Adventure Racing News
presented by Inov-8

Mountains Plus UTM plotters for everyone
posted Wednesday, August 27, 2008 by Yak @ 2:35 PM - 0 comments

Mountains Plus has been an eager supporter of Checkpoint Zero for years. They help equip our team, they sponsor our races and they're all fired up about the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

Thanks to their generosity I'm happy to report that we're all stocked up on spanking new, MPGear.com branded UTM plotters. We'll be providing one to every team at the first ever Upstate Adventure Race in October and the 2009 Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race in March.

Why Mountains Plus?

Because they're not just another retailer. They're a retailer with adventure racing in their blood. That's what sets them apart. Because they race, they know what works and what doesn't. They only sell the gear they know and trust.

Check out the dedicated Adventure Racing Gear section of their site for great prices on things like Inov-8 packs and shoes, JetLites, Princeton Tec headlamps and the ever popular Silva Ranger Compass.

Poll: Adventure Racing Shoes
posted by Yak @ 11:51 AM - 10 comments

What can I say...it's a slow news day :-)

Great time for a poll.

I know there's data out there on sales of trail running shoes but trail running is just one of the many disciplines you'll find in a typical adventure race.

It may be that the distribution of shoes that athletes choose for adventure racing is similar to trail running...but I'm not so sure.

The abuse your feet take while adventure racing goes way beyond what they have to withstand while trail running alone. Your shoes have to provide a comfortable, stable platform for running, but they also have to stay in one piece while bushwhacking, drain repeatedly when you get soaked, be easy to get on and off when your feet turn into hamburger, grip the mud, fend off the skree, accommodate gaiters if that's how you roll.


Is there enough of a difference between trail running and adventure racing that people pick shoes for reasons beyond running alone?

Lets find out.

After you answer our poll question please post a comment and tell us why you love your AR shoes.

The YMCA Strong Adventure Race Announces the I Want Adventure Essay Contest
posted Tuesday, August 26, 2008 by Yak @ 3:22 PM - 0 comments

The age old question of how to get sponsorship in the world of adventure racing is about to be answered.

The YMCA Strong Adventure Race, which is set for October 18th in Ocoee, TN, along with the Ocoee Dam Deli & Grill, announces the "I Want Adventure" essay contest.

Interested teams should submit an essay that explains, in 200 words or less, why they should be chosen to win a free race entry.

"Adventure racing makes for GREAT stories," explains Cathi Cannon, race director of the events. "We want to hear yours."

To enter, teams should email their essay to adventurecontest@gmail.com by September 8. The winner of the free 12 hour team entry will be announced by September 15th.

"We are excited to be a part of the YMCA Strong Adventure Race this year," says Johnny Gorman, owner of the Ocoee Dam Deli & Grill. "With the race practically in our backyard, we wanted to do something special. In keeping with the spirit of the Strong Kids Campaign, we are offering an entry to a team that normally might not be able to afford to race a longer distance."

The race, now in its second year, will be held at YMCA Camp Ocoee on October 18, 2008. It will feature a youth race along with 2 adult races: a 6hr and 12hr adventure race. Athletes will explore the majestic Cherokee National Forest by mountain biking, trail running, and canoeing. Youth teams can be made of of 2, 3 or 4 people. The 6hr race accepts teams of 3, and the 12hr race accepts teams of 3 or solo competitors.

For more information, please visit the race website at http://www.StrongAdventureRace.com.

Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series heads to No Sweat Adventure Race in Texas
posted Saturday, August 23, 2008 by Yak @ 5:22 AM - 0 comments

The No Sweat Adventure Race from Too Cool Racing kicks off this morning at 8:00 Central Daylight Time.

Nineteen teams of four are competing in the Coed Elite division and will earn points in the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

This new, national adventure racing series features over 20 events between January and October set across the United States. Teams earn points towards their overall ranking to compete for a prize purse worth over $30,000 in cash and prizes.

The 2008 edition of this highly acclaimed event returns to the Parrie Haynes Ranch, a 4,525 acre spread managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as an outdoor learning youth laboratory, conference, environmental and equestrian facility.

Follow the race online at Checkpoint Tracker where you'll find a leaderboard, race blog, course overview powered by Google Maps and the ever popular Shout Box where you can send messages to your favorite team.

SPOT is on Fire (Eagle)
posted Thursday, August 21, 2008 by Yak @ 1:33 PM - 0 comments

If you haven't heard of the SPOT Satellite Messenger by now you're either not really an adventure racer or you've been living under a rock.

The little orange GPS receiver, with it's built in satellite transmitter, has already been used to provide affordable GPS tracking of numerous adventure races including Primal Quest and several events in the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

Well now, on top of saving lives and letting you shoot your wife (or husband, sorry chicas, love you) a Google Map so she (he) knows you've arrived at your campsite, SPOT has taken another interesting technological leap forward by integrating with a new service from Yahoo called Fire Eagle.

