The Drift takes place in the front-country of the Wind River Range in Wyoming. The terrain is rugged at times and can be thickly treed in places. The race is on United States Forest Service land, which is home to many different wildlife species, including moose, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, and more. Wyoming’s Wind River Range is legendary for its scenery, its remote isolation, and its weather. Snow is possible any day of the year. Be Aware: This is a winter race in formidable country. You must be self-sufficient. There will be checkpoints with supplies along your route, but racers should not depend solely on them for safety, food, water or emergency first aid. There are gear requirements. There will be pack checks, and you will be penalized if you are missing any mandatory gear. Recommended gear is strongly recommended. Use good judgement when pulling your supplies together-winter racing is its own type of beast, and in the Winds you are at the mercy of the wilderness. Frostbite, hypothermia, dehydration, sun- and windburn are all very real and potentially deadly dangers here. Be prepared. Be overly prepared. Should you show up for the race under-prepared, it is at the discretion of a Race Director to determine whether you can safely race, and you may be denied entry. So get your shit together and be safe.
The Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale is offering a discount for any registered racers stocking up on gear-please bring in your registration confirmation to get your discount.
- Blinkie light
- Insulated water container with at least 1-liter capacity
- Top insulative layer. This can be down or synthetic, but it must be an insulated layer for emergency warmth-a shell alone is not sufficient.
- Hat and gloves.
- Food-use good judgement-physical output and winter conditions will necessitate more calories to sustain both endurance and body warmth. Plan your food wisely, and then pack more than you think you will need. If nothing else, you may be able to help someone else who is struggling.
- Helmet (for cyclists).
- Good layering clothing, perhaps more than one type. When out in the elements, layering is your best bet. It gives you the option to dump body heat quickly if you are over-heating, and it gives you the option to pack on more insulation when you need it. Absolutely no cotton should be worn or used. Wool and/or synthetic base layers are best. Wear wool socks. Insulation layers such as puffy vests, pants, and jackets (a jacket is required) can be either down or synthetic, and are extremely efficient at capturing and storing body heat.
- Hand/toe warmers. These little guys pack a lot of heat in a little package. Sometimes no matter what you do to keep your body warm, your fingers and toes stay cold. With a race of this magnitude, that can be disastrous and can lead to frostbite, so be sure and keep those extremities toasty. Throw some in your pack for safety’s sake.
- Sunglasses or goggles. If it’s snowing, these can be helpful game-changers for preserving your vision while the snow is blowing everywhere. If it’s sunny, snow-blindness, which is about as fun as it sounds, becomes a real danger. Pack something to protect those eyeballs of yours. Nobody wants to come try and find someone who’s stumbling around blind in the mountains.
- Spot or Garmin personal tracking device. The course will be groomed and flagged. You will get a map. Checkpoints are mandatory stops, so we can make sure everyone is accounted for. Should you get lost, a personal tracking device can locate you quickly. It also allows friends or family to watch your progress, which is pretty cool.
- Bear spray. The Wind River Range in its entirety is grizzly country. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that whole hibernation thing-guess what? Not true. It is a common misconception that bears hibernate during the winter. While bears tend to slow down during the winter, they are not true hibernators. Black bears, Grizzly bears and Brown bears do go into a deep sleep during the winter months, known as torpor, but they can awaken quickly and easily. Aside from bears, racers will be in moose, mountain lion, and wolf territory. Being prepared is never a bad idea.
- Sunscreen and chapstick. Remember that whole sun- and windburn thing? Protect your face and your lips so you don’t come out looking like one of those sad gas station hot dogs that’s been on the heat-lamp roller thingy too long..
More questions? Check out the FAQ page!