Bike Choice and Tire Size
The Odyssey of the VOG is a challenging multi-day bikepacking race that will cause most racers to question their bike choice at some point during the journey. With a mixture of pavement, gravel, and dirt roads, there is no ‘perfect’ bike, and all riders will have to make compromises.
A gravel bike would be ideal for much of the route, as most of the gravel is in pretty good condition and the flatter pavement sections along the coast will fly by. However, a gravel bike may not have the gearing needed for some of the big climbs on route, and there are definitely some really rough sections where a 29er hardtail would be much better suited for the terrain.
That being said, tire size is a tough decision on this route. If you choose to ride a gravel bike, we wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 45c tires because of how rough a few of the sections are in the Siuslaw forest. A Hardtail 29er with 2-inch tires would also be a great option as well, as some of the descents are very challenging and the low gearing of most XC bikes would be great for some of the big climbs on route.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: leave your road bike at home.
Falls City (mile 41)
Grand Ronde (mile 90)
Hebo (mile 118)
Pacific City (mile 125)
Tillamook (mile 160) - MUST STOP RESUPPLY
Gaston (mile 259)
Yamhill (mile 269)
Sheridan (mile 328)
Minimum Safety Requirements
The following are our minimum safety requirements for participating in the Odyssey of the VOG.
Reflective upper-body clothing or material must be worn at times of low light visibility (a reflective hydration vest is acceptable).
Minimum of two front lights
Minimum of two rear lights
Reflective tape installed (at a minimum) in the following areas: both sides of rear seat stays, each side of fork, activated and connected tracking device.
GPS tracking device
The Odyssey of the VOG challenge is based on one guiding principle similar to the TD : Cycle the complete route end-to-end, as fast as possible in a solo, self-supported fashion.
Who: Any determined cyclist may challenge the Route at any time, in either direction, to qualify for the General Classification (GC) – GC standings will be maintained by myself for the time being – contact email@example.com.
When: Individual Time Trials (ITTs) can be done any time, but an informal common start date known as the 'grand depart' will take place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend at 7am, following the route clockwise.
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 end of the route from start. There are no required checkpoints or designated rest periods on course. There is no finish time cut-off.
Environmental Stewardship: All riders are expected to be good stewards of the land and practice Leave No Trace Principles.
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.
The rules strive for equal opportunity within the GC. Whether doing an independent time trial or tackling the grand depart, the rules require that every challenger 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: Bikepack racing is not intended to be a spectator sport! However, route-town locals only may interact with (i.e. visit briefly, cheer on) thru-racers as they pass through their locale. Out-of-town visitation to racers mid-race from challengers' family or friends is questionable – although the Tour Divide prohibits such encounters the Odyssey of the VOG feels this is not necessarily a reason to relegate should such an encounter occur as long as no supplies or help of any sort whatsoever is provided to the rider.
Drafting: Advancing (forward) on the route by any means other than one's own pedal power is strictly prohibited. No drafting. This is a solo challenge, however, racing in the company of other challengers is tolerated. Again, no drafting, and each rider must maintain separate gear. One complete survival kit per rider.
Issues on route: In the event of a serious mechanical that renders a bike unrideable, a rider may hitchhike by motor vehicle in ANY direction to repair the problem. The location of the incident must be well documented by SPOT tracking or other GPS logger. A rider may also receive assistance returning back to the exact location of the breakdown to begin forward progress. Again, the entire incident, from breakdown to return to the route must be fully documented by GPS.
Scratching: In the event that you need to scratch, notify the race directors via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is your responsibility to find transportation back to the start.
Electronics: SPOT GPS trackers or similar are required. GPS navigators are permitted but non-essential. Mobile phones are also permitted, however, mobile service on the route is spotty. Reliance on a mobile phone as a rider's sole means of outside communication is not advised.
The Odyssey of the VOG, like Tour Divide is a web-administered, do-it-yourself challenge - nothing to win or lose but honor.
There is no pre-start meeting
There are no checkpoints or officials on course
Riders 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