Fire Eagle is a web application that lets you specify your current location any time you like and control who or what can make use of that very private information with precision. You can update your 20 manually on the site or by phone or...wait for it...with your SPOT.

So what's the big deal?

Fire Eagle is gonna set your SPOT data free.

Thanks to a free API, there are already over 20 websites offering Fire Eagle integration with more on the way. As social networks and the like integrate with Fire Eagle, you'll have more and more ways to push your SPOT tracking data out onto the Interweb without sacrificing your privacy. After all, you don't want just anyone knowing where you are at all times.

Imagine a widget on your Facebook page that's automatically updated with a little Google Map showing your location as you race through the Upstate of South Carolina. That's just one example of the kinds of things that are now possible that SPOT supports Fire Eagle.

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Infiterra Sports Adventure Rage
posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 by Yak @ 9:17 AM - 0 comments

The seventh annual Adventure Rage may have turned out to be the toughest Rage yet. It was also certainly one of the most fun!

This Adventure Rage was hosted out of Caberfae Peaks Resort outside of Cadillac, a beautiful area of northwestern lower Michigan, surrounded by beautiful terrain and scenic rivers.

Teams began arriving on Thursday evening to go through gear check, navigation check and receive their maps and UTM points. Complete instructions would come on Friday morning following breakfast at Caberafe. Teams would have a few more hours to finish maps and gear and get to the start by the 1pm kick-off.

The race would start with teams in their canoes and kayaks on the beautiful Manistee River just outside of Mesick. Before long the Manistee would back up in Hodenpyl Dam Pond and the paddle to CP1 was largely a flatwater paddle of 6 miles. At CP1 teams had a short portage and got back into the quick flowing Manistee for 11 more miles. This is one of the most scenic sections of the Manistee River with high banks on either side. The river is fairly open for most of this section, yet it still flows fast. It is also very remote and a good place to catch a view of Bald Eagles. The take out of this section was at Red Bridge for CP2. The field was right on top of itself at this point with Solos Planet Rock, Freespeed and Peckerhead Racing and 4 person teams SISU and YaVyster leading the pack only 15 minutes apart.

At Red Bridge, teams would drop their paddles only and head off on an 8 mile trek that would begin to shape the race. In addition to several 150-200 foot climbs, teams found some challenging navigation going after CPs 3-6. Teams would emerge at CP7/TA1 in quite a different order than what they entered the woods. Team Chrysler and YaVyster would come out neck and neck ahead of the field. Milton Basement Racers, Freespeed and SISU rounded out the top 5 at this point.

At CP7/TA1 teams transitioned back into their boats for 7 more miles of river paddling on the Manistee. Most teams flowed through this section without too much ado and in to CP8. Support Crews met their teams at CP8/Blacksmith Bayou for a mini transition out of the water and onto their bikes. Once on bike, teams headed up Firetower Rd to CP9. At CP9 teams were instructed to head down to the single track at the bottom of the hill. This was the Big M single track and teams were in for a treat in some of the best mountain biking in northwestern lower Michigan. Most teams were reaching this point right around dusk. The lead teams had the advantage of getting in several miles in the daylight. On the track teams would find CPs 10-13, in about 7 miles of single track. Checking in at CP14, teams were free to transition with their support crew or continue on to more single track. After CP14, racers would get about 14 more miles of single track. CPs 15-19 were waiting for them along the trail, but teams were free to navigate their own routes and head off on two track roads if they so chose. Peckerhead Racing was first off the single track with a slamming ride where he passed 4 teams. Free Speed, YaVyster, Milton Basement Racers and Team Chrysler were all within striking distance, a half hour or less back.

Back at the TA, teams transitioned off their bikes and got ready for an Orienteering course at the Big M. There were 9 points in total on this O-course in about 9 miles. Just five of these points were mandatory for teams. Teams started hitting the O-course right around midnight. So the lead teams were going to hit this trek completely at night. This would make it more challenging dealing with the terrain in darkness. Points were located in reentrants, on hilltops, spurs, saddles. There were also three points located to the east that were located on features in and around swamps. Total elevation gain and loss neared 1000 feet for those teams that attained all points. This is also the location where most teams really got to experience the mosquitoes of Northern Michigan. It has been a wet early part of the summer in this area and the mosquitoes were out in full force. Throughout the night, flashes could be seen off to the west, which were lightning strikes of an approaching storm. This area also started to take its toll on teams as the heat of the day lead to nauseated stomachs and sick racers. The teams did receive a bit of wake up refreshment when the storm finally arrived and gave them a refreshing downpour. The rain only last an hour or two and moved on. It was this O-course where Milton Basement Racers really separated themselves from the field. They obtained all the points on the course in just 3:41. They were followed by Peckerhead Racing and YaVyster who came out about an hour and half and two hours later, respectively. Salomon Bobkittens also put together a nice O-course to jump back into the middle of the action.

