I know, I know. I'm late. There you were, wondering if - as the month of June came to a close with no June newsletter from ENDracing - the flame of adventure had finally been extinguished in the upper midwest. But have faith people - I'm just busy, and we're just getting started. Lots to report this month, so lets get into it:
Registration for "the hardest race in North Dakota" is now open. Actually it's been open for a long time. If you're going to race we'd certainly appreciate it if you'd sign up already! In fact, to give you a little nudge, we'll throw some extra goodies in the swag bags of the first 15 teams to register in any category (and yes, if you've already signed up you'll get the goodies too). The course is set and we're spending lots of time up in the valley tweaking the details. It's going to be epic of course, but you already expect that.
Cash prizes for top teams will be awarded based on number of entries received. Starting with the 51st paid racer, $50 of the registration fee from each new racer will be given back to top teams. If we get 75 racers for example, the prize purse will include $1250 in cash, in addition to all the great merchandise we'll be giving away from our sponsors. We'd love to do more, but then again, we're already priced so far below everyone else that its really hard to beat our value.
Packraft options for END-AR24 will not be limited to any particular type of craft. Your packrafts must be non-motorized and transportable. You will be carrying your boats and paddling gear with you (or using them/it) pretty much the entire race, so light is right! There will be about 20 river miles in several sections, and some difficult terrain - if you've got some 20 lb. monster you better be training with that thing on our back. There are lots of types (check for intex, stearns, sevylor, etc on Amazon for the less expensive options, feel free to email with any questions) of boats - I'm going to run the whole thing in a $15 dollar cheapie in a couple weeks and report back - so get something and practice in it! This is an EXPEDITION style race (lots of people claim this and what they really mean is that it's point to point - hardly expedition style) - there will be no gear drops, etc. Although there will be opportunities to fill water and transition areas where left-over sponsor product (bars, power to go, etc) is offered - you won't be able to count on this. This is the real deal - its going to be a hard race that favors slow, continuous progress over short bursts of speed. You will NOT have to carry your bikes on non bike sections of the course however. More details will be provided to racers in race specific emails. And FYI - we've still got a handful of packrafts (scout model) available for rent for the 24 hour race, as well as three larger decked boats for sale and about half of retail. Check out the Alpacka section of the store for more details.
Radio: I've got a radio interview on Prairie Public radio on Wednesday July 6th, at 3 pm. Tune in if you're interested. I'll be discussing ENDracing in general, as well as the upcoming race.
Teammates: If you're looking for a team-mate, either as a single racer or as a team of two looking to expand your circle of commiseration during END-AR24 shoot me an email and i'll see who i can connect you with. Also, if you'd be open to having someone join your team, please let me know as well.
Volunteering is fun! If you're not sure you're up to the challenge of the hardest race in the state, there's only one way to find out - sign up anyway. Barring that, at least get out and volunteer. We're still looking for a few committed volunteers who are willing to be out in beautiful and remote sections of the course to keep track of racer progress at manned checkpoints, and to serve as course cleaners. These folks will be following the last team through a section, stripping the course of checkpoints. It's a great morale boost for that last team and gives the volunteer a way to see (in a small dose) just what doing a 24 hour race by ENDracing entails. Volunteers get a free post race meal, some sweet swag, a chance to win prizes in our awesome prize drawing, and major props from us.
Training races coming up include the MNOC Adventure-O, put on by reigning national champions WEDALI. The course features trekking, paddling, and biking, as well as orienteering, all within 90 minutes from the twin cities. Teams doing MNOC as well as ENDracing will receive a $15 per racer discount off the already low entry fee into END-AR24. Lets get some local teams out there to represent! If you do end up out there, make sure and put in a good word for us. Ian (the pres. of MNOC) doesn't seem to know how cool we are yet, and we'd very much appreciate you passing on the word.
Gear is now becoming available on Ground UP Adventures website, and we'll continue to work to provide you with a way to buy the stuff you need for racing (at a discount when we can) in a way that helps support our mission to bring adventure to the upper great plains. Check out the store for a list of our sponsors, then click on each to see more about why we love them and how to get their stuff. We currently offer alpacka rafts (limited), Hydroflask water bottles (custom designs!), Inov-8 gear, Numa sunglasses, and pre-orders on custom Swiftwick socks. In the next two weeks we should have Power to Go energy, Raw Rev bars, and Stuffitts shoe savers available. Links are provided in the store to all of our other sponsors - visit 'em - check out their gear, or send them an email thanking them for supporting our cause.
Thats it - i'll cover anything that i missed next month.