Adventure Racing News
presented by Inov-8

Terra Traverse Quebec is more accessible than ever
posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 by Yak @ 8:45 AM - 0 comments









Terra Traverse announced today that it is making Terra Traverse Quebec more accessible to adventure racing teams through a number of enhancements designed to support race teams and their efforts to participate in the inaugural Terra Traverse race.

Due to an overwhelming response from sponsors associated with the national television broadcast, Terra Traverse is pleased to announce a new entry fee for Terra Traverse Quebec. Effective immediately the entry fee is now $5,000 for all teams. The change reflects the organizers commitment to reduce the monetary burden for all competitors interested in experiencing the new era in adventure racing.

To that end, Terra Traverse has also secured a deal with Air Canada to provide a 50% discount on airfare to teams participating in Terra Traverse Quebec. Air Canada provides flights to and from Canada, US, Europe, Australia and Eastern Asia.

Finally, in recognition of the dependence many adventure racing teams have on sponsorship, Terra Traverse is providing a Sponsorship Package for teams to utilize in their efforts to secure corporate support. The package includes an easy-to-use professional PowerPoint that teams can use when making presentations to sponsors. The PowerPoint has specific details regarding Terra Traverse Quebec and how sponsors can benefit by supporting a participating team.

Terra Traverse will launch its inaugural Expedition Journey format Adventure Race October 4-10, 2008 in the spectacular province of Quebec Canada. The first Terra Traverse event will include 75 four-person coed teams covering approximately 600 kilometers across stunning terrain.

Top adventure racing teams including Team Nike have already secured spots in Terra Traverse Quebec. Mike Kloser, captain of Team Nike says, "A major factor in our decision to compete in Terra Traverse Quebec was the team behind the event such as John Barrett, Ian Adamson, Billy Mattison and Jay Smith. Based on their experience and history with the sport of adventure racing, they will undoubtedly organize and produce an incredible race. As for the location, we've competed in this region before and are excited to experience the beauty and the challenge of the Quebec terrain once again!"

For more information on the race and to register your team, go to www.terratraverse.com, or send an email to info@terratraverse.com.

A little taste of redemption
posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 by Peter Jolles @ 2:25 PM - 0 comments

Pop quiz. What is the number two industry in West Virginia in terms of income brought into the state? If you said white water rafting, you'd be right. It is second only to coal.

This one of the few interesting tidbits we picked up this weekend from our white water rafting guide Ark (like the boat) from Class VI River Runners during the Odyssey Wild Wonderful 24HR Adventure Race. Other things we learned were that West Virginia is pretty much covered in poison ivy and stinging nettles, and not all things are as easy as they may appear.

The Wild Wonderful would be our second foray into West Virginia in a little over a month and the team was hoping for a much better result than our previous race in the same area. We knew it wouldn't be easy as the competition would be strong. Teams such as Eastern Mountain Sports, Calleva, and Berlin Bike would all be there vying for a top finish and points in the Checkpoint Tracker series.

Before the race even started we got our first taste of what the competition was bringing. In the pre-race gear check one of the required items was a trowel. Most racers know they will never use a trowel, and subsequently try any number of angles to try to carry the smallest and lightest "trowel" they can. Depending on the race, I've seen people get away with a disposable plastic spoon. Not wanting to get caught on a technicality, we usually bring one of these, with the handle cut off. At about an ounce, it's not too much to carry. So, back to the gear check. The team behind us breaks out their trowel, and I kid you not, they whip out an entrenching tool! Even Ronny the race director said that they should try and find something a little smaller. I'm not sure if they ever did, and I'm impressed if they made it the whole way carrying that hunk of steel.

