2023 Stubborn Mule - FAQs

Registration/Administrative Questions

If I sign up as a solo racer, and at a later time decide to race with a team, can I switch my registration from solo to a team registration?

YES! You should be able to make these types of changes on our registration page in RunSignUp. If you have questions, please email us.

If we sign up as a three-person team, and at a later time decide to race as a 4-person team, can I switch my registration from 3 to to 4-person?
YES! You should be able to make these types of team updates on our registration page in RunSignUp. If you have questions, please email us.

Our team is racing the 30-hour race and we are trying to figure out travel logistics, do we need to check in on Friday? When could we expect to be done on Sunday?
One goal with Stubborn Mule is to set this up so that teams within a 4-5 hour drive should not have to take any days off work to race it. The only pre-race activity the night before the race will be a virtual q&a session which will be recorded for those who are not able to participate "live". 

So, whenever you arrive in the area that day is up to you. The race start is targeted for 7 a.m. on Saturday. Race cut off is targeted for 1 p.m. on Sunday. Post-race – there will be food and beverages provided. More details on this will be in race update #2.

Race Day Questions

Will maps be pre-plotted?

  • 5-hour race: the entire course will be pre-plotted for you.
  • 12-hour and 30-hour, much of the race course will be pre-plotted. It is likely you will receive some UTM coordinates at some point during the race to plot.

How many copies of maps do we get for a team of 4?
1 set of maps. Suppose there are 4 different maps covering the race area, you will receive 1 copy of each map, for a total of 4.

Do the activities happen sequentially, ie. Bike, Paddle, Trek?  Or can we chose any order in which we do the activities?
The event order or options will be shared in the race instructions that you receive at check-in on race day. For an example of what you might expect, you can check out our race instructions and maps from previous races here. I recommend you check in as early as possible on race day to maximize your planning time.

Is there a single transition area where we can store gear, or do we need to pack all gear with us for the entire 5, 12, 30 hours?
More details on this will be shared at race check-in, but to be best-prepared, plan to carry all gear for entire race (aside from paddle gear).       

What activities will we be doing at night?  Could it be biking, trekking etc.
Be prepared for any and all disciplines at night.

Could we see last year’s map?
Check out our race instructions and maps from previous years here.

When can we expect to get the racer’s guide and rules ?
Race rules will be very similar to those published at the link above.  Race instructions will be given at race check-in: the instruction format will be similar to those linked above, but the event order and exact discipline details will be different. I will send out race updates no less than 1 week prior to race day with additional details. In those updates you can expect more exact distances, and trail type/distances for the biking sections (for example, how much single track, gravel, dirt, etc.)

Can we use hybrid bikes?
A mountain bike will certainly make your race more enjoyable, but we also want to keep the races accessible to everyone, so we do not have any restriction on hybrid bikes. E-bikes and tandems are not allowed.

Can we use bike packing/gravel bikes like the Salsa Cutthroat or Otso Waheela C?
Yes. I recommend that you be comfortable and experienced riding a variety of terrain on the bike that you choose.

In addition to water, do we need to pack our own food?
The race organization is not providing food during the race, but will provide post-race food and beverages.

Is there a possibility we could encounter bears or other dangerous animals?
Our staff has not encountered any black bears while working on course design this year, but use good sense out there!

What do we do in case of emergency?
If it is truly an emergency, please call 911. There will also be an emergency plan in your racer instructions.

Do 5-hour and 12-hour teams need glowsticks, bike lights, water purification, etc?
Carefully review the appropriate gear list for your race:

How tough will the navigation be?
We fully expect every team to be challenged not only with navigation, but also with decision-making and strategy throughout the race. Some CPs will definitely be easier than others. 30-hour teams should plan to be doing some long legs in difficult terrain with many route choices.

Is canoe rental separate for this event?
Boats, PFDs, and paddles are included in your race fee. 1 canoe is provied for 2- and 3-person teams, 2 canoes are provided for 4-person teams, and kayaks are provided for solos. Multi-person teams will receive single-blade paddles, solos will receive a double-blade paddle. You may not bring your own canoe or kayak, but you may use your own paddles and PFDs.

If our team brings our own paddles and pfds, will we need to carry them?

If our team brings our own paddles, can they be double-blade?
Yes, you can bring whatever type of paddle you prefer.

Will we be coming back to HQ at all after the race starts?
You will receive more information on this at race check-in. We recommend checking in as early as possible so you can plan and organize.

