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The story of an American reconnaissance

 We thought a great deal about organizing a trans-continental race and in 2007 launched the idea of a trans-Australian race after our reconnaissance in that huge continent, which continues to hold us in its spell. It was presumptuous to think we could organize this race at the beginning of 2008 for a departure in October. Both the organizers and the participants need time to put together such a venture. This crossing has not been thrown out; we are keeping it warm in a drawer…

We would like to thank Rudy Dittman, Mr. Koshita and Alan Firth for helping when we began to dream about the Australian race.

Speaking of transcontinental races in stages, well after the “Trans America “of Jesse and Michael in 1993, the first since 1928, there was the “Race of Fire” in Australia and now the “Around the European Union Footrace. “ But every year we have said to ourselves, why not organize another race across the North American continent? Alan Firth organized such an event in 2002 and 2004. Since then, there has been nothing. So we decided to re-launch our American dream in 2011. We can say right now that there won't be a second edition in 2012 but why not one in 2013…. watch this space.

In September 2009 we made our second reconnaissance. The third and final reconnaissance will take place in April 2011.

Last January Joël, Serge and I took to the road, our first idea being to scrupulously replicate the itinerary of 1928… on the trail of Andy Payne, winner of the first race between LA and NY. Very quickly we realized that it would not be possible for Route 66 no longer exists. Portions of the road exist for short distances but without warning they become Interstate 40. The myth has a tendency to disappear when it becomes a wide boulevard which is neither attractive nor interesting.

We were unable to look at the entire portion of road between Barstow and Flagstaff in January, due to the snow, but we were able to return in September when conditions were closer to what we will find during the race in 2011

Itinerary and distances:

The distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas will be 347 miles (558.4 km) covered in 8 days, less than an average of 70 km per day. This itinerary will be the same as the crossings organized by Jesse and Michael. The shortest stage will be 47 km and the longest 82 km.

We would have liked to go through Baker but once again we found ourselves obliged to take small trails such as the Old Mojave Trail, which we tried to follow going through Afton Canyon. Its beauty is beyond question but it's an itinerary which is too hazardous for a trans-continental footrace.

Los Angeles – New York will last 70 to 71 days and not 68 as previously announced. The itinerary will be the same as in the 1990's for the portion Los Angeles – Las Vegas and from Tuscola to New York; between the two there will be a new itinerary which will go through Foyil, the site of the memorial to Andy Payne, winner of the first edition in 1928.

Our many journeys over the years have taught us not to have too much faith in maps, in the Internet or Google Map, which are surely precious aids but there is nothing like being on the spot and proof of this lies in the fact that the people who organize this kind of race first test their itinerary on foot or on bike. This is why we prefer to wait for the reconnaissance we will make on site in 2011 to finalize the itinerary, which Serge knows having run it twice, in order to provide you with a road book that will be reliable. Our reconnaissance between Tuscola and New York, which will take 19 to 20 days of the race, will be made in 2011 and the final road book will be ready in May 2011. It will be sent by e-mail to those who have signed up.

Please note that the itinerary could change due to possible road works or for any last minute problems. The entire itinerary will be checked again in April 2011, two months before departure.

For the first stage, always with a view of replicating the original itinerary of 1928, we found a route from Santa Monica to Laverne. This reconnaissance took two days of effort last January but when we returned to the same place 8 months later we questioned our choice. Santa Monica Boulevard is 22 km long and has 100 stop lights, which speak for themselves and promise discomfort for the runners as well as the support crews. So we re-planned the itinerary from Huntington Beach, the departure point chosen for the previously organized events. As of today we are still thinking about where the start will take place...

Climate and assistance:

Temperatures in the Mojave Desert in June are very high. Weather conditions will be extreme.

http://meteo.msn.com/daily_averages.aspx?wealocations=wc:USCA0069&q=Barstow%2c+USA+forecast:averagesd&weai=6

The temperatures given are 39°C in the shade so on the asphalt it will be an oven and if there is wind it will burn your legs and won’t be refreshing. On the contrary, it will dry you out. We wish to warn you about the first 12 days of the race in this dry, shadeless, desert environment and encourage you to have a support crew on at least this first portion of the race.

Different possibilities at night:

As far as possible we have tried to coordinate the end of a stage with a location where there is a motel. Unfortunately, it has not always been possible. The motels we have chosen are inexpensive but you can, if you wish, sleep in a motel other than the one chosen by the organizers. Runners without followers and who depend on the organizers will not be able to chose, unless they have their own means of getting to the motel of their choice.

If there is no motel, we will try to find camp sites but without air conditioning so sleeping conditions will not be optimal. Runners with support crew will be free to go to the town of their choice, for example Amboy or Kelso. In some cases, like Ludlow where there are 10 rooms next to a filling station, the question may arise as to whether there will be room for everyone. There will always be the possibility of going back to Barstow via the Interstate 40 (about 1 hour away).

