Adventure Racing News
presented by Inov-8

Train and Race with Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8
posted Tuesday, July 29, 2008 by Yak @ 9:51 AM - 0 comments

Adventure racers of all skill levels are invited to join team Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 September 6-7 at Red Top Mountain State Park just 30 minutes north of Atlanta for the first ever Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 Training Camp which will focus on navigation, cycling, paddling, ropes, race nutrition, race preparation and more.

The Training Camp will include classroom activities and in-the-field training and will cost $150 per racer. Tent camping adjacent to the beautiful Allatoona Lake, lesson materials, breakfast and dinner on Saturday, breakfast on Sunday, and loads of fun learning how to race faster are included.

Those interested in taking advantage of this opportunity should contact the team at team@checkpointzero.com. Space is limited so reserve your spot soon.

Checkpoint Challenge

The Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 Training Camp will be held in advance of this year's Checkpoint Challenge, which will match members of Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 with new racers to compete in the Trailblazer's Midnight Rush Adventure Race which is set for September 13.

As part of the Checkpoint Challenge, six selected individuals will be paired up with Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 team members who will mentor and accompany them through training and race preparation as well as the actual race itself. The Checkpoint Challenge is an excellent opportunity for novice racers looking to take their adventure racing to the next level. Winners will pay no entry fee for the race and will be provided race shirts from Checkpoint Zero, water bottles and hydration tables from nuun and Race Pro packs from Inov-8.

The Midnight Rush Adventure Race will be held at Lake Russell in Clayton County, Georgia. The race will feature mountain biking, trekking, rappelling, paddling, and of course navigation. The 14 hour race will start at 10 a.m. and take racers well into the dark, finishing at 12 a.m. This format gives teams the opportunity to experience adventure racing at night without having to stay up all night long.

In order to be selected for this unique opportunity, please send an email to the selection committee at team@checkpointzero.com with a 200-400 word essay explaining why you think you should be selected for the 2008 Checkpoint Challenge.

Winners will be selected and notified by August 18th. To be eligible, we ask that applicants be a current member of the Trailblazer Adventure Racing Club, and be familiar with adventure racing but never have completed a 12 hour or longer adventure race. Entries must be received by August 15th.

About Checkpoint Zero

Checkpoint Zero, LLC is a sports marketing and event management firm based in Greenville, SC. The company operates the popular adventure racing news website Checkpointzero.com, sponsors the highly successful team Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 and manages the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented

Quechua Compagnie Des Alpes of France Wins Mountain X Race
posted Monday, July 28, 2008 by Yak @ 8:57 AM - 0 comments

Tenacious as only this team knows how, crack French trio QUECHUA COMPAGNIE DES ALPES 1 (FRA), clawed their way back from adversity early in the race to win the 2nd Saab Salomon Mountain X Race held against the majestic backdrop of the SAVOIE MONT BLANC region.

With an astonishing performance on the final stage, a fast 46km adventure-run along the ridges and peaks around the Morzine mountain resort that required the teams to climb 3,076m in overall elevation gain, the team that at the start of the week believed itself out of the running, stunned pace setters SAAB SALOMON from Britain by staging an astonishing comeback worthy of the French team's legacy. But they had to work hard for it.

The problems came right from Day one as Yves BILLODEAU sustained a nasty hand wound when he fell on opening, extremely demanding mountaineering section. Things got worse when, on the following day, the French team's efforts to stay in the race on the first MTB section were dogged by mechanical failures and it looked, to all intents and purposes, that they would be out of the running.

They might have been down, and their sullen looks bore witness to the fact, but they were far from out. The spirits of this indefatigable trio rose as they clocked the fastest time on the second MTB section and the alchemy that has brought Rudy GOUY, Tony SBALBI and Yves BILLODEAU success around the globe once again began to work its magic; much to the chagrin of the young but stalwart hopefuls from Britain.

Starting the day with only 5 points separating the two teams, which amounts to about 8 minutes, SAAB SALOMON (GBR) would have to race hard and make no mistakes to have any hope of overhauling the Yellow Jerseyed French but an error of route choice at the exit of the town cost them 15 minutes and probably the race. This takes nothing away from the French who have shown heart, intelligence and passion to ensure a victory that will go down in the annals as a textbook example of spunk.

"We have really raced as a team all week," revealed ace navigator Rudy GOUY as his team celebrated their victory, "even though when Yves fell our morale fell with him. The problems we experienced in the first bike section didn't help either and we thought we might not even finish the race." It all came right in the end for the team with the metronomic winning mentality: "We started to come back, went for broke and even had something in reserve in it came down to a face off on this final section..." he concluded.

Mountain X Race Day 5, A Fearful Place
posted by Yak @ 8:51 AM - 0 comments

The day devoted to white-water on the River Arve and River Giffre reserved quite a few surprises for the teams. Between the Arve's tranquil waves this morning and the frothing vortex of the Giffre, SAAB SALOMON (GBR) lost the lead to QUECHUA COMPAGNIE DES ALPES 1
(FRA), while SPORT VIBRAM 2000 LAFUMA (FRA), a co-ed team, surprised everyone with the strongest paddling of the day.

