Chena River to Ridge Race Information
The Chena River to Ridge endurance race is open to skiers, cyclists, and runners. Racers can choose to register for the 55-mile or 26-mile course. The trail is relatively narrow and classic skis are ideal for this race course, although there are some short sections where the trail widens up enough for skate skiing. However, a precedent was set in 2015 when the winner of the 55-mile division did it on shorty skate skis. In 2016, all the top 55-milers skated. The grades on the trail rarely exceed 10 percent, so the entire course is ride-able for cyclists.
Racers have 12 hours maximum to complete the course. Racers will start in two waves separated by one hour. The 55-mile race starts at 8 AM, and the 26-mile race starts at 9 AM. ALL racers must cross the finish line by 8 PM. The race is open to 100 participants. If the race fills up, additional entries will be placed on a wait list in the order they are received. Register early to guarantee a spot in the race.
All racers MUST check in 45 minutes before their respective race start times.
On race day, racers may ONLY change their division and/or race distance at check-in (no refunds if you switch from the 55-mile to the 26-mile, sorry). You may not change race distances or divisions at the 26-mile checkpoint. A mandatory pre-race meeting will begin at 7:45 for the 55-mile participants, and 8:45 for the 26-mile participants. ALL participants must attend.
Online registration for the 2024 River to Ridge is available beginning December 8, 2023 at 12:00 AM Alaska Time at UltraSignup. Registration closes February 27, 2024 at 11:59pm. The event is limited to 100 entrants. Registration is non-refundable and not transferable. Please read the Race Rules and other information on this website before you register.
Online Registration Costs
$90 – 55 miles
$80 – 26 miles
Costs after February 1, 2024
$100 – 55 miles
$90 – 26 miles
Race Day Check-in
Racers may change their division (ski, bike, foot) and/or race distance at check-in (no refunds if you switch from the 55-mile to the 26-mile).
- Any racer that has not signed 30 min prior to the race start must wait until after the race begins to sign-in, if their spot has not already been forfeited to a waitlisted racer.
Mandatory Pre-Race Meeting:
- A mandatory pre-race meeting will begin at 8:45 AM sharp for the 26- and 55-mile racers at the race start. All participants must attend if they want to race.
- There is limited parking at the race start. Overflow parking will be available approximately 1/2 mile due west of the Twin Bears Camp at the Compeau trail head. Please plan accordingly because you may have a 30 minute walk to the race start from your parking spot.
Human Powered Race:
- No dogs or motorized equipment may be used to facilitate a racer in any way.
- Any racer bringing a dog on the race course will be disqualified.
No Outside Help:
- Racers must be self sufficient and are only allowed to accept help from another racer or race official.
- Racers are not allowed to accept any help from a race official that advances that racer along the course (such as getting a snowmachine ride or having a volunteer carry some of their gear).
- There is no required gear for the River to Ridge race.
- Racers must finish with the same mode of transport equipment that he or she started with.
- Racers may not purposely leave any gear, clothing or equipment at the aid station or on the trail.
- Racers are allowed to change clothing or leave clothing/gear at the mid-way checkpoint.
55-mile Checkpoint/aid stations:
- If you are racing the 55-mile course, there are mandatory checkpoints at mile 26, which is also the finish line for the 26-mile race, and approximately mile 35 (near the middle of the second loop). Racers must check in and out with the race volunteer at the 26-mile checkpoint. If you fail to check in or out, you will be disqualified.
- Any racer who misses or skips a checkpoint will be disqualified.
- Aid stations will have hot and cold water, powered gatorade or other electrolite drink mix, and various sweet and salty snacks.
26-mile Aid Station:
- There will be one aid station on the 26-mile course at mile 15.
- The aid station will have hot and cold water, powered gatorade or other electrolite drink mix, and various sweet and salty snacks.
- Racers are not required to stop or check in with the aid station volunteer. We do ask that you make sure your bib number is visible to the volunteer or you verbally inform the volunteer of your number as you pass by the aid station. This volunteer will be keeping track of the racers and relaying this information to the staff at the finish line.
- Total time allowed for completion of the race is 12 hours. In either distance, you must be able to finish by 9 PM Saturday.
- If racing the 55 mile: failing to reach the 26 mile checkpoint by 3:40 PM will result in a scratch.
- Any racer that is unable to reach the finish line by the cutoff time may be evacuated back to the race start by snowmachine.
- A fee and any associated costs in the dollar amount the race director deems appropriate will be charged to the racer in the event of an evacuation. A check will need to be mailed to the Race Director within 90 days of the end of the race, or the participant will not be allowed to race again.
- Any racer who is unable to complete the race will be disqualified. If a racer is able and willing to return to the start under his or her own power, or with the assistance of an external source, he or she may do so. BUT all racers MUST inform a race official if they have scratched.
- A fee of $100 will be charged to any racer who scratches or self-evacuates without notifying the Race Director. A check will need to be mailed to the Race Director within 90 days of the end of the race, or the participant will not be allowed to race again.
