The Cliff Backyard Ultra is a unique individually supported stage-style marathon swimming competition. This swim offers a challenging swimming opportunity for long-distance swimmers. In this event, swimmers have the chance to test their swimming strength by completing a 1.5 Mile loop each hour, on the hour, until they no longer desire to continue. The last swimmer to complete a lap earns the title of "Last to Fail."
Racing will begin Saturday, August 17, at precisely 6:59 am. Swimmers will complete a 1.5 mile loop on triangle race course, every hour. Racing will continue every hour until no swimmer completes a loop. There will be one award for the Last To Fail. To be the “Last to Fail” you must complete one more loop than the second-to-last to fail.
For 2019, we have a cap at 30 participants.
This race will take place at Wellington Lake: www.castlemountainrec.com
Address: 21843 Stoney Pass Rd, Bailey, CO 80421
Wellington Lake is 45 minutes from the small town of Conifer, with dirt road access. You don’t need 4-wheel drive to access the lake, but a Prius will have a harder time getting there than other types of vehicles. There are potholes.
The lake is at ~8,000 feet above sea level. Day time temps will be warm, in the 70s. Night time temps could drop into the 40s. Water temp estimates are 65-68. Do not plan for water over 70 degrees. Afternoon storms are possible, with rain, lightning and/or hail. We had all of the above during year 1.
Unfortunately, Wellington changed their pricing structure significantly this year for group events. They more than tripled the costs associated with camping in group areas. As a result, the race fees are increasing this year.
The race fee for 2019 is $500. *Credit card fees will apply.
- Pre-Race meal for you and your crew
- Camping and vehicle fees for 3 people, for 2 nights
- Medical support
- Emergency supplies (water, firewood, etc)
Friday, August 16:
- 1 pm-5 pm: Check in and set up camp at Wellington Lake.
- 5:00 pm: Mandatory Pre-Swim Dinner and Informational Meeting for swimmers, crew and volunteers
- 9:00 pm: Quiet hours at the lake.
Saturday, August 17:
- 6:59 am: Race Start
Sunday, August 18:
- Cheer on any swimmers who make it to the 25 hour mark
- Clean up and pack out
This is a remote, mountain location. There is no running water at Wellington Lake. There are vault toilets and we’ll provide a port-a-potty. Swimmers will be responsible for:
- Camping/Sleeping gear for themselves and crew members
- All food and water for the duration of the event for themselves and crew members
The nearest grocery stores are in Conifer, 45 minutes-1 hour from Wellington (depending if you drive like Sarah or Karl). We suggest you get your supplies at either the King Soopers or Safeway in Conifer. Otherwise, your only other chance to re-supply will be at gas station/convenience stores. Crew members are allowed to leave/return to Wellington Lake if needed, but race volunteers cannot guarantee assistance with supply runs.
If you are coming from out of town and need assistance with tents, sleeping bags, or other gear, please inform Sarah or Karl and we will do our best to help locate items to loan to you for the weekend. We cannot guarantee we’ll have extra supplies, but please let us know and we will do our best.
You are responsible for packing out your trash at the conclusion of the event. We expect you to clean the area around your tent and return the area to the way you found it. Despite how hilarious a black bear in a tutu is, they don’t do a great job of cleaning up trash. So, please bring additional trash bags and help keep the area clean.
**Please note: Cell phone reception and internet is very spotty and not guaranteed at the lake.
Swimmers are required to have two crew members. You may not self-support this year. If you need help finding crew members, please let us know and we will do our best to help find people.
This year, one of your crewmembers must be available to support kayak at all times, as long as you are continuing to swim. We will create a rotation/schedule between the teams and will provide several kayaks (feel free to bring your own if you have some). When needed, one of your crewmembers will be asked to provide general/group kayak support.
Please note: Our race fees include camping for you and your crew on Friday and Saturday night only. If you have extra people or wish to camp on Thursday night or Sunday night, you will need to coordinate with Wellington directly. Their campsites open for booking 3 months prior and they do fill up quickly (usually within a few days), so if you plan to extend your stay, please plan accordingly.
