The last of the winter fat bike ultras kicks off on Sunday, March 30th in the White Mountains of Alaska, which is directly north of Fairbanks. The 5th annual White Mountains 100 is the final qualifier for the 2015 Iditarod Trail Invitational. This year boasts 65 participants, the majority of them cyclists. They will traverse the White Mountain National Recreation Area, through valleys and over mountain passes.

Thanks to the White Mountain BLM, the race is comprised of a 100 mile groomed track. During a typical year racers can expect steep climbs, with a total of 7,000 feet of vertical gain, steep descents, sharp turns, glare ice, a bit of overflow, and stunning views. This years winter has been unseasonably warm and dry. The month of March has brought some relief, but the route is sure to be fast just like the Iditarod was.

White Mountains 100

The BLM has been out doing work for the course reports. The White Mountain directors stated “The BLM trail grooming crew mentioned that the parking area at Wickersham Dome Trailhead is super slick ice, so please be careful at the start on Sunday morning!” They also mentioned that they have observed many wet overflows on some creeks, making for most likely fast but variable conditions.

Unlike most ultras, racers are not required to carry any mandatory gear, but rather carry enough food and water for the duration of the race. However, each racer must check in and out of 5 checkpoints on route. The race is self sufficient, meaning you must race the entire course without planned outside help. The cut off time is 48 hours from the start, which is April 1st at 8:00am. Unfortunately, most of the Iditarod stars are opting out of this years White Mountain 100. Notably Jeff Oatley and Keven Breitenbach, who won the 1,000 mile and 300 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational. Female, Heather Best who won and crushed the record in the ITI 300 is on the wait list and it is not clear if she will be racing. Although they will not compete, this brings the opportunity for someone to make a splash in the Alaskan endurance scene, and with the projected fast course the record of 10 hours and 10 minutes may be broken. For live updates make sure to check the White Mountains 100 Facebook page as well as their website.

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