May 2011

Sioux-Hustler adventure

We made it!  it went way smoother than expected - we ran the whole trail where possible (lots of deadfall, beaver dams, etc) and made the circuit in just about 9 hours - 10 if you include the stop 30 miles in for pack-rafting over '50 percent falls'.  
Grant was amazing, carrying the pack once we were down to one (we stashed the pack about 6 miles in) and calling on his steeple-chase experience to hurdle trees that were higher than waist level.  He also always let me take the lead, which was awesome being that i was *ahem* slightly slower than he was.  
A great trip through great country, with some sweet, rare north central Minnesota whitewater pack-rafting thrown in.  Grant is hooked - we're already thinking about the next adventure.

Spring is for Growing!

There's so much to include in this newsletter but I'll try to keep it simple and short and just include links to all the cool stuff we've been up to.
Our spring race (END-SPAR) has come and gone - 27 teams came out to turtle river state park and it was an epic day - with many teams finishing in the last few minutes before the cut-off.  Congrats go out to Team Awesome Express for the awesome teamwork and perseverance they exhibited, allowing them to be one of only two teams to clear then entire course and nab top prize.  You can check out the full results and photos from the race at the race page, or just have a look at the video to see what you (shouldn't have) missed, if you weren't there.
Part of the course (the O-course) has been left up to allow local teams to practice their navigation all summer - get the maps and get going.
In other racing news, registration for END-AR - the "toughest race in North Dakota", is now open.  The event is part of the CP tracker series - register and get more information about this event HERE.
We've been busy on the non-racing front too - Ground UP adventures, ENDracing's parent non-profit organization [Note, ENDracing and GUP are now two separate organizations. 2014-12-13], now has an official website (thanks Beek!).  We've got big goals and lots of projects afoot, so make sure to check it out and see what our plans are so you don't miss anything.  We're building a 'store' into the site as well, which will continue to develop over the coming weeks - it's chock full of all the stuff we and Team Yogaslackers use for our racing (including used pack-rafts!), and most purchases will save you money and help us fund our activities too.
Finally, we're moving towards two newsletters - one for ENDracing and one for Ground UP - the ENDracing newsletters will be focused solely on racing and racing related news and developments, while the Ground UP ones will come out quarterly and provide detailed information about our other activities (youth programming, community development, etc).  Unless you tell us otherwise, we'll make sure you're kept up to date on both fronts.
Cheers  -
ENDracing Team
Ground UP adventures

Take the plunge

Our adventure races are fun.... go ahead, take the plunge.  You'll be glad you did, we promise....

Thanks John (Swamp Donkey AR) for the sweet video!

While you wait....

Here is a bit of inspiration to tide you over while you wait for (and start planning for) END-AR.  It's the new trailer from the WPER race -- the full movie should be out soon!  I am sure that some of you are starting down the path that will eventually lead you to a race like this one.....  Super impressed with all the adventure racers in North Dakota!

WATCH IN HD!  Now this is some real editing!

Cheers -

Team Yogaslackers

Bike and Packrafts for sale!

Jason of Team Yogaslackers is selling his ND race machine, a full suspension Specialized Marathon.  Bike is five years old and still race worthy - although the front shock might need to be serviced.  Awesome bike, complete with egg-beater pedals (if you want 'em) and matching cleats.  Bike was worth over $3000 new - and can be in top shape again with a bit of effort.  Totally rideable, as is however - in fact Jason used it right out of the garage two weeks ago during the spring primer race.  Asking $600 OBO.

Also for sale are a number of used Alpacka packrafts - check out the selection HERE.

Happy tuesday everyone.

Getting noticed

It's a good thing all the local teams have had a few years to practice, because they may have to start bringing their "A" game to future races - ENDracing is starting to get some attention from the wider AR world - veteran teams from further afield may start showing up at the start line.....

Here is a piece from - have a read and if you're one of those folks racing on a Huffy in converse and cotton, have a bit of local pride.
And here is a something from Checkpointtracker - home of the national AR series of which the 24 hour race this fall will be a part.  
And below is a little movie that will start appearing in local theaters (River cinema) in late summer, which will hopefully get a bit of buzz going as well.  
Finally - we're going to start profiling some of the local teams that have been with us for a few races - so stay tuned to see who's who in AR up in the far north.