For the rest of the route in some cases we may sleep in schools. However, you will always be able to sleep where you wish, if you have transportation. If you are without transportation you will have to accept what the organizers have arranged.

The end of the stages will take place as follows:

At a stopping point for the night with a place to sleep and to eat

In the middle of nowhere which will necessitate taking a car to get to a place to eat & sleep

In a structure such as a school gymnasium, in which case the organizers will provide a simple meal (chicken and pasta for example).

In any case, you are free to choose and to go where you wish.

Runners without a support crew cannot expect the organizers to take them where they might wish to go. They will have to accept the arrangements the organizers make for them.

The first 8 days of the race are as follows – between Los Angeles and Las Vegas:

If the race starts in Huntington Beach, D1 will be approximately 3 miles longer but D2 will be shortened by that distance, which will not change the overall mileage and arrival will take place in a motel for D1.

Etapes/Stages

Km

Mi

 

D1: SANTA MONICA –

LA VERNE (motel)

79,2

49,2

Arrival at the motel - Restaurants nearby

D2 : LA VERNE (motel) - HESPERIA (motel)

80,2

49,8

Arrival at the motel - Restaurants nearby

D3 : HESPERIA (motel) - BARSTOW (motel)

69,1

42,9

Arrival at the motel - Restaurants nearby

Supermarket within walking distance

D4 : BARSTOW (motel) - LUDLOW (motel)

81,8

50,8

Only 10 rooms near a service station/motel in Barstow (50 miles by Interstate 40)

Snack bar in the service station

D5 : LUDLOW (motel) – AMBOY (Roy's Cafe)

45,6

28,3

Camp site? see conditions

Return to Ludlow or go to 29 Palms (80 to 82 km)= 1H by good road

Roy’s Cafe = only drinks + service station

D6 : AMBOY (Roy's Cafe)–

KELSO (Visitor Center)

63,6

39,5

Camp site? see conditions

Motel at Baker (57km/35miles) = 45 minutes by good road

 

D7 : KELSO (Visitor Center) - PRIMM (Casino)

77,4

48,1

 

Arrival at motel – restaurants near a convenience shop, no supermarkets

D8 : PRIMM (Casino)-

LAS VEGAS (Hotel)

60,3

37,5

Arrival at the motel – meal provided by organizers

Prizes LALC

 

Total km/mile

557,2

346,1

69,65km/jour = 43,3 Mi/Day

 

A few figures concerning the first 51 days of the race from Los Angeles to Tuscola:

11 stages of 80km or more – one of more than 90 – 14 stages of 70km or less

An average of 74 km/day

The highest point of the race on D24: State of New Mexico at Palo Flechado Pass at 2783 meters

Campers: For or Against!!!!

For the following reasons we do not recommend using campers:

Rental fees and cost of gasoline are high (as of today One gallon = 3.785 liters and costs $2, 80 to $3, 50 depending on the State and the service station)

Spending the night in a camper outside a camping site is prohibited. This means it is necessary to reach a camping site such as KOA and these sites are not free. (For our reconnaissance in January, we calculated that the cost of motels and a rental car was less expensive than renting a camper and paying the camping site fees for the duration of one month).

In order to use the air conditioning you have to connect to electricity. Without air conditioning a camper becomes a sauna.

These are only our recommendations and it’s up to you to decide what you wish to do.

For information: Rooms in American hotel chains are equipped with 2 double beds and it is cheaper to sleep 4 per room than to take 2 rooms for 2. The average price in Motel 6, Super8, Econo Lodge for 4 people = $70 to $80 and for 2 people =$60 to $70. (Please note that prices quoted on Internet do not always include taxes).

In closing:

Again we wish to stress the risk of entering this race without a support crew, especially due to the extreme heat during the two first weeks, which will be difficult physically (possible heat stroke, dehydration and stomach problems) as well as mentally. We can only encourage you to have a team to assist you. At the time of your early enrollment we will ask if you would be willing to share your vehicle. This will enable us to put runners in touch with you if there is a need. It must be remembered that under no circumstances will the organizing team be in a position to provide individual assistance to runners who sign up without a support crew.

Early enrollment forms are now available on www.sergegirard.com under the heading « race organization » or upon request at the following address: lany11@orange.fr

Enrollments will be accepted starting October 15, 2010

We will be happy to provide more detailed information about the race, keeping in mind that for the next 12 months this organization will be put on hold, that is, there will be no updates. It was important for us to launch this project so that you would have time to organize this dream in the best conditions.

During the race, ranking will be updated daily and there will be a daily log with photos and perhaps videos if the budget permits.

The organizers: Serge, Joël and Laure

Dream It- Dare It - Do It