Just like E-Fix, the race started out with a rafting section down the New River Gorge. Boats were assigned by lottery, with teams starting in one of 4 waves. The later waves would receive time credits so there was no penalty for starting later. Checkpoint Zero drew a spot in the last wave, which was fine by us, because we didn't have to worry about any teams finishing 5 minutes behind us and beating us on overall time. The challenging part to the rafting wasn't making our way down the river, we thankfully had guides for that, but rather each team got paired with some of the competition and you had to work together to get to the end of the paddle as fast as possible. We got to share our 8 person raft with a team of soldiers from Ft. Bragg. After we got talking to them, two of the four said they had done this race a while back in Georgia. Turns out they had survived the infamous Checkpoint Zero Adventure race, so at the very least, we knew we could count on them helping us to get to the end of the paddle section.

We managed to finish second in our wave of boats and came to the first TA where we saw a majority of the teams making the transition from rafting to trekking. We made an effort to get in and out quickly, and in that TA alone we probably passed 3/4's of the teams. Knowing we had a long climb out of the gorge, we set a quick pace up the road and continued to catch teams from earlier waves. By the time we got to the second CP, we had moved into the top 10 overall and were already taking time out of the EMS, Calleva, and Berlin Bike, all of whom started in the first wave.

As we moved onto the trail that took us along the endless wall, we kept our pace strong. At this point we figured we had a little bit of an advantage over some of the teams, as we had just used this trail 5 weeks back, albeit in the other direction. This really came in useful when we came across a CP hanging off the trail, but it was no where near where anything was plotted on our race maps. We quickly realized that the point was left over from E-Fix, and simply hadn't been taken down after the race. There were several teams with us at that point, and I assured them that this point was not part of the days race and we all continued on to the real CP. Unfortunately there were other teams behind us that hadn't done E-Fix and ended up punching that flag thinking it was the right one.

We finally climbed our way out of the gorge and made it to Beauty, WV. Beauty was the site of one of the E-Fix TA's, although this time we found Susanna from Odyssey and our bikes in someone's front yard. We hadn't seen anyone biking out yet, but soon saw the three teams ahead of us head out. We had cut a 15 minute gap to less than 5 minutes! In our rush to get rolling, I managed to cut my thumb pretty badly on the lip of a soda can. Fearing the worst, I called out for a bandaid and clutched my hand trying not to bleed all over the place. With out first aid kit in the bottom of one of the packs, our resident Dr. Hobson (Michele) offered up a piece of duct tape which I applied to my wound. I'm sure it wasn't the most sanitary of dressings, but I figured once the bleeding stopped we could clean it out and dress it properly.

Hopping on the bikes we were in hot pursuit and quickly caught up to Berlin Bike. Unfortunately one of their teammates had gotten some debilitating cramps and had come off the bike trying to ease the pain. Just ahead we caught a glimpse of Calleva, and soon caught up with them. We ended up riding together a bit, chatting and commenting on the beautiful weather we had before parting ways. With only EMS ahead of us we knew we had our work cut out for us, we knew we didn't have to catch them, but stay within 15 minutes and we'd be in good shape. We were able to track our gap because each CP had a sign in sheet where teams had to sign in and leave a time.

Our bike ride took us north east to the Gauley River NRA, much along the same path as E-Fix. We were to take the same rail trail as we did earlier, to the site of the infamous E-Fix CP5. This is the CP that many teams had trouble finding, several spent 10 hours looking for it. In response to the problems experienced, Odyssey stepped up and provided regular 1:24000 closeups of the area that showed the trails that were not on the main map we were given. Had they done this earlier, E-Fix would have been a different story. But I digress.

Making our way on bike back to Camp Washington Carver, we made the transition to to foot for a trekking section. We had slowly watched EMS start to pull away from us, and by the time we started on foot, they had about a 30 minute lead. Calleva was just behind us, and pushing us hard. The first trekking loop was pretty straight forward, just a long decent back into the gorge and a tough climb back out. At the top of the final climb we started hearing voices, and saw a few cars parked around a cabin. The trail we were on split and one fork took us towards the folks, and the other appeared to go in the direction we wanted to go. As we paused, we were noticed and the people started shouting at us, beckoning us to come over their way. As we got closer we realized they were having a big party complete with a huge bonfire and ample amounts of beer, plenty of which had already been consumed. I think we were quite a spectacle to them, tromping out of the woods decked out with headlamps and spandex. They said that the team ahead of us (EMS) had come through a while ago and that we'd better hurry up and catch them. They offered us a beer and moonshine, and for a moment I actually considered taking them up on their offer. Had we not had the orienteering section ahead of us, I would have for sure.