Important Update - please approach O8 from the campground road.  DO not go up the road that leads to the maintenance shed - park officials have said this is not allowed.  

We've got permission from Turtle River State Park to leave up the 10 orienteering points from END-SPAR as an O-course for the summer.  Get out there and practice your nav!  Go camp in the park and do it at night!  Map 3 (satellite image) and Map 4 (trails map) are below - remember that map 3 is missing point O11, so refer to map 4 for its location. Click on the map for the full size version and print it off.  Be careful out there folks, and have fun!



Important Update - please approach O8 from the campground road.  DO not go up the road that leads to the maintenance shed - park officials have said this is not allowed.
We've got permission from Turtle River State Park to leave up the 10 orienteering points from END-SPAR as an O-course for the summer.  Get out there and practice your nav!  Go camp in the park and do it at night!  Map 3 (satellite image) and Map 4 (trails map) are below - remember that map 3 is missing point O11, so refer to map 4 for its location. Click on the map for the full size version and print it off.  Be careful out there folks, and have fun!

Sponsor Love, END-SPAR 2011 results, and video number 1!

We'll make it easy for you - here are some email links to all of this year's wonderful sponsors.  
Don't be shy, send them some love (pics, stories, words of thanks, whatever you want...) I promise they will return the favor at our next race. Now that you've taken care of business - have a look at the results and then check out the first race video below.  There will be another one eventually, but you may have to be patient.  Videographer and editor extraordinaire Jason Magness has a bit on his plate at the moment with his first (and perhaps only) Yogaslacker teacher training coming up.  I anticipate that tripling the number of Yogaslackers out there over a two week period will have major global consequences - we'll just have to wait and see how this plays out (;
Finally, we've got some big plans coming up - ENDracing kits from Ibex and a gear store offering discounts on everything you need for racing (at our parent site, GroundUPadventures) to name a few - so make sure to join our mailing list if you haven't already so that you can be filled in every month on what's coming up and what you've missed.  Cheers everyone!  

2011 END-SPAR finishes with only one "child" fatality*

One of the teams helping rescue an unconscious child during the race

Well, it's over and done with!  27 teams started and all 27 finished - visiting at least all of the mandatory CP's.  Only two teams cleared the course, however - successfully completing all challenges and visiting all of the optional points.  What a race!  There are so many wonderful and inspiring stories that come out of an experience like this - as race director i have a few myself to tell - but i want to hear them all.  Shoot us an email (subject:  2011 endspar) with your team's race report, favorite moment, best checkpoint, high/low point, or any other meaningful aspect of the race you'd like to share, and we'll share 'em on the site.  Full results, videos, pics and the like will be up later in the week.

We're also going to leave the orienteering section of the course up for another month or so and post a link to the maps on here and facebook - so if you're planning on doing the 24, or even END-SPAR again next year, you'll have a chance for a bit more practice.  Do it by bike, do it by foot, do it at night.  As many teams found out on Sunday - it doesn't matter how fast you're going if you don't now where you're going.

Cheers everyone, and great race!!!!

*Keegan, shown above being safely carried across the river, was later dropped by team Labrats and remains un-recovered to this day. 

2011 course book

as promised, here is the 2011 course book for END-SPAR.  this has details about the course, rules, and each section of the race.  it won't give too much away and some of it won't make sense until tomorrow when you get your maps, but digesting some of the info ahead of time and formulating questions for tomorrows meeting might not be a bad idea.  See everyone in the morning!  don't forget, we'll have coffee and muffins, etc starting at 7 am.


A little preview....

Joel and Jason went out to test run the course today....and came back with a quick teaser for everyone.  They also saw several racers riding the trails and scoping things out....Good to see the excitement out there, but I hope no one was looking too hard for clues, as it is much more fun to just discover it all on race day.

Regardless, you'll get wet and muddy and probably even get a broken ankle (hint, hint).  Enjoy the final day of prep, make sure you send your mom a card (unless you are racing with her, and in that case get her an pack of Power-to-Go).  See you all Sunday morning!

LAST chance!!!

Registration for END-SPAR ends at midnight tonight!

