We've started to get a few single racers interested in signing up for the race - ok, actually only one - but since we make it a mission to let everyone who wants to suffer (in a good way, really!) have a chance to do so, we thought we'd better start getting things in place for matching up single racers. So let me introduce Nicole. She's a newbie who just saw the race on the midwest events calendar and is dying to try it. Although she's never raced before, she's an experienced triathlete and half-marathoner, and says that endurance is definitely her forte. In fact, here's her exact quote:
Just got this in my email and it brought back so many good memories i thought i'd share it. It also gives a great first hand perspective of the realities of adventure racing (where realities should be read difficulties) and there's even a few good lessons in there for the discerning reader. Enjoy, and thanks Scott!
In lobbying the city for permission to do what is of course largely perceived as crazy stuff, I had to submit a report containing details about the upcoming race. I also had to make an appearance before the Grand Forks Safety Committee which was broadcast live to the community, during which the cat was let out of the bag about at least 'element' of the coming race. Since following the meeting a link to the full report appeared (briefly) on facebook, i figured that in the interest of leveling the playing field i'd let everyone know that, yes, there may be a portion of the race that requires swimming in the Red River. Rest assured, there will be ample safety provided and the swim will be optional, in case swimming in the Red is a major phobia for someone. The exact nature of the swim, it's length, and purpose, however, will not be disclosed as of yet.
The link here goes to a friend of mine's race report from the XPD - a 10 day expedition race in australia. Just wanted to put it out there to let people know what the upper end of the sport looks like. Believe it or not, there's not much difference (logistics aside) between a 48 hour race and a 10 day race - in my opinion the most difficult transition is between 10-12 hour races and 36-48 hour beasts, where factors like night nav and sleep deprivation really test a team's adhesion and the individual members commitment to the common goal. For some these longer races can seem easier than shorter ones, where competetive teams have to push themselves hard for a chance at the podium. When you're going to be trekking for 150 miles, running the first 5 just doesn't seem to make much sense.....
I was out yesterday on a training ride and thought i'd check out the area i'd thought would serve as the main trekking section of the course (based on a purveyance of the area via Google Maps). Looks like it's going to be better than expected and will only entail travel almost entirely on the wet side of the dike, which is much more fun than running down residential streets. Looks like barring navigational mistakes, there will be about 5 miles or so of foot travel during this section, and another 1-2 miles during another section. So this comes to about 6-7 miles of total foot travel, not including the occasional short forays into the bush that may be required to find a CP or two during the bike, packraft, or paddling sections.
END-AR will be a traditional style Adventure Race - and as such, many of the details are kept purposefully vague until the day of the race. The course is designed to allow novices to finish in under 10 hours (or in the case of the May race [END-SPAR] 4-6 hours). Although no race of this length should be take lightly, adventure racing's unique format tends to cater to a broader range of athletic talent than some types of races, for several reasons.
- First off, as a team event, there will undoubtedly be more periods of rest for everyone - as the team will stop together every time one member needs to (to eat, to pee, to retie their shoes, etc).
- Secondly, because of the orienteering involved, slower and more methodical teams can often do as well or better than careless and quick teams that while super fast, might find themselves overshooting checkpoints or making navigational errors.
- Third - the variety of disciplines allows someone with a good basic fitness but broad range of skills to be as much of an asset (or more so) than someone who might, for example, be a top notch mountain biker but a poor paddler.
- Fourth, and most importantly, is the role that teamwork plays. I've seen teams of super-athletes crumble as bickering ensued for some reason or another. A team that works well together and stays positive throughout can often finish a race than would have been almost impossible for each of the members to do on their own.
This being said, there are a few things that ought to be considered prerequisites for taking on such a race. Competitors need at least basic mountain biking as a significant portion of the biking sections will not be on paved roads. In addition, participants should be comfortable in a canoe (although most - not all - of the paddling will be downstream). Lastly, at least one team member needs to understand the basics of map and compass navigation. Mandatory checkpoints will be pre-plotted by race staff, but all navigation is the responsibility of each team.
All aspects of the course will have been tested and pre-run, and - we promise you - fantastic. Be ready for some serious adventure.
If you’ve never done a race, all I can say is sign up and do one...this one or any other...but get out there and see what you are made of. And when things start to seem too hard, remember your teammates and work together. For that is where the real reward of adventure racing comes - a reward that is notably absent from triathlons, marathons, bike racing, etc. You are not alone! Good teams never forget this!