Does each member of the team need to perform all of the events or can the events be split among the members? Eg, is there a relay option?
The Stubborn Mule is a traditional adventure race in the sense that teammates stay together through the entire race; it is not a relay.

Can we use our cell phone to take pictures during the race?
While we appreciate that you want to capture your day in photos, cell phones are for emergency use only.

Can we use an electronic odometer on the bike, as long as it does not have GPS?
Yes, an odometer that determines distance based on wheel size and number of rotations is a-ok. An odometer or any other device that has GPS capability is not.

Will someone be checking for our required equipment?
You should expect a gear check and also expect penalties for not having required gear. Example: if each team member is supposed to have a whistle, and your team is short two whistles, that would be a loss of 2 checkpoints.

Why are pants recommended? Because of the brush?
Many of the gear requirements and recommendations are related to safety. Even in the summer participants can get very cold if they get wet during a paddle section. Consider pants to help you warm up if needed. Pants are also a good idea to help combat ticks and plants like poison ivy and wild parsnip.   

On the 5 hour mandatory list a rain jacket is listed, are the disposable rain ponchos acceptable?
A poncho will not suffice.

Can we use our Garmin GPS in AR mode?
Yes. We will use the process from USARA nationals as a model for this:

  1. Garmin specifically designed AR mode to not allow access to any GPS-based data (speed distance etc.)
  2. Data screens in this mode cannot be customized, and you cannot leave this mode once active.
  3. When started, the watch can only be stopped ONCE. Once it is stopped, you are done with that activity.
  4. The watch records your start and finish time and displays that immediately after your activity is done.
  5. We will be inspecting watches at the finish line to ensure that your start time is at or before the race start time and that your finish time is at or after when you crossed the finish.
  6. If we cannot confirm these two times your team will be DQ’d. Please take this into consideration before choosing to use your Garmin in AR mode. You MUST know how to use it properly.

Process for using your watch.

  1. Notify us at the start line that you are using your Garmin in AR Mode. We will record you as using your approved Garmin at this time.
  2. If you use a non-approved GPS watch of any kind during the race you will be penalized per the race rules.
  3. On race morning start your device immediately prior to the race start.
  4. We suggest using screen-lock during the race to avoid too many accidental button presses
  5. When you cross the finish line, proceed to the timing table where we will be collecting finger sticks. At this time you can stop your watch and allow the race official to confirm the start and stop times.

What if we want to record our route so we can review it after the race, but do not have a device that runs in AR mode?
Your device must be sealed such that you cannot view the display during the race. An easy way to do this is to wrap the device in a sheet of thick paper or an envelope, tape it shut and place it in a water proof bag. Leave the device sealed and stowed throughout the race.

AR Newbie Questions

What is a “TA”?
A TA is a transition area, where you will be switching one from event to another. For example from biking to paddling.

This is our first race, what should we bring beyond the mandatory gear?
Food to last you through the event, long pants, long sleeve shirt, a bike computer (odometer), spare bike tubes, tire levers, bike repair kit, tube patches, a small bike pump, electrolyte replacement, waterproof map case, waterproof bag.

What do we do if we get lost?
Recovering from getting lost is a big part of the sport. We’ve all been there! You will always be fairly close to roads and major highways. It is a good practice to keep a recovery plan in mind, so that if you get lost, you know which direction to go to get to the nearest road/highway.

Will there be technical single-track in the 5-hour race?

You can expect wide grassy ski trail, gravel roads, two-track and perhaps a bit of pavement. You may be able to mix in some single-track based on your route choice, but it is not a required part of the event course.

What is pace counting?
Pace counting is keeping track of the distance you covered by counting your steps. You can use the scale on the map to determine how far you need to go, and then you can count your paces to measure the distance you cover in the real world. This article explains this concept pretty well: http://www.orienteering.mb.ca/adventure-o/racing-tips-orienteering-4. And this is a good series about navigation in adventure racing: https://miadventurerace.com/learn-more/tips-2/.

Other Questions

What do you recommend for lodging or camping?

Our host hotel is: Flat Creek Lodge
  • 10290 Highway 27 South
  • Hayward, WI 54843
  • Call 1 (877) 883-1304 to reserve rooms at the following rates:
    • Double Queen: $161.95
    • King Center Room: $170.95
    • Honeymoon Suite: $188.95

There are a number of other hotels and a few campgrounds in the area. I recommend an internet search for "lodging near Hayward Wisconsin" or "camping near Hayward Wisconsin".

Where ever you choose to stay, reserve early!