Course Details (for the full distance): 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: 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: 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.
Course Details (for the half distance): Half racers will do one lap of the swim and one lap of the bike -- with a few extra miles at the beginning and end of the bike this means they will do about 63 miles of biking total. They will then face the second part of the run. This means that they won't have nearly as much elevation gain as folks on the full course but will have some of the tougher creek sections, and the river crossing on the run. The run will be about 17 miles. Good times!
Course Details (for the full relay): We're working these out, but the course will be the same as for the full race.