Racer Update #2 (5/8/2019)

Hello Rootstockers!

We are less than two weeks out from the 2019 Two Rivers, and we have a big adventure in store for you. Some of this information is new, some of it may be old, but we want to provide an updated summary of what you can expect next week, especially since the event has a unique twist to it at the start. If you missed the last racer update, you can view it here.


The current ten-day forecast is calling highs in the high 60s and lows in the low 50s, with the possibility of some light and scattered showers. If last weekend’s Broad Street Run is any indication, those projections will change fifteen times between now and then, but we’re hoping Mother Nature plays nice.

From our experience in Loyalsock State Forest, plan for what you would expect in the mountains: i.e., the weather can be unpredictable, temperatures are often cooler than you would expect, and the woods can be wet (moisture, creeks, marshy areas, etc.). Pack your clothing accordingly.

The woods were buggy this past weekend during course-setting and vetting. We’re not talking Maine North Woods buggy, but plenty of mosquitoes and gnats, and a few ticks. Bug spray is encouraged, especially for the ticks!

It’s an adventure race and you can expect to be off trail, especially on foot. As always in Pennsylvania, you will find some patches of thicker bushwhacking. Pants and long sleeves will certainly make those bits more enjoyable.

There is PLENTY of running water on the course. We will NOT have drinking water in transitions as there are no facilities. Make sure you are prepared with appropriate water treatment strategies.

Unlike the Two Rivers of past years, which have been urban or semi-urban in nature, this year’s course has us going back to the roots of the sport in a wilder, more remote area. There is a real chance you will see absolutely no open establishments of any kind. Off the top of our heads, we can think of one bar that MIGHT be open when you pass by. You may not even see much in the way of lived-in houses for most of the race, and cell coverage is quite limited. Make sure you are able to be entirely self-sufficient.

The Course:

We have fielded a few questions about the course and distances. Obviously you will learn more on Thursday/Friday night and Saturday morning. That said, a bit of information to get you preparing:

Paddling: The water levels look good. It’s a fast paddle… with plenty of chances to swim a bit. The water isn’t big: class I-II, and no real obstacles to speak of. It’s a beautiful run. The trick is in some of the turns, where the curves can be quite sharp and tight. We ran the section in kayaks with zero problems, but canoes can be a bit clunkier, so depending on your boat handling skills, you may want to portage one or two of the curves if you aren’t comfortable (or if you don’t want to risk cooling down). This isn’t to scare anyone at all – more just a heads up, especially for those with a bit less paddling experience.

In terms of boats, you will be in canoes with no set middle seat. If you’re a team of three, we recommend bringing a third seat of some sort (in a pinch, a milk crate works fine for this purpose). We’ll be transporting that for you off the water (see below). And if your team is in need of PFDs or canoe paddles and hasn’t let us know yet, please do so no later than Monday so that we can guarantee them from our outfitter!

Biking: Much of this year’s bike course is on roads, paved and dirt. There are some stretches that are on trails, and there are a couple of short sections that will require…yes…hike-a-bike. One section on the full course, in particular, could be a crux leg for teams; it is physical, rugged, and a bit tricky with the nav. We will elaborate more at the race, but for those looking to do a modified course (and perhaps reserve time for trekking), bypassing this segment will pay dividends in the end. Other than a couple of these tougher stretches, which are generally optional, the riding is pretty accessible, though you can expect some elevation. Still, the roads in this area tend to be beautiful and the course is quite varied, so even if you short-course the bike, you won’t be missing out!

Trekking: We have two beautiful treks for you this year. One will largely be off-trail – if you like fun navigation and unique natural features, make sure to save time for it. Some big climbs, but also many spectacular creeks, waterfalls, and vistas. We think you all know, we love our treks 🙂

Schedule and Logistics:

  • Thursday Night Briefing: 9 PM, EST, facebook live chat on the Rootstock Racing page: please tune in if you’re able. We will provide a very basic course overview and some important notes, and we will answer questions at that point. The video will be available after the live session is over, and we will answer any questions through 5pm Friday.
  • Friday Night Check In: 7-9 PM, Liberty Lodge: 2021 East Third St, Williamsport, PA, 17701. We want to expedite Saturday morning so we are encouraging you to check in and turn in all waivers (two per racer, attached). Course Instructions and schematic will be distributed (no maps). For teams unable to check in on Friday night, we will post the documents on facebook. If you are not checking in Friday, you MUST bring your completed waivers on Saturday morning.
  • Saturday Morning Bike Drop: Opens at 4:45 AM. Type “Sandy Bottom Stream Access” into google maps, and it will get you there. It is on route 87, six miles south of Hillsgrove (see attached screen shot). You may stage all biking gear, dry clothes, and food/water there. Make sure to stage a paddle bag of some sort as well. Be advised that when you depart from that TA, you may leave your paddle gear, wet clothes, and trash, but you must carry everything else with you. We will transport your paddle gear to the finish.
  • Saturday Morning Check In: Sullivan County Fairgrounds, Forksville.
  • Saturday Morning LogisticsPLEASE READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY!!!

o   Because of the nature of the location, we are doing a staggered start for this year’s course. You will be starting in boats, but we were unable to coordinate a suitable place for all teams to get on the water at once. This is due to land ownership restrictions and the nature of the creek. We will be starting from the fairgrounds (same location as check-in). Teams will be portaging their canoes across a road to the creek bank. To accommodate this set-up, teams will be starting at one-minute intervals. We will explain more details about the timing at the event, but we will make sure everyone gets the full 27 hours to race.

o   This said, we also want to make sure all teams have the same amount of time with their maps and to prep gear in the morning. Each team is assigned both a check-in time and start time (attached here). Teams are organized by division, and within that, alphabetically. Any team that registers between now and the start of the race will be added to the end of the list. You’re welcome to check in later than your designated time, but you may not check in before. You will have up to 75 minutes (including a pre-race briefing at 6:15 AM) to prep your maps/gear, etc. If you arrive early, you are welcome to work on your kit and submit waivers if you did not do this on Friday night, but you will not receive maps until your designated time. A reminder: it is approximately 20 minutes to the start from the bike drop.

o   Before starting, teams may turn in one team gear bag that may include food and dry clothes/shoes. You will be given access to this bag roughly two thirds of the way through the event. The course instructions/schematic on Friday night will help you better figure this out. Please bring a soft-sided duffel-style bag, maximum 75 liters in capacity. We ask that you don’t load it up with water jugs (again, there is no shortage of treatable water on course), but we will allow coke/energy drinks for overnight. Bottom line, be respectful. This bag will serve as resupply for the last couple of legs of the race.

  • Sunday Morning: 27 hours after your start time: FINISH!!! We will be welcoming you with some delicious breakfast sandwiches from the local Forksville General Store/Big Mike’s, and awards will follow as quickly as we’re able to tabulate scores.

Again, waivers, bike drop location, and check-in times are attached. As always, there may be some last minute logistics to relay, but at this point we don’t expect that you’ll hear from us again before the Thursday evening facebook live chat. Please feel free to email us in the meantime with any questions.

See you in the woods!

Abby and Brent

Rootstock Racing