First the fire -
I'm recently back from participating with Team Yogaslackers in the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, a six day stage race taking place in the fabulous United Arab Emirates. Since its inception in 2007, the race has quickly gained recognition as one of the toughest and fiercely contested adventure races in the world. Maybe this is because the perks of this race don't end with fantastic scenery and a grueling course - it's actually a government supported event (to the tune of 1.5 million US dollars). This results in fantastic media coverage, swanky accommodation (2 nights booking in a 5 star resort hotel included in entry fee), rock bottom entry fees, and a prize purse of over $150,000 that pays down to 30th place. Team Yogaslackers, captained by my twin brother Jason, took 19th place last year after dragging first time adventure racer but world class mountaineer Eric Myers (who claimed the race was harder than climbing both Everest and K2 in a comparable six days - and he's successfully climbed them both) for miles across the deserts of the "empty quarter".
Even though the racing season is over for us at ENDracing, we're already back out there trying to get things started towards a great 2011. Committee meetings for the Iceman Triathlon have commenced (check the website for current info) and we're looking to improve everything about the event and have double the number of participants this year. The spring adventure race is already half planned (lots of great stuff in store - including a new mystery challenge, awesome mountain biking, our tallest climbs yet, and yes, more pack-rafting!!!!) and I've just secured the venue for the 24 hour fall race. Additionally, we're going to be starting a non-profit organization this fall with the mission of building an infrastructure for adventure based activities in the Grand Cities (ENDracing will be an arm of this organization). Some of our long term plans (pipe dreams at the moment perhaps, but you've gotta start somewhere) involve building a boat house and starting a canoe/kayak racing club on the Red River/Red Lake River; developing a mt. bike trail system along the Turtle River between Turtle River State Park and Larimore Dam recreation area (site of future ENDracing 24 hour bike races I'm sure!), offering a youth 'adventure camp' during the summer which culminates with a family-friendly, orienteering race on a semi-permanent O-course along the Greenway. On the racing end, I'm hoping to be able to add (at some future date) a marathon downriver canoe event, the above mentioned mt. bike race, and possibly a middle distance (<50 miles) Ice-Bike race to the schedule so that those adventure addicted folks in the region would have a high quality adventure based race every other month. Sounds awesome doesn't it!? One step at a time, one step at a time.....
And good news for those folks local to the area who are craving even more excitement - it sounds as thought the guys and gals from UND Cycling are putting together a cyclocross series on three consecutive weekends starting at the end of this month. Look for a link to the info coming soon on the ENDracing site.