The last section of the race was an orienteering section, where all the points were optional. We knew that the winning team would have to collect them all and looking at the map before we head out I had roughly estimated 3 hours or so to do just that. Boy, was I wrong. What ensued was the most brutal orienteering course I think I've ever done. There were briars, rhododendron, massive logging, and more briars out there waiting to flay the skin from our bones and force us to our knees as we attempted to crawl through them. Starting off in a roughly CCW direction we managed to get two of the points before becoming completely disoriented. We ended up coming across a series of homes tucked away in the woods that were not shown on the map at all. After much deliberation and guesswork, we made it back to the camp and got our bearings. It was here we bumped into EMS who were restocking their packs and getting ready to re-attack the course just like us. The only difference, they had obtained all but 2 points so they were well ahead of us. After we greeted them Chad Denning and pointed to a couple of points on the map and said "this here is really fun." I thought I caught a bit of sarcasm in Chad's voice and figured the already difficult course would get worse.

True to the warning, the route got tougher with the addition of a large swamp tossed into the mix of everything we had encountered before. We took some time picking our way around and through it, and were rewarded with another series of steep climbs to get the next couple points. About 2 hours before the sun came up we again got turned around and this time I was fed up. I suggested taking a 2 hour nap before knocking off the rest of the course. The always encouraging team mates of mine convinced me to take one more stab at finding the next point and that was all it took. We got rolling, found our next target, and finished picking up the rest of the points.

We got to the finish line and saw EMS, showered, and packing up their gear getting ready to head out. Before we even "finished" the race we went over to congratulate them on an excellent race and for getting first. Much to our surprise they congratulated us and said they never found the two points they went back out after. We had managed to find the two troublesome points after the sun came up, which certainly made it much easier to spot them and follow the terrain. I know how hard the decision is to stop looking for a point and I can only imagine how close they were and never realized it in the dark.

All in all I have to thank EMS for making us work hard and setting the bar a little higher for us. We also want to thank Calleva for pushing us along, even though just after we saw them the last time one of their team members got violently ill and they were unable to finish the race. Of course I'd also like to thank our generous sponsors, Inov-8, nuun, and Numa Sport Optics for the fantastic support we get from them.

Labels: , ,

Welcome to the NEW Checkpointzero.com
posted Friday, May 23, 2008 by Yak @ 4:59 PM - 0 comments

We've been busy making extensive changes to our publishing platform that will let us bring together more adventure racing news from more sources than ever before. We're very excited about it and figured what better time than the Friday before a long holiday weekend, when noone's paying attention, to roll out a new site :-)

As you click your way around you'll notice that most of our content is now coming from blogs.

We've got team blogs, news blogs...blogs focused on specific races...you get the idea.

Right now we've got about 10 blogs focusing on such notable teams as DART-nuun and Salomon/Crested Butte along with race blogs for Terra Traverse and Primal Quest to name a few.

We're also now using blogs to publish all the adventure racing news that gets sent to us via email instead of publishing it in our database. In the coming weeks we'll be inviting trusted 3rd parties to post directly to this blog in particular. That means the time between content submission and content publishing should drop to...ZERO :-)

You'll also noticed we've removed the Calendar (and are working on removing all the remaining links to it). We haven't given up on providing you a great race calendar...we're working on a bigger, better way to do it. More on that soon.

If you're interested in setting up a dedicated blog for your team or business send an email to yak@checkpointzero.com and convince me. You'll have to demonstrate that you can write, that you're going to post AT LEAST weekly and that there are people out there that are gonna want to read what you have to say :-)

I hope you enjoy the new site!