It was a refreshing day for the athletes involved in this second edition of the MXR. After the heat of the first day running through the heart of the Savoie Mont Blanc region, the chill of swiftly flowing alpine rivers brought a welcome respite to the proceedings. Three whitewater sections were programmed today with the first starting at 9h00 and comprising 14.5km down the relatively smooth, if somewhat paddle intensive, River Arve from Le Fayet to Magland. At the end, there was just enough time to disembark, deflate the canoes and pack them, with the teams, into the assistance trucks before heading off to Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval to ride the Giffre for 5km as it plummets through the Tines Gorge. And this is where the fun started. Athletes were thrown from the boat, rolled around in the spume and paddles were broken or stuck between the rocks. The rapids at the entrance of the Tines Gorges took no prisoners, even among the most experienced teams.

Disembarking at Samoens, the teams were plucked from the waters and taken back to Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval for a second go at the torrent, this time continuing their journey to Taninges. On the way, they had to carry the boat through a number of shallows and paddle hard along some
slow, flat stretches. "My knees are toast after kneeling in this boat for such a long time," Nico Lebrun (NIKE) said grimacing. "But everything went well. We flipped on a first pass through the rapid but then we got the hang of it," the inexperienced Frenchman explained. The big winners over the water today were SPORT VIBRAM 2000 LAFUMA (FRA), winners of 3 sections, then SYBELLES-MERRELL (FRA) and CATEYE OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE (FRA). Two of these teams are co-ed and engaged in a merciless dual for supremacy in their category.

The race for overall first place is also coming to fever pitch. Thanks to finishing in 4th place on the day, QUECHUA COMPAGNIE DES ALPES 1 (FRA) did just enough to snatch the Yellow Jersey from SAAB SALOMON (GBR). "This was all about damage limitation for us because none of us are paddlers," admitted captain Ben Bardsley, "we thought we would lose the lead yesterday and didn't but today we are sure we will."

So tomorrow, in Morzine, is sure to be very exciting as a number of teams compete to edge out the competition and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In the overall ranking and the sub-categories, nothing is decided and only a supreme effort, the trademarks of SAAB SALOMON and QUECHUA, over the 46km adventure-running section and the 3,000m of elevation gain, will pay off.

On the ropes at the Mountain X Race
posted Friday, July 25, 2008 by Yak @ 3:54 PM - 0 comments

After two days of intense and frenetic physical activity that not only introduced the teams to the marvels of the Savoie Mont Blanc region but also exacted a tremendous toll on the muscles, sinews and morale of the athletes, it was perhaps time for something a little more cerebral.

The nature of the MXR is such that there is rarely, if ever, any respite for the teams, especially among those pushing for the top spots in the ranking and the absence of any timed activities other than all out racing makes success a function of pure speed and technical ability. This combination comes in many forms and varying proportions, not least of which is the meticulous and concentrated effort required to move rapidly and safely over a rock face. This is where today's rope works comes in.

At 07:00 this morning, The Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race was split down the middle with half the teams heading South from Thones to the Magland Canyon, where they engaged in a purely recreational, though no less technically demanding, canyoning section. For a distance of 2km, they rappelled and tobogganed their way down the icy cataracts of the Montmin River, dropping a total of 285m in all. As it is against the law in France to use canyoning as a competitive event, this section was un-timed and provided a refreshing change from the scorching endeavors of the
first two days.

The second group headed North to the magnificent rocky outcrops that crown the Col de la Colombiere, a regular passage on the Tour de France, where the teams climbed a splendid, partially-timed, via ferrata that coiled over 2.5km and 500m elevation gain up and around the soaring Pic de Jallouvre. Once off the snaking ladders, the teams sauntered across the mountain face to the next activity, an exciting, vertical sprint climb up the sheer rock face. The goal here was to get up as fast as possible then have fun coming down. As anodyne as this stage might appear to some, many among the top teams were predicting that these relatively short sections could have a major, if not decisive, impact on the outcome of the race.

The other crucial element of the day was the end of day trial run, a ferociously contested 13km up and around the steep slopes surrounding the Megeve resort. Once again, ROC AMADOUR (ESP) proved the fastest with the indefatigable Josh MIDDAUGH (USA) chasing close behind.

Thanks to a third fastest time on the ropes and a grouped finish on the trail at 8th, 9th and 10th, SAAB SALOMON (GBR) carried the day again and will keep the yellow jersey. QUECHUA - COMPAGNIE DES ALPES 1 (FRA) move into second place overall thanks mainly to a stellar
performance on the ropes.

Tomorrow, the rapid running waters of the Arve and Giffre await with three canoeing sections that will test the team's nautical capacities to the full.

Three US teams heading to Bull of Africa
posted by Yak @ 10:27 AM - 0 comments

Adventure World Magazine, Dark Horse and Feed the Machine will be heading to South Africa to race from Katberg, over the Amatole Mountains, across the Great Kei River and along the legendary Transkei Wild Coast coast to the finish in East London.

For the first time every Checkpoint Zero will be reporting directly from the course.

Back from a lengthy hiatus, our favorite AR diva, Lisa de Speville, will be updating our new Adventure Racing World Series Blog as the race unfolds.

