Lots to report this month, so I'll get right into it! To begin with, planning is full swing for END-SPAR (the Extreme North Dakota spring primer adventure race), a six hour race to be held on mother's day out at Turtle River State Park. Not only do we think doing an adventure race is a wonderful way to spend mother's day, but we'll have special treats for all the mothers that make it out! The race is a great entry point to the sport for beginners with a course that is both challenging and accessible. Some new details are now popping up on the event page and lots of relevant race content (including this excellent post on navigation) is being added to the blog, so make sure to check it out. Two things that particular mention are the decision to run a free navigation and pack-rafting clinic the saturday before race weekend (April 30th) out at Turtle River State Park, and the wonderful news that Alpackaraft has signed on as a sponsor for both the spring and fall races. They're sending two packrafts ($500 value) for us to give away - one of which will be raffled of at the spring race. And DON'T FORGET - early registration for the spring race ends on April 15th!
We're also working hard to develop a larger regional races series for 2012, of which END-AR and END-SPAR would be a piece. This would give local racers something to build a season around and we're hoping even allow us to send some of our local or regional talent down to bigger national races each year. In addition to this we're seeking to build more lasting relationships with some of the companies that make the stuff that we use when we race (because it works) in a way (ethically and sustainably) that we can get behind. Keep your fingers crossed, or better yet , shoot one or more of these companies an email letting them know that we (ENDracing) are the reason you've heard of them and looked into their products. Couldn't hurt, right? Here's who they are and why we like em too:
- Hydroflask - awesome bottles with ENDracing logo and NO plastic
- Ibex - when we race, probably 75% of the clothes we wear come from these guys. Mostly merino wool - awesome temperature regulation, no stink. When you don't want to carry a change of clothes, you better be wearing Ibex.
- Inov-8 - the only shoes I will ever wear, whether doing 100 meter sprints or 100 mile wilderness treks. These guys get it right. They make some sweet racing packs as well.
- Ergon - once you ride with Ergon grips you will never go back.
- Numa - styling shades to be sure, but this video really says it all.
- Power to Go - The best energy food plus pick-me up we've tried, and we've tried almost everything.
- Nuun - No sugar, all electrolytes and vitamins. Great taste without waste.
- Swiftwick - the best socks you'll ever wear happen to be made in the USA. Awesome.
On the Ground UP adventures front (website coming soon at www.groundupadventures.com), we've submitted our boat-house proposal to the city of Grand Forks, so another reason to keep your fingers crossed. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, this time next year we could be breaking ground on a facility that will go a long way towards improving (and creating) non-motorized recreational opportunities within the Greater Grand Forks Greenway. Our initial thought is to have canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle-boards available for public use and to provide free or low cost instruction in safe river use - but who knows how big this could get? Maybe there are some closet rowers out there just waiting for this thing to be built so they can start their rowing club. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years folks out for an early stroll along the bike trails on some crisp fall morning will be treated to the methodical call of the noble coxswain. One can only dream. If you're keen to see this happen and/or want to show your support - please send me an email and I'll make sure to include you in future announcements about the project and keep you in the loop as far as the details go.
On a more personal note, after having to cancel my planned trip to New Zealand this spring and seeing what I'd missed, I felt like I needed to get something lined up ASAP. So I've planned my next mission - an attempt at a one day jaunt through the Sioux-Hustler trail in the BWCAW. I'll be tagging along with (and probably behind) Grant Mehring for the 35 miles which sound just about perfect (rugged, muddy, and with challenging route-finding).
Go ahead, tell your friends about us. Use a mouthpiece .