I’ve been working on this project for about a year now. The Grand Rally is a hardcore roadbook guided off-road rally adventure and training route circling the Grand Canyon. It’s being developed for expert riders to practice rally style navigation in preparation for competing in cross-country rally events such as Dakar. The routes and terrain on this ride are moderate to extremely challenging, not to mention amazingly scenic! A typical day of The Grand Rally will be on par with a day of Dakar. Yes, it is THAT difficult!
Though originally planned as an 8 day 2000 mile killer ride (old map above), I’ve found so much great riding in that region that I’m expanding it to more days and many more miles (new map to come later). I’m adding new stuff every week. And rather than riding the whole distance in one long trip, I’m providing multiple loop days, so it can be attacked in 3 to 4 day sections based out of strategic fixed locations. This means riders can spread the fun out over a year or more, taking on sections as their vacation schedule allows. As things are progressing, it’s looking like The Grand Rally may end up being around 3000 to 4000 miles, 14 to 18 days, and over 95% dirt.
This will not be a race. It probably won’t even be an official scheduled event. Think of it as a do-it-yourself Dakar Rally, a collection of roadbooks available to hardcore rally types who can schedule their own small group ride on their own time. For less than expert riders, I’m doing my best to provide bailouts and “easy” ways around the really tough stuff, to make it a bit more manageable.
One strong philosophy in laying out each stage is to find off-beat roads and trails that are long forgotten. During the pre-runs we’ve ridden quite a few sections where motor vehicles haven't traveled in decades. Naturally, those are usually extremely challenging technical sections, but they often offer the most unique and fun riding too.
When will all this be done and ready for you to ride? So far we’ve pre-run roughly 1500 miles in various sections (thanks to all our pre-run helpers, Des-RIP, Russ, Dave, Jen, Robb, Phil, Mike S, Ned, Mike B, and more to come). The roadbooks for those sections are still being finalized, and the roadbooks for all the stuff we have yet to pre-run are not even started yet. I'm aiming to have most of it ready to go sometime in 2012. For now you can drool over photos from the pre-runs ...