Maximum sand action at Kane County’s Dunesday Xtreme; registration still open

Fat bikes and sand boards, Kane County, Utah, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Kane County, St. George News

KANAB – Kane County will host a new, one-of-a-kind team triathlon Nov. 8 at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The event will include running, sand-boarding and fat-biking through the sand.

Each four-person team will have to trudge through 6 miles of sand – or snow, depending on the weather. This event isn’t for the faint of heart and will go on no matter what; that is why it’s called “Dunesday Xtreme.” The event participants are referred to as “Dunatics.” Dunatics has been defined by event organizers as “a crazy sand dunes athlete.”

Each team member competing in the event will have to do 1.5 miles of combined running, biking and boarding in the sand, for a combined team distance of 6 miles. It is said that 1 mile in the sand is the equivalent of 3 hard-surface miles.

Fat-tired bikes and sand-boards

The fat-tired bikes, traditionally used in snow, have recently caught on in the sandy areas of the desert because they go well in sand, also.

“Since the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park has both (snow and sand), we thought it was perfect to include fat-biking at the sand dunes event,” Tyler Cornell, Kane County recreation director, said.

For those who have never tried fat-biking or sand-boarding, there will be a chance for all registered racers to try the boards and bikes for free at the sand dunes on Friday, Nov. 7, from noon-5 p.m.

The sand-boards go surprisingly well in the sand with the help of a little special wax. Utah Off-Road Outfitters currently rents the sand-boards at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park for $20 a day.

Should turn the triathlon turn into a snow event, James Gilchrist, of Utah Off-Road Outfitters, said, “We just put a different wax on them and they go great in the snow as well.”

“Most people haven’t done fat-biking or sand-boarding before, so this is a great event to try something new, be competitive and have fun with your team,” Cornell said. “There are a lot of outdoor enthusiasts and adventure lovers and we want to invite them to ‘our backyard’ to try something new and experience the sand dunes in a different way.”

Racers may rent the boards or bikes any time prior to the race from the event sponsors.

Triathlon details for racers and spectators

“We are so fortunate to have so many outdoor wonders in our area and this is a new, unique event to utilize some of the assets of our county,” Kane County Commissioner Dirk Clayson said.

Clayson also mentioned the positive relationship the county has with Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

“We couldn’t do this without the cooperation of the state park,” he said. “We appreciate the eagerness of the state park manager, Michael Franklin, in helping make this event a reality.”

Registration for the event is $75 per person or $300 per four-person team and includes a T-shirt, a Dunatic bandanna, a s’more party, lunch and dinner the day of the race, and registration also includes rental of the fat-tired bike and sand-board.

“Basically, participants just show up ready to compete and have fun,” Cornell said.

From the conception of this event, one of the intentions was to make it fun for spectators as well as the participants. There will be a “Spectator Village” set up at the sand dunes where spectators can set up chairs, buy lunch, get warm by the fire pits, drink some cocoa and cheer on their friends and family who are competing.

Racers will check in at the Old Barn Theater at the historic Parry Lodge in Kanab on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. to be briefed about the details of the race and have a s’more party by some fire pits. The public is welcome to join in.

Saturday, Nov. 8, the first set of racers will report at the dunes at 8 a.m. and begin racing at 8:30 a.m.

Start times will be assigned after the registration deadline, which is Oct. 30. There will be some fun activities at the dunes for spectators and for race participants to “win” reductions in their overall time if they didn’t do so well in the actual race, just for fun. Spectator Village will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (See ed. note)

The awards dinner will also be hosted at the Old Barn Theater on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. This dinner is for race participants, family and friends. If you aren’t participating in the race but would like to attend the awards dinner, contact the Kane County Event and Volunteer Center at 435-644-3696. Dinner is included for the racers; for anyone else wishing to attend, it will be $12 per person.

Awards will be given for fastest overall team, fastest male, fastest female and fastest co-ed team. An award will also be given for the fastest time after time-reduction activities. Additional awards will be given for best costume, slowest time, best effort and had-the-most-fun.

“We are excited to launch this new event and we hope that it will become one that is a lot of fun and looked forward to each year,” Matt Brown, economic development director for Kane County, said. “We also hope to see fat-biking in the area really take off since we have the perfect landscape and terrain for it.”

Kanab Western Adventures currently rents out the fat-tired bikes for $25 for two hours, $40 for a half-day and $65 for a full day. Mike Henrie, owner of Kanab Western Adventures, is also a fat-bike dealer.

Ed. note: Registration deadline has been extended by event organizers.

Event details

  • When: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8
  • Where: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
  • Registration: Through Oct. 30. Entry fee is $75 per person and $300 per four-person team. For more information and to register for the Dunesday Xtreme, visit the event website.
  • For more information on fat-bike rentals and sand-board rentals, call 435-644-5033.

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