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ESSENTIAL EVENT INFORMATION 2024

Due to the scale and nature of Rat Race Events, changes to the course, structure and timings sometimes need to be made right up to the date of the event. To ensure you have the latest information and are fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, please check back on this EEI before travelling to the event. 

 

The EEI was last updated on: 22/06/2024

WELCOME TO NEW YORK.
WELCOME TO SOURCE TO CITY 2024.

 

Dear Ratracer,

The countdown is on! This document is designed to give you all the information you need about what to expect during our epic adventure from the source of the Hudson River, high up in the mountains, all the way to the bright lights of the Big Apple itself! So, grab a cuppa (or something stronger!) and read on for all the need-to-know info and answers to your questions!

Welcome to the adventure...

Jim Mee

Event Director, New York: Source to City 

FILES AND DOWNLOADS:
KEY REMINDERS:

Make sure you’ve read this document thoroughly well ahead of your departure date to ensure there are no last minute panics or surprises, if you have any questions after reading this please reach out to us on events@ratrace.com

SKIP TO SECTION

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Arrival: Pick up from JFK long-term parking is at 10:00 am on Thursday, September 19 (week 1) and Thursday Sep 26 (week 2).​

  • Event Participation Form MUST be submitted NO later 19th July 2024.

  • Medical declaration MUST be submitted NO later than 19th July 2024.

  • The Q & A webinar will take place on at 1630 East Coast Time (EST) / 2130 UK time on 2nd August 2024 for both weeks. For the more details and link to join, please check your email. 

  • Trackers: Please remember that GPS tracker service at all times is not a-given, especially in the mountains; you should particularly note this if sharing any live links with supporters. Please see the tracking section later in this document.

  • In all cases, the Event Director's decision is final. 

  • This event takes place on several different types of terrain; trail in a pristine wilderness area as well as cycling on roads that are open to motorists. Plus a kayak stage on the mighty Hudson River. Finally, there is a run into Manhattan over the George Washington Bridge. In every instance you will need to be aware of your surroundings as this is not a "closed course" and we will not close any roads.

  • The event is classified as ‘Event-supported.’ This means that, while on course (with the exception of the Mount Marcy mountain hike section), the Event team will support you with Pit Stop provisions, medical service and general logistical support.

  • Registration for the event is split into a ‘pre-event’ Registration phase, where we will ask for particular information to be submitted in advance (See the bottom of this document for what and when). This will be followed up by a physical registration upon arrival in Lake Placid on Sept 19 (week 1) and Sep 26 (week 2).

  • We will provide you with a safety procedure to follow in case of Emergency while out on course.

  • We recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race accepts no responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance.

  • We insist on you having insurance to cover Repatriation, medical expenses and evacuation. This will be required to be produced as digital copy to us by 19th July. What we require varies for US citizens and international visitors so please do read the insurance section later in this document carefully. 

TRANSPORT & ACCOMODATION

ARRIVALS

For those who have booked our transfer from JFK, the initial meeting point for this event is JFK Airport Long-term Parking (subject to change based on airline schedules). From there, the group will be met and welcomed by the event team.

If you still wish to book our transfer from JFK to Lake Placid, you can do so HERE. Bookings for this transfer option will close on 31st July so please do grab your seat before then if you wish to join us!

 

Event participants and crew will then depart for Lake Placid to be brought directly to registration in Lake Placid.

If you are not using our transportation from JFK area, you will make your own way to Lake Placid and we will meet you at 5:00pm on Sep 19 (week 1) or Sep 16 (week 2) for Registration in Lake Placid.  Exact location TBC in future comms.

TRANSPORT FROM ACCOMODATIONS IN LAKE PLACID TO START LINE 

On Sep 20 (week 1) and Sep 27 (week 2) the group will make its way to the starting location for Source to City at Adirondack Loj and the Van Hoevenberg Trailhead. This will be carried out as a convoy, utilizing our support vehicles. All participants crew, bikes, etc. will travel together. Once we have collated everyone’s lodging details for Sep 19 (week 1) and Sep 26 (week 2) in Lake Placid, we will work up the plan as to how we collect you all for this movement.

ACCOMODATION AT LAKE PLACID

Securing lodgings at Lake Placid on the nights of Sep 19 (week 1) and Sep 26 (week 2) are your own responsibility. It is a busy period in Lake Placid due to major mountain bike championship events in the region. Please book now if you have not secured lodgings.
 

We did offer an option in Feb/ March of this year to secure some rooms for folks via a local partner who had a limited number available at that time. If you requested this and this was confirmed to you at the time, you will be sent details of this separately. If you did not request this or were not successful in securing one of these rooms, you must make your own arrangements in Lake Placid.

REGISTRATION

This will take place Thursday afternoon from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm in Lake Placid (exact location tbc in later comms). This allows folks the time to get themselves to Lake Placid either on our transport or making their own way there.

We would like to then carry out a briefing at 7:00pm for all participants. This is a good opportunity to meet one another and for us to provide some details on the challenge that is to follow over the next 4 days. We anticipate this will not last more than 45 minutes, allowing folks to head off and get food afterwards. It is an early start the next day.

FOOD & BEV - THURSDAY (19TH / 26TH)

Once we have carried out our briefing at 7pm, you will be free to head off and get some food in town from 7:45pm onwards. Given varying arrival times and the need for an early start the next day, we will not arrange a communal meal tonight.

