With a total gain of 11,635' between the bike and run courses and an average water temp of 53°F, Alaskaman is one of the most challenging extreme triathlons on Earth.
ALASKMAN X-TRI SWIM COURSE
THE 55°F 2.6-MILE SWIM COURSE HAS A CUTOFF OF 7:15AM GIVING ATHLETES 2HRS 30MINS (AVERAGE OF 3:35/100M) TO COMPLETE THE COURSE.
Miller's Landing's Rescue Boat Captains and Professional Kayak Guides, Team One Medical & Race Management/Officials reserve the right to pull any competitor from the course, at any time, for any reason we deem necessary.
The Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon Swim Course will start just offshore from Miller's Landing in Seward, Alaska. The water averages about 53°F in July. IF the water is found to be extraordinarily cold and unsafe to swim the full 2.6 distance, event management will reevaluate the distance and course and make the proper adjustments to keep all swimmers safe. Full neoprene wetsuits (to ankles, wrists, and neck), neoprene booties, neoprene swim cap, and an additional swim cap (silicon event cap) are REQUIRED for the swim portion of Alaskaman. Also, ear plugs, and Vaseline/Aquafor are highly recommended on all open skin areas. Full neoprene hoods that cover your neck are also permitted. Swim gloves of any kind are not permitted UNLESS the water temperature is 54 degrees or below which is highly probable.
The Swim Course is an in-water start meaning all athletes will enter the water at Miller's Landing and swim approximately 100-meters offshore to the start that will be marked by a single boat we will identify to all athletes that morning. Approximately 15-kayaks and 5-rescue boats will be on course with the swimmers at all times. Due to the depth of the water, current, and tides we cannot set buoys effectively in the water. Instead we will position flood lights along the shoreline leading into Seward from Miller's. Swimmers are to keep kayakers on their right, land and lights on their left while staying far enough (100m) away from the shoreline rocks to stay safe. Simply follow the shoreline and 2.67-miles later the swim exit boat ramp, complete with flags and inflatable, will become visible.
SOME SIGHTING AND BREATHING ADVICE: Practice bilateral breathing. The sun, waves, and tide will be coming at you from behind and the right side. If you can only breath to your right the swim “may” be a lot tougher than you anticipate. Although kayaks will be a majority to your right they will spread out a lot after the start as well. Your primary sighting will occur by maintaining a set visual and constant distance from the shore as you progress forward. That shore is always on your left. Something to keep in mind.
Athletes may enter the water whenever they like from 4:35am-4:45am but the event will start from the kayak line at 4:45am sharp, when the horn/gun sounds. From there all athletes are to swim a point-to-point course keeping the shoreline on their left and kayaks their right. Buoys should be used as far off directional sighting points in the distance. Because of the kayak to swimmer ratio, about 1:15, there should be at least one kayak within view for most of the swim. You may not always see them but they are there, if you need help remember your will float in your wetsuit if you stay calm. Simply wave your hands above your head so I kayak can see you. Kayakers will have headlamps on each of the guides to help with swimmers spotting them on the course. At the end of the swim we will have an inflatable and large flags for you to site off of. These items will also be highly visible from quite some distance out, helping swimmers keep the line as they advance along the course.
This will be a very cold swim with very low visibility (less than 1’ due to glacier runoff/silt). It will take each swimmer at least 5-15 minutes to acclimate to the cold water, some may take longer. Swimming at a faster pace in the beginning will elevate your heart rate and help to warm you up. Once your body acclimates there will be some numbness in your hands and face making it much more tolerable. Having a good wetsuit, neoprene cap, booties, earplugs, and Vaseline/Aquafor will make all the difference in the world. We will host a social swim practice (must signup online for) the day before that we HIGHLY recommend all athletes attend to get a feel for the water so they're not shocked the morning of the event. If the water is below 54°F we will reevaluate the course and distance to keep all swimmers safe.
Beyond the cold, the sheltered nature of the bay, may, in rare cases, lead to fog, but the chances of it effecting the event are minimal. In our first year (2017) we had major fog roll in and swimmers couldn't see much of anything for the first 800m or so. Everyone did great and kept swimming in the correct direction and got through it. Because of this we have made some light additions to the kayaks (headlamps) and shoreline generator lights, to help. Rough waters in the bay are rare that early in the morning. In almost any rough water situation the event will go on according to plan. If the water is too rough, the event crew will evaluate the situation and make a decision on what to do at that time that is in the best safety interests of the athletes. Certain wildlife spotting on the course may also cause course adjustments or cancelations.
