Pro Tip: Rent a Van to Race

It’s the best way to rest up before the big comp.

The night before a backcountry race, you usually have to deal with checking into a hotel far from the start or a late-night campsite hunt. Both are always followed by an extra-early alarm to get to the race venue and a weary-eyed, pre-dawn fight for parking. Here’s a better idea: Sleep at the start line the night before a race—in comfort, #vanlife-style. There’s no need to invest in your own expensive rig thanks to van demo outfits like Aspen Custom Vans, based in the Roaring Fork Valley. For about the cost of a nice hotel room, you can sleep in a luxe van dwelling wherever you can park it.

I’m certainly a believer. For the Dead Horse Ultra Trail Marathon in Moab, Utah, I scored front row parking with Blue, a 2016 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter and ACV’s flagship rental. I pulled up, cooked some carbs in the van’s mini-kitchen for dinner and got to bed early. In the morning, I snagged an extra hour of sleep since I only needed to roll out of bed, walk to check-in, and go along my merry way in the desert for 50 kilometers. Backcountry races—and the nights before—might never be the same. aspencustomvans.com

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