Must Have Nav

It's good to have some idea of where you're running to.
 
A friend of mine who is an experienced racer and top navigator for a nationally competitive team has offered up some awesome tips for fledgeling teams when it comes to navigation.  To be honest, as he mentions, navigation is the aspect of AR that is the most lacking in rookie teams.  Someone with even a very recreational level of fitness can often finish in the middle of the pack or even better in sprint races if they are paired with a good navigator.  If you are patient and can read a map and compass you have the makings for a great navigator.  Check out his thoughts on the subject and get some great ideas for ways to get out there and improve your nav skills.  So i'm not saying not to get out there and train - i'm just reminding you that AR isn't like other racing - this isn't some glorified triathlon. In AR, fitness will only get you so far.  In fact, without good nav, the fitter you are the more lost you will end up getting (i.e. the faster you'll be running in the wrong direction).  Cheers everyone!

Practice

Makes perfect, right?  Well, for those of you wanting to practice your navigation and packrafting skills in preparation for the spring race, we've got just what you're looking for.
 
Saturday, April 30th we'll be hosting an informal navigation clinic and pack-rafting primer out at Turtle River State Park.  you can come out for one or both and stay as long as you like.  We'll plan on starting things at 10 am near the chalet (subject to change - keep checking the website) with navigation, and then blow up the boats around 12:30 or 1 pm and paddle a section of Turtle River.  Depending on the river level, this might be pretty exciting.  It will certainly be cold, so dress appropriately, and expect to get at least a little wet if you're doing this portion.
 
You see five gallon bucket, I see 3 pair of hand paddles!
 
Bring your own lunch/snacks/pack-rafts/pfd's and paddles.  If you want to dig up a five gallon bucket and bring some elastic/rope/webbing/surgical tubing we can do a little demonstration on making hand-paddles as well.  And I'll bring my alpacka boats so you can check these out and see what you might want to save your pennies for.
 
Also, i'm hoping to post a sample map of the turtle river area in the next few weeks with 4 or 5 checkpoints labelled on it, and then go hang these checkpoints.  This will let folks get out there and practice navigation on their own. The checkpoints of course will not be the ones used for the actual race.
 
Both the navigation clinic and the group pack-raft are free once you get into the park, although now that we're a non-profit and have lots of other (less revenue generating projects) afoot, we'll certainly be accepting donations if you feel the workshops were of good value and are so inclined.  Please RSVP at endracing@gmail.com so we can have an idea of how many to expect.
 
Cheers,
Andy

Moms

Moms are great.  We all have them and owe them a great many things for making us the wonderful people I'm sure we all are.  But what do moms have to do with ENDracing?  Well, in case you hadn't noticed (and shame on you if you hadn't!) we've gone and scheduled our Spring Primer Adventure Race (END-SPAR) on, well, Mother's day. Now while you might go and get some crazy notion in your head that we, too, didn't realize what day it was, you'd be wrong.  You see, it's all part of our master plan for a perfect mothers day.
 
First of all, what mother wouldn't take immense joy knowing that their offspring was making a conscious choice to both add more adventure into their lifeand take steps along a path of lifelong health and wellness?  And what mother doesn't secretly wish to be able to share a sweet video (of the race) that shows how hardcore their son or daughter is with all their facebook friends? I mean, if you weren't sure what you were going to do for your dear mother on May 8th, maybe now you do (well, END-SPAR and sending flowers...)
 
And if you are a mom, then even better.  Not only will the race will seem like a breeze (and short) compared to something you've already been through, but you can get your kids to clean your muddy bike, shoes, and clothes as a mother's day gift for you!  And maybe that husband of yours will take you out to a nice dinner and give you a great post race massage (or at least schedule one for you).  If you can think of a better way to spend your mother's day, well, i want to hear about it!!*
 
Happy training everyone - remember, only two weeks left of early registration!
 
*comments for this post have been disabled

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

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