The rules are simple and brief - ultimately, the CTR is dependent upon each racer's integrity. If you can't do this ride without outside or pre-arranged support, don't enter the race. Breaking or bending these simple rules is unfair to yourself and to the other racers who are out there suffering just as bad as you are, yet they are still playing by the rules. So please, play fair. You know you're better than that - I know you're better than that!
Q: Does self-supported and no pre-arranged support mean I cannot stop for food or a motel?
A: The guiding principal is "Do. It. Yourself" and "equal opportunity" for all racers, regardless of whether you live in a town the CTR passes through or on a different continent. So, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and any other commercial services along the route are fair game as long as they are not pre-arranged. Friend's houses, sag wagons, pacers, food-caches, etc. are obviously not commercial sources equally available to all racers, and absolutely are not allowed. It is important to communicate this to family/friends who may be observing the race. Their guiding principal should be "Look, but don't touch."
Q: Maildrops to a post office and only a post office?
A: Yes! It's not the job of a gas station, motel or restaurant to hold your package. That's what a PO is for. Buy snacks at a gas station and sleep at a motel, but don't mail them your junk. Imagine if everyone in the race mailed a package to the same tiny gas station...
Q: What about this "Trail Magic" I keep hearing about?
A: Beautiful, beautiful trail magic. Totally unexpected and unplanned support. e.g. a random person giving you a coke or an orange. Or finding a box of girl scout cookies on the side of the road. But let's keep the magic, magic - if you personally know the person who is offering unplanned/unexpected support, politely decline their offer. And please, no begging!
Q: What if my bike breaks beyond repair?
A: If your bike breaks and you wish to continue the race, you must hike, walk or crawl to the next town to get it repaired. Once fixed, you must return, under your own power, to the exact spot you left the route. This is a completely self-powered race. If you get in a motorized vehicle, your race is over.
Q: Are GPS devices, cell phones, or other electronic devices allowed?
A: Yes, they are neither forbidden nor required, but they are unnecessary. The trail is typically very well marked, and there are (currently) plenty of pay phones in the towns along the route. Using a mobile phone to call ahead for any services along the route is the same as pre-arranged support, and as such, is strictly forbidden.
Q: Can racers ride together?
A: Yes. But, this is a solo competition - racers may not draft each other nor plan on sharing gear. However, be a good citizen. If you see fit to give a fellow racer directions, mechanical assistance, water, a tube, or moral support, do so. Similarly, do not expect or feel entitled to any of the above. It's nice to have good neighbors, but there isn't a law mandating it.
Q: Breaking the law?
A: Duh! No trespassing. No littering. No riding in Wilderness Areas. Etc. This also means no ditching or stashing of any gear to pick up later. That is the same as littering as far as the CTR is concerned. If you need to get rid of something, find a dumpster or a post office.
Q: What if I get hurt?
A: It cannot be stressed enough that you are ON YOUR OWN out there and must take personal responsibility for yourself!! There are some seriously remote sections of trail at high altitude where cellphone service is nonexistent and any medical assistance may be far, far away. Think about the consequences of an injury and bivying in the icy rain at 11,000' BEFORE you set out on this race. Self-evacuation is likely the only option. A Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card is highly recommended, although it is not insurance, nor does it guarantee a rescue in the case of an emergency.
Q: More Questions? Better ask before the race starts.