THIS IS THE 2021 COURSE GUIDE. WE HOPE TO HAVE A 2022 GUIDE UP IN SEPTEMBER. THE COURSE MAY CHANGE SUBSTANTIALLY, BUT THE NATURE OF THE RACE AND THE GENERAL CONCEPT (INCL. VARIOUS CHECKPOINTS ALONG THE COURSE AS WELL AS A START AT FINISH AT THE FORKS) REMAINS THE SAME.
Race participants should use the official Cue Sheets and GPS Maps posted in the Race Bible to navigate, NOT the maps and info in this Guide. There are often reasons beyond our control to make last minute changes to the Cue Sheets and GPS, and we’ll let all participants know it the pre-race meeting video if we’ve made changes, but we may not have the last minute opportunity to make changes to this Guide.
The full course map below is simply a screen grab of a rough draft. It’s not meant to be used for navigation or as a final copy. Edits are likely before we publish the final, official GPS’d map and related cue sheets, but this map should give you a general idea of the route and CheckPoint locations, even if some of the route specifics change a bit before race weekend.
Full Course Map
The Forks, sponsored by The Forks – Start Line
All distances and disciplines start at The Forks, just outside the CN Stage (we’ll be operating Race HQ in the green room under the Stage).
Unfortunately we won’t likely be able to congregate inside the Stage green room before the event as we did last year (because of new Covid-19 protocols) but there are washrooms available if you need to take a last minute ‘comfort break” (trust us, we’ve been there).
This is also the Finish Line for all distances and disciplines. If we need to fall back on our Covid Contingency Plans this location will also serve as a CheckPoint for the mid and long distance racers as they do 2 or 4 loops of our shorter course that goes through the Fraser Road CheckPoint and back to the start.
From the beginning of your race at The Forks you’ll head south along urban trails and, weather permitting, the Red River and the Seine River (the Seine section is new to us this year to create more of a looped ride and run in and out of the city compared with retracing the route within town as you did last year). You’ll avoid most roadways and experience some surprisingly good riding and running right in town. You’re headed to the Floodway area and our first CheckPoint on Fraser Road.
Distance between The Forks and Fraser Road CheckPoint for all participants: 28km
Fraser Road, sponsored by the Manitoba Association of Trail Runners Approximate Midway Point for Short Distance Bike and Run
Just north of the Floodway and just south of Winnipeg we encounter our 1st CheckPoint on Fraser Road. Volunteers from the Manitoba Association of Trail Runners have graciously adopted this checkpoint and will be stationed inside a winterized shed, with a portable toilet nearby.
You’ll likely make a quick stop here as you either prepare to turn around and head back north to the U of M CheckPoint (short distance racers) or carry on further south (mid and long distance racers) to the St Adolphe CheckPoint, but not before taking a quick bite from the available grab-and-go food provided by the trail runners group.
Mid and Long Distance racers heading south will quickly cross the Floodway and, depending on weather conditions, may find themselves on formidable ground as the next section is often windblown and thick with snow. Or, on light precipitation years it could end up being a fast gravel section. We’ll know on race day!
Distance between Fraser Road and U of M Checkpoints for Short Distance participants: 14km
Distance between Fraser Road and St Adolphe CheckPoints for Mid and Long Distance participants: 17km
The Curling Club on the south side of St Adolphe houses our next CheckPoint.
Mid and Long Distance racers will file through this area along the berm that protects the town in cases of severe Red River flooding as they continue south to Niverville. Conditions are usually decent on this next stretch unless there’s severe wind or cold.
Distance between St Adolphe and Niverville Checkpoints for Mid and Long Distance Participants: 11km
Niverville – Turn Around for Mid and Long Distance Participants
The approach to our Niverville CheckPoint will look a bit different then pictured above due to road and infrastructure changes in the area but the facility itself remains the same, except that there’s no warm food provided this year :(. We will offer some quick grab and go treats though (think Hallowe’en style chocolate bars and similar stuff).
All Mid and Long Distance racers head back north after this (the Short Distance racers having already turned back north earlier) and retrace the route to St Adolphe, unlike last year where the Long Distance racers continued further south. We’re keeping the route more contained this year to address some pandemic related issues so Niverville is as far south as anyone is headed.
