The Drift is a 13, 28, or 100-mile on-snow adventure race for cyclists, runners, or skiers in the Wind River area of Wyoming. In its third year, the race will be held on March 13-15, 2020 near Pinedale, Wyoming on groomed trails. We asked organizer Keri Hull about the event.
Cycling West: Describe the event. Are there race and ride options?
The Drift: The Drift is a run, fat bike or ski race. We offer 13, 28, and new this year 100-mile distances. We don’t offer a ride option, however, the cut off for the 100-mile course is 48 hours. Racers could approach it as more of a ride or stage race.
CW: Tell us about the course. What can riders expect? What are the distance options? Will the race cross the Continental Divide?
TD: All three races start in the Upper Green River valley. The 13-mile course is a relatively flat and fast out-and-back that is great for beginners. The 28-mile course offers a fast start followed by a climb, rolling hills and a fast descent to the finish, with just over 2000 feet total elevation gain.
This will be the first year we have offered the 100-mile distance. It offers a little of everything. 7400 feet of total elevation gain over 101 miles of primarily groomed double track, except for a short 3-mile section of single (snowmachine) track, with the altitude topping out just shy of 10,000 feet.
Nearly half of the 100-mile course is along the Continental Divide (bike) trail. Racers will cross over the Continental Divide five times during the race, as well as following it for about 5 miles.
CW: What safety precautions and checks will you have? Will riders need to bring shelter or stoves to melt snow?
TD: All races have snowmachine sweep and support and can evacuate racers if needed. The 13-mile course has an aid station at the turnaround. The 28-miler has 2 aid stations.
We will have four manned and heated aid stations stocked with hot food and snacks along the 100-mile course. There will also be unmanned tents in a couple of more exposed spots along the 100-mile course such as on Union Pass.
There is a mandatory gear list for all 100-mile racers that includes sleeping bag, shelter, and stove, similar to Susitna or Arrowhead. Racers should be self-sufficient. 100-mile racers will also carry trackers.
CW: The race is in the Wind River Range. Tell us a little about the natural history of the area.
TD: The Wind River Range stretches 100 miles north-to-south in western Wyoming. It houses 19 of the tallest 20 Wyoming mountains including Gannett Peak – the state’s high point and the headwaters of the Green River. The race course traverses west to east at the very north end of the Wind River Range tucked between Gros Ventre and Bridger Wilderness.
Our race’s namesake, the historic Green River Drift, is one of the nations longest and oldest cattle drives takes place in the upper Green. For the past 100 years ranchers have herded cattle out of the mountains back to their ranches for the winter. Cows want nothing to do with this winter wonderland.
CW: Where can people stay? Are there motels nearby? And, for the cold-acclimated, is there camping?
TD: Kendall Valley Lodge is hosting the Drift 100 finish. It is a quarter-mile from the start. Space is limited, rooms should be booked now.
There are many lodging options in Pinedale, 25 miles from the race start.
Hampton Inn and Suites, Chamber House Bed & Breakfast, and The Log Cabin Inn have all offered discounts to racers.
The area offers phenomenal dispersed camping in the summer, but the snow would make it a little challenging to car camp. All designated campgrounds in the area are closed for the winter.
CW: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
TD: We are also in need of volunteers. Contact us if you are interested.
March 13-15 — The Drift Fat Bike, Pinedale, WY, 13 or 28 miles, and 100 mile run, bike, or ski, Upper Green River Valley, held on a groomed trail in the Wind River Range in the area of the Continental Divide Trail, Keri Hull, 907-306-9806, [email protected], thedrift100.com