ITINERARY

Here’s how the days will shape up:

DAY ONE / REGISTRATION & ARRIVALS

19th September / 26th September

10:00 am: Optional transport from NYC area, departure time from JFK airport. Tell us your flight arrival info and we will work out the best place at JFK for a meet-up point.; and let you know once we have all of the inbound flight info on-board. You can fill in your flight details in the self-fill form below.

 

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Registration in Lake Placid (exact location TBC in later comms). You will receive some items from us at this time, including T-shirt and other goodies plus your GPS tracker. There will also be some paperwork to fill out and file, we will issue GPS navigational devices to those who have requested them and we will also issue bikes to those who have rented.

 

7:00 pm: We will do a communal briefing and a meet and greet to ensure everyone is dialled in with the plan for the trip and we will cover off specifics for the next morning, so you can prep accordingly.

 

7:45 pm: You are free to go and forage your own dinner in town and bed down for the night!

Accommodation and food: Make your own plans tonight.

DAY TWO / TO THE MOUNTAINS! SOURCE TO CITY BEGINS...

20th September / 27th September

 

6:00 am: Start at Mount Marcy Trailhead, ADK LOJ. We will start nice and early to ensure you get the maximum daylight on the mountain and max time to transition to the bike afterwards. Pick-ups from Lake Placid area hotels are provided by ourselves to get you to the start line, so expect around a 5:00 am departure from Lake Placid to the trailhead. Depending on conditions and weather, plus other factors, (and depending how far out of town you are staying!) it may even be earlier. You should expect to start the day under the illumination of your head torch.

 

Total mileage for the day:

  • 18 miles on foot (mountain stage)

  • 32 miles on the bike (easy-going quiet roads with a few rollers plus lumps n’ bumps)

 

Accommodation and food: Gore Mountain Resort: Lodges and communal vacation rental houses at this lovely little ski hill. The configuration may dictate that you are sharing a house or a cabin with multiple people and in all cases, we aim to provide twin shared accommodation in the bedrooms.

 

Note: The mountain section will feature no pit stop support. It is an entirely self-contained stage owing to its remoteness and high mountain characteristics so you should take plenty of snacks. There are water sources throughout the route but you will need a personal water filter to access this creek water. This is detailed in the gear list.

DAY THREE / THE BIG ONE

21st September / 28th September

8:00 am: (Provisional start time - might be earlier though, based on breakfast time and group pace). This is the ‘big one,’ with 120 miles to do on the bike. BUT the riding is stunning – largely flat, rolling and downhill and transitioning from mountain and forest to the verdant Hudson Valley. We will pass through charming towns and beautiful countryside, with the Hudson itself never far away and with our pit stops popping up on the route to keep you going.

 

Total mileage for the day:

  • 120 miles on the bike (big but beautiful riding!)

 

Accommodation and food: St. Charles Hotel in the town of Hudson; plus a nice dinner at one of the town’s several great restaurants

 

Once you have completed days 1 and 2, we reckon you’ve done ‘the heavy lifting.’ While there is clearly more distance to come, the biggest days are now behind you. Get to Hudson and you will get to The Battery.

DAY FOUR / CLASSIC AMERICAN SIGHTS & A LOVELY PADDLE ON THE RIVER

22nd September / 29th September

We will get up, have breakfast and ride right from the door of the hotel. Today we will be taking in some famous historic sights along the way including a ride -by of the Vanderbilt Mansion and other famous Hudson locations. We will pass through Poughkeepsie and head for Chelsea. Once we get to the river here, we will re-group and re-start together in our kayaks.

 

You will have 55 miles to get to the village of Chelsea.

 

Based on the tide and current info we have from our kayak outfitters there is a good chance that we will be battling some of the tide in the river today - the Hudson is a big body of water and it is tidal in this section of the Hudson Highlands. This makes for tough going at times and for our date, we will do a stage that gives a good flavor of the river but that does not blow your arms off! Expect to be pushing hard into that tide though!

We will finish at the town of Cold Spring.

 

Total mileage for the day:

  • 65 miles (55 on bikes and 10 on the water)

 

Accommodation and food: Inn on the Hudson in Peekskill, plus dinner at a spot in Peekskill

DAY FIVE / FINAL DAY. THE BIG APPLE BECKONS!

23rd September / 30th September

 

Once again we will wake up and we will use our transports to return to where we left the river in Cold Spring. From there we will start our bike ride southward along some of the more challenging roads of the trip. It’s fairly hilly at first as we head toward and then over the Bear Mountain Bridge into Bear mountain State Park. Now we follow a classic biking route of county road 6W as it makes its way ever closer to the bright lights of the big city it does mean, today’s route gets busier with traffic in some sections. However, there are some amazing traffic-free portions also, including the riverside trail (still with very smooth surface) through Rockland Lake State Park from Haverstraw to Upper Nyack. We then also have a really nice traffic free section that takes us through Pallisades interstate Park all the way to Fort Lee.

At this point, we reach the foot/ run transition at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ.

 

Then it’s a mellow 12.5 mile trot or walk, down largely traffic-free park routings that follow the river along the west side of Manhattan, all the way to Battery Park and to the medal that will go around your neck upon arrival!

 

Miles for the day:

  • 60 miles (47.5 on the bike and 12.5 on foot)

 

Accommodation and food: There is no accommodation provided in NYC and you are welcome to depart to your homeward journeys; or if you are planning to stay in the Big Apple, please do join us for a celebration meal in midtown. You can let us know if you want to do that, on the self-fill form here.