Cheers,
Yak

Race Report - Primal Quest Sprint Series
posted Thursday, May 22, 2008 by Yak @ 10:08 AM - 0 comments

Saturday morning, driving south on I95 from Northern Virginia in a torrential downpour, Chris Rumohr (A-list Ambassador) and I were beginning to wonder what we would find at Pocahontas State Park, just south of Richmond VA. Weather reports were of 4"+ of rain and it wasn't looking promising, but we had faith.

After doing OAR events for nearly 10 years I am nearly convinced Don Mann has an "in" with the weather gods; torrential rains to "prep" the course and the absolutely perfect weather to race in.

We arrived to a hive of activity and moved quickly through check in and gear check. The volunteers were cheery and helpful, even though many of them had been up till 3 Am the morning before ~ one would have never known it! I love AR volunteers!

With a new twist to any OAR event I have been to and more reminiscent to multi-sport events, we were given a map, with the numbered CP's and disciplines noted on them as well as given a bit of information about the course prior to the race brief...was I dreaming?! This was too good to be true!

After a quick race brief, where additional helpful tips were given about the race course: blue trail, yellow ribbons and my favorite of the day, the emergency cell number...cell phones weren't mandatory gear and what sane AR type is going to carry non-mandatory gear. I had visions of injured racers yelling out the emergency number while randomly blowing on the mandatory whistle waiting for help to arrive.

The TA set up was great. The course did figure 8's through the TA throughout the day. The race started in a nice mud puddle (later to become the mud pit finish evolution) with the the trail run passing back through the TA transitioning from one set of trails to another. The course designers did an awesome job at maximizing the trails available with various terrains, streams, dams and some beautiful flowers out due to all the rain the day before. For once, the orienteering points didn’t interfere with the forward momentum of the race, we picked up two of them and moved on.

The most adventurous part of the mountain bike course took place within the first 1/2 mile. The racers had been told there would be a stream crossing, and even that it could be deep. It was up to each racer to determine how to approach the stream crossing though. I decided to take the cautious approach and used my bike to see what was lurking along that muddy bank in the murky, muddy water. Violating everything my bike mechanic has ever told me, I lowered my bike in and down it went...lower and lower. Scientific investigation determined it was seat post deep. We then jumped on in and swam across. After the 10 mile trail run we agreed that the swim was "quite refreshing". Continuing on winding trails that wrapped themselves up, down around and over a series of ridges along the lake we traveled 8 miles or so out to the fire road and we shot back to the TA.

Most people do not like any paddling sections that are involved in adventure races, let alone flat water paddling sections in the infamous water craft called a "ducky". For the first time all day, I was completely in my element - water involving boats! Not wading across over-flowing dams or swimming with my bike! Something that involved a paddle!

We shoved off and soon realized that the wind had picked up significantly and the ducky wanted to pull to the right. After a few minutes of paddling, I realized that in my joy of being in a boat, we had shoved off stern first. Chris and I executed a mid-water seat swap, as well as 180 degree spin and took off once again. That solved a lot of the steering problems. I typically paddle canoes and kayaks that have very distinct pointy ends but I am not making excuses. Chris and i realized this is the 2nd time in our racing career we have launched our boats in a rush and been paddling "backwards"! Problem solved we focused and started hunting down the teams ahead of us, managing to pass 6 or 7 along the way. The best part of the paddle was that it was set up as an out and back course so you got to see and cheer on your fellow racers. This was one of the best set ups of this course ~ you saw your fellow competitors several times throughout the day and there was a real fan base at the TA who cheered everyone they saw.

Landing back at the TA the last series of tasks lay ahead of us. The log PT. After 4 sets of 4 count over-head presses Chris and I realized wearing our bike helmets was a smart idea. It doesn't hurt as much to bounce the log off your head. Bicep curls are for girls, no problems there. Down on our backs for the bench press...oh no...oops! There goes the log, onto my chest! ok, start again....1, 2, 3, ouch! Don and Chris Caul helpfully informed us of the time cut-off (they hadn't mentioned that in the morning but it worked as an inspiration) and finally, crunches. Off to the ropes course. The rope stirrup crossing was a lot of fun once you got the swing of it (pardon the pun) and the cargo net went smoothly till my left thumb got stuck as I crossed over to come down the other side. With shouts of encouragement from onlookers, "come on down" I turned and said, "my thumb is stuck!" Thankfully we were wearing gloves so after jumping and moving around and trying to yank my thumb out from under the ropes I was standing on while simultaneously not throwing myself off backwards, we made it down.