The race runs from August 9th to 16th. The official race site will feature a race map and leaderboard.

Day three of the Mountain X Race a biker's paradise
posted by Yak @ 9:58 AM - 0 comments

Beneath gloriously blue skies and a blazing sun, the Savoie Mont Blanc region showed off some of its finest scenery, as the teams spent the best part of a day biking up and down a total of 78km extremely demanding and arduous trails, exacting a terrible toll on the athletes.

The Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race caravan set out again this morning at a 6am from Beaufort, the region's eponymous cheese Mecca, to finish in another town renowned for it's dairy delights, Thones, home to the Reblochon. However, what differentiated these two gastronomic Shangri-Las, for the teams, turned out to be two long and grueling MTB sections. The first, 42km with 2,000m of elevation gain between Beaufort and Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, confronted the athletes with some very steep portage, both up and down, myriad route choices and some crucial navigational options. In other words, plenty of opportunities to see the more cunning competition go speeding past. It would seem that, of all the teams, Americans NIKE made the most of these chances during the morning's race, in lieu, perhaps, of being the strongest team physically.

After holding their own on the blistering start by SCIENTEC NUTRITION (FRA), the trio Kloser-Tobin-Lebrun managed the section's best time ahead of overall race leaders, SAAB SALOMON (GBR), by 10 minutes. Unfortunately, equipment issues dogged the Spaniards of SALOMON SANTIVERI 1 (2nd in the overall ranking at the start of the day) when they found themselves having to stop every 2km to pump up a tire that was irreparably damaged early in the section. It cost them an hour in the end.

Those who survived the morning's escapade had more of the same to look forward, a second 32km section with 1,150m elevation gain between Flumet and Thones. Smarting from the shock of a 13th place unworthy of the team's talent, QUECHUA - COMPAGNIE DES ALPES 1 went all out to put the record straight and managed the fastest time in under less them 2h10, just ahead of Germans NORDIC SPORTS SALOMON and the French of FART 1.

This long and exacting day was concluded by a 10km trail run circuit starting and finishing in the town centre. The 400m of elevation gain was grist to the mill of the fleet footed Spaniard Agusti Roc Amador. At the end of the day, SAAB SALOMON (GBR) successfully defended there position as current overall race leaders.

After 2 very demanding days racing, tomorrow the athletes will race around Vesonne and the Grand Bornand for a day on the ropes, which should be a little less physical and a lot more fun with canyoning, via ferrata and climbing on the cards.

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SAAB Salomon out front after day two of the Mountain X Race
posted by Yak @ 9:00 AM - 0 comments

British team SAAB SALOMON set the pace right from the start of the first mountaineering stage. The current race champions were easily the quickest over the 33.5km (3,100m elevation gain) of this section, blazing a trail for SALOMON SANTIVERI 1 (ESP) and NIKE (USA) over peaks and glaciers. The recruitment of two new youthful faces into SAAB SALOMON, with respect to last year's winning trio, doesn't seem to have affected the British team's winning ways at all. Led by veteran Ben Bardsley, the young Tom Owens and Andy Symonds more than confirmed their reasons for inclusion in this crack squad being as they sped around the figure-eight mountaineering stage starting and ending in Les Chapieux.

Setting out this morning in strong winds and subzero temperatures with the rest of the field, the British trio, winners in 2007 with a different line-up, moved rapidly into a commanding lead on what is considered their athletic forte, mountain running. First at the Robert Blanc Refuge, SAAB SALOMON were quick to attach their crampons before heading out across the ridge leading to the Col des Glaciers, following a rope line fixed by the organization to avoid any crevasses, reaching a point at 3,500m, close to the Dome des Neiges. "It was an extremely tiring section but really spectacular", declared Ben Bardsley at the finish line.

During the descent from the Col de la Seigne, the Brits put paid to any threat from their nearest rivals with a turn of speed before embarking on the climb to the Northern slope of the Col des Fours, followed by the Col du Bonhomme before ending this 33.5km perambulation in Les Chapieux again after racing exactly 6h17. 15 minutes later came the Spaniards of SALOMON SANTIVERI 1, looking very satisfied with their performance: "We knew the British would go out really fast", explained Eduardo Barcelo. "We weren't too concerned to know they were well ahead and we went at our own pace but it was hard. When we arrived at the cross point in Ville des Glaciers and saw the peak we still had to climb, we were a little discouraged. We took a very steep short cut just before the summit to make up sometime but it took all the energy we had in reserve."

NIKE (USA) made up the fist three on this section. "It was a very spirited section but really quite magnificent", Nicolas Lebrun recounted. "For us it was all about damage limitation on this section. We experienced some problems on the ropes but I think we did quite well overall", explained the Frenchman specially recruited into the American team.

QUECHUA COMPAGNIE DES ALPES1 (FRA) and MERRELL SYBELLES (FRA) competed the top 5, despite the fact that Yves Billodeau (QUECHUA) injured his hand after a fall right at the start of the climb and Romain Pallud (SYBELLES) was carrying a badly twisted ankle. At the end of the day the customary trail run brought a surprise victory to SFR SOLIRAID (FRA) followed closely by some of the mountain running giants of the course, Roc Amadour, Symonds and Middaugh. Tomorrow another physically demanding task awaits the 38 teams with 2 MTB sections, 46km and 1991m of elevation gain from Beaufort to Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, followed by 32,5km and 1154m elevation gain from Flumet to Thônes.