Note: When we get to the final bike: foot transition at Fort Lee, you have some options as to what to do with your bike and gear. If you have rented a bike, you need not worry about that more and we will take care of it. If you have your own bike, we will need to know if someone is collecting it, if we are taking it into NYC for you or others to collect, or otherwise. We will ask you these questions in the self-fill form.  

EVENT REGISTRATION & ADMINISTRATION

EVENT REGISTRATION AND PRE-EVENT ADMIN

Formal Registration for the event is completed in 3 phases:

1.) Online enrolment, payment – COMPLETE

2.) Submission of Event Participation Form and Medical Declaration by 19th July 2024.

  • Event Participant Form: HERE

  • Medical Declaration: HERE

3.) Physical registration at Lake Placid on Thursday Sep 19 (week 1) and Sep 26 (week 2), 2024. You will complete a final physical kit/gear check with our event team, do a short final paperwork exercise, and receive some event items from us. If you have rented a bike, you will also receive it at this time and can fit it and set it up the way you want it.

EVENT REGISTRATION PAC

In Lake Placid, there will be one event pack issued per person. Your Event Pack will contain:

Numbered Bag Tags

For your overnight  and race bag. These must be attached to your bag before handing them over to our crew to transport each day.

Event T-shirt & Rat Rag

 If you do not select your t-shirt size in advance, you will automatically be allocated a Large.

Tracking Device

 We will issue the tracking device and demonstrate its use.

RENTAL ITEMS ​

GPS Devices - Any GPS devices you have rented will be handed to you and you will be shown how to use them.

Bikes - If you have rented a bike, we will hand it over on Registration day for you to set-up how you like it.

LAKE PLACID GEAR CHECK

At Lake Placid we will reserve the right to inspect some or all of your kit. This is an important part of our safety system and it is really important that you pack the right gear for this event. For the bike stages, you will need bike gear of course. More info on that below in the gear list. For the mountain, we are in a high mountain environment and we are going to 5344 ft on the summit of Mount Marcy. In previous years, we have had glorious sunshine, driving winds and event snow and ice last time we ran this event. So having the right gear and being equipped correctly for the high mountain is really important. If you don’t have the right gear, not only will you jeopardise your own safety, but that of those in the group with you.

​As a minimum, at Gear Check will be checking:

 

For the Marcy section:

  • working head lamp

  • suitable running vest/backpack

  • water filtration system

  • water carrying capacity of 05 US gallon (2 litres) either in bladder (e.g. Camelbak) and/ or bottles

  • lightweight waterproof jacket

  • lightweight waterproof pants

  • gloves

  • hat

  • sunscreen

  • lube of some description

  • blister care kit

  • small first aid kit

 

For the cycling stages:

  • Water carrying capacity - minimum 0.4 US Gal (1.5 litres). As with foot sections – bottles, soft flasks or bladder systems are all fine – or a combo.

  • Bike hand-pump (you will receive this if you have rented a bike)

  • Bike multi-tool (you will receive this if you have rented a bike)

  • Bike puncture repair kit or spare tubes/ CO2/ tubeless repair kit (you will receive a spare tube if you have rented a bike)

  • Tire levers (you will receive this if you have rented a bike)

  • Set of bike lights – front and rear. This is important as you may end up riding in the dark, particularly on day 1 or day 2 of the challenge

Water stage - kayak

  • Buoyancy aid, paddle and kayak (double or single) will be provided

  • You should dress in waterproofs and technical wicking undergarments. These can be the same items that you have used on the run and/ bike stages. Please remember you will be sitting stationary and WILL get wet. Avoid cotton and use technical wicking fabrics. It is likely that even if it’s blazing sunshine, you will get cold given the wind and water exposure, so do ensure you have some warm layers

  • If you do have kayaking gear, such as a cag, then please do bring these

  • Sandals, boat shoes or any permeable trainers (remember these will get wet)

  • Gloves suitable for paddling – cycle gloves and/ or neoprene gloves are good for this -  gloves optional as not eveeyone lieks gloves when paddling. If you run cold; and especially if you get cold hands and fingers, you should bring some gloves.

  • A dry bag and/ or waterproof rucksack liner (or a selection of small and larger dry bags) will be essential to stow gear inside your boat to ensure it does not wet on the kayak

 

NOTE: This is not the full kit list, which can be seen below. This is a list of the main items that we will want to dwell on when we meet you are Registration for gear check.

But, you may be asked to show any other items from the mandatory gear list at that time.


Luckily, Lake Placid has several sporting goods and outdoor stores and if you do forget something, chances are you can outfit yourself there. There are also some great bike stores. These all close around 5pm however.

If you do not have the appropriate gear with you when you register in Lake Placid, you will not be allowed to participate. Hence, we are bringing an element of this exercise forward and we will provide you with a ‘check box’ kit list and self-declaration form, so you can work through the gear.

We can also work through the detail on gear when we have our live Q and A webinar on 2nd August.

MANDATORY GEAR LIST

Some of the kit listed is to help you have a safe experience and have the best chance of finishing. Some of this kit is to ensure that if you are unable to continue without our assistance then we can be confident of you having the level of equipment required to keep you as comfortable as possible while you wait for that assistance. Some of it is simply to keep you from experiencing life-threatening situations. It is a serious list for a serious undertaking.