PLEASE NOTE - There is no swimming In Resurrection Bay before the scheduled and permitted Alaskaman events: Resurrection Bay is a wild and dangerous place. We work for nearly a year securing US Coast Guard, DNR and City of Seward permits to have the Friday Social Swim and Saturday Alaskaman Swim. Additionally we plan the event day(s) around tidal patterns and sunrise to be sure our athletes are as safe as we can make them during the swim. We also monitor currents, wildlife, and weather to the best of our ability to further add to that safety. Swimming in Resurrection Bay without approvals from the parties mentioned above and without consideration and monitoring of the other factors is hazardous to the swimmer and boaters in the area. It may also effect local businesses and ultimately whether or not the event will be allowed to continue. This is why no swimming of the course is allowed outside our Friday Social Swim and Saturday event swim. Please respect this, it's for your safety and for our event.
ALASKMAN X-TRI BIKE COURSE
THE 113-MILE BIKE COURSE WITH 4,635' OF GAIN HAS A CUTOFF AT 2:45PM GIVING ATHLETES 7HRS 30MINS (AVERAGE OF 15.06MPH) TO COMPLETE THE COURSE.
(Illustrated Map Below)
The Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon Bike Course starts in Seward and takes the Seward highway north out of town. In 2018 we are eliminating the out and back section at Portage Glacier. All athletes stay on the Seward Highway for approximately 100-miles until they get to the Bird Creek Camp Ground. From there all athletes will exit the Seward Highway and u-turn onto the Bird-to-Gird paved bike trail. This trail is open to the public. We will be posting warning signs about the event to educate anyone beyond the event that may be entering the trail system but it's a RULE that once you're on the bike path you are NOT allowed to be in the aero position. With the possibility of pedestrians and wildlife on the trail you need to be as alert and in control as possible. The paved path section of the bike follows the highway back towards Girdwood for about 12-13 miles with about 850' of climbing. Once in Girdwood riders will turn left onto the Alyeska Highway (road) and ride to T2 at the Alyeska Day Lodge. This is also the Run Start, Mountain Checkin Point, and Finish Line. The entire bike has about 4,635' of total gain.
Air temp highs/lows for July in Seward and Girdwood are 50°-65°F. The air temperature for a majority of the event should hover around 50°-60°F. Air temps may drop considerably if it’s raining (as it often times is). All riders must be prepared for this. Please keep in mind that when riding in general the air temperature typically feels quite a bit colder than it actually is especially if winds are present. Athlete support crews will ONLY be able to assist their athlete between miles 30-85 of the Seward Highway. Because of the rerouted course we may adjust the allowed range of support miles on the bike in the 2-3 weeks leading up to the event. We will let everyone know if that changes. Support crews are not allowed in the first 30 or last 25 miles miles basically. Every rider should be able to carry enough in the beginning and after mile 85 to get through those areas with hydration/nutritional issues. The reason we don't allow support in those miles is due to narrow roads and high probability of congestion and accidents in adding 200 more cars to the road in those areas.
Keep in mind this course is on a highway and completely open to all traffic. All riders should be aware of their surroundings at all times and obey all normal cycling and vehicular traffic laws. Also be aware that the wind can be your best friend or your worst nightmare on the Seward Highway. At times the course has been known to have 25-30mph sustained winds for the entire duration of the ride. If it’s at your back it’s a dream but there’s a good possibility it could be a devastating headwind the entire time. Be prepared.
EVENT MECHANICS & SAG SUPPORT
It is each athlete's individual responsibility to get their bike to and from Alaskaman™ in working and safe order and maintain/fix it while on the bike course. We will not transport or be responsible for bikes in any way, at any time. We will be inspecting each bike in the morning as they enter the Swim/Bike Transition (T1) and securing them until the swim cutoff at 7:00am (or whenever you claim it to start your ride). Beyond that your bike is in your hands, and the hands of your support crew. Upon entering the Swim/Bike Transition (T1), If your bike is deemed to be unsafe and cannot be easily fixed, you will not be able to event. We "may" have limited bike support onsite but do not count on it. Seward is a remote location and getting qualified mechanics to drive over 100 miles to work on bikes is not easy. We will do what we can but remember that that is just another part of what makes this an "extreme" triathlon. Each athlete and their support must be responsible for themselves and reaching that finish line.