- ALL racers are ultimately the responsibility of the race staff and MUST be accounted for at all times.
- Any racer intentionally depositing litter on the trail will be disqualified.
A Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T:
- Be respectful of other racers, race officials, volunteers, and any other trail user in the recreation area.
- Any racer treating others poorly or perceived to be disrespectful will be disqualified.
- Do not damage any structures, trail signs, or property. Treat this area as you would your home.
- Please yield to ALL motorized vehicles, dog teams, skijorers, skiers, bikers, snowshoers, or any other person on the trail.
- Step off of the trail if you need to rest, change clothes, repair equipment, etc.
- Make noise if you are heading into a blind turn at a high rate of speed in order to alert any oncoming traffic.
TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS:
- Use the outhouses when available.
- Step as far off the trail as possible if you need to take care of big business and pack out your TP.
- Outhouses are located at the trailhead, Colorado Cr cabin (mile 6) and Stiles Cr Cabin (mile 34).
- If you see trash, pick it up and drop it off at the aid station or at the race start/finish.
- Any racer intentionally littering the trail will be disqualified.
- There is a public use cabin at race mile 6 (Colorado Cr) that is not part of the race. Please respect the privacy of others that might be staying at this cabin and only approach the cabin if there is a serious emergency.
- Do not damage any structures, trail signs, or property in the recreation area.
- Please treat this area as you your own home.
Transportation and Parking
There is limited parking at the race start/finish at the Twin Bears camp, milepost 30 Chena Hot Springs Rd. Most parking at Twin Bears will mostly be reserved for volunteers. However some spots may be available for early-arriving participants. Overflow parking will be available approximately 1/2 mile due west of the Twin Bears Camp at the Compeau trail head (~mile 29.5). A good strategy would be to carpool to the start, drop participants and gear at Twin Bears, then park at the Compeau trail head. A well-marked trail from near the Compeau trail head to Twin Bears begins about 200 yards up the Compeau trail. Please plan accordingly because you may have a 20 minute walk to the race start from your parking spot. NEW FOR 2018 – THE COMPEAU TRAIL HEAD NOW HAS A FEE STATION. All motorists parking at the trail head will be required to pay a $5 parking fee per vehicle, unless the vehicle has an annual Parks and Rec parking sticker.
WHY IS THE RACE LIMITED TO 80 PARTICIPANTS?
We decided to limit the number of participants for several reasons for the inaugural event. There is minimal parking at the race start/finish area so we can only accommodate a certain number of vehicles. Overflow parking is available about 1/4 mile away along the access road to the Nugget Cr trailhead and we will have people park there when the Colorado Cr trailhead is at capacity. We will also be leaving a certain number of spaces open at the trailhead for recreation area users that are not involved in the race. In addition to parking, the trails are narrow and may be congested and unsafe with more than 80 participants.
CAN I SKATE SKI THE COURSE?
The race course is narrow (snowmachine width) so classic skis are preferred and highly recommended. There are a few stretches that are wide enough to skate ski but you will definitely challenge yourself if you plan to skate ski the entire race course. All that being said, if you have short skate skis and a lot of determination, it could be done.
IS THE RACE COURSE GOING TO BE GROOMED PRIOR TO THE RACE?
The trails are maintained and groomed by the AK Department of Natural Resources but there is no guarantee the trail will be groomed right before the race. If new snow falls or the wind blows, the race course may be soft and challenging.
IS THE RACE COURSE TOO STEEP FOR BIKING?
The trail network was designed for recreation and the grades rarely exceed 10 percent. If the trail is not too soft, cyclists should easily be able to ride up almost all the hills.
CAN I PARK AT THE RACE START?
Parking will be tight at the race start/finish. We will be leaving some spots open for trail users that are not associated with the race. Some racers will be able to park at the start but once the lot is full, racers and spectators will be directed to overflow parking along the Nugget Cr trailhead access road (about 1/4 mile away). Racers/spectators will then follow a packed snowmachine trail in the ditch paralleling Chena Hot Springs Rd. A crossing guard will ensure that everyone crosses the road safely.
CAN I LEAVE CLOTHING AT THE RACE START?
Yes. Feel free to bring some warm clothes to wear prior to the race start, especially if you have to walk from the overflow parking lot. You can leave these clothes at the race headquarters at the start/finish line.
WHAT SORT OF FOOD WILL BE AT THE AID STATION AND CHECKPOINT?
There will be hot and cold water at the aid station and checkpoint/finish line. This way racers can mix together whatever temperature they fluid they prefer. There will also be hot chocolate, instant coffee, Gatorade, Tang, and Coke. As for food, you can expect to find salty snacks (Fritos, Pringles, nuts), instant soup and Ramen noodles, and a variety of baked goods such as homebread/butter, cookies, and brownies. In addition, there will be a BBQ grill at the race finish/checkpoint at the Colorado Cr trailhead and the race volunteers will be grilling up hot dogs (meat and vegan) w/sauerkraut.