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Econaut Investments buys Trioba
posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 by Yak @ 9:42 AM - 1 comments


Econaut Investments, LLC is proud to announce the acquisition of Trioba Adventure Racing. Econaut is owned by investors that include Ryan VanGorder and Glenn Rogers, both members of the Pacific Northwest adventure racing team DART-nuun.

Trioba has a rich tradition in the Pacific Northwest as a premier adventure racing series. Many racers in the Pacific Northwest competed in their first adventure race in the Trioba series, which has a history of producing tough races on well designed courses in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.

Econaut intends to continue this tradition and is looking to expand its presence through outdoor activities including, adventure racing camps, and other off road races. "We view this acquisition as a means to promote adventure sports in the Pacific Northwest and are looking forward to working closely with other race organizers in order to offer racers a broad offering of unique events," explained Glenn. In addition, the group sees this as an opportunity to leverage the strengths of their team's adventure racing sponsors and to provide them with additional opportunities to gain exposure and support adventure sports in the Pacific Northwest.

Econaut will spend the remainder of 2008 planning their 2009 race schedule, which will be published by the end of 2008. If you would like more information about Econaut or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ryan or Glenn at Econaut.pnw@gmail.com.

Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race off to flying start in Bourg Saint Maurice
posted Tuesday, July 22, 2008 by Yak @ 11:01 AM - 0 comments

After a bustling day of course briefings and technical gear checks, all held against the backdrop of a lively festival event, the thirty eight teams competing on the 2nd edition of the MXR sped away through the narrow, picture postcard streets of Bourg Saint Maurice for the opening trail run of this 5-day race.

The promising weather forecast for the next few days caused a wave of optimism and enthusiasm to spread through the ranks of the 38 teams as they gathered together earlier in the day at the pre-race briefing and were handed, for the first time, the maps and road book relative to the first day's racing. The enticing qualities of this particularly unique stage race were emphasized. Five days of single discipline stages followed by individually scored trail runs every evening, topped off with communal meals and convivial bivouacs. The day one team briefing was closed with a demonstration of the Nokia Sports Tracker GPS tracking system, being employed for the first time ever in a race and allowing the teams to trace their route in real time.

Later in the afternoon, the teams filed past the various stations where compulsory gear and technical competencies were checked. A few teams fell short with a couple of items of missing gear, namely GPS units and wets suits, but any issues were immediately dealt with by borrowing from other teams or renting locally. As the afternoon wore on, members of the public were entertained not only by this colorful parade of international AR stars but also by hip-hop performances and live music.

Once the team presentations were done, the athletes changed into their bibs and running gear in readiness for the first trail run of the event. A looping, 10km sprint with 700m elevation gain that saw the teams streaming down the narrow, picturesque, terrace-lined streets of Bourg Saint Maurice before bursting onto the mountainside North of this internationally recognized white water resort. Forty six minutes later, Josiah MIDDAUGH came clattering into the finish followed, in the space of under 10 seconds, by Augusti ROC AMADOUR and Nicolas LEBRUN. Top lady was Anna FROST in 15th position overall.

After tallying the results of this opening trail run, overall race leaders are the all male squad of NIKE BEAVER CREEK (USA). A hard day of mountaineering awaits the teams tomorrow morning at 05:00 and there is little doubt that all will be looking to make an impact on what will no doubt prove to be one of the race's toughest stages.

To discover all the teams, nationalities, profiles and disciplines visit mountainxrace.com.

International field flocks to Saab Salomon Mountain-X Race
posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 by Yak @ 10:42 AM - 0 comments

With only a week to go before the second edition of the Saab Salomon Mountain X Race gets underway in the Mont Blanc region in France, teams from all over the world are putting the final touches to their preparations, readying themselves for one of the most exciting and innovative events in the adventure racing calendar.

Among the long list of ingredients, essential to the success of any sporting event, there are two that are absolutely vital: an eclectic field of internationally recognized, topflight contenders, co -mingled with a complementary crowd of experienced outsiders, and a well-designed, exciting and demanding course. Get the second one right and the first looks after itself. Given the quality of the field, returnees and first timers, the unparalleled expertise of the seasoned course designers and the worldwide renowned location, the Savoie Mont Blanc region, this year's MXR, due to kick-off on 21st July, bears the hallmark of a classic.

Few races, even those aimed at the global AR audience, manage to attract such a universal line-up. Among the 13 nations present are Australians PEAK ADVENTURE, captained by former Australian sprint AR champion Kohlar JARAD and highly qualified level one kayak coach, and ORIONHEALTH.COM, one of New Zealand's rising stars eager to translate their success on the international longdistance circuit into triumph on the fast and technically demanding race format of the MXR. The American continent is sending a robust rejoinder to the antipodes with world beating contingents like NIKE, SALOMON CRESTED BUTTE, both men's and women's teams, and NIKE/BEAVER CREEK. Brazil and Canada are also represented respectively by deceptively named WRR1/SAVOIE MONT BLANC, a talented and experienced team including Spanish all-rounder Rafael MELGES and 2 Brazilian teammates, and URBAN ATHLETE/HELLY HANSEN billed as "...Canada's premier adventure racing team, and
one of the top teams world-wide...".

