Spring is here!

I'm back from a short vacation to California and starting to get psyched for our next race, the Extreme North Dakota Spring Primer Adventure Race (END-SPAR).  Registration is now open, so get to it!  This race is the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet if you're new to AR and get your team ready for the upcoming season if you're a returning veteran.  In truth, even the veterans are going to get their feet wet.  You can check out videos of last years race here and here.   We're also developing a partnership with Winnipeg's big adventure racing crew, SwampDonkey, so you can expect to see some North of the border talent at the start line, as well as some free entries into some of their awesome events.  Team Yogaslackers will be back out helping to design the race (or racing themselves - Chelsey Gribbon, the pint sized female powerhouse of the team is joining two local women to form an all female team to take a run at the prize this year) so as repeat racers are sure to expect, its going to be epic.  See the website for more details, and feel free to shoot me an email with any questions.
 
 
On the Non-Profit side of things we're making slow but steady progress - starting to look for funding opportunities for the boat house project while waiting patiently for Uncle Sam to approve our application for 501 c(3) status.  And for you prettier racers out there (read younger - as in under 25), we're also kicking around some ideas about putting together a couple of ENDracing/GroundUP adventure race teams for 2012, so if you have dreams of being a sponsored racer and crushing courses all over the world with your good looks and speed - better make sure to show us what you're made of this year (no, we don't really care how good you look).  Details will be forthcoming over the next few months.
 
Finally, don't forget about the climbing competition at Northern Heights Rock Gym on April 2nd - after all, there IS going to be climbing at END-SPAR, so you might want to brush up a bit.  The photo to the right shows my youngest, AJ, putting to use the skills he's gained at NHRG out in Joshua Tree National Park a few weeks ago.  The young have an innate spirit and love of adventure, which is why adventure goes such a long way towards keeping us young.
 
Cheers  -
Andy
ENDracing Team

Busy, busy, busy.....

I know, it's not exactly February anymore, but we've been, well, you know, busy.
 
 
Working backwards, there was the second annual ColdAvenger's Extreme North Dakota Iceman Triathlon, on February 26th.  Over 125 hardy souls took on the challenge and with starting linetemperatures of -13 F, -29 wind chill they all are champions in our book. Dakota Harvest provided awesome pre and post race refreshments, Swiftwick hooked all the racers up with arm warmers, Due North by Sure Foot Corporation gave out loads of traction aids, Power to Go fueled racers with their 'five hour energy' trail mix, and everyone was out sporting their ColdAvenger masks proudly.  The event was a huge success and we can't wait until next year when it's going to be even better with the planned addition of chip timing.  Check out the END-IT page for full details.  A huge thanks to all our wonderful sponsors, volunteers, and the awesome folks of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, all of whom made it possible.
 
Loads has been happening on the racing front personally for the team as well - I (Andy) completed (unofficially) the Arrowhead 135 on bike again this year, serving as a chaperone to Tom Fisher, a 17 year old junior from Central High School in Grand Forks who became the youngest official finisher in 34 and a half hours.  You can read my take on the adventure here, a more general piece about the race here, or visit the race website for more info.  Jason (of team Yogaslackers) has just finished 'the last wild race' in Patagonia as a member of Team GearJunkie.com in second place.  14 teams started and only six made it to the end in what sounds like an absolute epic race with some great stories.  You can find the website by clicking on the picture.
 
[Note: The following paragraph was accurate at the time it was written, but the relationship between ENDracing and GUP has since changed--they are two distinct entities, but all profits from ENDracing still go to GUP at the end of the year.  2014-12-13]
 
The exciting news for us is that as of January 3rd, 2011, ENDracing is officially a trade name of the larger organization, GroundUP Adventures (GUP)- now a registered not for profit company in the state of North Dakota.  It's the first step in a long journey to develop (essentially from the 'ground up') a thriving adventure based activities hub for the upper great plains.  After finding our way through  the mound of paperwork required to receive federal recognition as a non-profit, we're hoping to get the ball rolling this spring and start looking for funding for some ambitious local projects, including a boat house for the Red River.  'Luckily', I'm now officially done with grad school (and thus unemployed) and able to devote my full 'professional' energies to ENDracing and GUP.  We've got a few great folks lending their talents to the cause but can always use more help (in particular on the accounting side of things) and local participation, so if you've got an interest in being involved, or just want to be kept in the loop, just shoot an email to me at groundupadventures@gmail.com.
 
And finally, we're now in full swing planning the next race on the calendar - the Extreme North Dakota Spring Primer Adventure Race, scheduled for May 8th in and around Turtle River State Park.  It promises to be an exciting (as expected) race - expertly crafted to serve as a great introduction to the sport for novices and challenge 'pro' teams alike.  Up for grabs are free and discounted entries into North Dakota's first ever twenty four hour race, this years END-AR (part of the CP tracker series), to be held over labour day weekend in the Pembina Gorge.  We're hoping to partner with Swamp Donkey adventure racing as well this year, so stay tuned for details on that arrangement.
 
See you out there
Andy
ENDracing Team

Happy New Year!

Hope the first few weeks of 2011 has been good to everyone!  Things here in Grand Forks are white and cold, just like expected!
 
