Sourdough Triathlon

Saturday, July 29, 2017
Steese MP 31.5 DOT gravel pit ChatanikaAK  99701
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Steese MP 31.5 DOT gravel pit ChatanikaAK  99701

About This Activity

The Sourdough Triathlon is a half-Ironman distance race held in Chatanika, AK about 45 minutes northeast of Fairbanks at Milepost 31.5 of the Steese Highway.  It's a quiet area with minimal traffic and plenty of wide open spaces.  The swim is in a former gravel pit filled by a pristine groundwater stream. The bike course is two laps on a quiet, paved two-lane road with the occasional vehicle passing through. The run course is two laps on the shoulder of this same road. Due to the course layout, this event is very spectator-friendly, many competitors and their families camp out at the site the night before the race in RVs or tents.

Event details and schedule

Registration opens Feb. 1 and will close when 99 participants have registered.

The 26th annual Sourdough Triathlon starts at 10 am on Saturday, July 29. All transitions will occur in the same area adjacent to the pond.  Race distances are 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

Individual entry fees are listed  below.  USA Triathlon membership is also required. If you are not a USAT member you will need to buy either a one-day membership pass ($15 adult) or an annual pass ($50 adult) to participate.  All participants must be at least 18 years of age by 12/31/2017. Refunds are not available.  Note:  it is not necessary to be an Active member to register.

Registration Prices

Feb. 1- July 22  $60

July 23- 26  $90

July 27  $120

Registration closes at 7:00 pm AST on July 27


Relay team entry fees are listed below and each team member must have a USAT membership.

Registration prices

Feb. 1-July 22  $120

July 23-27  $150

July 27  $180

Registration closes at 7:00 pm AST on July 27


Awards will be given to the top three men and women over-all and top three masters men and women (age 40+). The top relay teams will also receive awards.

The transition area is gravel so you may want a blanket or large towel to set your stuff on.  The area includes ample room to park cars and camp out.  Port-a-potties will be available. 

Following tradition, there will be a BBQ after the race. We ask all participants to bring a dish to share and to hang around to get to know others in the triathlon community.

Swim Course

The swim is in a gravel pit and consists of five laps totaling 1.2 miles.  The water temperature typically ranges from 55 to 70 degrees so a wetsuit is highly recommended.  The course will be marked with floating orange buoys with a string connecting the buoys.  Following the string will help you stay on course.  The gravel pit is deep enough that you will not scrape yourself on the gravel which was a problem at another location. 

Exiting the water requires you to climb out of the gravel pit onto a carpeted transition area.  Use caution when entering and exiting the swim area as it can get very slippery as more racers exit the area.  As we get closer to race day, we will try to keep you up to date on water temperature.


The bike course consists of two laps totaling 56 miles.  After the swim, claim your bike and run/ride about 100 yards on gravel before reaching the paved road.  Please use caution on this section since the transition area is loose gravel/rock.  At the road, turn right and proceed west for 3.2 miles before reaching a turnaround at the Poker Flat Research Range, which will require crossing the Steese Highway, then proceed east.

The next turnaround point appears after heading east for 13.6 miles, adjacent to a pull out. Racers then circle back to the first turnaround to complete the first lap.  Racers travel this loop a second time and re-enter the transition area.

The course is mostly flat with some rolling hills near the second turnaround point.  Please use caution when attempting to pass. The Steese Highway is popular for weekend use and camper traffic tends to be a little heavy.  Be prepared for a flat tire. 

Traffic will not be stopped for participants. Racers must follow rules of the road and proceed with caution. Aid stations are available at the entrance to the paved road and at either turnaround.


The run course is two loops totaling 13.1 miles.  After completing the bike leg, run back out of the transition area to the road and turn left.  Continue 1.7 miles east to the first aid station.  Cross the road and continue west past the transition area.  Continue an additional 1.5 miles to another aid station at the entrance to Poker Flat Research Range.  Cross the road again back to the start and repeat the entire loop.  After the second lap proceed to the finish line adjacent to the transition area to complete the Sourdough Triathlon. 

The run course is flat, however there is very limited shade. Be prepared for a hot day and exposure to the sun and elements. Fairbanks is also known for summer afternoon thunderstorms.

Watch for bikes on the road throughout the run.  Traffic will not be stopped for participants, please use caution when crossing the road. 

While there is no course completion cut-off time, aid stations are only staffed until 6:00 pm.

Organizer Info

Map & Direction

Steese MP 31.5 DOT gravel pit ChatanikaAK  99701
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