The "Old World" is out in force too with last year's victors, SAAB SALOMON from the UK, joined by two compatriot teams, TEAM ALPKIT, a trio of triathletes, and TEAM INOV-8, another all female squad. The "host nation" France, with three in the top five last year, has an array of teams ranging from first-time hopefuls like SALOMON FRANCE-COFATHEC, a team of young trail running specialists led by Thomas LORBLANCHET, to LAFUMA -SPORT 2000 VIBRAM, 5th place finishers in 2007, joined by Myriam GUILLOT and registered as a co-ed team this year.

The powerful Spanish, SALOMON SANTIVERI 1 and 2, are back and will prove as difficult to beat as last year when they finished 3rd and 6th respectively. Italy, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden complete the European presence all fielding squads that, given the fast and technically challenging stages of this unique event, are more than capable of causing some upsets in the overall ranking. A colourful crowd certain to grace the screens of the only outdoor multisport event produced & broadcast in HD.

To discover all the teams: nationalities, profiles, categories, etc., go to mountainxrace.com.

Adventure Xstream Summit - 24hr, 12hr, & Sprint
posted Wednesday, July 9, 2008 by Adventure Xstream Series @ 1:19 PM - 0 comments

Summit County, Colorado is the next stop on the Adventure Xstream Race Series circuit. On July 25th, Summit County, a world-class recreation venue, will be welcoming nearly 300 adventure racers, ranging from coed elite teams to first-time challengers and weekend warriors competing in either the Sprint, 12 hour or 24 hour race courses. In addition the 24-hour race will feature LIVE GPS Tracking.

Competitors at the Summit Adventure Xstream Adventure Race will test their skills in orienteering, trekking, trail running, mountain biking, and inline skating across the Rockies. Additionally, team dynamics and mental strength will be challenged by navigating across the 20, 60 or 100-mile courses. A free AR 101 clinic will be offered on Friday evening in conjunction with Boulder Performance Network.

Nestled into the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Summit County is home to some of the world’s finest skiing and alpine recreation. With four ski areas and trail networks, Dillon Reservoir, and thousands of acres of national forest scattered across its expanse, Summit County is one of Colorado's best places to ski, mountain bike, hike and boat. Along with its natural beauty, this venue boasts one of the nation's highest altitude courses. Racers will be clearing elevations of 12,300 feet during the event.

"We are excited to be coming back to Summit County again this year," said Race Director, Will Newcomer. "It is a beautiful venue in the mountains and its close proximity to Denver makes it an easy venue for racers to get to."

The race will be a points qualifier for the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8 and will feature online coverage at CheckpointTracker.com including SPOT-based GPS tracking. Race fans will be able to view the race unfolding from home and post "shout outs" to their favorite teams.

The Adventure Xstream Adventure Race Series is offering a total of $30,000.00 in cash as the Series offerings. Sponsors of the Adventure Xstream Adventure Race Series include: Helly Hansen, Salomon, Checkpoint Zero, Zorrel.com, AIRE, Inside Outside Magazine, Hammer Nutrition, ARGear.com, E-boost, and Health-FX.net. Entry fee for each Adventure Xstream Adventure Sprint Race is $95, 12 Hour Race is $175 per person and 24 Hour Race is $250 and includes AIRE Tomcat tandem kayaks for each 2 & 4-person team. All participants also receive a Zorrel performance wicking tee and Helly Hansen Pro Deal coupons.

For more information please visit www.GravityPlay.com or call 970.259.7771.

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Free Terra Traverse entry dropped from Checkpoint Tracker Series prize purse
posted by Yak @ 8:48 AM - 0 comments

Checkpoint Zero is disappointed to announce that we have decided to drop the free entry to Terra Traverse that we had intended to award as part of the Series prize purse.

We apologize to the adventure racing community and specifically to those teams that adjusted their racing schedules to attend Series events with the intention of earning points towards winning this prize.

Please direct any questions or comments regarding our decision to yak@checkpointzero.com.

Any questions relating to the status of Terra Traverse itself should be sent to info@terratraverse.com.

If you're looking for a late season expedition race, we recommend the spectacular Gravity Play Xstream Expedition presented by Helly Hansen which is set for September 25th in Moab, UT. The race will feature online coverage via Checkpoint Tracker including SPOT-based GPS tracking of all teams.

8th Running of the Berryman Adventure Set for September 27th
posted Tuesday, July 8, 2008 by Yak @ 9:20 AM - 0 comments

Bonk Hard Racing, LLC is excited to announce that the eighth running of the Midwest's Premier Adventure Race, the Berryman Adventure, will once again be hosted in the rugged and beautiful Mark Twain National Forest and Ozark National Scenic Riverways of southern Missouri. Offering racers miles of single track trails, beautiful crystal-clear rivers and steep, rugged terrain, the Berryman Adventure is backwoods adventure racing at its best!

