Tuesday, January 1, 2019



FRIDAY | OCTOBER 11TH 2019 | 6:00am


AML_X is a Billy Rice-inspired "Yo-Yo"... pedaling 251 miles north from Virginia Tech's War Memorial Chapel to the WV/MD border... there and back again.

The EXTREME route adds many miles of gravel and climbs NOT PEDALED on the CLASSIC AML_400 loop.

In total, the AML EXTREME pedals 502 miles with more than 45,000 feet of ascent in the "yo-yo" format... a Tour Divide shakedown that will leave riders well-prepared for the rigors of Canada and Montana.

This solo, self-supported adventure will observe the bikepacking ethos of other "ultras" in this discipline.

The "Challenge"

... a self-supported, bikepacking adventure.

A "Grand Depart" (i.e. mass start) of Individual Time Trials is suggested annually on the SECOND Friday in October at 6:00am (local time)... typically a "window" of PEAK fall foliage !!!

The AML_X challenge is based on one simple idea...Complete the 502 mile route as fast as possible.  

Above all, attempts are intended to be solo (in essence), self-timed, and observed as one stage, i.e. the clock runs non-stop.

The intent is to ride "self-sufficient" between towns and to function "self-supported" when in towns.

This end-of-summer adventure is planned when almost any type of weather is possible along the Virginia/West Virginia border.

If YOU choose to "toe the line" 

at the Grand Depart or any other time of year


would like to have your effort recorded for posterity sake,


are encouraged to RSVP by sending a Letter of Intent (LOI) via email to...

RidetheAML [at] gmail [dot] com


The AML_X route IS NOT MARKED...

It shall be the SOLE RESPONSIBILTY of each challenger to successfully navigate and safely complete the entire route via bicycle.

This challenge is voluntary... participate "at your own risk".

Participation in the Grand Depart is NOT mandatory and is at the discretion of the challenger.

ITTs of the AML_X route can begin any day/time of the year.

There are no time limits or cutoffs.  The decision to continue or abandon the challenge is ALWAYS the whim and discretion of the challenger.

In-person spectating is DISCOURAGED...
Remote spectating is ENCOURAGED...

The roads and trails along the route are OPEN to vehicular, equestrian and foot traffic.  

During an ITT, participants would be wise to follow all rules of the road and to consider yielding to equestrians and hikers.

Participants are expected to finish with the same gear and supplies that they begin with, or like-kind replacements, or more gear, excluding consumed materials and wrappers. (e.g. participants SHOULD NOT ditch gear on the last day to finish more quickly)


The "ethos" of Ultra Long-Distance Bikepack Racing is occasionally refined, but nowhere has it been better stated than by the organizers of the "Grand Tour of MTB" (i.e. Tour Divide).

The information posted in THIS blog post represents a set of ideals meant ONLY to "level the playing field" for those desiring to compare their personal efforts with those of other challengers. They are primarily based upon those of Tour Divide (link), and will require an honorable self police-ing by the participants themselves for this challenge to have any meaningful and lasting relevance.

The intent is to ride self-sufficient between towns and to function self-supported when in towns.

Above all... attempts are intended to be solo (in essence), self-timed, and observed as one stage, i.e. the clock runs non-stop.

*** Support should ONLY be expected and/or received from local businesses on-site during their NORMAL business hours ***

An ITT is considered SELF-SUPPORTED if/when...

  • Accepting neutral assistance from the owners or operators of establishments along or off route, on-premises during NORMAL posted business hours.
  • Supplies (e.g. food, beverage, parts, tools, etc.) received from commercial establishments along or near the route are obtained/purchased during NORMAL posted business hours.
  • Campsites, camp fires and hotel rooms (i.e. lodging) are SHARED with other challengers.
  • Rendering aid to another challenger, however, the RECEIVER of the aid must honorably withdraw themselves from the challenge.
  • Leaving the course at any time, provided that the return to the route is VERIFIABLE and within 100 feet of the point you leave the course. (i.e. returning on the other side of the road is permitted)

An ITT is considered NOT SELF-SUPPORTED if/when...

