Hello April!

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:
  1. Hydroflask - awesome bottles with ENDracing logo and NO plastic
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ergon - once you ride with Ergon grips you will never go back.
  5. Numa - styling shades to be sure, but this video really says it all.
  6. Power to Go - The best energy food plus pick-me up we've tried, and we've tried almost everything.
  7. Nuun - No sugar, all electrolytes and vitamins.  Great taste without waste.
  8. 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 .
Cheers  -
ENDracing Team

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!


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.


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  -
ENDracing Team