The Berryman Adventure will offer two courses; a 12-Hour course and a 36-Hour course. Both courses will once again reinforce the motto of the race, "a real ass kicker", but the 36-Hour course will continue to be one of the toughest shorter races in the United States. Teams must be extremely proficient with a map and compass and expect to paddle some of the most
beautiful rivers in the Midwest.

Jennifer Shultis of Team Eastern Mountain Sports, the 2007 winners of the 36-Hour course, had this to say about the race on their blog at checkpointzero.com:

"...nobody was more surprised than I was when I suddenly exclaimed, 'I could live here,' while paddling down a beautiful spring fed river, 10 hours into the race. But I must admit, it's a great state. The rivers are almost turquoise when the light hit them, the forests are beautiful and open for running, the people are so nice everywhere you go and just wait until you see the size of the cinnamon rolls they bake!"

This year's 36-Hour 4-Person Coed elite division will once again be a Regional Qualifier for the USARA National Championships race, to be held in Georgia this November, and is part of the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

Early registration ends on Friday, July 11th! This is by-far one of the cheapest races in the U.S., with a $175 early registration fee for 36-Hours of racing!

Registration includes land use fees, high quality MyTopo.com maps, canoes, paddles and PFDs, insurance, branded performance shirts by Columbia's high-performance Titanium brand of apparel, pre-race pasta meal, post-race food and drinks, some fantastic prizes (including Garmin Forerunners and Garmin Edge, Salomon shoes, North Face tents and much more!), give-a-ways, online coverage via Checkpoint Tracker and one fantastic adventure!

You will not want to miss the 8th running of the Midwest's premier adventure race! Get your team together today and come see why the Berryman Adventure is called, "a real ass kicker!"

To learn more about the race, and to register, visit http://www.theberrymanadventure.com.

MOMAR Returns to Shawnigan Lake with Something for Everyone
posted Monday, July 7, 2008 by Yak @ 9:25 AM - 0 comments

New Westminster, BC - July 7, 2008. The Schick Xtreme3 Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) series will be returning to Shawnigan Lake on July 26, 2008. In addition to their typical sprint race, MOMAR has created a short course that will provide less seasoned racers with an opportunity to participate in a world-class adventure race. Both the long (50km) and short (30km) course will include mountain biking, kayaking, trail running, orienteering, water challenges, and bushwhacking.

Former MOMAR and Sea2Summit champion Jason Sandquist has utilized his extensive race experience to create a new course that is challenging, adventure-filled and a lot of fun. "There are incredible sections of single-track and we've kept many of the water challenges" says Sandquist. Carl Coger, Victoria orienteering guru, has planned a true navigation section that will enable the 'smarter' navigators to gain some time.

Over 200 participants will be on the start line including racers from Alberta, Washington State, and California. Defending champions Team Helly Hansen MOMAR (Gary Robbins & Todd Nowack) are the favorites but expect Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island (Justin Mark & Jeff Reimer) to challenge them for the overall title.

The after-party will be taking place at the Shawnigan Community Center and promises to keep with MOMAR's legendary tradition, providing a gourmet dinner, a lively awards ceremony with tons of great prizes and late night dancing.

If you're interested in experiencing adventure racing up close without actually racing, MOMAR is looking for up to 75 volunteers to assist in the coordination of this event. All volunteers receive a MOMAR T-shirt, entry to our infamous post-race dinner and party, and an experience that won't soon be forgotten. For information on volunteering, contact sheron@mindovermountain.com.

For more information on racing or volunteering go to http://www.mindovermountain.com, e-mail info@mindovermountain.com or call 1.866.912.3331.

Adventure Racing, French style
posted by Yak @ 7:40 AM - 0 comments

No fewer than 37 teams of four competitors each (including at least one woman) have confirmed their enrollments to take part in this 1100 km race through an outstanding natural setting between Versailles and Marseille practicing horse riding, mountain biking, kayaking, caving, orienteering, rollerblading, rope climbing techniques, canyoning and hiking.

This huge, non-motorized rally will be held at the height of the summer season from July 28 to August 8 between the Tour de France and the Olympic games. This is an event guaranteed to thrill and captivate France, a country which has demonstrated a great enthusiasm for these sports every year, with recent statistics showing that more than 20 million French people enjoy nature sports.

This phenomenon has also "gone global" since the first Raid Gauloises which, just like the Raid Caneo Nature was also created by Gerard Fusil. For this first event, the French teams will also be joined by teams from Belgium, the UK and Spain.

Participation in a sporting trial of this kind is not to be taken lightly as in addition to the huge variety of knowledge and techniques which the competitors will need to master, the race must be completed entirely by non-motorized means. At certain predefined areas of the race route, two assistants may join the four team members for the changeover of activities. They will be supplying them with the equipment and food they need, but all the time the stopwatch continues ticking! In fact, over the 11 days of this race, the stopwatch only stops five times, to give the slower competitors a chance to catch up with the fastest.

The competitors are aged from 20 to 58. They all share a passion for sport but also for the natural environment, which they keenly defend. They have been preparing for the Raid CaneO Nature since mid winter and look forward to giving their very best.

