2015 Solstice 50 mile race

The 2015 Solstice 50 mile race is now complete. Congratulations to our winner, Matt Hall, and all mushers. Everyone reached the finish line, which is a lovely achievement.


 

ORIGINAL PAGE:

Let’s cross our fingers for good snow in December! Because of our experience of the last years, the TRDMA Solstice race will contain a 50 mile class only. It will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19th, 2015.

Signed-up mushers (last edited Nov. 16):

  1. Emily Myhre
  2. Ryne Olson
  3. Stephan Löhr
  4. Julie Stricker
  5. Maliko Ubl
  6. Debbie Moderow
  7. Joanna Jagow
  8. Kristin Johnson
  9. Emilie Entrikin
  10. Tony Angelo
  11. Matt Hall
  12. Lauro Eklund
  13. Lia Amundsen
  14. Jay Cadzow
  15. Victoria Tenney
  16. Dakota Schlosser
  17. Torsten Kohnert
  18. Benjamin Good
  19. Deke Naaktgeboren
  20. Amanda Brooks
  21. Lance Mackey
  22. Pato Geron
  23. Raelyn Geron
  24. Meredith Mapes
  25. Heather Hamblin
  26. Aliy Zirkle
  27. Chris Parker
  28. Chase Tingle
  29. Vebjorn Aishana Reitan

Signing up!

[update, Dec 12]

At this stage, we have closed online sign-ups. Any open spots will be communicated on our Facebook page and can be claimed on a first-come basis. Raceday sign-up is $100.

You also need to be a member in good standing for your registration to be effective. You can become a member via the online membership form, or in person on race day.

Sign-ups will close on  December 12th at midnight AKST.

Sign-up process

  • Racers must be current, paid-up 2015/16 members of the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association ($30 membership fee)
  • The race rosters is capped at 30 entires
  • A completed race application form, race fee and current membership are required for a racer to be added to the race roster or waiting list.
  • Sign-ups open on this web page on November 15th 2015, 8 am AKST, and close on December 12th at midnight AKST.
  • Race fees: $75, non-refundable unless the race is canceled
  • Sign-ups on race day will be available if open slots remain on the race roster after Dec. 12. The fee for race-day sign-ups will be $100.
  • Fees are payable through PayPal. A PayPal account is not required (VISA and MasterCard accepted)

Race information

  • Race marshall: Scott Chesney
  • Race manager: Stacy Snyder
  • Trail boss: Abbie West
  • Number of dogs: up to 12, no minimum
  • Race will start and finish at Pleasant Valley Store
  • Race sign-in: 9 am on race day
  • Race starts: 11 am
  • Purse: $1200, paid out to top three racers
  • Starting order: luck of the draw on race day.

The full list of rules can be downloaded by clicking on the link to our 2015 Solstice Race Rules.

Please watch this page and refer to our Facebook page for news and updates.

Trail description

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 3.03.57 PM

 

This year’s Solstice Race, though shortened from previous years, promises to be fun, scenic, and challenging. It offers a little piece of every type of terrain available in Two Rivers with the exception of river travel. I clocked the trail at 50.5 miles with both my GPS and the snogo, so it should be fairly accurate.

The race starts at Pleasant Valley Store at the far west end of the parking lot through the middle of the stand of trees. Within 500 yards, the trail will bend back around the back of the store, following the fence line of the baseball fields. You will follow along the side of Cory Ranch Rd, then turn left along the side of Anders, and then turn actually onto Sockeye Road. You will go down Sockeye (traffic is minimal here, but still be aware) for about a ½ mile. The road enters a field and you will immediately turn to the left. This is Shoen’s Field, a local farmer who sells hay to Two Rivers mushers sometimes.

You will then travel along a series of fields for 4 miles, after the last you will pass Copper Kettle Farm and enter the trees. The road crossing is just a mile from there, at mile 5. The trail crosses CHSR at 27 mile. There will be a road crossing guards there to stop vehicles and help in case you have trouble.