END-SPAR racer and volunteer map

Here are the key locations for the event.  Please avoid exploring turtle river state park until race day.  it takes alot of work preparing for a race like this and it is impossible to wait until saturday night to set all of the checkpoints.  We'll be out and about and if you're caught snooping you'll have to start the race an hour later than everyone else!

View Untitled in a larger map

Volunteers, zoom out several times to see the location of the 'farm', indicated by a yellow placemark.  

SPAR Wildlife

Jim here.  Andy and I were on the course today and had a blast.  We got wet and muddy.  I was attacked by 100 stickers and Andy was attacked by 100 ticks. Well, maybe it was 5.  It was nearly as fun as racing.  But the best part was the wildlife: we saw at least 10 deer, 4 turkeys, a pileated woodpecker, a kingfisher, a young cormorant (struggling to get aloft from the river), and a host of songbirds.  Spring has definitely sprung in North Dakota, and you're going to be right in the thick of things in 4 days.  Maybe it will even snow again!

Nav hints from Jim

Well, there were about 5 teams representing out at the orienteering clinic last sunday.  For those that missed it and are new to the whole navigation thing, Jim G. has written up some 'how to' hints that will help you get through the race.  If you're just beginning, focus on points 1 and 2 and don't worry about number 3 for now.  Likely there won't be a need for 'precision' nav in this race - but solid 'rough nav' will help you go fast and more importantly, in the right general direction.

Jim here with a few basic tips for navigating during SPAR (and future adventure races).

For ease of reference, assume you are at control point 1 (CP1) and now want to go to CP2. And remember North is always at the top of the map, so these instructions assume you are holding the map flat with the top (North) away from you.

1. Should I stay or go? The longer you stand at CP1, the more likely you will give away its location to a team behind you. On the other hand, if you race off without a clear plan for getting to CP2, you may waste precious time by going the wrong way. And, after you check the map, don’t forget to check the clue for CP2—it can’t help you if you don’t read it.

2. Can I use “rough” navigation? If CP2 is fairly close, you may save time by “eyeballing” the map rather than doing precision compass work. If the map shows CP2 straight left of CP1, then in the field CP2 is basically West from CP1. A quick check of your compass needle, which points North in the field, will tell you which way is West, and you can head right out on that course toward CP2. When the distance is short, varying a few degrees off course usually won’t hinder finding the CP. 

Rough navigation can also save time when CP2 is not close to CP1, but it is close to an obvious landmark (like a trail, road, river, etc.). As above, eyeball the direction from CP1 to the feature, check your compass needle to find the right direction in the field, and take off running in that direction. When you find the landmark in the field, slow down and focus your search on an aspect of the landmark close to CP2 (like a sharp bend in theriver, or the SE corner of a field).

3. Should I use “precision” navigation? If CP2 is not close to CP1 or to an obvious landmark, you will probably need more precise compass work. This is not difficult, but it does take more time than rough navigation.

Your first step, just like in the rough navigation example, is to determine on the map the direction from CP1 to CP2. That direction is called a “bearing.” To take a bearing from the map, put the rear corner of your compass on CP1, and turn the entire compass (not the degree dial) so that the compass’ front corner points at CP2 (or crosses it). Thus, if you drew a line along the edge of the compass’ baseplate from rear to front, it would start at CP1 and run towards (or though) CP2. Now, holding the compass in place, rotate its degree ring until the 2 parallel lines on the compass face indicating North (the “gate”) are toward the top of the map, and the vertical lines in the compass capsule are parallel with the map’s left and right margins (ignore the compass needle for this step). The bearing is the number where the direction of travel arrow intersects the degree dial. If our eyeball example above was accurate, then the bearing should be 270.

The next step is to translate the map bearing to a field bearing. Leaving the compass bearing as it was from the last step (so it’s still showing 270), hold the compass flat in front of you, and turn your entire body until the compass needle is “boxed” in the gate (so the needle falls between the 2 parallel gate lines). You should now be facing 270, the direction to CP2 (the compass’ direction of travel arrow will also be pointing that way). Pick a recognizable object in your line of travel (a crooked tree, group of bushes, bare spot, etc.) and walk to it. Then take another field bearing the same way, pick a new object, and go to it. Repeat until you reach CP2.

