The 32nd annual Peaks to Prairie Adventure Race kicks off at 08:00 am on Sunday April 25th. During this spring triathlon, contestants run, bike, and paddle a total distance of 75 miles from the base of the Beartooth Mountains just outside of Red Lodge to the rolling prairies along the Yellowstone River in Billings. Event organizers anticipate that over 400 athletes will participate in this year’s race, either as solo racers or as part of a team.
The Peaks to Prairie Adventure race is divided into three segments. Racers begin with an 8.8 mile run from the Custer National Forest Sign (elevation 6400 ft) along Hwy 212 as it passes through Rock Creek Canyon and into Red Lodge (5500 ft). In Red Lodge, participants transition to the biking portion of the race. During the 43 mile ride on Hwy 212, bicyclists descend over 2000 ft in elevation between Red Lodge and Laurel (3280 ft) passing through the towns of Roberts, Joliet, and Silesia along the way. The bike-paddle transition area is at Riverside Park just south of Laurel. From here, competitors paddle their kayaks or canoes the final 23 miles of the race along the Yellowstone River to the finish line at Coulson Park in Billings (3100 ft). Athletes have the option of competing in a duathlon, which includes only the running and biking portions of the race, or in a triathlon, which includes all three legs of the race.
Following the race, a festival will be held at Coulson Park. The festival is open to the public and includes kids races, food, live music, awards presentations, and a raffle.
Participants must register for the race by April 19th. The Peaks to Prairie Adventure Race is physically challenging and time must be put into training for this level of exertion. If Peaks to Prairie sounds like fun but you’re not quite prepared to take on this year’s race, set a goal to sign up for next year’s 33rd annual race.
If you are not participating in the race, avoid traveling to Red Lodge or along Hwy 212 between Red Lodge and Laurel on Sunday April 25th. This congested highway is already difficult enough to travel on without hundreds of bicyclists to compete with!