Once you cross the road you are in Chena State Recreation Area. The trail is relatively flat as it travels through swamp and small wooded areas. You will travel along the foot of Twin Bears Mountain at about mile 8ish and then pass a dilapidated cabin at mile 10. Along with the club markers there are permanent markers hung sporadically in the tree shaped like orange diamonds.

At mile 11 you turn onto Colorado Creek Trail near a birch tree. The trail will now be more narrow and windier. There is a small section of side hill ice to be aware of that I will label with paper plates. It is minor but if you hit it too fast your sled might act as a ping pong ball off of some willows.

If you look ahead to the horizon, you will see a ridge, you’re eventually going to end up way up there! At mile 16 you will pass Colorado Creek Cabin. It is on the right. It is rented by someone else on race day, but if you had an emergency, there it is.

Once you pass the cabin you will start your climb up to the Firebreak(aka the Dozer Line). You will go up 5 switch backs within 2 miles. They are sharp, but all up hill, so they should be easy to navigate, at worse you may have to run your sled around the bend.

At mile 18 you will get to the intersection where you can turn left onto the Compeau Trail Extension. We will travel this trail for approximately 6 miles. This trail parallels the Firebreak Trail, avoiding some of the notoriously rocky and bare areas (and unfortunately some of the best views to the North) but still provides some truly amazing vistas south, across the Chena Valley, and if it’s clear all the way to the Alaska Range. Enjoy that low hanging Southern Solstice Sun while you can! The highest elevation for the race is found at mile 20, at 2454ft. The store is at 802ft., so give your dogs a big thank you, especially because, though you are now headed down, there is still a lot of climbing left.

At mile 24 the trail separates from Compeau Trail to the right, and then meets the Firebreak Trail, you will be turning left towards the Two Rivers Logging Road. The trail widens and you climb up and down a series of 6 hills, some of them quite steep. The first and fifth climbs are the biggest. You will pass SP Kennel’s dog camp. You will be on the Firebreak for about 6 or 7 miles. Again the views will be amazing.

At mile 32 you will go through some cement barriers and hit the Two Rivers Logging Road. You will be on it for a short time and then break off to the left onto the Public Wood Cutting Trail. After a mile you will hit the logging road for a short time again before you turn off to the left.
The trail will get narrow again and eventually start going down a hill into the Jenny M Valley. The trail is quite narrow and windy for the next 4 miles. There is a creek crossing that is full if ice and tussocks. So go slow and maneuver that sled. At mile 37 you will be at the Flat Top Trail intersection. Turn towards the right and follow the narrow black spruce trail for about 3 miles. This section is full of moose holes (I call this section the Moose Highway) so gear down your team to avoid injuries. At mile 40 you will drop into Jenny M Creek. It is willowy and a steep short bank down and a really sharp bank back up, and always full of ice. SO be careful. I will have warnings again with paper plates. You will then be in the willows for a short time until you are led onto Jenny Creek again, it is always icy here, and sometimes wet, just head towards the bridge. You will be going under the bridge to the trail that heads straight ahead.

At this point the rest is easy. Your biggest challenge now is not getting lost on the many trails and racing your competitors. The trail is now significantly easier. There is only 10 miles left. You will go a few miles until you get to an intersection I call Grand Central, turn right. You are now on Baseline/Winter Trail. You will travel on it for about a mile and then turn left on onto the Wood Yard Loop. This is a short trail and you will turn left onto CD trail in about a ½ mile. You will follow up the hill a ways then turn left to head up to the Jenny M Logging Road. You will work your way back down and meet Pheasant Farm Rd. You will travel along it for a short time and leave it after crossing a One Lane Bridge. The trail then drops onto Mullen Slough. You will follow the slough on and off for a few miles. Then go into a swampy area. You cross Grange Hall Road by a junked car. You have less than 4 miles left at this point. The trail meets back up with Baseline. You will turn to the right. Past Sonny Lidner’s. At mile 49 you turn onto a trail that turns into Pleasant Valley Road. This is no man’s land. Race like heck! The trail will turn off the road to the right about halfway down. The trail will lead you back to the store. Congrats!