4. What route should I use? The last example described taking and following a straight bearing from CP1 to CP2. In reality, while a straight line may be the shortest distance between two CPs, it is not always the fastest or the smartest route. Staying on a trail or road for a longer distance will often take less time and less energy than taking a “shortcut” that bushwhacks up and down a hill or wades through a field of long grass. If you use the process above of picking a recognizable object along your bearing, you are not forced to follow the bearing strictly; you can take an easier course to the object, knowing once you arrive at the object you are back on the bearing. Alternatively, maybe you don’t need a bearing from CP1 at all. For example, maybe you already know how to get from CP1 to a road that will take you to the general area where CP2 is. But if CP2 is in the forest some distance from the road, you will need a bearing—taken not from CP1, but from an “attack point” on the road. An attack point is simply a recognizable feature from which you can take a bearing on the map and transfer it to the field. For example, if the map shows an intersection in the road not far from CP2, you could take a map bearing from the intersection to CP2, go to the intersection and head into the forest following the map bearing.

5. Orienting the map to the field. This just means you line up north on the map (the top) with north in the field. This is not a necessary step, but it can be useful for both rough and precision navigation because it helps you translate the map’s landmarks to those you see in the field.

Turn your compass dial to 0 degrees (due North). Put the compass on the map with the direction of travel arrow pointing up. Hold the map and compass flat in front of you, and turn your whole body until the compass needle is boxed in the gate. Now the map is “oriented” to north, so when you look to your left you will see the landmarks the map shows are west of your location

packrafts for rent

We're likely to have a fleet of six alpacka scouts available for rent for race next weekend - i don't have them yet but have been assured they'd arrive in time.  These are boats Ground UP adventures is purchasing to use at their adventure racing camp in 2012 - but since we've got em we might as well use them (and help pay for them!).

Boats will rent for $20 each and we'll transport to the race.  We'll have a couple of inflation bags and a pump as well but you won't be able to transport this equipment with you if you choose to carry the rafts uninflated to the put-in.  So plan on either carrying the boats inflated or bringing your own pump along.

the boats are about 3.3 pounds a piece.  They can fit two people in a pinch, but are pretty tight unless it's two SMALL people.  first come first served everyone!  And if you're going to be renting one, make sure you arrive at race day check in and pay for it by 8 AM or it'll be fair game again.



Boats are all spoken for!

Bring your appetites and taste buds!

To begin with, i need to mention that our first (and only) racer update is now available. Click here or visit the end-spar page to see it.  Any future updates will be posted on THIS main site, so check back often.  Now onto the good stuff -

Dakota Harvest Bakers, the finest (in our opinion) little bakery and coffee shop in the Red River Valley has generously agreed to donate lots of goodies to get you revved up before the race and help fill your empty tank afterwords.  If you're from Grand Forks, make sure to stop in and thank Paul and George for their support of our efforts.  Here's what they're sending:

  • Coffee 
  • Energy bars
  • Protein bars 
  • Muffins (blueberry, banana nut, peanut butter bran)
  • Bittersweet chocolate and sea salt cookies (my favorite) - for after the race
  • A special treat for all the moms - for after the race

We'll also have bananas and oranges available at the finish line, as well as CocoHydro and water.

Plan to show up early - we'll be there at 7 AM - to hang out, eat, drink, and be merry before the 'fun' begins!  Bring your own coffee mug if you can - we're all about minimizing waste when possible.  See you all on Sunday!  Good luck with last minute preparations and training.....


Orienteering clinic update

well, it's the morning of the orienteering clinic and there's a dusting of snow.  some folks have been texting or emailing me in regards to whether the clinic is still on.  It is.

It remains to be seen whether I'll packraft or not - i'm still planning to bring my boats along so folks can check them out, and i'll be happy to help with the building of hand paddles, answer any questions, etc.  If a handful of people show up keen to give it a go and properly equipped we probably will go ahead and do it.

Properly equipped here means good gloves, boots, possibly neoprene socks, etc.  the water won't have cooled off tremendously but it was cold to begin with and the cold air temperature will feel even colder on wet skin.

Good news is that next Sunday looks pretty good--60 to 65 degrees--perfect for racing).  Of course it is an adventure race so really any weather is ideal.....