Now it was time to leave the Big M/Udell Hills area and head east toward the Pine River. The first challenge on this 25 mile bike leg was finding a snowmobile trail that cuts through a swamp. It was deceiving because it doesn't look much like a road, more like a swamp. But it was only a couple hundred yards through the wet two track before it dried out and was rideable again. CP21 was located right on this two track and teams were lead out to a more main road heading east. After a few miles on dirt, teams came out to pavement, headed through the small town of Dublin and continued east on pavement. The pavement lulled teams into a false sense of security because shortly past CP22, teams found their routes turn into sandy two tracks and the navigation was not easy. By this time the heat of the day was beginning to emerge. Just a few miles past CP23, teams came out to Walker Bridge Canoe Livery for another TA at CP24. Milton Basement Racers lost a majority of their lead on the field in this section, but still held the top spot. Peckerhead Racing was just minutes off the lead now and YaVyster was an hour back. Free Speed and Salomon Bobkittens were just a half hour back of that, still in contention.

At Walker Bridge, teams put on the Pine River in rafts for a 6 mile paddle down the twisty and scenic Pine River. Four person teams were in four man rafts, while solos and two person teams both paddled in single one man rafts, the infamous packrafts. This was a welcomed section as teams were off their bike and feet and could relax a little in the cool water of the Pine. This section took teams 1:30 to 2 hours and they held relative position.

Back in the saddle at CP25, teams made their way north on a 15 mile bike leg back up toward and leading into Caberfae through CPs 26 & 27. This ride was on pavement, dirt roads, two tracks and even some trails as they got into Caberfae. Again it was a relatively straightforward leg without much shift in team positions. Milton Basement Racers and Peckerhead Racing came in neck and neck with about an hour lead on the field. Free Speed, Salomon Bobkittens and YaVyster were all within 20 minutes of each other.

Once at Caberfae teams received a new map with 10 points for an O-course. The points were largely on hilltops in the surrounding area of Caberfae. Total distance would be close to 8 miles for teams if they went after all points. Because of the length of the course, many teams were not able to go after all of the points, so it really became a game of strategy at this point.

Milton Basement Racers came into the finish at 4:45pm having obtained all the O-course points and taken the overall victory as well as the 4 person coed division title. Free Speed had the fastest O-Course (of those teams obtaining all points) split and moved up into second overall and first in the solo division, finishing at 5:19pm. Peckerhead Racing was just 4 minutes back at 5:23pm for third overall and second in the solo division. Salomon Bobkittens finished at 6:10pm grabbing 4th overall. As a 4 female team, they were technically ineligible for prizing, but never the less, they had an impressive showing. YaVyster finished at 5:42pm, but missed punching CP23 (which they rode right by and later punched out of order). As a result they were issued a costly 30 minute penalty and ended with an official finish time of 6:12pm landing them fifth overall and second in the 4 person coed division. These were the only teams to obtain all points on both orienteering course. No Brains No Headaches took sixth overall, third in the 4 coed division, finishing at 6:45pm with 16 of the 19 orienteering points. SportslabBrighton.com and Ghostduster finished at 5:28pm with 8 points each, but earned first in the 2 person division and third in the solo division, respectively.

Congratulations to all teams that were able to compete and especially those that completed this challenging course. The disciplines and terrain were tough and the heat and humidity were brutal. The mosquitoes were difficult to deal and with and tested the racers sanity. It was also a very rewarding, fun-filled and scenic course that lead teams through some of those most beautiful areas of northwestern lower Michigan!

A big thank you goes out to our Sponsors! With Salomon and Suunto having a crew on hand for the events and Jeep bringing up a vehicle for show, REI supplying the awesome performance Racer Shirts, our sponsors were well represented. We also had great prizing from Hammer Nutrition, Rail Riders, Seal Skinz, Zanfel and Superfeet.

We would like to thank all of our fantastic volunteers that came out to support this event. Many of whom were also volunteers at the simultaneous 10 hour race. What a group! We would also like to thank Caberfae Peaks Resort for being such an accommodating host and providing a great post race banquet. And thank you to the Super Crew of Pine River Paddlesports Center who moved boats throughout the events.

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Fifth Edition of The Coastal Challenge Expedition Run Set for February in Southern Costa Rica
posted by Yak @ 9:01 AM - 0 comments

The Coastal Challenge (TCC), the World's Expedition Run, has announced that its 2009 race, the "Rainforest Run", has reached the halfway point of its 125-person registration capacity. The race, scheduled February 1-6 along Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coastline, opened registration this spring with a revamped web site and new blog. Registered competitors, representing eight countries, include a mix of alumni and new athletes, including several teams. Interested competitors are encouraged to contact TCC staff for information about how to get involved.

"We're thrilled so many competitors and teams have joined our 2009 racing community," said Tim Holmstrom, race director. "We're celebrating our fifth anniversary with a spectacular and funky course that combines the best of Costa Rica's natural beauty with a stunning and challenging route that will reward athletes of all levels. In short, this is going to be an insane tropical adventure with exotic scenery, rugged landscapes, and amazing wildlife."