Distance between Niverville and St Adolphe Checkpoints for Mid and Long Distance participants: 11km
Revisiting St Adolphe
All but the Short Distance racers will travel up HWY 200 and do the St Adolphe berm one more time (this time headed north) as they approach the related CheckPoint at the Curling Club again.
From there we skip the Fraser Road Checkpoint we used on the way south near the beginning of the race (but otherwise follow mostly the same race route) and instead the Mid Distance participants make their 2nd last stop at the U of M Active Living Centre while the Long Distance Participants stop short of the U of M and instead check through a spot on course at the south end of St. Norbert before heading west down the La Salle River.
Distance between St Adolphe and U of M Checkpoints for Mid Distance Participants: 28km
Distance between St Adolphe and St Norbert Checkpoints for Long Distance Participants: 21km
St Norbert – Turn Off for Long Distance Participants
As the Long Distance Participants reach the very south end of St Norbert and the comforts of the city tempt them they’ll peel off the route home and instead head west down the La Salle River. We’ll have volunteers stationed in or near their cars close to where Hwy 75 crosses the La Salle River at the south end of St Norbert to check you through that spot.
Note that there is no shelter here, and no facilities to make use of. The Long Distance racers are the most seasoned of all our participants and are expected to be able to operate unaided for much of the race. Between St. Adolphe and their return to Winnipeg when they eventually get to the U of M (ie. from St Adolphe and through their whole trek up the La Salle River and back down again until they reach the U of M) the CheckPoints are completely unaided.
What they lose in aid they gain in beauty as they head from St Norbert up the La Salle River to the town of La Salle.
Distance between St Norbert and town of La Salle Checkpoints for Long Distance participants: 16km
Town of La Salle
The Long Distance Racers pass through the town of La Salle as they continue along the La Salle River but they don’t actually leave the river, so this is still an unserviced area. This is also a unique CheckPoint in that it’s completely unmanned. We’re asking the racers who pass through here to text or call HQ so we know they’re progressing safely (the location and text/phone number will be noted on their cue sheets and we’ll post signs on the river at the location).
For all but the fastest racers there should be a business or two that is open in La Salle (e.g. a Co-op gas station) if they need to get off the river and take shelter, buy some food supplies, etc. The fastest folks may make it through the area before businesses open for the day (the Co-op opens at 8am).
From here the Long Distance participants continue up the La Salle River until their turn around point, either in the town of Sanford or at a designated spot right on the river.
Distance between the town of La Salle and the La Salle River/Sanford turn around Checkpoints for Long Distance participants: 26km
La Salle River Turn Around or Town of Sanford – turn around for Long Distance Participants
The Long Distance Racers will either turn around right on the La Salle River or their route will take them off the river for a short stretch as they reach the town of Sanford and then turn around, rejoining the river on their way back shortly afterwards (at the time of this posting we’re stilling working out logistics with local facilities). Count on another CheckPoint with no facilities though.
As with the CheckPoint in the town of La Salle the very fastest racers may make it to Sanford just before local shops open but a Domo gas station with a food mart opens at 10am, just about when we estimate racers will be through.
From here racers turn around and head back east along the La Salle River, passing through the town of La Salle one more time.
Distance between the La Salle River/Sanford turn around and the town of La Salle Checkpoints for Long Distance participants: 26km
Revisiting the town of La Salle
The Long Distance Racers will pass through the town of La Salle a second time as they head home and get closer to the final stretch. Just as with the first time they’ll stay on the river and text or call Race HQ to let us know they’re still progressing well before they continue down the river and then on to the U of M.
Distance between the town of La Salle and the U of M CheckPoints for Long Distance participants: 22km
U of M, sponsored by the Active Living Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management
Almost there! This is the last stop for all disciplines and distances as we’re now well and truly back in the City.
The U of M Active Living Centre is usually a quick stop for racers as they make their way closer to the finish line. From here it’s back onto a lightly traveled (for the most part) urban route that eventually takes you alongside or on top of the Red River as you make your way to the City Centre and The Forks.
Distance between U of M Checkpoint and Finish at The Forks: 16km
The Forks Finish Line!
After riding through some scenic parts of the city and hopefully on the Red River (weather permitting) racers finish the event right where they started, back at the CN Stage at The Forks.
Congratulations racers, you’re done!