BIKE COURSE CUTOFF TIMES
Race Management/Officials, Alaska State Troopers, Team One Medical, and Chain Reaction Cycles reserve the right to pull any competitor from the course, at any time, for any reason we deem necessary.
*KEEP IN MIND* that the completion time of 7hrs 30mins below is assuming you're the last swimmer out and just barely beat the swim course cutoff. Every minute you come out of the water ahead of that cutoff is essentially time you get to add to the bike. However, the overall time of day for the cutoff does not change. So if you take 2hrs 30mins in the water you have 7hrs 30mins on the bike but if you come out of the water in 2hrs that means you've given yourself an extra 30mins on the bike for a total of 8hrs before you hit the time of day cutoff of 2:45pm.
- 113-MILE BIKE - 7 HRS 30 MINS - 2:45PM - 15.06MPH AVERAGE
- Mile 30 Checkpoint by 9:15am (2hrs) - 15mph ave. pace.
- Mile 60 Checkpoint by 11:15am (4hrs) - 15mph ave. pace.
- Mile 85 Checkpoint by 12:15pm (5hrs 40mins) - 15mph ave. pace
- Mile 113 Finish by 2:45pm (2hrs 18mins) - 15.27 mph ave. pace.
- Mile 30 Checkpoint by 9:15am (2hrs) - 15mph ave. pace.
CELLULAR COVERAGE BIKE COURSE MAP
ALASKMAN X-TRI RUN COURSE
THE 26.2-MILE RUN COURSE WITH 7,000' OF GAIN HAS A CUTOFF OF 10:30PM GIVING ATHLETES 7HRS 45MINS (AVERAGE OF 17:44/MILE) TO COMPLETE THE COURSE.
(Illustrated Map Below)
The Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon Run Course starts just outside of the T2 Area located in the Alyeska Day Lodge Parking lot located at the end of the Alyeska Highway in Girdwood. This area serves as the T2 Area, Run Start, Mountain Checkin, and the Finish Line. Air temp highs/lows for July in Girdwood are 50°-65°F but will get colder as the day progresses and as athletes climb Mount Alyeska to the finish (miles 20-27). Plan accordingly. The air temperature for a majority of the event should hover around 50°-60°F.
Runners leave T2 and head south along the Alyeska Highway on the paved bike trail all the way to where the bike portion of the event turns off the path onto the road (Alyeska Highway). Once runners reach the bike turn point they will u-turn on the trail and head back the way they came. Runners will run out on the path on the left side and run back on the left side (against the typical flow of traffic). This is because on the way back runners will vier left onto Crow Creek Road and head further north to the Winner Creek Trailhead. The Winner Creek Trail is not paved. Most of the run from that point on will not be paved. Once on Winner Creek Trail runners will take the trail all the way until they meet up with the Nordic Loop just outside of Alyeska Resort. A major point of interest and potential difficulty on Winner Creek trail is the hand tram just after mile 8. All athletes must use the hand tram. Athletes will have preferential treatment (vs non athletes) in line. We don't expect a line and if there is it shouldn't be long. A good place to rest for a minute and regroup. This is equal for everyone in the order the approached. It takes about 2 minutes for the cart to go round trip. Meaning about 60-90 seconds to get across then 30-60 seconds for the cart to come back. We will add a couple minutes to the mountain cutoffs to keep this fair for all and if you're stuck there for longer we have staff at the tram to take note and we will take that into account at the cutoffs if necessary. However, cutoffs are in place for a reason (safety, light, wildlife, manageability) so if you miss a cutoff time(s) and we do not feel you're close enough to it or can make it up it will not matter if you burned time waiting for the tram, you may still be diverted to the low course (at our discretion). Tram and cutoffs do not come into play at mile 22 if the cutoff issue is the top 65% qualifier (see below).