The full mandatory gear list can be viewed HERE

If in any doubt, please check well in advance on any subject related to the gear required for this event. We have devised the mandatory kit list for your protection and safety and we will not be able to make any exceptions on required items.

AVOIDING GEAR CATASTROPHE IN TRANSIT

It is not impossible that your gear may not arrive with you into JFK. In general, the longer you are in New York, the easier this is to solve. Once you start travelling away from major airports, getting re-united with lost bags becomes harder. However, it is not impossible and if you do lose bags or if bikes do not arrive, it does not necessarily spell certain doom.  Lake Placid has several sporting goods and outdoor stores and if you do forget something, chances are you can outfit yourself there. There are also some great bike stores. These all close around 5pm though. However, to avoid the chances of total catastrophe, we would recommend that you do travel with some event clothing in your hand luggage.
 
Experience tells us that if you arrive wearing or physically carrying some of what you need, the likelihood of getting you on the start-line increases dramatically, vs those who entire event kit is in their hold baggage, making its way around a carousel in the wrong airport far, far away.  

BAGS

There are 3 bags to be considered for this journey.

1). Daypack: (For trek and run stages – spare clothes, water, food) – small rucksack or Ultra vest. You can use this on the bike stage also, if you wish.

 

2). Overnight bag: All spare and overnight gear (max 35 lbs and 16 US Gal capacity). This will be carried from each overnight stop to the next overnight stop and you will not see it during the activity in the day.

 

3). Pit Stop/ transition bag: You will hand us this each day and we will carry it to a set pit stop. This will only ever be one of the Pit Stops each day. It therefore allows you to get access to other items of gear quickly whilst on the route – spare clothing, snacks, extra suncream etc. it does not replace the requirement to carry the mandatory gear with you at all times. If we have a transition on any given day (e.g. bike tokayak or bike to run), then this Pit Stop bag will be positioned at that transition and will allow you to change into from hike – bike, or bike – run or bike – kayak etc (a small holdall or backpack is suitable for this bag).

Storing your bike bag - If you bring your own bike, we will transport your bike bag from Lake Placid down to NYC with the event logistic vehicles. Similarly if you are utilising our initial JFK – Lake Placid transportation service, we will carry it on this also. Space is limited and we would ask that in all cases, you use a bike bag and not a hard bike box.

THE ROUTE

Our route utilizes a variety of terrain types and surfaces and follows the entirety of the Hudson River from just a trickle high up on Mount Marcy, New York's tallest peak; to a tidal estuary several miles across down at the Battery, Manhattan. From rocky mountain singletrack hiking trails to cycling along scenic highways to paddling the Hudson highlands and finally ending with a cross-Manhattan run to finish in Battery Park, this challenge is not for the faint-hearted!

 

It's an awesome route and really takes in a huge swathe of US history. This is classic backroad America and you will get a real sense of journey as you make your way from the Adirondack mountains all the way down to the Big Apple.

ROUTEFINDING & GPS

We do not use paper maps (Although you will be issued with backup paper materials for Mount Marcy); and we do not use physical waymarking tools like arrows.

The entire event will be followed on a GPS device with the course downloaded onto it. We recommend you bring your own GPS device that you are familiar with and have practiced using prior to the event. If you DO NOT have your own device/s, we do have some options – and we would ask that you read this section in detail so you understand what we are advising/ recommending and what we have available to assist you, if you so wish.

If you would like to rent any of our available devices, you must let us know in the pre event admin form.

We will also provide all participants with a GPS tracker, which is a separate device and is covered in the relevant section below.

You will also be required to have your own phone, with battery pack back-up for charging in the field.

There are therefore multiple devices under consideration here.

  • Navigation/GPS devices

  • Tracker

  • Phone

Let's start with GPS devices. 

1) BIKE DEVICE
  • If you have your own bike-mounted device (like a Garmin Edge, for example) and are comfortable with its operation, this is the preferred choice whether you have rented a bike from us or not. We will provide GPX files much nearer the time for you to upload to your own devices.

  • A mobile phone with a power pack, plus a bike mount is a perfectly reasonable and indeed very user-friendly solution here too, provided that you can ensure the combination is waterproofed. This allows you to use your own technology, with which you are already familiar. You also do not have to invest in any expensive tech devices. You may need to purchase a handlebar mount for your phone, but this is easy to source and inexpensive (and handy for day-to-day use at home, too!)

  • For participants who do not have their own bike-mounted device and/ or do not feel comfortable using their own phone, we will be able to rent you free of charge a handlebar-mounted Garmin Edge bike navigation device. You will tell us whether or not you need one of these in the admin form, linked below. This device attaches to your handlebars and you follow it like a satnav device. It does not have a base map and you follow a line on the device.

2) RUN/TREK DEVICE
  • For the foot section, if you have one, your own GPS watch is the go-to advised piece of kit to use and we will again provide GPX files to use on your own device.

  • For those who do not have a GPS-enabled watch, we can provide a GPS watch (Garmin Fenix or Coros Apex Premium) for this stage for a hire charge of $50. These devices will have the route uploaded onto them and have extremely good battery life. Please let us know in the pre-event form if you wish to hire a watch.

  • The webinar on 2nd August will also be a great opportunity to learn more about the navigational devices recommended for use in the event

 

3) TRACKER

  • Separate from the devices above, we will issue everyone with a tracker, which both provides a tracking function for us to keep take tabs on where you while out on the course; and for your supporters to track your progress.

