What is it really like?

Cyclist Paul Krahn has a great essay (photos by Kyle Thomas) in the latest issue of gorgeous bike packing magazine Bunyan Velo describing his first go at the challenge.

And we’re happy to see him back after last year’s punishing conditions. That damn wind.

You might have other questions though, and so we’re pleased to launch a section of the website dedicated to getting you the answers you’re looking for.

Feel free to ask about anything related to the event. You can even comment on other people’s questions or answers. Our crack team of ultra endurance specialists are standing by.

Yeti Like See Bike!

Quick Route Guide

We’ve got a more complete spectators guide coming out shortly, but in the mean-time, here’s a quick guide to each section of Actif Epica:

Secteur 1, St Malo to St Pierre

  • 25km, beautiful park vistas, followed by some wild trail sections
  • Optimal viewing sites at St. Malo park gate or looking south from PR205 at Perrault Road (don’t drive down this road – typically very soft snow)
  • Watch to see who is in the lead! Runners start one hour before the cyclists – who will make it to St. Pierre first?
  • Prime activity from 7am to 10:30am

Secteur 2, St Pierre to Crystal Spring

  • 17km, a scenic road section along the Rat River, ending with a few tough miles north of Otterburne
  • Optimal viewing spot at Rat River Bridge (River Oak Road)
  • Watch the racers come through Otterburne – past the giant grain elevator and the tiny post office
  • Prime activity from 9 am to 11am

Secteur 3, Crystal Spring to Niverville

  • 20km, huge prairie skies and wide open spaces beautiful park vistas, followed by rough trail and …
  • A great viewing spot at Fontaine Road (watch for deep snow close to end of the road)
  • A neat feature on this part of the course is on Alarie Road, just north of PR305 – the road has a zigzag in a place where French and English land surveying traditions meet. This is unique in the region. Depending on driving conditions, it may be possible to drive through these zigzags, or you can watch from PR305 as racers weave their way north and east from
  • Prime activity from 10:30am to 4pm

Secteur 4, Niverville to St Adolphe

  • 12km, a short section, but one of the most exposed to the wind, and finishing with a trail section leading to the checkpoint in St Adolphe
  • A great place to watch is to visit the checkpoint in St. Adolphe and then walk through the park on the course
  • In the park, check out the historic ferry which crossed the Red River before the bridge north of town was built. There are also a number of restaurants in St Adolphe if lunch is calling you
  • Prime activity from noon to 3 pm (cyclists) and then 6-11pm (runners)

Secteur 5, St Adolphe to University of Manitoba

  • 29km, probably the toughest leg of the race – with prairie winds, the crossing of the massive Red River Floodway, and then a tough slog through deep snow in Maple Grove Park
  • Optimal viewing site at the corner of Chrypko Road and Two Mile Road (north side of the Floodway)
  • If you’re up for a walk, you can hike up the Floodway hill from the viewing spot and see the true enormity of this flood control structure. Check in at the University of Manitoba checkpoint and visit race sponsor Daily Bread Café for some warm soup or some hot coffee.
  • Prime activity from 2pm to 7pm (cyclists) and then 9pm to 1am (runners)

Secteur 6, University of Manitoba to The Forks

  • 15km, a mix of trails and quiet streets, finishing on the Red River Mutual trail (on the Red River)
  • Optimal viewing sites at the Forks Market Atrium finish line, or head down to the Red River ice to check out Rendezvous on Ice, grab a bite, have a drink and watch the racers come in
  • Watch the special medal presentations at the finish line, and see all The Forks has to offer
  • Prime activity from 3pm to 9pm (cyclists) and then 10:30pm to 2:30am (runners)

Winter Solstice Recon Ride Report

December 21, 2014

With the exception of a little freezing rain to liven up the driving conditions, the weather decided to cooperate on this little excursion. Rolling into St. Pierre Jolys, I found three other like-minded individuals keen to scope out some of the course (and fit in a Sunday morning ride).

No adventure is without a hiccup or two along the way. This time around, I discovered the press-fit cups and axle had popped out when I came to unpack my bike and put the front wheel on. The idea of bailing without even one pedal stroke was not a pleasant thought. Luckily I had help in the form of the always resourceful Pete and some tools borrowed from the local gas station. Within 30 minutes Dale, Mark, Pete and I were off and rolling toward St. Malo to check out the first section of the course.


The winds picked up as we rolled out, pushing hard from the South and slowing our outbound journey. At least it looked like a speedy return trip would be in the cards. Using the narrower tires on a cross bike as a guideline, the route was almost entirely passable on that day, with minimal walking/pushing required. However, with recent snowfall and the likelihood of more to come, it will almost certainly be a different story mid-February.

WidenedPete pointed out the Crow-Wing Trail has been widened through one of the much appreciated tree-covered sections, complete with the placement of rocks/boulders at the road side entry to deter vehicles.

Previously, this section has been known to sport deep ruts and last year greater snowfall amounts with drifting meant walking/pushing through, no matter your ‘weapon-of-choice’.

We pressed on and headed toward the bridge and field sections on the first part of the route, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather for late December.


Before long, we found ourselves in St. Malo and stopped for the obligatory picture on the (frozen) lake before turning around to head back.


The return trip went well, with strong tailwinds making for a speedy journey and we found ourselves back in St. Pierre with a quick stop to refuel at Le Routier before parting ways.

Thanks to those that were able to make it out this time it was a great day for a ride! We are planning another recon ride for a different section of the route soon (in January), so if you missed out this time and are interested in coming out to ride and chat about Actif Epica, winter riding or just for fun, stay tuned!