Vision Quest and Counting Coup Pre-event instructions

To all our participants in the Counting Coup and Vision Quest:

To save everyone time we are encouraging everyone to pick up their race packets at Switchback Cyclery starting this Saturday, February 23rd to Friday, February 29th to receive your number plate and event t-shirt. Switchback is open on Sunday 11-5, Saturday 9-5 and 9-7 during the week. This would save all of us tons of time the morning of the event. You can have a friend pick up your race packet for you.

Those not picking up their race packets at Switchback Cyclery must arrive at 4:45 a.m. at the start to pick up your number plate.

Those who pre-register at Switchback must arrive by 5:15 a.m. to check in.

The event may be rescheduled due to rain. If this situation occurs, please call the event Hot Line to be updated on any new event news (714) 894-8211 or check here for posted updates.

Our reschedule date is Saturday, March 8th.

So far the extended forecast calls for a sunny event day and no rain next week.

You can have your personal supplies for both Aid Station #1 and #2 delivered to the start. The bags must be marked with what aid station they will be delivered to and your name. We ask that nothing of value be in the bags aside from water and food as we cannot guarantee they will be returned to you. Anything of value will be taken to Switchback Cyclery for pickup after the event.

PER THE CLOSURE ORDER NO ONE EXCEPT SUPPORT PERSONNEL/VEHICLES WILL BE ALLOWED BEHIND THE LOCKED GATE AT THE END OF MAPLE SPRINGS. FOREST SERVICE PERSONNEL WILL CITE ANYONE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH EVENT SUPPORT. There is limited parking at the parking lot if you intend to wait there for those participating in the event(s) and if you park illegally or do not have an adventure pass you will be ticketed. The residents will call the Sheriff to ticket you or tow you away if you are parking illegally.


Parking is limited at O’Neill Park so please carpool. We will be running a shuttle from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. back to the start at Black Star Canyon Road. Remember that there are no shuttles to the start in the morning. We recommend that you have a family member drop you off and pick you up at O’Neill after the event is over.

We expect the awards ceremony to recognize the top 10 to begin between 4:00 and 5:00 P.M. A Raffle will also be held at that time. You must be present to win.

Do not leave a car at the finish line as the Sheriffs will ticket you. There is no parking allowed there from dusk to dawn.

If you park on Black Star make sure your car is parked well off the pavement to avoid being towed by the Sheriff’s Department. Camping and parking from dusk to dawn is normally not allowed on Black Star Canyon Road but our permit will allow you to park there beginning at 4:00 a.m.

Have a whistle and cell phone to aid in your rescue if you are out of sight of rescuers. The whistle will carry further than your voice and a cell phone, while not working on 30 percent of the course, may work where you are injured. We also recommend you buy a compact “space blanket,” an aluminum foil like covering that will keep you warm if you are injured off trail and out of sight.

We’ve had problems in the past with participants leaving before the official start time. Support volunteers will be stationed on Black Star Canyon Road starting at 4:30 a.m. to catch anyone attempting to leave early after they check in at the start. You will be DNF’ed if you are caught leaving early. Your number plate must be recorded at all 11 checkpoints or you will not receive a finishing award until the discrepancy is resolved so make sure your number is recorded.

The opening ceremonies will start at 5:15 a.m. and the start at 5:30 a.m. ON TIME. Only those on bikes who are entered in the event will be allowed in the start area. We will be checking off number plates and asking for your name to prevent anyone from being in the start area. Anyone not entered in the event is subject to arrest if they enter the closure area.

Because we will start in the dark we suggest you purchase a cheap LED light to put on your helmet. The sun will rise at around 6 a.m. so you only need the light for the first 60 minutes. Last year many participants basically tried to “poach” other participant’s “beams of light,” riding really aggressively trying to stay close enough to them to see off their light.

Please bring an LED Light or stay at the back of the pack. If you don’t bring a light, don’t cause a crash because you are riding 3 inches from another participant trying to see by their light, instead of carrying your own.

You must get supplies from the Aid Stations. If any support personnel on the course has to give you food or water you will be penalized 20 minutes on your time.

Just to be safe and to deal with any mud on the course we suggest you spray “Pam” non-stick cooking spray or silicone on your bike (except for on your disc or caliper brakes) to keep mud from sticking to it and take a brush with you.

You are starting early and you must begin to eat as soon as you wake up, at least 300 to 500 calories an hour from that point depending on your metabolism. Hydration is also important; remember to include sodium and potassium in your water mix. Eat a decent meal the night before and do not eat or drink anything radically changed from what you have used during training. This is especially true of fluid replacement products.

1. The first climb, Black Star Canyon Road, has one major washout close to the top. We will widen the path around it but it will still be narrow. Take your time when crossing it. The course as a whole is in the best shape it’s been in years and temps are supposed to warm up.

2. The Silverado Trail has a lot of loose rock and two very big washouts and water bars on the last 1/4 mile near the bottom of the trail. Use caution or you could be injured when descending this trail down to Aid Station #1.

3. Temperatures at Santiago Peak estimated for Saturday 45 to 65 degrees

4. Expect some snow and ice on the back side of Santiago Peak; use caution

5. Streams are running now in most places but not deep.

6. Trabuco Canyon Road from Holy Jim lot downstream to the finish line is muddy and wet in the shaded areas.

7. The parking at Aid Station #2 at the Holy Jim parking lot is small – do not block the fire station.

Please remember on thing; the Vision Quest would not be the Vision Quest if it was easy; if you expect perfect conditions you should not have entered this event. We can guarantee you food and water, but we cannot guarantee that nature and fate will have mercy on you and allow you to finish.

This advice should be heeded by participants in the Counting Coup too; a Vision Quest is not about the distance, it is about the experience and your skill. For those just testing the waters of endurance you may find the Counting Coup Event to be your Vision Quest; if that is indeed the case you have our deep respect.

Your only salvation is that you are prepared both physically, mentally and spiritually to confront the course, and by default nature herself, on their terms.

It is our hope that in the Vision Quest and Counting Coup the journey you experience is a Vision Quest; and no journey begins without the courage of taking that first step…

Ya Ta Hey

Chris Vargas and Sherry Panttaja
AKA “Dances With Hornets” and “Stands Her Ground”

Shimano is the Major Component Sponsor of the Warrior’s Society

Rock N Road Bike Shops and Sho-Air Racing are Major Sponsors of the Warrior’s Society

Cytomax is the Official Fluid Replacement Drink of the Warrior’s Society

Clif Bar is the Official Energy Bar and Gel of the Warrior’s Society

The Warrior’s Society is a Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) affiliated organization

The Warrior’s Society is a Tax Exempt Organization under 501 (c) 4 of the IRS Code

“Far better it is to dare mighty dreams, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take the ranks with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat!”

Theodore Roosevelt

Comments are closed.