  • (Please note that this is a separate device from the GPS navigational devices – it is very light and small and will likely attach to the outside of your bag with tape, or stuff into a pocket. More is explained on tracking in the section below).

4) PHONE

  • It is also mandatory to be carrying a phone at all times on the trip, with the ability to charge it via portable battery pack. This device can absolutely be your primary nav device on the bike stage, mounted to your bike and waterproofed accordingly. You may also use it as a back-up on the trek stage.

WAYMARKING

We will NOT waymark any of the route.

 
PIT STOPS

Our provision will be made to you approximately every 10 to 15 miles while you are on your bikes and we will provide at least 3 Pit Stop locations each day for the bike stages. Each Pit Stop will feature staff members and of course, some food and drink.

Whilst on the hike section on Mount Marcy, you will be self-sufficient with your own snacks and drinks and upon finishing this stage, where you will transition to bikes, you will have full Pit Stop service at this point.

When kayaking, we will offer a rest stop around half way through the stage where you can access some snacks and drinks and you will also stash some food and drinks on board for that section of the journey.

ROUTE GPX FILES

We will make available route GPX files for you to upload onto your own devices as you see fit. These files will be provided much closer to the commencement of the event, once we are satisfied we have the definitive version to share. Experience has shown that we will never share the these files until it is the final, final, final version. Or else we end up with version control issues that are hard to resolve. We do do always reserve the right to change the course, the distances or the disciplines of course. These files will be issued at the 1-week out email phase.

MOUNT MARCY HIKE STAGE - TERRAIN, SKILLS & COMPETENCIES

Marcy is a big old mountain. The summit is at 5344ft elevation and it is therefore not to be underestimated. Whilst the trail is by-and-large well maintained, it is rocky as hell. Which means that it is slow-going. Do not expect to run this section. In fact, we will travel as groups of up to 10 in each group, plus a local guide. In the self-fill form, we have asked you to specific your likely speed of hiking and/ or running travel so we can gauge how to split the groups. We are all doing the same route and we will all get down the mountain eventually, but we will try and do our best to team up similar paced folks into the groups.

If you have not had much mountain trail experience, go and hike some trails. For those of you who have checked out the distance, you may think this is ‘only’ 18 miles. But it could take you even as a proficient hiker 12 hours +. We are not kidding. It is slow going, but not majorly difficult hiking. So that means, take your time, keep hydrated, eat plenty and often and enjoy this pristine wilderness environment.

But do not underestimate it. We have had all sorts of weather on Marcy and the gear list reflects that, in respect of what we ask you to bring with you.

Above all else, the advice is clear. Get into the hills and go for some hikes. Get those legs conditions to go up; and come down mountain trail-based terrain.

BIKE SKILLS, TRAFFIC & TERRAIN

It is assumed you are a competent bicycle rider and can ride continuously for several hours on roads. If you feel that you need more time in the saddle to fit that description, it’s time to bag more time in the saddle! You do have time to do so between now and September. None of the riding is what we would class as ‘technical’ and whilst some of the road surfaces will be potholed in places (that’s the nature of rural roads sometimes), in general the surfaces are good.

The topography is not too severe. Sure, there are some hills but in general this is a flowing and rolling profile that has some big distances but there is a real ability to maintain a rally nice rolling average pace.

Some folk ask us about traffic. This is a very subjective thing. Some people are confident riding through Rush Hour in the Big Apple (we aren’t doing that!) and some get nervous on country roads with very little motor traffic. What we will say is that, in general, we consider the traffic to be fairly light on this route. However, we cannot remove it. These are public highways and you will encounter cars and trucks. There are some sections that are busier, such as coming through the urban area of downtown Troy, through Poughkeepsie and also when we approach NYC, the roads naturally do get busier – largely south of the Tappan Zee bridge. Traffic levels will also vary with time of day – with morning traffic around 8am – 10am feeling busier (in general) than later in the day. And of course the same rush hour flows from 4pm – 6pm, for example, in some areas. Just go steady, be vigilant and ride within your limits.

 

If at any time you are uneasy with the traffic, you can call us and we can pick you up. We want everyone to feel comfortable on the route and this is a part of that. Like we say, folks’ tolerances on this one differ so we are simply stating the facts on this and we are always around if you feel unsure. We have asked you to tell us a little about your biking experience in the self-fill form linked at the bottom of this document.

 
KAYAK SKILLS

We also assume that you have some working knowledge and confidence of your skills in a kayak. We have asked you to tell us a little about your boating experience in the self-fill form, linked at the bottom of the page. We are not looking for you to be a pro at this. Not many folks are! But being confident on the water it important. If you have not been in a boat for a while, do go and try and do some kayaking between now and the event. It’s a fun sport and actually, it is a really efficient way to travel, if you are paddling smart. It is low impact and a great way to see some scenery in your work-up this event.

COURSE CHANGES

The nature of an adventure is that sometimes, the uncertain becomes certain! That is all part of the adventure. Whilst we will always strive to pull off ‘Plan A,’ it may well be that for any one of a number of reasons, we cannot do so and we need to wheel put Plan B, C or D. We do line up contingencies for many eventualities of course. But it is worth knowing that the course may change if we deem it prudent for your safety or for other operational or weather-based reasons and we must always reserve the right to do so. Ultimately our skill and judgement in organising such events is part of why you are entering, so we must be able to exercise this on your behalf where we deem it necessary. If we do have to make a route change, we will strive to inform you in good time (if that is possible). Usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end!
 