Set in Costa Rica's pristine southern region, the "Rainforest Run" will utilize the country's rich rainforests as a backdrop for a diverse course that moves from jungle and rainforest trails to highlands, coastal ranges, reefs, and river crossings. The route, which takes a decidedly different feel from last year's "Route of Fire" in the Northwest, will weave from the beach into the Talamancas, a coastal mountain range, before finishing in Corcovado National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world's premier rainforest experiences. The Rainforest Run will also feature a first-ever night run in which racers will traverse a portion of the course in the dark, navigating via torch-lit trails.

The race offers four categories of participation:
  • Team Expedition Run - Runners sign up in teams of three to six
  • Solo Expedition Run - Rhe full 200+ kilometer Expedition Run
  • Solo Adventure Run - A shortened, yet extremely challenging 125-kilometer route
  • Guest Adventure Tours - Daily adventure tours like river rafting, nature hikes and more available to guests of the runners.
The new course served as the inspiration for the revamped thecoastalchallenge.com, which includes additional photos and information, and will unveil the complete route later this year. Also, in an effort to connect competitors before and after the event, TCC has created a blog, thecoastalblog.com.

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Traileader Pro to feature precise accelerometer
posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008 by Yak @ 2:06 PM - 0 comments

Knowing how fast you're moving and how far you've traveled goes a long way towards "staying found" when navigating by map and compass.

Most adventure racers keep track of speed and distance by counting paces...and some are really good at it. Those of you that aren't might be interested in a new addition to the TECH4O line of watches from Johnson Outdoors.

Set to hit stores later this year, the Traileader Pro is a feature packed tool that includes an accelerometer that I'm told is 96% accurate. It's also equipped with a heart rate monitor and PC link, altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer.

We'll have a full review once we get our hands on it.

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Endless: A Portrait of Adventure Racing
posted Sunday, August 17, 2008 by Yak @ 12:31 PM - 0 comments

I was first introduced to renown photographer and graphics designer Peder Sundstrom in 2006 by the then PQ Media Director Gordon Wright (OutsidePR.com) in the media center at Primal Quest Utah.

Peder is a gregarious, kind-hearted tower of a Swede overflowing with character and style. He's the kind of person that likes everyone he meets...and everyone who meets him is instantly enamored.

As for talent...I won't even try to explain with words...just take a look at a few of the shots in his new book, Endless, A Portrait of Adventure Racing:








Abu Dhabi racers get more than just deserts
posted Friday, August 15, 2008 by Yak @ 9:55 PM - 0 comments

Squinting eyes scour a shimmering horizon, flayed by the blistering heat into undulating ribbons of immaterial distance. Parched lips part, revealing a tongue so dry that it rasps against the palate like some scaly toad that crept into your mouth.

Staggering forward you lurch and totter, thighs aching from hauling legs and sand in a suction-stumble "pas de deux". Sadly, unlike some movie heroes, you don't just walk out of the desert...but, with a little help from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, you can race through it!

Last year's inaugural edition of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge boasted a truly international field of 26 co-ed teams from 15 different nations and an itinerary that included some of the Emirates' most stunning natural attractions. Its success was two fold. Not only did it offer a string of top AR athletes an opportunity to discover the unknown outdoors of Abu Dhabi but also essentially introduced the sport into a region where it was hitherto virtually unknown. This year, with a course that is guaranteed to surpass even last year's intelligent blend of endeavor and enjoyment, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has come up with a novel means of promoting the sport by helping up and coming teams, with a proven track record in local races, to pursue their racing career internationally.

The project is called the ADTA awards and takes the form of partnerships with existing AR events whose organizers also share the vision of encouraging highly competitive, homegrown teams to seek success on the international racing circuit. The basis on which the award is allocated is simple and the same for all events: - the award is given to the best 'local' (defined according to each event) team in the overall ranking that has never raced before outside the country or region. However, one team member is allowed to have obtained some previous experience in international racing, to inject at least a modicum of what is generally considered a "trump card" in this kind of event. The award includes the entry fee of 3,500 Euros, 4 return tickets to Abu Dhabi.

A number of AR "movers and shakers" from around the globe have already hurried to take up the offer, among them are both race organizations and respected AR Internet sites. On the race organization side we have Explore Sweden, a 3-4 day multi-sport event with mixed teams of 4 racing along the world heritage Northern coastline of Sweden, Slovenia Adventure 2008, a three-day, non-stop romp around Slovenia that usually takes place in June, and the Upstate Adventure Race, set for October 25th, 2008 near Cleveland, SC in America. In all three instances, the best placed team that has never raced outside its respective "region", whether it be Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) or in Slovenia or North America, will win the award.

On the Web front, SLEEPMONSTERS.CO.UK (GB) is inviting "mixed teams from the UK or Ireland comprised of racers who have not raced internationally (i.e. outside of the UK and Ireland)" to register on the SleepMonsters website, where prospective winners can list "racer profiles and add information about your racing, training and preparation over the next 3 months." At the end of September, a handpicked panel of judges will designate the lucky winners, after looking at the teams' "results, frequency of racing and training activity." Lisa Speville, an active AR athlete herself and based in South Africa has put the word out on her site where three extra team members will be selected to form a team with Lisa. Applications will be assessed by Lisa and her panel of experienced racers, who are well positioned to assist in selecting a complementary set of running mates.