[Note: The following paragraph was accurate at the time it was written, but the relationship between ENDracing and GUP has since changed--they are two distinct entities, but all profits from ENDracing still go to GUP at the end of the year.  2014-12-13]
 
The exciting news for us is that as of January 3rd, 2011, ENDracing is officially a trade name of the larger organization, GroundUP Adventures (GUP)- now a registered not for profit company in the state of North Dakota.  It's the first step in a long journey to develop (essentially from the 'ground up') a thriving adventure based activities hub for the upper great plains.  After finding our way through  the mound of paperwork required to receive federal recognition as a non-profit, we're hoping to get the ball rolling this spring and start looking for funding for some ambitious local projects, including a boat house for the Red River.  'Luckily', I'm now officially done with grad school (and thus unemployed) and able to devote my full 'professional' energies to ENDracing and GUP.  We've got a few great folks lending their talents to the cause but can always use more help (in particular on the accounting side of things) and local participation, so if you've got an interest in being involved, or just want to be kept in the loop, just shoot an email to me at groundupadventures@gmail.com.
 
On the ENDracing front - planning for the Iceman triathlon is in full swing.  We've got more sponsors on board -Swiftwick (custom armwarmers for all racers - seen in the picture to the left), SurlyIbexBlue Moose,SurefootInov-8 - and are amassing a huge prize pool not to be missed!  We'll once again have prizes for fastest male and female through each section, as well as the glacier awards - a little something special for those stalwart individuals who bring in the rear.  Early registration ends on Jan 31st, but register by the 27th of January to ensure that you get the custom armwarmers, as the production cycle for the top quality 200 thread count sleeves requires a bit of lead time.  Racers registering after the 27th (up until mid February) will still get regular armwarmers however.
 
We're planning to have the course maps up on the website, as scheduled, by the end of the month.  We'll also get out and lightly mark the course at that time (early february), and be hosting several course previews of the individual sections for those with a desire to pre-run the course.  Check out the facebook page and/or the ENDracing website for more details.
 
Finally, don't forget the other local events that serve as perfect training opportunities for the iceman - the Frozen Feat 5K and 10K and the Bikecicle Icebike race.  In fact, these are both on the same day (Feb. 13) so its the perfect brick training day!
 
See you in the snow -
Andy
ENDracing Team

Fire and Ice(man), and everything nice

First the fire - 
I'm recently back from participating with Team Yogaslackers in the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, a six day stage race taking place in the fabulous United Arab Emirates.  Since its inception in 2007, the race has quickly gained recognition as one of the toughest and fiercely contested adventure races in the world.  Maybe this is because the perks of this race don't end with fantastic scenery and a grueling course - it's actually a government supported event (to the tune of 1.5 million US dollars).  This results in fantastic media coverage, swanky accommodation (2 nights booking in a 5 star resort hotel included in entry fee), rock bottom entry fees, and a prize purse of over $150,000 that pays down to 30th place.  Team Yogaslackers, captained by my twin brother Jason, took 19th place last year after dragging first time adventure racer but world class mountaineer Eric Myers (who claimed the race was harder than climbing both Everest and K2 in a comparable six days - and he's successfully climbed them both) for miles across the deserts of the "empty quarter".  

Teams crossing the Empty Quarter
The 100+ km desert trek stage is always the toughest test of the race.  In previous years teams were given 36 hours to complete it, during which they were forced to take a minimum of 8 hours of rest.  For reasons that I imagine can only be appreciated by a select group of deranged elite racers and/or particularly sadistic race directors, the race organization made a few changes to the stage for 2010 - they made the first two days of the race all leg work (biking and running), made these initial stages harder than ever before with twice as much elevation gain as in years past,  added a 96 km mountain bike leg over hilly terrain on roads often unrideable due to massive sand drifts that segwayed immediately into the desert trek, added only two hours of time (38 instead of 36 to complete the entire section of bike plus trek), and oriented the trek in the opposite direction so that teams were forced to climb the soft and steep side of dunes and descend down the hard stuff.  Unseasonally high temperatures upwards of 100 degrees fahrenheit didn't help.  Ouch.
 
It was brutal, but we made it.  I struggled mentally the most about 22 km from the end.  I wasn't thinking straight and my addled brain had me doing the math incorrectly and convinced we now wouldn't make the cutoff and had shot ourselves in the foot trying to get just one more optional CP.  There was lots of yelling and swearing.  Heat and exhaustion do strange things to you.  As adventure racers, we do such strange things to ourselves.  Yogaslackers ended in 14th place - beating out several super fast teams that were just eaten by the desert.  You can see more photos of the race by visiting the official race site, or the websites of Checkpoint Tracker or Breathe Magazine, both of whom covered the action.  Below are a few more photos from the race.

L to R: Team Yogaslackers near the end, me near my low point.
 

The bike section leading into the desert trek.
Then the Ice -
Registration for the ColdAvenger Extreme North Dakota Iceman Triathlon opened on December 1st.  People are signing up and taking advantage of early bird registration prices, which end with 2010.  All registrants will receive a deep discount on gear from our title sponsor, ColdAvenger for the purchase of up to two masks - awesome cold weather training gear that we promise will allow you to, as their slogan states, "stay out longer".   We will be giving away five of the masks leading up to the event via a drawings held the last week of January. We'll draw one female yeti, one male yeti, and one team from registered racers on Jan 31st, so make sure you're registered by then to be eligible!
 
Cash prizes of $100 for the top male and female "yeti" and $300 for the top team are up for grabs, but won't be easy pickin's - the top male from last year was the first registrant this year and I've got it on good authority that the top female (who happens to be my wonderful wife) will be back as well.  Then again, I also know of lots of new local talent looking to make their mark this year by vying for top spot. 
 
Rest assured though, there'll still be awesome swag and loads of raffle prizes thanks to our wonderful sponsors for those who are just looking to challenge themselves against the course or just come out and have a great day of fun racing.   We'll keep registrants posted via a separate newsletter as we finalize details about racer swag, additional event sponsors, course details, and any cross country skiing and/or winter biking clinics that we put together in the coming months. 
 
Cheers and Happy Holidays
Andy
ENDracing Team

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