  • On-course assistance is PRE-ARRANGED (i.e. prior to ITT start).
  • During an ITT, assistance with navigation, supplies or lodging is RECEIVED from friends, family or private individuals.
  • Supplies (e.g. food, beverage, parts, tools, etc.) are SHARED between riders.
  • Supplies used have been "stashed" or "cached" by any person at anytime.
  • A motor-powered vehicle (moving or stationary) is UTILIZED, doing so indicates a voluntary withdrawal from the challenge (EXCEPTION - A bicycle in "un-ridable" condition and its pedaler(s) may be transported for repairs).
  • Drafting...  A "no drafting" rule is in effect at all times.


The Appalachian Trail Conservancy website states, "the term 'trail magic' was coined by long-distance hikers to describe an unexpected occurrence that lifts a hiker’s spirits and inspires awe or gratitude."

Another definition reads... "any act of goodwill bestowed upon a day, section or thru-hiker by a total stranger who seeks nothing in return."

The term implies a random happenstance in which the crossing of the paths of both giver and receiver are serendipitous.  

During an Individual Time Trial, obtaining an item from another person can only be unsolicited and accidental (e.g. a dropped beverage, food, part, tool, etc.) otherwise, the receipt of assistance or supplies reflects a lack of self-sufficiency which renders an effort NOT SELF-SUPPORTED.


.GPX files of the route and waypoints have been created and are available (see links below).

Maps and cues may be created/used by challengers if desired.

Riders are encouraged to use GPS and SPOT devices.

NOTE:  Receiving navigational assistance, supplies, or lodging from friends, family or private individuals during an Individual Time Trial IS considered "support".


Family and friends can follow registered SPOT tracking devices in near real-time via the link below.

A properly functioning SPOT device or downloadable .gpx tracklog is NECESSARY to validate start and finish times and adherence to the route (post-race).

If you DO NOT own a SPOT satellite tracking unit, rental units are available from... 

Trackleaders at a very reasonable cost ($70 which includes tracking).
Trackleaders registration ($20 without rental)
Trackleaders tracking AND rentals are available for ITTs year-round.


An Individual Time Trial (I.T.T.)


against TIME.

As such, finishing times will be recorded and sorted from fastest to slowest into "places" and posted as a basis for future comparison, but there will be no podium ceremony or prizes.

Finishing times will be determined by monitoring the trackers and it is recommended that a SPOT "check-in/OK" message be sent at the finish of your ride.

Challengers who finish within the same minute will be shown as having the same time and place. There could be a tie for any place, including first.

Finish times will be displayed in a separate listing labeled "unverified" when the efforts of challengers cannot be verified referencing Trackleaders, or a .gpx tracklog file.

See FILE LINKS (below) for the AML FINISH TIMES of past attempts.

Challengers may withdraw at any time.

DNF (Did Not Finish) will be posted for all challengers who withdraw from the challenge.

AML_X reserves the right to relegate (REL) a rider from the General Classification (GC) for confirmed rules violations.


AML_X | .GPX FILES | http://goo.gl/cyhV3E

AML_X | ROUTE MAP | https://goo.gl/rRv4hA

AML_X | THE RULES | https://goo.gl/3mqM1Z

AML_X | ROUTE BETA | https://goo.gl/7HN6vb

AML_X | PICS | http://goo.gl/0xoFnK

AML_X | VIDEO | https://goo.gl/mPfxtA

AML_X | FINISH TIMES | https://goo.gl/TKTsbQ

AML | MUSIC (Podrunner mixes) | http://goo.gl/wkhO8V



AML_X_18 on BLOGGER | https://goo.gl/P5dP1q

AML GROUP PAGE on FACEBOOK | https://goo.gl/Wk74hO

AML_X_18_GD EVENT PAGE on FACEBOOK | <Link Coming Soon>

AML WEATHER | HOT SPRINGS, VA | https://goo.gl/rZ1wH2

AML WEATHER | BLACKSBURG, VA | https://goo.gl/M9UWRj

AML_X | Dry Fork River Gauge | http://goo.gl/9BpyWC

AML_X on MTBcast | http://goo.gl/MVZdDb





2016_AML_X | TRACKLEADERS TRACKER | https://goo.gl/IvqgJk

2015_AML_X_GD2 | TRACKLEADERS TRACKER | http://goo.gl/JnGibp

2015_AML_X_GD1 | TRACKLEADERS TRACKER | http://goo.gl/nvSu28


RidetheAML [at] gmail [dot] com

are welcomed at any time