- Swimmers must fully complete a race loop of 1.5 miles within every hour. Failure to start the next race at :59 on the hour means you have exited the race. Late starts are not allowed. Race directors have the sole discretion to determine if you were late to the start or not.
- Wetsuits are prohibited. You may only compete in a textile swim suit. Women may only wear a standard swim suit. Female suits may not cover the shoulder or continue to the knees. Men may wear a traditional Speedo cut suit, box suits, or jammers. Male suits may not extend below the knee. If you have to ask, it’s probably not allowed.
- Swim aids of any type are prohibited. You may wear a swim suit (as outlined above), one silicone or latex swim cap, ear plugs, and goggles.
- MP3 players are prohibited.
- Simple wrist watches are allowed. No other type of navigational devices or GPS devices/watches/etc. are allowed.
- Loop direction is at the discretion of the race directors and may be changed at any time.
- Swimmers must stop at the two race course buoys to collect a token before they can be checked in as officially completing a loop. Failure to procure both tokens will disqualify a swimmer from continuing the race.
- Swimmers may not accept any aid from spectators, race volunteers, or officials during their swim loop. Accepting any type of aid means forfeiting your loop.
- In the event of lightning or inclement weather, race volunteers will alert the swimmers. At their own discretion, swimmers may then either exit the water during their loop or continue swimming. If you choose to exit the water, you may not make any forward progress. The clock does not stop if you exit the water, so if you choose to exit the water, you must complete your loop and be ready for the next loop at :59 on the hour.
- During inclement weather, for the safety of both kayakers and swimmers, all kayakers will be instructed to exit the water. During this time, swimmers will not have kayak support and should they decide to continue swimming, they may do so solely at their own risk.
- There will be race volunteers placed at a few points on shore along the course. They are there if you require assistance or need to stop in the middle of your loop, however, if you exit the water for any reason other than for inclement weather or accept assistance from volunteer crews, you will be disqualified.
- We will have a few roaming kayaks during the race. They are not there to assist you unless it’s an emergency. They will not guide you if you get off course. They will not hold feeds for you. However, if you have an emergency and want to quit, they will be available to help you exit the water safely.
- One crewmember must be available for volunteer duties, as assigned by the Race Directors. This could be kayaking, making coffee, boiling water, stocking the fire, etc. If your team refuses to help as needed, the swimmer may be disqualified.
- Race directors have the discretion to change the rules at the start of each loop. You are not allowed to complain.
- If we reach 6:59 pm on Sunday with more than one racer, the race directors will implement a race-off.
- We have an online application this year, with credit card payment options! YAY!
- Race Directors have the right to refuse/deny an application to this event if we feel you are not qualified. Please include as much of your swim history as you think is pertinent on the application, particularly your cold water and altitude experience. We will notify you if your application has been accepted. If you are not accepted, we will refund your race fee, minus credit card fees.
- This event will be capped at 30 swimmers and they will be notified by June 15.
- After 30 participants, we will start a waitlist, in the event that a participant drops out and another is qualified. We will notify a waitlist applicant that they may have the opportunity to fill the empty slot.
- Refunds will not be available if you cancel/change your plans.
- Application deadline is July 31 at 11:59 PM (or until full).
- $500 application fee does not include a 6.5% surcharge, which will be applied at checkout to cover costs for the credit card hosting and registration company-GetMeRegistered. Also does not include a $1.50 refund fee charged by Get Me Registered. Applicants will therefore be refunded $498.50 of their original registration costs, if their application is declined.
- The Application can be found here: https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=131515
- This is an outdoor, open water event. Things can happen that mean the event may be cancelled. There is no option for an alternate weekend. We’ll do our best to hold the event no matter what, but please know that race fees are non-refundable.
- This is meant to be a self-supported event. We’re providing the location and basic amenities, but you are on your own for everything else. Please plan accordingly.