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.
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 2 hours drive from Grand Forks, ND and 1.5 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Registration includes: Pre race meal (Friday night) for full and half wilderpeople. Wilderman swim caps for all racers. All finishers of the half will get a non-transferrable $50 credit for entry into the full next year. Other prizes will be awarded to top finishers of both the full and the half depending on sponsors and race numbers, but please don't do this or any ENDrace for the prizes--prizes are not our focus--quality suffering is.
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, and much of the run portion is simply inaccessible except on foot. 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).
This is an unsupported race outside of aid stations. Feel free to bring your caravan along to cheer, but they can't stop, fix your bike on the course, and fill your water bottles outside of official aid stations. Please respect this rule, as it allows the most people to race in near-solitude.
- Mosquitos are present in the area. At dusk and dawn they can get particularly bad if you are moving slowly. Also, Dermacentor andersoni and Dermacentor variabilis are present. (Wood ticks and dog ticks. We have not seen any deer ticks, Ixodes scapularis, but have heard that some may be lurking.) We recommend bringing spray with a high DEET content for areas with dense bush, using permethrin-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 allergies may want to wear long pants/socks/calf sleeves during the running portion. Race creator Andy is personally severely allergic to the plant but has only ever had an issue when he's been off trail.
- With the addition of the half distance option, the cutoff for the full distance has been stiffened up a bit. If you are not up for the challenge of attempting the race with the new cutoff, try the half option, which is still far from something to sneeze at!