The nature of the mountain climate is unpredictable from year to year. Snow pack and temperatures dictate snow melt and river flows. Because this race depends heavily on the river for the rafting leg and the mountain snow pack for the trekking and biking legs, we've had to devise alternative routes in the event of excessive, high-altitude snow pack, excessively low river levels or excessively high river levels. We've chosen our race date based on previous years' data in order to best avoid these extremes, however, Mother Nature will ultimately dictate which routes the racers will be given.
Plan A: 1200-3200 CFS
Plan A is the preferred route. The date of this year's race is typically in the middle of this CFS window. Hope for a number in-between these two.
Plan B: Below 1200 CFS = Low Water
If Plan B is in effect, the starting location of the race will begin further downriver so racers aren't in their boats for longer than desired for this race design.
Plan C: Above 3200 CFS = High Water
At 3200 CFS, the Royal Gorge is shut down to boaters because of the danger level. In this event, the racers will be shuttled further up-river and do a section above the Gorge. Racers will then get out and begin their biking leg much sooner. If Plan C is implemented, other CPs may be eliminated in order to make the race the proper length of time.
Live River Levels for the Royal Gorge
Mountain Snow Pack
Biking in the Snow: Biking in mild amounts of snow (1-3") is possible and even fun. The occasional hike-a-bike over lingering north-facing snow drifts is not uncommon in early season mountain biking. However, if there is excessive, late-season snow pack in the areas you will be biking, you may be given a new route to avoid these higher altitude, snowy areas.
Trekking in the Snow: If there are large, unavoidable amounts of snow in the areas of the trekking legs, the race staff may eliminate certain CPs to prevent the race from taking longer than it is designed to. Or the race staff may recommend snowshoes or shoe traction (ex: yaktrax) based on the conditions about 1 month before the race. It is not always the case that there is snow left in the race areas at this time of year, however, it is not unheard of. Be well-prepared on your treks with proper clothing (long pants, warm socks) and gear.
The above-listed, possible changes would take effect before the race start and would be applied to all racers. During the race, racers are responsible for making smart judgement calls regarding weather and travel conditions to keep themselves and their team safe.