Before anyone asks: I am NOT going to win the Colorado Trail Race. In fact, I'll be happy if I finish in last place. Really!
The Colorado Trail Race is extremely challenging. To finish in seven days, I'll need to ride about 70 miles a day--most of it on steep and rocky trails. Some sections are too steep and/or rough to ride either up or down, so walking is required. An average of 10,000 feet of vertical climbing (and 10,000 descending), every day. Climbing up passes as high as 13,000 feet, I'm likely to see snow, hail, rain, and freezing temperatures. Broken bikes, injuries, exhaustion, and fear are pretty good reasons for quitting.
There is no "outside" support. I'll mostly sleep on the ground in a bivy sack (although the route does pass through a few towns, and hotels are allowed). I'll carry all of the clothing, navigational equipment, camping gear, spare parts, food, etc. that I'll need for the race. I will re-supply in small towns along the way, but nobody is allowed to meet me along the way and give me stuff--and I'm not allowed place caches beforehand.
There is no race organization, or race support. Absolutely no aid stations or sag wagons. I'm on my own--if I get lost, hurt, cold, or hungry, I need to sort it out myself. In cases of dire emergency, I can use my Spot beacon to call 911. Hopefully I won't need to use it.
This year there are 40 racers. A few are truly racing for a win. Most of us are just out there hoping to ride long and hard, racing against ourselves as much as each other. If the past is a fair indicator, at least half of the riders who line up to start won't finish.