The Raid CaneO Nature rally will be followed by highly skilled photographers and a top level production team which each evening from July 28 to August 8 will be sending royalty free images to the various European broadcasters. The "coverage" of the event will naturally be focusing on the sporting aspects and the most exciting highlights of the various stages but also on the personal trials and tribulations of these adventure lovers with a fondness for beauty and for the environmental and historical heritage of France.

For more information visit http://www.authentiqueaventure.com

2008 Patagonia Expedition Race, a report from the end of the Earth
posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008 by Yak @ 9:23 AM - 0 comments

The southernmost adventure race on the planet continued to build on its reputation for being one of the longest, hardest, most isolated expedition races in existence. This year teams tackled Tierra del Fuego, the far-flung Darwin Mountains and the famed Beagle Channel. It was a race filled with wild weather, untouched wilderness, animal encounters and endless treks. In a race as challenging as this, only the strongest teams could rise to the challenge.

Report and all photos Copyright © 2008 Nathan Ward

The winds whip across southern Chile with icy fingers, coming straight off the cold waters that surround Antarctica and flowing over the mythical mountain ranges, deep ocean sounds and forests of Patagonia. This is the home of the Patagonia Expedition Race, one of the most remote and challenging races in the world. It lives up to its name, feeling more like a wilderness expedition than simply an adventure race.

Eleven international teams tackled the course this year and the unrelenting wilderness crushed all but the strongest, most experienced teams. Those that survived to complete the course experienced some of the most incredible terrain on the planet - unexplored valleys, high mountain passes, dense forests, open scrublands and wild oceans.

This may not be a race for mere mortals. Are you tough enough to try it? Here is the scoop on how it all went down this year in southern Patagonia.

Southern Patagonian Chile - Punta Arenas

The 2008 race started in the quaint downtown streets of Punta Arenas, the capital of the Magallanes Region and biggest town in southern Chile. As the starter's gun sounded, 11 teams pushed pedals and biked toward the sea - teams included:

Authentic-Nutrition.com France/USA
Canarias-Adalucia Spiuk Tenerife Spain
UnTamed Adventure USA
Team Touareg Turk Turkey
Quasar Contra Master Brazil
Medilast Sport Lleida Spain/Chile
Team Littleton Bike and Fitness USA/Canada
Club Patagonia.com Argentina
Montagne Team Argentina
Punta Arenas Chile
Raid 74.org-Sky Airline France

After a short ferry shuttle to the famed island of Tierra del Fuego (TDF), the gates dropped and the race was on. The first challenge was 78 miles (126 KM) of rolling dirt roads, mountain biking through TDF past gauchos on horses, herds of guanacos and historic estancias. In the past, PER courses have included bike legs where the infamous Patagonian winds have turned the riding into headwind induced bouts of suffering. Luckily, this year the winds held off and it was smooth sailing under mostly sunny skies.

Even with the weather cooperating, teams found the competition stiff and 3 hours soon divided the first and last teams on the initial leg. At CP1, the Medilast Sport Lleida team, a mix of Spanish and Brazilian racers, came in first and quickly headed into the first night trek, a short 11 mile (18 KM) wilderness walk.

Race organizers said this was just an "easy trekking section" but the fun had already begun. The route was laced with mgote, clumps of stiff Patagonian grass that twists ankles at will. Maybe it was the distraction of the grass, but one team got totally turned around in the dark and trekked the wrong way just before the next CP, wandering around until dawn saved them.

Running from Big Cats in the Night

Another team, Littleton Bike and Fitness from North America, reported running into a puma, the huge cats that are common on mainland Patagonia, but supposedly have never made it to TDF. They heaved logs at the big cat and hiked a big circle away to get out of its territory.

Thick with mud from recent rains, the next mountain bike section was dirty but straightforward, leading the teams into the longest trekking section of the race - 68 miles (110 km) of trackless wilderness. At this point, the Spanish-Brazilian team still led the race, fueled in part by the spirit of a sexy Chilean reality TV star who was constantly trailed by enthralled South American media.

All the teams hiked into the wilds here, but only 5 teams came out the other side. It's not a surprise really, the terrain is extremely tough - deep bogs, river crossings, forests, blown down forests, hundreds of dams built by the rampant beaver population in TDF. This area is monitored by the Wilderness Conservation Society (www.wcs.org or www.karukinanatural.cl) and included in a new national park named Karukinka.

The Endless Trek Ended Most Team's Chances

For some teams, it must have been like entering a black hole. The race maps were rather basic satellite images without any contour lines. For expert navigator's, this wasn't a problem, but the less experienced teams just got lost. Some retraced their steps out, but one team got really off track. Team Untamed Adventure from the USA spent several days wandering in the wilderness. To their credit, they didn't give up until one racer's feet got so torn up from being constantly wet that they had to call in a helicopter evacuation.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the huge trek, teams started to emerge from the wild - waterlogged, blistered, hazy and battered but still running. The remaining teams reached CP4 within 4 hours of each other and after stuffing their faces and drying their feet by the fire, headed out into the next mountain bike section, riding south toward the big mountains and watery passages of southern Chile.

