Monday Night Musings: Double Feature Update

Monday Night Musings...when life gives you ground coffee and hot water under extreme pressure.....make espresso!

Today I was able to see in person the devastation that snow and high winds created in Turtle River State Park. Fallen trees, numerous branches both on the ground and hanging from splintered trunks, flowing water, and uprooted tress dotted the trails. HOWEVER....some of each event will be on trails!

TOMBED will not be able to access as much of the trail as the runners. However, there will be more trail riding than I first anticipated. The exact mileage has yet to be determined, but I'm hoping for at least 4 miles on trail. The surface is firm. Bikers will have areas to dismount to get over or under fallen tress. There will be leaves and no doubt some slippery spots. careful. Also, there will be a significant water crossing. It should lessen by Saturday, as no precipitation is in the forecast. As of today it was about 16" deep (for a couple feet) and maybe 15' from bank to bank. There were also stretches of snow on portions of the trail. If more trail can be made usable by Saturday you'll be on it. The gravel will be an out + back heading north and east from near the park entrance. Veterans will know it from when we used the old bridge to cross the Turtle River.

TRAILS will get more trail adventure than first thought. However, you'll be bushwhacking for small sections, climbing, crawling, going through water, etc. I also have an added section that will make for more challenge. I am hopeful that road running will be minimal. At this time I do not anticipate that you will need to leave the Park. Overall the trail surface is firm. Some slick spots and copious amounts of leaves. Some of the leaves will be taken off the trail by Sunday. Some of your tails will not be used by bikers on Saturday due to all of the tress, branches, etc that cannot be removed before the weekend. Trail shoes with good grip will be essential.

Registration/check-in will be at See Dick Run on Friday evening from 5-7pm. The store is located at: 3750 32nd Ave S in Grand Forks.

Also, daily Park passes will be available at registration on Friday or when you check-in on Saturday or Sunday. The pass is good for 1 day. You do not need to stop at the visitor's center to get a pass.

Serenity Prayer Plus: Double Feature Update

I'm titling my experience in directing events for the 2019 ENDracing season as "Serenity Prayer Plus." In March END-SURE had to be rerouted from its usual course in the scenic Sheyenne National Grasslands due to copious amounts of snow. Both END-TICK and most recently END-CHIP (both gravel grinders) were less than ideal events due to weather conditions. As one rider said of END-CHIP, "This free event is costing me plenty in bike repairs." At least he had a smile on his face!

So, both END-TOMBED & END-TRAILS are being modified due to situations beyond human control. Turtle River State Park received about 20" of snow last weekend. This on top of saturated soil. The strong winds and heavy snow caused many trees to snap, limbs to break, and generally wreak havoc throughout the Park. While Larry Hagen and the excellent, dedicated staff at the Park are working where they can (can't get off pavement due to soft, muddy, and impassible ground) there will be no usage of the trails for either event. This is not only out of concern for the safety of participants, but for the short and long-term integrity of the trail system. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."

So, what is the modification? Both events will use the Woodland Lodge as in previous years. However, in the Park riding and running will be done on pavement. The routes for the specific events will then go onto gravel roads to the east and north of the Park. Both will consist of loops, but the challenge, skill set, and beauty of the trails will be minimal. Many people involved in ENDracing have collaborated, shared ideas, opinions, and options. This has been an emotionally taxing time while creating a bond of respect for all involved in this process.

The long established policy for ENDracing refunds: "The courage to change the things I can."

In this particular situation, in part due to the very nature of the event being changed from trails to roadways, I add the following:
While ENDracing does not offer refunds and transferring entry to another participant at this time is difficult, we will issue a 100% your payment as a credit to another ENDracing event. (Not the 75% as stated in the policy). This will be in effect for 1 year from the date of these events. HOWEVER, it is your responsibility to inform us of your decision not to participate. Simply not showing up on the 26th or 27th will not give you the 100% credit. We need to know by 10am (CDT) on Thursday, October 24th. This can be accomplished by posting on the "Comment" section of this post or at

"And the wisdom to know the difference."

I desire the events I direct to meet the long standing quality which ENDracing has established. I also am concerned for more than an event. People, parks, environment, safety, community, and longevity of relationships are of greater value to me. Please let us know if you DO NOT plan to participate in the modified event(s) so you get the 100% credit.

END-SURE and END-WET 2020 - Registration is open!

++ 2020 Registration Open ++

-- END-SURE, March 21, 2020 --

-- END-WET, June 16, 2020 --

Other events are in the works!


