|Vetting the course|
Well, i leave on Saturday to participate with team GearJunkie/Yogaslackers in the Idaho Expedition race, so i'm desperately attempting to get all the details sorted out for END-AR 24 before my departure. The maps are almost done (all 18 of them), the passport is waiting to be printed, and the course booklet has been written. I'm including a link to the latter HERE so that you can start getting excited/worried/nervous, planning strategy. I'd advise you to read it thoroughly (racers will be responsible for knowing this information!) and ask any questions ahead of time. I'll be MIA from the 13th of august until the 21st, so all emails and phone calls will go unanswered for this period!
A few recommendations for these last few weeks of training:
- Get together with your team at night. Go for a bike, go for a run, whatever. figure out what you will need for the night section and use it. It sucks to pull out your headlamp from the closet the day before the race and find that it won't work. Many teams will be completing the bike course in darkness or near darkness
- Figure out how you'll keep your maps dry. Only your master map will be waterproof. All the supplementary maps will be on regular paper. A map case or doubled freezer bags might do the trick, but make sure to bring extra in this case so that you won't be out of luck if they get ripped!
- Practice inflating, deflating, and carrying your packraft. Figure out how/who will carry what. Teams that are efficient in moving through transitions and getting on and off the river will save 30-60 minutes over teams that haven't practiced at all.
- Mentally prepare for a real challenge. While a 24 hour race of this nature will serve up plenty of physical challenge, it is mental unpreparedness that is the reason that 90% of teams that withdraw do so. And yes, some of you will withdraw. My gut feeling is that fewer than 30% of the teams will clear the long course, and at least 25% of teams will not finish the race (prove me wrong guys!)
- Hang out together. Discuss team roles/goals. Part of the mental reason teams withdraw is because its even harder to face the significant challenges of a race like this when you have personality conflicts as well. Most team-mates won't respond well to being yelled at or criticized when they are at their low point. Know how to best motivate or rally a lagging team-mate and your far more likely to finish as a team (i.e. ranked).
- Commit. Yeah, there will be trails. In fact, alot of them. But for teams gunning for the full course, there will also be several sections of rough terrain where more than once you might be tempted to assume that you must be going the wrong way. "Surely i'm not meant to go through that" you'll think. Do yourselves a favor and don't give in to this assumption. If you're on course you'll never be bushwhacking for more than 30 minutes or so, but it may be a pretty grim 30 minutes. You won't be expected to jump off of or climb sheer cliffs (by the way, 45 degrees is not sheer, though it may feel like it at the time), but there may be times when you're pushing your way through terrain that rivals some of toughest that Patagonia has to offer (albeit for a fraction of the time). And remember - i've been there and done it too - at least twice.