Once turned off Winner Creek Trail and onto the Nordic Loop athletes will complete the entire loop as an out and back maximizing the available distance and gain. Once out of the nordic loop athletes will find themselves back on the paved bike path that goes from just outside the Nordic Loop all the way back to T2 at the Day Lodge. This total distance is about 16.2-miles and about 3,000' of gain. The remaining 10-miles and 4,000' of gain are all on the mountain. Once back in the Day Lodge Parking lot runners will checkin with their support before entering the mountain. This will be a medical and backpack check for both athlete and support. Those without support, the mandatory supply kit, and/or are not of sound medical health, will not be permitted to enter the mountain. Remember that we are allowing support crews to run the entire run course with their athlete this year although the only mandatory support run section is the last 10-miles on the mountain. Athletes and their support have a choice, run the entire course together OR run only the last 10-miles together (athlete runs the first 16.2 alone). That's it. Support cannot start running anywhere they want with their athlete. We have to checkin support and athletes at the beginning of the run and the mountain start.
When entering the mountain the remaining 4,000' of climbing will take place in the last 10-miles over very steep MTB and hiking trails made up of dirt and rock. This is the most extreme part of Alaskaman and contributes some of the most spectacular views on the entire course. This is also why we require at least one member of your support crew to accompany you to the top over two different climbs and back down twice, once to the resort for the second climb and once after that second climb, to the finish line.
*In the event of bad weather event management, Team One Medical, and Alyeska Ski Partol reserves the right to change and alter the course as we see fit to ensure the safety of the athletes. If this happens every attempt will be made for the alternate course to contain the 26.2-miles of the full event but a shorter distance may be necessary if weather continues to decline. This may or may not mean the use of the mountain.
Please remember no athlete will be permitted to run the mountain section of the course (miles 16.2-26.2) without at least one support crew member with them at all times. You may not use someone else’s support. You may run/hike the mountain section with more than one support crew member but at least one is required at all times. All athletes must be within sight of their support crew member (in front or behind) at all times. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. Be sure your support crew trains for the 10-miles on the mountain. It is very difficult and if your support crew cannot keep up you must stay with them. They can also join you for the first 16.2-miles if you/they would like and essentially do the entire run with you. HOWEVER, they either do the entire thing OR just the last 10. They cannot join you on the course wherever they'd like. You can also not progress without each other. It's a no man/woman left behind mentality out there so choose your support runner(s) wisely, they can help, or hurt, your result.
There will be medical, timing, media, and general event staff at the finish. We will also have a limited choice of hydration and nutrition (water, Gatorade, Base Salts, PowerGels, PowerBars, cookies, pretzels, and bananas) at the finish. Post event food will be available for purchase via the finish grill that the resort is putting on. You may also go anywhere else you'd like to eat. It's not mandatory you eat at the finish or anywhere for that matter. You have the choice. We are not supplying food beyond hydration and limited nutrition at the finish, enough to get calories in you. Spectators, family, and friends may take the aerial tram up and down to meet their athlete at the top during the two summits of the mountain and cheer them on as they come up and go down, if they'd like. A day pass to ride the tram is $29 and is NOT included for anyone.
RUN COURSE CUTOFF TIMES
*PLEASE READ* Alyeska Resort, Ski Patrol, Mountain Rescue, Race Management/Officials, and Team One Medical reserve the right to pull any competitor from the course, at any time, for any reason we deem necessary. All medical checkpoints are there for a reason. If we deem you unfit to continue you will not be permitted to do so. This will usually happen at the checkpoints but it could happen anywhere on any course. Please be aware that we may choose to stop, shorten, or cancel parts or all of the course due to extreme weather, wildlife, or other acts of God that are out of our control. Of course this is NOT what we want but our #1 priority is athlete safety and we will do whatever is necessary to not take any additional unnecessary risks while you are all out there. Our choices are based off of years of experience as well as information gathered throughout the day and made as joint decisions with officials, medical, and all permitting parties and municipalities. Please be polite and show respect as we make will undoubtedly be forced to make some tough calls throughout the day.
ALL ATHLETES CHECKPOINT/CUTOFFS
MILE 7.5 - Crow Creek Road & Winner Creek Trailhead - 5:00pm (2HRS 15MIN)
This is both a time and medical checkpoint. All athletes must make this checkpoint by 5:00pm (2hrs. 15min) averaging a pace of 18:00/mile.