The Authentic-Nutrition.com team left CP4 first with the Spanish-Brazilian team hot on their heels. At this point, there were 5 teams out in front racing for the lead and the other 6 teams? Well, here is what the PER organizers said "The current status of the remaining teams is unknown. They are completely alone, in the middle of nowhere in the island of Tierra del Fuego."

The Most Remote Mountains in Patagonia

That said, we journalists jumped in a truck to find the leading racers, trying to keep up with them as they entered the northern fringes of the Darwin Mountains and headed toward the ocean at La Paciencia and the Almirantazgo Sound. The front teams were moving so fast that they raced through the next CP before we even get there. Despite 5 days of round the clock racing, just 5 hours separated the remaining teams.

On the southern fringes of Chile, the land breaks up into sharp mountains separated by deep ocean channels, the magic land of the Magallanes and the famed Magellan Strait. From here the racers were meant to cross the first peaks of the Darwin Mountains, kayak across the Almirantazgo Sound, climb through a ropes section, trek through the glaciated valleys of the high Darwin peaks, paddle a section of the Beagle Channel, jump back on their mountain bikes to ride to Isla Novarino south of TDF and climb a small peak for the mountaintop finish.

It seemed a course for supermen and superwomen. The first mountain trek saw the demise of the hard-charging Spanish-Brazilian team. Brought down by a swollen ankle that grew worse by the hour, they dropped out at the first kayak crossing.

Patagonian Winds Whip Up the Sea

Absent until now, the Patagonian winds now reared their wild heads and blew the first ocean crossing into high waves moving across the straight in rapid sets - the most dangerous situation for big boats and kayaks alike. After 2 days waiting for safe conditions, the Chilean Navy called the section too dangerous to paddle and shuttled racers across the water in a gunboat.

Fresh from the rest days, the teams raced into the very remote Darwin Mountains on a route that hardly anyone in the world has ever traveled. Indeed, even the race organizers hadn't been through this section, and it proved the most dangerous. Not for navigating, as the mountains valleys were straightforward, but teams had to cross a deep flowing whitewater stream swollen with the summer rains.

Trapped In A Raging River

While trying to cross the rain-swollen stream, Bruno Rey, captain of the leading French-American Authentic-Nutrition team, was swept off his feet straight into a strainer, a downed tree in the river. He was trapped beneath the water and only the fast action of his teammates saved him. They pulled him out and immediately started a fire to dry his clothes and ward off hypothermia.

Despite the narrowly avoided disaster, the team cruised through the remaining miles of the trek and the ominously named Death Pass to reach the next checkpoint at Yendegaia. 7 hours later the next team arrived, the persistent and determined Team Toureg Turks. They were soon followed by the ever-happy Spanish team, Canarias - Andalucia, and Team Littleton Bike and Fitness who had filmed the event, while they raced it, for an upcoming short film.

No Paddles and the Race Ends Early

Racers once again had to wait as unrelenting winds prevented helicopters from flying, and all the kayak paddles for the next section were on a helicopter. After two days, race organizers had run out of time and had to call the race finished. It was an anticlimactic end, but the disappointment was softened a bit when the PER chartered an antique sailing schooner, the Victory, to sail racers south along the Beagle Channel to Isla Novarino, the intended finishing point of the race.

Teams, journalists and race staff then boarded a Navy ship for the scenic cruise back to Punta Arenas through the Drake Passage to the Strait of Magellan. The people of Punta Arenas came out in force to cheer the teams at the end of race party and wish them well with racks of lamb and many bottles of excellent Chilean red wine.

The PER has earned the right to call itself an expedition race. There are no prizes at the end, not even a free t-shirt, just the knowledge that you’ve traveled to one of the wildest places left on the planet and finished it alive. For the right kind of racer, that is more than enough.

Final Race Results

1st - authentic-nutrition.com
2nd - Canarias-Andalucia Spiuk Tenerife
3rd - Team Touareg Turk
4th - Team Littleton Bike and Fitness
5th - Medilast Sport Lleida - SKY
6th - Raid 74.org - SKY Airline
7th - Punta Arenas - Chile
8th - Quasar Contra Master
9th - Montagne Team
10th - Club Patagonia.com
11th - Untamed Adventure


Preparing for the Race


After watching the 2008 PER, here are some suggestions if you race in 2009.
  1. First of all, don't take the name lightly - this is an expedition race where you may not be able to get external support, even if you need it. Be prepared to take care of yourself completely.

  2. Make sure your navigator is an expert. The maps the PER supplies are basic and the terrain goes through challenging mountainous, treed, glaciated, boggy terrain where it's easy to get lost. If you do get lost, you cannot count on running into any signs of civilization as there are very few roads, houses or even trails in this area.

  3. Bring your own satellite phone - Iridium. One team used a race-provided phone and found that it didn't work when they needed it.

2009 Patagonia Expedition Race

The 2009 Race will be held in central Chilean Patagonia near the famous Patagonian Ice Cap and will head south to the southern end of Chile. The race organizers promise savage wilderness, vast wetlands, wild rivers, ocean paddling and unexplored valleys. It's sure to be epic. www.patagonianexpeditionrace.com

Nathan Ward

Nathan Ward is a photographer and writer specializing in adventure, travel, racing and environmental issues. Check out his work at www.nathanward.com.

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