COURSE CUT OFFS & WITHDRAWALS

This event is not about cut-offs. But, having a ‘cut-off’ time of some description is an important part of our Event Management Plan and Risk Assessment processes. Cut off times are independent of any other factors that occur earlier in the course such as start time, punctures, bike mechanicals, rolled ankles, bear encounters, going the wrong way, time taken at Pit Stops, head winds; and whether it is your fault or not.

 

We understand that missing cut offs can be tough to take but please remember that if this happens to you, that it is not the crew’s fault who breaks the news to you.

Please also remember that if this does happen to you, the Event team’s decision is final. You will be asked to board a vehicle and make your way to the hotel at day's end.


We do try and accommodate a wide variety of paces however – that is the Rat Race way. So rest assured, you will not be hassled constantly by a sweeper vehicle (some people call it the broom wagon)  if you are taking longer than other folks on the bike stages.

If you are cut off, there will be no option to re-start from where you were cut off the next day. (The event only ever moves forwards). You will start the next day from the set location the group is starting from; subject to the discretion of the event team.

 

There are a number of reasons why you may be cut-off or withdrawn from the event. These could be medical, pace, kit, mechanical, personal or other factors. It is OK to retire and to be taken forward to the hotel. We’d rather you re-started the next day vs suffer meaninglessly and spoil it for yourself.

 

As far as the time available goes to avoid a cut-off, there is no ‘set’ cut off time each day. (ie. Time limit  or published time). Instead, the general rule is that we require all participants to be done before nightfall. There are some situations where you may finish in the dark, for example if someone is going strong and will make it with minimal time in darkness. This is possible notably on day 1 or 2, both of which are early starts and late finishes for most. If it looks like you’ll be out for the long haul though and completion is looking unlikely, you will be picked up in the support van. That is the cut-off.

 

Above all else, please remember, this event is not about cut-offs. It is about getting the most out of this magical experience. We will not cut you off and sweep you forward unless we really have to. And if we do, it is for your own safety.

‘BEDDING DOWN INTO THE COURSE’

it is probable that when you set off on the Challenge on day 1, the first hours of the first day (and/ or the first miles on the bike) may be a bit hit n’ miss. Pace, temperature regulation, kit selection, footwear comfort issues. All to be expected. Embrace that ‘bedding down into it’ phase and listen to your body and to your gear. Expect some unexpected phenomena (not UFOs, just unusual kit or run issues that you may not have quite been expecting). Use this time to just get used to the environment, the gear and the terrain. Go with it and relax. 18 miles in and once you each the Upper Works trailhead, you’ll be done with Mount Marcy and onto the bikes anyway!

 
TRACKING DEVICE

At registration in Lake Placid you will be issued with your satellite tracker. It is your responsibility to look after the device until you return it to us at the finish line in exchange for your medal. This tracker allows your supporters to see where you are throughout the race. Tracking can be monitored during the event by those not embarked (you won’t have any reception to view it on devices!) and will go live on the morning of 9/20 or 9/27 at 6:00 am local time. It is not part of our safety system in this event – it is for those to monitor your progress from afar.

The tracker will be given to you turned on and ready to be used. There is nothing you need to do with it. Just put it into your race bag. Please do not tamper with the plastic bag it is in. We recommend you place it in a dry bag with other valuables but please do not bury the tracker too deep under other gear as you will need to return it when you have finished or need to drop out.

You must return this device at the end of the event or whenever a member of staff asks for you to do so (for example to check a setting or to charge it). Do also hand to a member of staff should you drop out on any day. Any missing trackers will be met with a $600 charge to cover the cost of the item.

VERY IMPORTANT 

As we have stated, the reliability and operation of the tracking devices in this environment is likely to not be 100%, 100% of the time. As far as our safety system is concerned, we know that and we have considered that as part of our other overarching plans and risk assessment.  

For those watching the tracking at home, it is important you explain that the trackers are not always going to give a fully accurate reflection of exact locations. What can happen, (if this is not communicated on the part of the participant to their supporters), is that where people see a tracker displaying erratic behaviour or not moving, this manifests in undue worry. Over a number of days, this worry can turn to panic and raising of unnecessary alarms, from the comfort of sofas in the internet-equipped watching world-at-large. We require you to ensure that, should you decide to share the tracking link, you are unequivocal in this explanation to your supporters. We cannot afford for an international incident to be commenced as someone sitting at home in front of their desktop has decided to contact the Emergency Services as they cannot see your dot moving. It really is a deadly serious point we are making here and we thank you in advance for making this clear to your supporters at home. 

MEDICAL OPERATION & PARTICIPANT SAFETY 

MEDICAL OPERATIONS

We will have a medic with us for the duration of the trip and they are available for you to interact with in confidence if you experience any medical issues. Whilst the medics are there for ‘what ifs,’ they are also a great source of preventative advice; so please do use them to ask questions and check best practice, particularly in suspected foot injury or issues such as blisters. 

MEDICAL SCREENING 

At this stage we are inviting you to have a medical screening process, which can be completed via the link below. Please complete this as soon as possible – and certainly please, no later than 19th July. You can do so HERE. If you do have any condition that you feel we should know about, however small you feel it may be, please do share this with our Medics. Experience has shown that early pre-screening can assist both us and you greatly in enabling the care you need pre and during the trip. If you do not share information on conditions which are likely to affect your participation or decide to share them very late in the process, we are all under pressure and we will always reserve the right to cancel your participation if we feel there is a medical issue that may affect yours, or others’ safety. So please, do share anything and everything you feel our team should know about, at the earliest opportunity. Please view our latest Health Information HERE.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We are very fortunate to have an excellent Medical Director providing oversight, planning and screening on all of our international trips, who in turn engages seriously professional and qualified staff to join you on the trip. Rat Race also conforms and has been audited to the rigorous BS8848 standard of expedition management. This means our approach to all things safety and medical is extremely thorough and it is designed throughout with your best interest at heart.