MILE 16.5 - Day Lodge Parking Lot - 7:45pm (5HRS)
This is both a time and medical checkpoint for athletes and their mandatory support crews. All athletes must make this checkpoint by 7:45pm (5hrs) averaging a pace of 18:10/mile. We will not only check times but also medical, support crew, and that everyone that enters the mountain has their mandatory pack of items.
MILE 22 - Alyeska Resort Tram TerminaL - 8:45PM (6HRS) FOR THOSE WISHING TO EARN AN ORANGE SHIRT.
This is both a time and medical checkpoint for athletes and support. This checkpoint will also serve as the deciding area for which athletes are permitted to take the high route orange shirt track and which athletes will be diverted to the low route white shirt track.
HIGH ROUTE - ORANGE SHIRT QUALIFICATION STANDARDS (MUST MEET BOTH)
1) Beat the time cutoff of 8:45pm (6hrs) at this mile 22 checkpoint. This is an overall average of 21:49/mile that needs to be maintained to get to this point in time. Our advice to achieve this is to put as much speed in on the mild climbs, flats, and downhills prior to entering the mountain because from mile 16.5-20 most will not maintain that pace. You need to average faster than that prior so it will average itself out for you. This checkpoint time cutoff is in place to allow enough time to summit the North Face Climb, make that additional cutoff, and descend to the finish line before sunset.
2) Be in the first 65% of athletes to get to this checkpoint. The exact number changes each year but we estimate this will be the first 125 in 2018. Keep in mind we will adjust this number based on how many beat the bike cutoff to make it fair so it may be a bit more/less when you reach the point.
Those not meeting BOTH of those standards OR those not wishing to take the high route will be diverted to the low route white shirt track. Regardless the route, high or low, orange and white shirt finishers have the same finish line.
HIGH ROUTE / ORANGE SHIRT ATHLETE ONLY CHECKPOINTS/CUTOFFS AFTER MILE 22.
MILE 24 - North Face Summit / Tram - 10:00pm
This is both a time and medical checkpoint for athletes and support. We have to make sure athletes are ok to continue down to the finish after such a tough climb and making a time cutoff of 10:00pm means you have enough time to comfortably descend the mountain to the finish line before sunset at 11:00pm. A 10:00pm Mile 24 cutoff means athletes and support are given 75mins to ascend/climb 2.5 miles up the north face. Although a 30:00/mile average pace for 2.5 miles may seem easy, we can assure you that given the grade of climb and total ascent of 2,000'+ in this section, it's still very difficult. Those not making this cutoff will be pulled from the course and will take the tram down to the resort. Those that are pulled and forced to take the tram down will not be permitted to join the low route white shirt track nor will they receive a finisher's shirt. If you choose to take the high route orange shirt track you must make the remaining cutoffs or you cannot finish the race. Please think carefully about this before you choose the orange shirt route at the base of the mountain at mile 22.
FINISH LINE - Day Lodge Parking Lot - 11:00pm (8HRS 15MIN)
The finish line in the Day Lodge Parking lot is the same for both routes. High route orange shirt finishers will enter the finish from the mountain descent and low route white shirt finishers will enter the finish from Arlberg road after completing 1.5 out and back sections. High route finishers will have a finish line cutoff to ensure that all runners of the high route are off the mountain by sunset at 11:00pm meaning overall high route athletes must average 18:53/mile to make the finish. This means if high route runners make the 10pm cutoff at the top they have 60 minutes to descend the mountain over 2 miles giving them about 30:00/mile they can average. Very manageable.
The total run course mileage for both courses should be very similar (around 26 miles) but they won't be exactly the same. The total ascent for the high route versus low route is about 2,000'+ more.
LOW ROUTE / WHITE SHIRT ATHLETE ONLY CHECKPOINTS/CUTOFFS
None after Mile 22. All low route white shirt runners will not have a cutoff at the finish and really there's no hard time cutoff at mile 22 either. We either divert runners to high or low route based on time. If you make the qualifications for high route and choose to go that way there are 2 more strict time cutoffs to deal with. If you do not make the qualifications for high route or choose to go low route on your own, you have no cutoff times.