ASK A PIKA [faq]

What is the Surly Pika?

  • The Surly Pika is an adventure race with two race course divisions-a 6-hour and a 12-hour option! Teams of 2-3 will receive maps with pre-plotted checkpoints. Teams will make their way by bike, foot and boat through the course to find checkpoints. Routes are not pre-determined-racers will choose their own way from checkpoint to checkpoint. Teams do not have to secure all of the checkpoints to finish the race-this allows experienced racers to be challenged and new racers to create a course within their abilities. However, please note that teams will be scored on the number of checkpoints achieved first and time second. To win, you must secure all checkpoints.

Where is it?

  • The Surly Pika Adventure Race takes place just outside of the town limits of Pinedale, Wyoming, in the front-country of the Wind River Range. The race course varies from year to year, and the route is kept secret until race day.

When is it?

  • Surly Pika always takes place on the Sunday of the Wind River Mountain Festival. For 2022, the race will be held on July 17. Start times TBA.

How does my team win the Surly Pika Adventure Race?

  • Winning is determined by the number of checkpoints first and finishing time second. The team that finishes with all of the checkpoints first is the winning team. Following teams will be ranked by the number of checkpoints they completed and then by their finishing time. For example: a team with 20 checkpoints finishing in 6 hours will place higher than a team with 19 checkpoints who finished in 5 hours. All teams must finish within 6 or 12 hours (per division) to be ranked. Remember, “You must be burly to win the Surly.”

What are checkpoints?

  • Checkpoints make up the race course. Checkpoints may be checked in any order, but must be completed in the correct leg of the race (you may not get bike checkpoints on foot, etc.). Each checkpoint has a unique card punch. Use the punch on the appropriate box on your score card to show you achieved the checkpoint. Checkpoints may be skipped in the interest of time, but remember that your team’s rank will be determined by the number of checkpoints achieved first and finishing time second.

What kind of gear will I need?

Can I do it?

  • You do not need to be a mountain climber, experienced racer, or a marathon runner to compete. You can achieve as many or as few checkpoints as you like, making the Surly Pika customizable to each team’s ability. If you can ride a bike, hike, and paddle, you can race.

I can’t navigate the 14 blocks through Pinedale-how will I navigate the Surly Pika?

  • Navigational skills with a map and compass (no GPS units allowed!) are essential. Find a teammate with good orienteering skills and attend the instructional class to learn. Some checkpoints are easier to find than others. Customize your course to match your abilities.

What kind of distances are we talking about here?

  • A large component of adventure racing is a combination of navigation and strategy. The fastest racers are not always the fastest finishers. A predetermined course takes away from this. The number of checkpoints completed and the route to reach them will vary by team, making it difficult to assess distances. There is a 6-hour course and a 12-hour course. Be prepared.

Can we compete as a relay, or solo?

  • No. The Surly Pika is a team race. Your team must stay together at all times.

Are GPS Units Allowed?

  • No. All navigation must be done by map and compass. You will receive maps upon check-in with pre-plotted checkpoints. You must decide on the course to achieve them. One-way safety devices such as the Spot personal locator beacon are allowed.

I need more info!

Can I attend even if I am not racing?

  • Absolutely! Although much of the race will be difficult to observe as a spectator, you can catch glimpses of the racers at the various mandatory Transition Areas throughout the event.

Sign me up!

I don’t want to race, but I’d like to be a part of this! How can I help?

  • Excellent! Races like these take an enormous amount of planning and help, and volunteers are greatly appreciated! To volunteer,  email a Race Director. Thank you!

More questions? Not convinced that this is the absolute best way to spend a summer Sunday? Email a Race Director!