives for equal opportunity within the GC. Whether doing an independent time trial or tackling the grand départ, the Trans Am requires that every challenger—from those living along the route to those living on other continents—have an equal playing field. Therefore, outside assistance with navigation, lodging or resupply (especially receipt of supplies from a non-commercial shipper) is prohibited.
Visitation: Family and friends may visit riders in route but can in no way provide material support or shelter.
Trans Am Route: THE OFFICIAL ROUTE LIVES ON THE RESOURCES PAGE
In the event of a serious mechanical that renders one’s bike unrideable, a rider may be assisted by motor vehicle in moving backwards, forwards, or directly off the route. A rider may also receive assistance returning back to the location they left the Trans Am, however, the moment they rejoin the route, any forward assistance is prohibited, even if a rider has already ridden that stretch prior to leaving the route. The intent of this rule is to encourage riders to exhaust self-rescue options first, and ensure any rider who must hitchhike will still always ride the entire Trans Am course (+ a few penalty miles).
Shipping/receiving supplies (to the course): In the name of equal opportunity for international riders and to minimize the ‘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.
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. Utilizing any form of social media for help (ie. conjure ‘trail magic’) is also forbidden.
GPS navigators are all but essential, none of the competitive racers go without them and the GPX ROUTE IS THE GOSPEL. SPOT GPS trackers are required for racing. Final rankings will be based on SPOT tracking data. Mobile phones are also permitted, though service can be very spotty. Social media is actively encouraged, but within the spirit of the race, best applied as a way to send messages out, not so much back in.
Trans Am Bike Race is a web-administered, do-it-yourself challenge based on the purest of wagers: the gentleperson’s bet or agreement. Nothing to win or lose but honor.
Any bike is allowed, even those that aren’t allowed in traditional grand tours (HPV etc..)
There are no checkpoints or officials on course
Riders alone alone are responsible for their safety
Riders alone must police their conduct
There is no mechanism to communicate to riders on course
Riders alone are responsible for communicating with their loved ones
Updates to the dispatch are time-delayed and not intended ensure rider safety
Online GPS tracking is also not intended to ensure rider safety. It is for info-only, and validation of course compliance
Relegation: Trans Am Bike Race reserves the right to relegate a rider from the Trans Am General Classification (GC) for confirmed rules violations.
No rider will be notified of possible relegation mid-race. It is the sole responsibility of all riders to know the rules, police themselves, and in cases of course deviation, recognize their error + correct it before proceeding on route. Ideally any rider who defaults on any part of rules 2 through 5 will honorably scratch from the GC. Trans Am is…a do-it-yourself challenge…racers alone must police themselves.
It is the rider’s responsibility to know and observe local laws.
Riders must act in the spirit of self sufficiency and equal opportunity for all racers.
Note: If a racer voluntarily scratches from the GC mid-race, yet continues on to finish the Trans Am, their individual tracking page will remain online/updated for informational purposes, however, they will be removed from the group (GC) tracking map.
Rules for pairs
Pairs are a self supported unit allowed to share any and all resources within the unit. The rules are the same as for solo racers with one all encompassing exception. That exception being that support is allowed between the paired racers. The pair may share resources, navigation duties, as well as being allowed to draft and tow etc… Paired racers essentially joined at the hip or in tandem across the country. Pairs do not have to travel exclusively with each other, solo riding is allowed, but both riders must reach the end of the route before the pair is deemed finished.
Paired racers may not draft other pairs or interfere with solo racers in any way.
Paired racers must both carry a tracker. If one of the pair quits the race, the other is allowed to continue to finish and may be ranked in the GC with an asterisk denoting paired travel.
To clarify, paired racers start together, ride together, and hopefully finish together. Drafting is allowed between the pair as well as sharing all other resources. These features are what distinguish paired riders from solo riders.