In the words of Richard Ussher, captain of the first team to win the inaugural Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge in 2007: "Abu Dhabi is a beautiful country, full of contrasts. It was a wonderful experience..." An experience that the ADTA is determined to share with as many adventure racers as possible, even those who would never have dreamed.

Adventure racing and the ecomony
posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 by Yak @ 1:14 PM - 0 comments

You can't get away from the bad news about jobs, inflation, the credit crisis, gas prices these days.

If you listen to the nightly news it's all doom and gloom.

So we want to know...are you cutting back on getting your regular AR fix?

5th Edition of the Coast Raid Adventure Race
posted by Yak @ 10:37 AM - 0 comments

The 5th edition of the Coast Raid will be held over 4 days and nights from August 21st to August 24th in one of wildest region of Canada.

The Lower North Shore is a wild stretch of coastline dotted with islands, passages, and sandy beaches. The Gulf of St. Lawrence resembles the ocean here, with whales, seabirds and the occasional iceberg that drifts down from Greenland. Fast-flowing salmon rivers cross boulder fields and tundra. The natural resources of this seemingly barren land have attracted many people for thousands of years, from the ancient Maritime Archaic Indians to today's French, English and Innu-speaking inhabitants. Today, some 5,000 residents of the Lower North Shore make this isolated and grandiose landscape our home. They call it the Coast, and refer to themselves as Coasters.

The Coast Raid is a 300 km stage race including day and night racing run in teams of two or four . Teams are required to provide a minimum of mandatory equipment. If you're wild enough to show up for the Coast Raid, you better know what to bring with you!

SOLE Platinum Sandals are perfect for adventure racing
posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 by Yak @ 4:51 PM - 0 comments

The first thing most adventure racers do when they cross the finish line is kick their shoes off to give their feet some instant relief.

Those feet are typically dirty, swollen and raw...nasty.

When the time comes to put their shoes back on most racers reach for sandals or flip flops...something roomy that'll give their dogs a chance to start healing.

Say hello to the perfect post race flip for adventure racing...the SOLE Platinum Sandal.

Okay, so I haven't worn these after a race, but I did wear them after walking around the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market for two days. By noon on Saturday my feet felt like I'd just finished a race. That show floor is stupid big and no matter how well you plan your schedule in advance there's no avoiding the endless walking on that concrete floor from booth to booth to booth to booth.

I'm so impressed by how comfortable these things are and how much better my feet felt after wearing them just a short time that I'm prepared to recommend them to adventure racers everywhere right now with no reservations. The fact that they come from SOLE and incorporate technology gained by their experience with the Custom Footbed helps make the case.

There are two specific features that make the SOLE Platinum Sandal both comfortable and therapeutic. It features a "moldable orthopedic top layer" that adjusts to your feet over time and a "high density EVA midsole" which provides structural support. The combination of these two layers delivers a cushy ride while providing "continuous contact across the sole of your foot" which prevents the aches and pains common to the average flat-bottomed flip flop.

For more information about the SOLE Platinum Sandal visit their new mini-site at http://www.solesandals.com.

They can be purchased online for $79.95 at http://www.yoursole.com.

Sawyer Inline Water Filter
posted Saturday, August 9, 2008 by Yak @ 5:03 PM - 2 comments

What if you never had to use Iodine again? Or a pump style water filter?

Say hello the next must have item for every adventure racer...the Sawyer Inline Water Filter.

This thing will filter...wait for it...one million gallons of water over it's life. All you have to do is back flush it every 1000 gallons.

I haven't tested one yet so all I can go on is what I read and the that fact that Sawyer is delivering these to the military for our soldiers in Iraq...which says a lot.

If this product is half of what it appears to be then it will quickly become one of those things that every racer uses by default.

SPOT Delivers 2.5 Million Messages in First Nine Months
posted by Yak @ 9:19 AM - 0 comments

SPOT LLC, the pioneer behind the award-winning SPOT Satellite Messenger today announced it has delivered more than 2.5 million SPOT message transmissions since it was first made available to customers in November 2007. The SPOT Satellite Messenger was first unveiled to the outdoor industry at last year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market conference. Since its debut, this breakthrough safety device has won numerous industry awards, been featured by various media and most importantly - its unique satellite messaging and tracking capability has helped save dozens of lives worldwide.

"The millions of SPOT messages delivered in such a short time indicates that people are connecting with others around the world using SPOT on a daily basis; sharing their adventures, checking in with loved ones or getting the help they need," said Darren Bassel, Director of Marketing for SPOT LLC. Mr. Bassel added, "This is largely due to the support received from the outdoor retailers and their customers who travel and enjoy life in remote areas. We will continue our commitment to the outdoor retail market and adventure enthusiasts to provide further service enhancements such as our SPOT Share pages, expanded coverage, increased availability and reliable, state-of-the-art satellite messaging for years to come."