++ Upcoming Events in 2019 ++

-- END-CHIP gravel grinder, October 5 --

-- END-TOMBED 6- and 12-hour mountain bike race, October 26 --

-- END-TRAILS 6- and 12-hour train run, October 27 --


++ Other News ++

We're sending email a different way now, but you'll still be able to manage your subscription. See details and links at the bottom of this message.


-- ENDracing Crew




END-SURE Director's Cut (Part 2)

FYI: All of the people helping to facilitate and direct the events for ENDracing are part-time. This means we all have other jobs, responsibilities, and families capturing our attention. I'm the oldest of the race directors. My children are adults and live in opposite parts of the county. This provides me with flexibility to devote energies to events that never seem to be the same, such as END-SURE.

FIRST: In every event I direct, volunteer, or participate I find something meaningful. I've have come to embrace what I cannot change (which is a lot!).The 2019 edition of END-SURE to this point has developed my skills in snowshoeing, allowed me to learn about packing snow, and brought me into the beauty of blizzards, powder snow, ice, fog, melting, sloppy dirt roads, and unique siting too numerous to mention. When I don't fight the process I have energy to absorb part of what nature can teach.

SECOND: If you have never run on deep snow which has been packed and is a stage of melting here are some things I have learned:   

  • Snow conditions and consistency change constantly depending upon sun, wind, open country, or forest. 
  • Cold, powder snow responds differently from warm, wet snow.
  • Footsteps tend to provide a "pot-holded" surface in comparison to snowshoes.
  • There is little "push-off" on snow, especially when wet.
  • Getting off the packed trail will be immediately noticed.

FINALLY: END-SURE will be a unique adventure. It may be the most difficult, frustrating, unique, physically + emotionally challenging thing you have done in recent memory. You may use muscles that haven't been called upon in years. You will get wet, post-hole, get muddy + gritty, and wonder why you signed up for the event. You may long for past years of running in the Sheyenne National Grasslands on the North Country Trail. Come and embrace what the day, the distance, and nature provide. I have learned to place less value on finishing and more value on discovery.


END-SURE Director's Cut (Part 1)

It was March 2013. After parking in the North Country Trail lot along Richland County Road 23, I boarded a school bus en route to an unknown place. The bus windows were frosted by the anxious breathing and conversations of the participants in a new event: END-SURE 50k. Off the bus, using a semi-private, natural bathroom, and moving toward the start line it was announced that the temperature was -10F. Soon I was moving forward with a line of people following a snowmobile trail winding across the wind-swept prairie. After 24.5 miles of running, post-holing, emotional highs and lows, and hypothermia I said, "ENOUGH!" The deep cold inside of me lasted for hours after the snowmobile ride out of the Sheyenne National Grasslands. 

2 statistics worth noting: The average pace per mile for miles 1-18 (16.5 minutes). The average pace per mile for the remaining miles (29.25 minutes).

Why not sign up for the 100k (new distance) in 2014? There were some snow patches, icy sections, and cold puddles. A strong wind came from the east-south-east and there was plenty of sand. I completed the distance late night or early morning depending upon your clock perspective. In the final 15 miles I was accompanied by 2 skunks and choruses of coyotes yipping in the distance. The cold puddles felt great on my blistered and burning feet. Andy and Grant were at the finish with a couple brats and hardy greetings. During the next 10 days the skin on the bottom of both feet peeled away.

In the role of END-SURE director, I've experienced highs and lows, worry and calm, met many amazing people, and been awed by willing volunteers of all ages. I've had the opportunity to deeply appreciate the Sheyenne National Grasslands in all seasons. Yet the unpredictable late winter/early spring weather slaps me back into acknowledging I have little control over umpteen aspects of life. 

In 2018, as well as today the realities of weather have provided opportunities for creativity. A large portion of the North Country Trail in the Sheyenne National Grasslands is immersed under copious layers of snow. The relentless snowfall and winds have required imaginative route planning. It also caused this year's cancellation of the 100 mile distance. The 2019 edition of END-SURE cannot be compared with any previous event. It's a new birth that has enlivened, frustrated, and kept me embracing "what is", not "what I want" to make this experience easy. I'm honored to know that your trust in ENDracing brings you to this event!

4 points of my philosophy for race directing:

  1. have a course that can be followed, even when tired and brain dead
  2. have food that will nourish and refresh participants as they visit at the finish
  3. respect and appreciate every person and their contribution to the event: participants, support crew/family, and volunteers
  4. provide hospitality in whatever way is meaningful and appropriate

Come and be challenged physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It doesn't matter how you finish or if you finish the complete distance. Embrace the day, the conditions, your efforts, and the gathered community. The 2019 edition of END-SURE will be memorable.......Ya SURE!