"Get your packs on and get over here. You aren't done yet!"

Helpfully directed by Chris Caul, we were led to the log lined mud pit at the other end of which stood Joe and Don, smiling gleefully and holding the finish line.

Whoo hoo! we shouted, "Thelma and Louise live!" and we dove in and belly crawled our way to the other end and ran across the finish line, spitting out pieces of grass as we went.

The energy and synergy from the racers, the volunteers and the support crews was awesome! The many rather puzzled park visitors that day definitely had more entertainment then they probably bargained for and all the racers had big happy smiles all day.

I can't wait to try to the other races in the PQSS series!!!

Kraig Becker

Media Director
Primal Quest

Boulder Performance Network wins Gravity Play Buena Vista 24
posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008 by Yak @ 1:48 PM - 0 comments

On Saturday, May 10th, more than 200 adventure racers battled it out in the Arkansas River Valley, in the second stop on the 2008 Adventure Xstream Adventure Race Series circuit.

The fierce battle in the 24 hour race 4-person co-ed category came down to Team Salomon/Crested Butte; Team Boulder Performance Network, Team Eolus, Team Go Lite & Team 4 Corners Adventure Racing. Team Salomon/Crested Butte made a costly error right off the bat when their compass declination was 20 degrees off. That, coupled with a freak snowstorm that left visibility poor for much of the night, put them in last place coming off of the night trekking & orienteering section. Team Boulder Performance Network (Travis Macy, Kyle Peters, Scott Swaney, Gretchen Reeves) took first place in the Buena Vista Adventure Xstream Race 4-person Co-ed category with a winning time of 17 hours and 13 minutes. Second & third place went to Team Eolus and Team 4 Corners Adventure Racing.

Official results, course maps, blogs, video coverage and more from this race can be viewed at www.CheckpointTracker.com and www.GravityPlay.com.

Competitors at the Buena Vista Adventure Xstream Adventure Race competed in either a 100–mile or 60-mile course testing their skills in trail running, whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, orienteering and completing a 400 foot tyrolean traverse; or a Sprint course (30 miles) featuring kayaking, trail running, mountain biking and navigation.

Nestled into the heart of the Collegiate Peaks mountain range, Buena Vista is home to some of the world’s best mountain biking and outdoor recreation. With the dynamic Arkansas River and thousands of acres of national forest and BLM land scattered across its expanse, Buena Vista is properly coined the "Headwaters of Adventure" and is one of Colorado's best places to mountain bike, hike and paddle. Along with its natural beauty, this venue offers one of the nations most exciting adventure racing courses.

Next up in the Adventure Xstream Adventure Race Series is the Durango 12-hour Adventure Xstream race on June 14th.

For those new to adventure racing, Gravity Play Sports also offers Adventure Racing Camps and Clinics and online training programs in partnership with Boulder Performance Network.

More than $30,000 cash and prizes will be awarded to race and series champions in 2008. Additionally, the Buena Vista 24 hour and Breckenridge 24 hour races & the Xstream Expedition Race are points races in the Checkpoint Tracker National Point Series.

Sponsors of the Buena Vista AXS Race included: Helly Hansen, Salomon, CheckpointZero.com, Zorrel, Chaffee County Visitor's Bureau, AIRE, E-boost.com, Hammer Nutrition, Health-fx.net, and Inside Outside Magazine.Entry fee for each Adventure Xstream Adventure Sprint Race is $95 per person; 12 Hour Race is $175 per person and 24 Hour Race is $250 and includes inflatable kayaks for each 2 & 4-person team.

For further information and to register, please visit www.GravityPlay.com or call 970.259.7771. For free press photos please contact events@gravityplay.com.