Honored with the 2008 Backpacker Magazine Editors' Choice Award at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in February, the SPOT Satellite Messenger enables users to send their GPS location and custom text and e-mail status message updates to friends, family or an emergency response center independent of cellular coverage. Personal alert messages include custom peace-of-mind "I'm OK" and need assistance "Help" status to friends and family; sharing adventures with GPS tracking, and 9-1-1 alerts for emergency rescue. Since November 2007, SPOT users have sent more than 2.5 million message alerts from various world-wide locations. SPOT has also been involved in at least 38 life-saving personal rescues around the globe.

SPOT Satellite Messenger has virtually complete worldwide coverage - including some of the world's most remote locations - including all of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia, portions of South America, Northern Africa and Northeastern Asia, and thousands of square miles of offshore waters. In a press release dated July 23 SPOT LLC announced expanded satellite messaging coverage throughout Alaska plus the surrounding Pacific and Arctic maritime regions. Later this summer coverage is expected to expand into significant portions of Southeast Asia.

Since its United States debut, SPOT availability has expanded into Canada, Western Europe and parts of Latin America. In May it was announced that SPOT LLC had already received orders for more than 40,000 SPOT Satellite Messengers from its growing network of more than 3,000 points-of-distribution.

Weighing just over 7 ounces and sold at U.S. $169.95 SRP, the SPOT satellite messenger provides a new level of safety and peace-of-mind for anyone who spends time in the outdoors or just wants to stay connected with a vital line of communication.

Swiss Army Racing at Outdoor Retailer
posted Friday, August 8, 2008 by Yak @ 8:23 PM - 0 comments

It's a little known fact that every soldier in the Swiss army carries a Swiss Army knife...that's why no one messes with Switzerland.

Ok, that was Cliff Claven not me...but it HAS to be true. Particularly if they're carrying one of Wenger's NewRanger line.
This ain't your daddy's Swiss Army knife. This thing is solid and hefty. It feels more like a tool than an instrument like it's smaller cousin...you know...the one with the tweezers? It's ergonomic and grippy...easy to hold onto.

The NewRanger comes in several variations including models designed for single hand operation (like the NewRanger 61 shown above) and a few with what look to be very usable pliers.

In fact I mentioned that you see a lot of adventure racers carrying Leatherman tools. The Wenger staffer that was showing me around artfully quipped that "a Leatherman is a pair of pliers with a knife while the Ranger is a knife with a pair of pliers."

Touche.

We'll have to actually put one through the gauntlet to officially vouch for it, but based on first impressions it seems Wenger has delivered a multi-function knife with the potential to earn a spot in your pack in lieu of that much heavier Leatherman.

2009 Primal Quest Expedition Headed to One of Three Western States
posted by Mike Bitton @ 6:06 PM - 1 comments

One of three Western States. That's the location of the 2009 Primal Quest expedition race. But which one? For those who like to speculate, I have some helpful clues.

Dawn Taylor Mann told me the race will not be in a state that has already hosted a Primal Quest. So cross off Colorado, Washington, Utah and Montana. The Tahoe race, was that in California or Nevada? She wasn't sure. So maybe we keep those two in.

PQ Course Director Chris Caul said the 2009 Primal Quest will be in a state that has not yet hosted an expedition length adventure race. I don't have enough beta on that to know which states to rule out...

So why the switch from wanting to take Primal Quest international in 2009? Caul said it's because states saw what Montana got out of the 2008 Primal Quest, and they want some of that action. In fact, Caul said, at least one state has offered to assemble a team to guide PQ through the application and permitting processes. It's a whole new world!

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Inaugural Upstate Adventure Race
posted Thursday, August 7, 2008 by Yak @ 11:59 AM - 0 comments

The first annual Upstate Adventure Race brings the exciting world of adventure racing to the Upstate of South Carolina on October 25th, 2008.

This is the second all new event produced by Checkpoint Zero, LLC. It builds on the success of two highly acclaimed editions of the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race in 2007 and 2008.

The Upstate Adventure Race will further Checkpoint Zero's mission of delivering professionally managed events that provide a quality experience and high value for competitors, volunteers and sponsors alike.

When: October 25th, 2008

Where: In the Upstate of South Carolina near Cleveland, SC

Distance: ~100 miles

Duration: 30 hours

Divisions: Coed Elite, Open, Masters

Format: 2 or 3 person supported teams

Cost: $175 per racer

Registration: Online through September 31st

Sponsors: Inov-8, Numa Sport Optics, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, nuun, MyTopo.com, Trailblazers Adventure Racing Club, Hampton Inn, Appalachian Outfitters, Go Magazine, Headwaters Outfitters, Gusto Cycles, Victoria Valley Vineyards, TrackMe360.com

For more information or to register visit http://www.checkpointzero.com/upstate

Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8

The Upstate Adventure Race is the final event in the 2008 Checkpoint
Tracker Adventure Racing Series. The top three teams (by Series points)
after the Upstate Adventure Race will split the Series cash prize purse
of $10,000. The race will feature online coverage including SPOT-based
GPS tracking of all teams at http://www.checkpointtracker.com.

Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge

Teams competing in the Upstate Adventure Race may also be eligible to
win a free entry to the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge including
round trip airfare for four from the US to Abu Dhabi. To be eligible,
your team must compete in the Coed Elite division and include no more
than one (1) racer that has competed in any adventure race outside of
North America. The prize will be awarded to the highest ranked team in
the Coed Elite division that meets this requirement.

For more information about the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge visit http://www.abudhabi-adventure.com

Please contact Checkpoint Zero via email at race@checkpointzero.com or by phone at 864-325-1181

Odyssey One Day Adventure (Race)
posted Wednesday, August 6, 2008 by Peter Jolles @ 9:14 PM - 0 comments

Odyssey Adventure racing has long been known for putting on some of the toughest races on the east coast, and the recently run Odyssey One Day Adventure Race was no exception. Checkpoint Zero / Inov-8 sent two squads to this classic race and came away beaten, battered and deep fried. Or was that the shrimp we had for dinner? I forget. Our first squad consisted of some of the usual suspects, Michele Hobson, Hunter Orvis, Allen Mc Adams, and Tim Abbott. The second squad consisted of myself and 3 hired guns, Paul Humphreys, Julia Radmann, and Daniel Jesse. Our plan was to race as an 8 headed monster, as we were all about the same speed.

The race started off with a prologue run that had the racers guessing at how long it would actually take. We had been given a hand drawn map of Camp Bethel, but there was nothing to indicate the scale or trail lengths. More surprisingly, once we started, we noticed it was devoid of all contour lines, and didn't clue us into the straight up and down trails we were to run on. It turned out to be a relatively short, just enough to spike those heart rates before we got on our bikes.

Once on the bike we started the long arduous climb out of the valley up towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. We weren't supposed to see the parkway, but we missed a fairly non descript trail that split off from the main trail and we rode an extra kilometer or so to the top. Realizing our mistake, we rode back down, passing at least 3-4 other teams that were making the same mistake, but hadn't realized it yet. This put us behind a bunch of teams, which we then had to squeeze by on the narrow single track leading us to the town of Buchanan, VA.

By the time we reached Buchanan, we had rode through the hottest part of the day, and had drank everything our Inov-8 packs could hold. Luckily, just before the transition to the paddle, we came across a small gas station well stocked with many cold beverages. We split up and had several of us filling our bladders from the spigot outside, while a couple of us ran inside to stock upon some Powerade and 2 liter bottles of Coke. With bottles in our arms, we trotted across the street and clamored into our boats, downing most of what we had just bought in a matter of minutes. Our paddle along the James river was largely uneventful. There were a few class II rapids we encountered, but the mostly flat water mad for a senic paddle. Or plan to carrying our own kayak paddles probably bought us a little time on this section, but as we would later experience, I'm not so sure it was worth it as the race director made us carry them the entire race from start to finish.

As we pulled off the river, the sun was beginning to set, and we had enough time to bushwack 800' straight up to reach our first trekking checkpoint. As we reached the top, we were treated to the sun setting in the beautiful Virginia mountains. It was also here that Allen started to feel a little ill.

As the trek progressed, Allen felt worse and worse. We finally decided that it would be best to split our two teams apart, so Paul, Julia, Daniel and I proceeded onward, leaving the others to follow behind at a much slower pace. By now it was the middle of the night, and we were getting close to the end of the trek when Julia stopped suddenly and shouted out "SNAKE!". If she didn't say that, it was something close to that, I was in a bit of a fog at the time as the sleep monsters were knocking on my door. What prompted her cry was that she had come dangerously close to stepping on a 4' long rattle snake!

A little bit shaken, we made it into the next TA where we found out we had closed the gap to the leaders by 20 minutes from our last time check, although we were still about an hour behind. This bit of good news energized us, until we found out that my bike had a flat tire. Jeez, how does a bike tire go flat just sitting there? A quick tube change later and we were rolling back towards Buchanan. When we got there, we were delighted to find out that the same store we stopped at earlier was still open, and we ducked in for some more cold beverages. As we stepped back outside the store, we came across a duo that had obviously seen better times. We spoke with them for a few minutes and found out this was their first long race, they had made it this far, but they had called it a night and were waiting for a ride back to the start finish line. Paul somehow got on the topic of food and calories, and mentioned he had probably consumed about 15000 during the race so far. When asked what they had eaten, they said a couple of Gatorades and a bar or two. Before we took off we mentioned that they should try to eat significantly more next time and they would easily make it to the finish line.