Your medical screening details will be sent direct to our medical team and under medical confidentiality rules, this will only be shared with our medics and no-one else. If they decide this is info that is in the best interests of everyone for us as organisers to be privy to, they will seek and gain your consent before doing so. It is therefore important you complete the link to the medical survey only which can be found HERE. Do not send Rat Race medical information direct. If you have any queries at all on the medical side of things in relation to this event, you can email our Medical Director, Dr Patrick Musto confidentially on office@trailmed.com and he and his team will assist.

 

TRAVEL MEDICINE ADVICE

As well as being a practising NHS Emergency Care Doctor and Expedition Medicine Specialist, Dr Musto is also a qualified travel medicine practitioner.  Please view the Travel Medicine Advice PDF HERE

 
MEDICAL KIT 

BLISTER KIT

We have made a minimum mandatory Blister kit spec of Compeed (or similar adhesive blister dressings). That is the minimum spec we are looking for. i.e. that you have some blister plasters.

Our advice (and therefore if you wish to pack our enhanced recommended kit), which will provide you with a self-contained treatment and comfort kit for this most important of assets (your feet), we advise the following:

Small dry bag to contain:

 

  • Zinc oxide tape

  • Self-adhesive dressing tape (e.g. Mefix)

  • Small moleskin patch

  • Scissors or penknife

  • Compeed or similar brand blister plasters - various sizes

  • Rubbing alcohol (to dry wet feet at night)

  • Benzoin tincture or Iodine

  • Pin or scalpel blade to pop/ deroof blisters

  • Lighter or matches to sterilise pin/ blade

  • Lube stick (to prevent blisters by lubing feet pre-activity, particularly at possible hotspot pressure points). Also works wonders for anti-chafing on the bike and kayak stages

 

PERSONAL MED KIT

Our minimum spec for mandatory medical kit (to be carried at all times) is as follows:

 

  • 1 x triangular (or comfortable roller) bandage

  • Gauze or similar absorbent dressing

  • Steri-Strips

  • Antiseptic (spray or cream)

  • Assorted plasters

  • Rubber gloves

  • Prescribed medication (if applicable)

POOR WEATHER CONTINGENCY

The prevailing climate is generally pretty stable; warm and potentially sometimes a little wet at this time of year in upstate NY. That is not to say that, like anywhere else on Earth, we may not encounter unseasonal conditions. Particularly in this area, we may experience cold winds on Mount Marcy, fog or possibly snowfall (unlikely, yet it has dusted on Marcy in late Sept-early Oct and indeed we had snow and wind up high the last time we ran the event here).

Indeed any other climactic conditions could arise - hurricanes and tornadoes for example. Though unlikely these still remain a distant possibility.

The event will proceed in many conditions, but if it is deemed unsafe to continue due to weather conditions, the event will be halted at the current pit stop (or destination hotel), participants will be brought forward to the next day's stage start if required and the Event will await more favorable conditions to re-commence. This may result in some stages being cut short and participants being moved forward in vehicles in order to achieve daily mileages within the time available. In all cases, the decision of the Event team is final in these matters. We will monitor weather throughout.

INSURANCE FOR YOU AND YOUR EQUIPMENT

We have asked that you have in place Travel Insurance cover and specified Evacuation cover to last for a minimum period of the event duration for the days you are with us on the published itinerary. Evacuation and medical expenses cover should total no less than $500 000. A copy of this cover/covers (if separate policies) is required to be received by us 19th July alongside the other admin actions. 

 

To be clear on the medical insurance, for US citizens, we simply require to have sight of your existing health insurance. You do not need any further specified policies. For international visitors, we require that you have Evacuation and medical expenses cover should total no less than $500 000.

We also recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance.

If you are bringing your own bike, we ask that you have a policy in place to cover it for damage, loss or theft. It is up to you what level you cover it for (and of course several overarching policies will provide coverage for loss or damage of sports equipment) but we would advise that you place cover for the replacement value of the bike, if you can do so. Rat Race and its agents, staff and sub-contractors cannot be held responsible to any damage to personal equipment of bikes whether we are transporting them or otherwise; so it is important that you select a level of cover that you are comfortable with.

Some suggested providers are as follows:

For UK and Channel Island residents Rat Race’s own insurer brokers have a brand-new product:

https://www.mannbroadbent.co.uk/sports-travel-insurance/.

Note: This is Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product; however Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent wholeheartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers, in the event that you raise such a claim via one of these policies.

Other Providers:

Note: We have no relationship with any of these providers, but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges.

 

Note: For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals.

 

GENERAL SAFETY AROUND VEHICLES

Some of this event takes place on a state highway. It is less

travelled farther north but as we get closer to towns and cities traffic can be heavy. Please practice safe cycling - you must adhere to all traffic laws. Stop signs, red lights, sidewalks, foot crossings, etc.

 

TRASH

We want to show that this event has exemplary control of our waste. Please help us achieve that. Pack your litter into your pack, pockets or nearby bin bag at a vehicle. No exceptions.

