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Headwaters 100 FAQ

Headwaters 100 bike ride Park Rapids, MN

Q: Is the Headwaters 100 a ride or a race?

A: The Headwaters 100 is a casual ride. At one time, the Headwaters 100 had a race component along with the ride. Itascatur discontinued the race in 2009.

Q: What time does the ride start?

A: Registration begins at 7:00 AM, with the official ride time listed as 9:00 AM. You can start the ride at any time, but we encourage you to leave by 9:00 AM so you’ll have time to make the food stops.

Q: How long are the stops manned?

  • The Century School: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Itasca State Park: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Mantrap Valley: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Nevis: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Q: Where are the food stops?

  • 42 mile route: Mantrap Valley (at mile 17) and Nevis (at mile 29)
  • 75 mile route: Itasca State Park (at mile 21) and Mantrap (at mile 57)
  • 100 mile: Itasca State Park (at mile 31), Mantrap (at mile 67) and Nevis (at mile 89)

Q: What foods are available at the food stops?

A: At Itasca, there are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, and oranges with Powerade, coffee and water for beverages; At Mantrap there is wild rice soup and vegetable barley soup, peanut butter and jelly, cookies, bagels, grapes, bananas, and Powerade. At the Nevis stop: cookies, bananas, apple with caramel, trail mix, and various candy bars.

Q: Are there bike repair stations?

  • Century School: 7:00 am – 9:00 am
  • Itasca State Park: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Mantrap Valley: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Nevis: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Q: Is the route marked?

A: Volunteers thoroughly mark the route before the ride. You will also receive a map at registration that clearly outlines the separate routes.

Updated Headwaters 100 route map

Q: Is there a separate fee to ride through Itasca State Park?

A: If you're registered and riding the Headwaters 100, there is no fee for you to enter the park and ride there during the day time ride hours. (Typically anywhere from 7:00 AM - 6 PM.) If you would like to enjoy Itasca State Park on any other day, there is a $5 day-use fee or a $25/ year fee that will get you into any Minnesota State Park. If you are camping in the park and registered for the Headwaters 100, you'll have to pay the fees associated with using the park's facilities.

Q: How many riders participate in the different ride lengths?

A: We typically register around 650 riders. Numbers change from year to year, of course, but the pattern has been that half of our participants choose the 100 mile route, while the other half are split between the 45 mile route and the 75 mile route.

Q: Are the roads all paved, or are there any dirt or gravel roads?

A: All of the roads on the route are paved.

Q: Are there hills on any of the routes?

A:There are some appreciable hills on this ride- very much a rolling terrain. The MapMyRide Headwaters 100 map page has an elevation change screen where you can track the hills and gauge the gain. Basically there is an elevation gain of 1214 feet (ride starts at 1446 feet, the highest elevation is 1651 feet.)

Q: Are there any rules regarding the equipment on my bike?

A: We prefer that you don’t use headphones or TT handlebars. Other than that, you’re free to equip your bike however you are comfortable riding it. Our riders bring everything from road bikes to mountain bikes to crossovers, bike trailers hauling gear or children, and more.

Q: Can I bring my children on the ride?

The Headwaters 100 is a family friendly ride, however please keep in mind all protective equipment required for adults is also required for children, especially helmets. Also, our SAG is not equipped to transport small children so you will want to have some support available that can transport your children safely should you find you can't complete the ride.According to the Office of Traffic Safety (MN Department of Public Safety) children 8 and under and under 4' 9" must have a federally approved car seat or booster seat. (Child Passenger Restraint Law: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/laws/Pages/child-passenger-safety.aspx)

Q: Is there a SAG (Support and Gear) group?

A: Yes; we currently have 10 vehicles monitoring the roads and 2 riders monitoring the Heartland Trail from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. SAG vehicles carry a bike pump, first aid kit and a cell phone. The SAG support vehicles are clearly marked in the windshields and on the sides.

Q: Can I provide my own SAG wagon?

