Revision of The Wilderman from Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:43

2014 race is over!  26 racers started and 17 finished, with times ranging from just over 17 hours to nearly 27 hours. If you missed it, don't worry, we'll be back in 2015 and are looking into adding a 'half' option, which will still be freakin' hard! Stay tuned for details on this option. 

About: Accordng to one researcher, more peoplehave been to the moon than have completed an offroad full distance triathlon (check out a brief history of the endeavor HERE).  Crazy.  But I'm not sure how long that is going to last, because the off road full distance triathlon is coming back--this time with ENDracing, a grassroots extreme endurance events company based out of, of all places, North Dakota.  

If you thought Ironman was the end of the road - the big enchilada - the pinnacle of multi-disciplinary solo effort endurance sports - think again.  

Think Harder---Think Better---Think Cheaper---Think Wilder.

Welcome to the Wilderman*

Course Details (for the full distance):  Course Map. Overall the course will get progressivly harder as you go.  Here's why -

  • The Swim:  The swim will take place in the Mt. Carmel recreation area reservoir, outside of Langdon, ND.  It will be a two loop swim with a beach start.
  • The Bike: GPX data version 1, version 2 (right-click, save as).  The bike course will start at the reservoir, connect to a loop through the gorge which will be completed twice, and end at a remote location.  Bikes will be transported from the remote location to the finish line for you.  About 1/3 of the bike takes place on a state maintained multi-use trail system.  General mountain bike skills are all that is required and although there are many hairpin turns and undulating terrain, the trails are relatively wide and don't require expert biking skills.  There may be a few short sections of tougher terrain, but if conditions are dry the bike course will awesome.  The balance of the miles will be on gravel or minimum maintenance roads.  Again, lots of climbing, though no single climb will be bigger than 400' of ascent. Each loop will involve at least one river crossing (without a bridge), which in most years is fordable at thigh deep or less levels.  If it is a high water year we will provide lifejackets at the crossing and possibly a rope and/or raft (for ferrying the bike). Normal or low water years you will be responsible for your own bike at the crossing.  Recent roadwork has shifted about 15 miles of the ride onto pavement, but don't worry, you'll be thankful for those precious miles each lap.  In 2014 the fastest bikers completed the distance in roughly 9 hours. 
  • The Run:  GPX data version 1, version 2 (right-click, save as).  Elevation Profile. The run is going to be a doozy. It will be extremely grueling.  Starting at the remote location, the run is  a continuous one way trip to the finish line. 75% of the run's length will be in the gorge proper on a network of hunter trails and creek bottom running.  20% will be on gravel roads.  Less than 5% will be pavement. It is spectacular country but the ascents and descents will be frequent, sometimes very steep, and often punishing.  There are approximately 6 miles of creek bottom running.  Some is  easy, shale bottomed creek while some is more rugged with possible boulders, deadfall, and/or other obstacles. The trails will vary signifigantly from good double track to rough and rutted (and at times overgrown) ATV trail, to very narrow singletrack.  The run will involve one significant river crossing, at which lifejackets will be provided in the event it is too deep to ford (extremely unlikely).  Most runners be tackling the run at least partially in darkness to add to the difficulty.  In 2014 the fastest runner completed the run portion in just under 7 hours. 

Race Details (2015):

Date:  TBD (early August)

Location:  Pembina Gorge, near Walhalla, ND.

Registration: Less than 1/4 the price of Ironman!  Registration will open late 2014.

  before Jan 1 Jan 1-Jun 30 Jul 1-Jul 26
Solo Wilderperson  $175 $200 $250
Relay Team of 3 Wilderpeople TBD TBD TBD

Registration Cap:  Race will be limited to 100 participants between both distances.

Amenities/Lodging: There are accommodation options in Walhalla (camping and motels, 11 miles from race start), Cavalier (camping and motels, 30 miles from race start) and Langdon (camping and motels, 25 miles from race start).  The Pembina Gorge is located approximately 1.75 hours drive from Grand Forks, ND and 1.5 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  

Registration includes: Swag (TBD), pre race meal (friday night), and heaping portions of challenge.  Racers also have the option to purchase additional ENDracing swag for deep discounts during registration - stuff like socks, hats, and merino wool baselayers.  

Safety: This is a difficult endurance race in a remote setting.  Much of the course does not get cell phone coverage.  Although we will have ATV's on hand to help with medical emergencies, extraction of racers from some sections of the course will be difficult and time consuming.  Racers should approach this event with a 'self rescue' mentality - particularly for the run course and at the very least, understand that in an emergency situation (broken bone, etc) it may take a signficiant amount of time before help arrives.  Racers may choose to carry a SPOT tracker or similar device which may speed up response time (if an injury occurs to a racer without such a device, we will likely only know once a fellow racer who passes them and becomes aware of the situation reports it at the next manned checkpoint/aid station). Racers carrying emergency devices will be responsible for making sure emergency signals are communicated to the appropriate race staff (numbers will be given pre race) either directly or through a third party (loved one following their progress at home, for example).  Mandatory gear will need to be carried on both the biking and running portions.  The list will be published leading up to the race, but will include essential items such as water purification, space blanket, a light source, basic first aid, and navigation gear (GPS or compass). 

Other Details:

  • Mosquitos are present in the area.  At dusk and dawn they can get particulalrly bad if you are moving slowly.  We recommend bringing spray with a higher DEET content for areas with dense bush,  using premerthin treated clothing, and/or nylon long pants/sleeves, or just not stopping!
  • There is some poison ivy along sections of the course although racers staying on trails should not be affected. Racers with severe poison ivy alergies may want to wear long pants/socks/calf sleeves during the running portion. I am personally severly alergic to the plant but have only ever had an issue when I've been off trail.

*Please note, the Wilderman IS NOT IN ANY WAY AFFILIATED WITH IRONMAN.  It is a triathlon however that covers roughly the same distance in each discipline as an Ironman Triathlon.  As we mentioned, the Wilderman is harder, better, wilder, and a heck of a lot less expensive than the Ironman event. 


2014: Results, Photos: Wes, Bryan, Video, Race reports: Caleb, David, Scott

All profits from this event--and all ENDracing events--support Ground UP adventures a local North Dakota non-profit dedicated to bringing adventure to the region's youth and larger communities.