 
EMERGENCY PROTOCOL

In the event of a true emergency or serious incident you will be notified of protocols at the registration on Thursday. If you are with an injured party while on the route, stay with the casualty and await assistance. In the event of a non-emergency incident but for which action is requested from the organisers, then you should send a message forward to the next Pit Stop with another participant if possible and/or await an event crew member approaching via vehicle or on foot. This might be medical, logistical or kit/ equipment breakdown as examples. We politely ask that you stop and help someone that is in difficulty – you will be the first person  to find them – remember to take note of time, place (number of km, or minutes/hours from last Pit Stop) and race number at the incident site. Remember we are all in it together and are in effect one big team.

 

MUSIC PLAYER

While these are allowed, please control their volume according to your environment. Use your judgment at all times when listening to music or audiobooks. Please also be aware that if you cannot hear general voice levels you might miss instructions from marshals, other participants or approaching vehicles. We suggest that you run the leads behind you so that persons or vehicles approaching from behind might be able to see that you are wired for sound.

OTHER ADMIN MATTERS

EVENT ETHOS:
‘RACING’ AND OUR FINISH TIMES SERVICE

Rat Race’s ethos has always been about inspiring folk to undertake challenges in awesome outdoor locations. Source to City is just that, taken to an epic level. This is not a formal race environment and there are no winners and losers. We do not award prizes for the fastest folk. We will publish the times captured manually by our event crew for each day, in alphabetical order and for your information and comparison as we know everyone does their best and many want to see how their efforts compare to others. There will be no splits for Pit Stop to Pit Stop times. Rat Race totally appreciate the incredible commitment of those taking on the challenges we lay down and each participant is as important as the next regardless of how fast you can cover the distance on foot, bike or skate.

 

In delivering this unique challenge we prioritize factors such as safety, camaraderie and environmental concerns. Respecting the wishes of local stakeholders with our route management and litter policies is vital in being able to bring folk together for this unique experience. Safety above all else is paramount, as you will fully appreciate. To reasonably balance all these factors, we emphasize that the event is not a formal race environment, rather it is a challenge in the great outdoors where great folk come together with a common purpose.

TRANSFER DEADLINE

At the time of booking, on our website and within our introductory email on we made clear that your purchase is non-refundable. But up until 12 weeks prior to departure, you could use our transfer system if you wished to withdraw from the event. We respectfully remind all participants that unforeseen circumstances preventing attendance is what travel insurance is designed for and is the reason for this as a strong recommendation on such undertakings.

For the avoidance of doubt, the final day for transfers for the 19th September departure is 27th June 2024 and 26th September departure is 4th July 2024. We regret that we cannot provide any transfers once these deadline have passed. These are HARD deadlines as we go firm on all aspects of our planning after this stage. We cannot make any exceptions.

EVENT MEMENTOS

 You will of course receive the highly coveted Source to City medal upon completion of the challenge when you arrive at Manhattan's Battery Park.


There is some other merch to browse and buy here. For those who pre-purchase, we will bring items with us to the event. If you wish to wait and see after the event, we can arrange postage.

DINNERS

At each day's end we will provide you with dinner - that is to mean an entree dish and a drink. Any appetizers, add – ons, desserts or extra rounds of drinks are your own responsibility. In general we will eat together in nice local restaurants. Whilst we will try and get us all served promptly (as we know sleep is equally as important as a belly full of food on these challenges!) we have to defer to the establishments we are waiting with. So please do bear with the serving staff if service is a little slower than expected.

COMMS COVERAGE & DATA

You will most likely have phone reception in Lake Placid on registration day and early up the mountain. It will spotty on the backside of Marcy and again spotty into North Creek. From North Creek south you will have cell service 95% of the time.

CONTACT DETAILS AND ACTIONS CHECK LIST

To facilitate the very best support for you whilst embarked on the event, we have prepared some contact information below that should assist you and loved ones both before departure and then throughout your Event experience in Iceland. Please find a series of phone numbers and email addresses and instructions on which is to be used; and for what. Finally, we have included an action check-list so you may tick off the pre-event jobs arising from this Essential Event Information document.

 

1.) For ALL pre-event email correspondence prior to departure: 

 

events@ratrace.com - admin / kit / challenge based queries

 

office@trailmed.co.uk  - Medical-based advice or discussion on medical conditions in confidence

2. For specific arrivals and pre-trip issues in the immediate days pre-arrival: Phone numbers will be issued nearer the time, and we will also set up a WhatsApp group to communicate important pre-departure information.

3.) Emergency correspondence from people who need to get in touch with you (i.e. from those who need to contact you) IN EMERGENCY ONLY while you are embarked on the event: events@ratrace.com

The originator should quote ‘Emergency correspondence for (your name)’ in the email title and they must provide a phone number for return comms. This will be patched through to our crew’s mobile phones, (or satellite messaging platform if we are out of reception) from our office and a satellite phone will be made available for you to return the comms to the originator. We would aim to provide a suitable response period of within 24 hrs for this service to the originator. Please, please, please do tell your family and supporters not to contact us about Tracker Emergencies!

FINAL CHECK LIST 

Submitted no later than the 19th July.

Submitted no later than the 19th July.

1630 East Coast Time (EST) / 2130 UK time on 2nd August

That’s it. Pheeeww!

See you in Lake Placid!

 

Jim and the Rat Race Team

Event Director
 

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