A: Due to advice from law enforcement, Itascatur does not condone riders providing their own SAG support. We communicate carefully with local law enforcement to make them aware of our support vehicles and can't be responsible for extra vehicles and potentially dangerous situations. Our SAG support vehicles are well equipped and trained in the routes. They can get you quickly to a repair station if needed.

Q: Is there some place I can leave my jacket or gear if I don’t need it?

A: There is a drop box at the first and second stops, Itasca Park and Mantrap Conservatory. Your items will be brought back to the Century School for you to pick up after the ride. We do keep a lost and found also, so if something goes missing send us an email: webmaster@itascatur.org.

Q: I pre-registered for the Headwaters 100 but can’t make it on ride day. Can I get a refund?

A: We do not issue refunds. Itascatur volunteers must anticipate resources and services based on the number of riders who sign up. That service is provided as per the contract formed at registration, and providing it costs the same amount of money whether the person rides or not. We regret that we cannot adjust every rider's fee due to circumstances beyond our control, however the club feels that our registration fees are generously low for the level of services provided. If you choose not to ride the Headwaters 100, please know that your fee directly benefits the Park Rapids and surrounding community as well as community and government projects supported by Itascatur volunteers that benefit outdoor activities in our area. We appreciate your support.

Q: Are showers available?

A: Showers are available at the Century School after your ride. A volunteer will be on hand to show you where to go.

Q: Are there any organizations that host riders overnight, such as a church or YMCA?

A: There are currently no organizations that host riders overnight, however we do have a nice selection of hotels and local resorts. Two resorts offer our riders discounts for a two night stay: Pine Cone Lodge & Vacation Rentals and Sleeping Fawn Resort and Campground, which is right on the Headwaters route. You can also find out about hotels at the Park Rapids Chamber.

Q: How can I register?

A: We have moved our registration online through ZapEvent.com. This saves trees, postage and man hours while allowing us to concentrate on other aspects of the ride. You can safely use a credit card or opt to pay by check by going to ZapEvent and logging in. If you have an account at ZapEvent, it’s a great way to manage all of your event sign-ups. You can also register as a guest.

Q: Can I register the day of the ride?

A: We do offer same-day registration. However, we strongly suggest pre-registration if you're certain you'll make the ride. Starting in 2015, you won't get a t-shirt if you wait until the week of the ride to regsiter (9/21 - 9/26).

Q: Why didn't I get a t-shirt on ride day?

If you register the week before the ride, (Monday through Satuday) you will no longer receive a t-shirt. Itascatur uses pre-registration to plan resources for the riders, and we would like to encourage you to register early to not only guarantee a t-shirt but also help us plan food and volunteers.

Q: Why do you need my email address?

A: ZapEvent uses your email address to send a verification of registration. Even if you mail in a registration form, your information is entered into ZapEvent for our record keeping purposes and you will be emailed a verification of registration by ZapEvent. All of your information is handled carefully. Itascatur does not use your email address without your permission, and only for the purpose of verification. If you still prefer not to give us your email address, or don’t have one, we understand. It’s not a requirement for registration.

Q: What if I can’t or don’t want to register online?

A: You can download a .pdf sign-up form. Simply print it out and mail it in with a check to: Itascatur, PO Box 581, Park Rapids, MN 56470. We also maintain a list of folks who prefer to have an entry form mailed to them via snail mail; to be added to this list email webmaster@itascatur.org with your preferred mailing address.

Q: I can't remember if I've registered or not. Can you check?

You can confirm your registration by clicking on this button:  

Q: How's the weather?

A: Unpredictable at best! We are usually fortunate to enjoy temperatures in the 60s to 70s, however some years have seen rain (and one memorable year had a light dusting of snow!). The bottom line is that fall is usually lovely in Northern Minnesota, but the not guaranteed to be so.

Q: Have a question that's not listed here?

Send me an email: webmaster@itascatur.org or post to our Facebook group. You'll get a speedy reply and your question will be added to the list. Thanks!