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.
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.
Ground UP adventures
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!
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 .