As we climbed out of town back towards the single track that would take us to the start, and to the final leg of the race, we were all in good spirits, and ready chase down the leaders. Little did we know what the trail had in store for us. During the first climb on the single track, a tiny, thinner than a pencil, little stick got kicked up into my derailleur and decided to rip it right off. I couldn't believe it. Of all the things to happen, this was the last straw (or so I thought). Having tried to make a single speed out of my bike before and not being able to get it to work because of the suspension design, I was consigned to pushing my bike along for the next 15 miles or so. It wasn't so bad on the up hills, as everyone else was pushing, but on the flats I was much slower. The downhills, however, were coastable and I was determined to make the most of my momentum and take some pretty aggressive lines to conserve speed. I'm sure you can imagine where this is headed.

I can't quite remember exactly how it happened, but I do know this, somehow my front wheel was forced off the trail. What ensued was a short trip over the handle bars, followed by a somersault in the air, ending in a face plant in the leaves. As I took a moment to check for broken bits, I felt a sharp pain at the end of my finger, and realized I had just pissed off a bunch of yellow jackets and they were out for blood. I think I managed to get away with only a couple stings, but man, it hurt. I suppose the upside was that the pain kept me awake. I wish I could say the remainder of the ride back was uneventful, but I managed to perform the same maneuver again about a mile down the trail and managed to rip my tire off my rim. On the bright side, at least I didn't get stung again.

By the time we got back to the final TA, it was just starting to get light. The last section was a large orienteering course, over which we could get up to 20 additional check points. Knowing we were down one bike, we decided we would set out on foot, grab the points closest to the finish. We ended up getting 11 of the points and decided it was enough. Trying to bushwack through the underbrush with our paddles still strapped to our backs was not the easiest thing to do and there was no way we could realistically get many more points without a lot more effort. We acknowledged we were giving up any hope for a first or second place, but after all we had been through we lost our motivation and were just ready to go home.

As it turns out, the we managed 3rd place in the coed division, and 4th overall. Not bad considering what we had to overcome. The other squad was not so lucky. By the time they finished the trekking section and got to their bikes, Allen hadn't gotten any better and they decided it would be best if they stopped racing to avoid any serious issues. While it is never fun to have to pull out of a race, sometimes it is the best thing to do.

After all is said and done, we had a great time out there and thank Odyssey for putting on another fun and challenging race. Of course we wouldn't be there without the help from our generous sponsors Inov-8, Numa, and nuun. Next up for us will be the Moab Xstream Expedition. Can't wait to head west again!

By Their SOLE Platinum Sandals Ye Shall Know Them
posted by Mike Bitton @ 8:47 PM - 0 comments

In recent years, the Outdoor Retailer trade show has been great for SOLE Custom Footbeds. Long a supporter of adventure racing, SOLE has expanded beyond keeping folks' feet happy inside shoes with heat-moldable orthotics. SOLE's latest buzz surrounds their Platinum Sandals (MSRP $80), which take the custom-fit concept into the open air. This photo is from the Open Air Demo at Pineview Reservoir, where the SOLE booth drew constant interest from the crowd. One of those feet with the red hot toenail polish belongs to SOLE Marketing Maven Claire Thompson. Can you guess which one?

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Wicked Gorge
posted by Yak @ 1:46 PM - 0 comments

The weekend of July 18th saw the much anticipated return of two of the Northwest's leaders in outdoor adventure sports; the Gorge Games and Wicked Adventure Racing. Race Director Shane Gibson and his staff bounced back from a brief hiatus with another Wicked installment filled with 24 hours of quality single-track mountain biking, challenging trekking with some bush-whacking, and a kayak paddle on the Columbia River. The conditions on the river on the morning on the race proved too rugged for even the heartiest of paddlers, so that section was modified to the pleasure and relief of the racers.

As is typical of all Wicked races, navigation and route planning turned out to be the pivotal strategic interlude most teams were looking forward to. A Rogaine format most often seen in orienteering events was the focus for this year's race. Each race discipline was set with numerous checkpoints that were assigned a numerical points value. Teams were given a predetermined time for which to plan a route and to collect as many points as they feel they could gain during that time and then return to the transition area to prepare for the next discipline. This format placed a balanced, thought-provoking challenge to the race teams and allowed for an overall positive race experience.

Over 85 checkpoints were placed throughout the spectacular Mount Hood National forest and the surrounding area. Teams started with a subdued yet challenging 3 hour kayak paddle that saw them turning in laps on the Columbia River. As mentioned, this portion of the course originally called for over 20 miles of paddling yet had to be pared down due to the high winds and cresting waves that make Hood River, Oregon famous for it's windsurfing. Race Director Shane Gibson adds, "We are the only event in the Gorge Games that is hoping to not have wind on race day."

The next transition was to the mountain bikes that led teams into the night towards the Kingston Reservoir with a brief, yet brutal, 2 hour slog up many feet of elevation gain. To give you an idea of the difficulty, each of these check points were 100, 200, 250, 350, and 450 points in value. That is some tough cranking on the legs and lungs.

From Kingston, racers were sent into the night lit by the full moon to collect even more points over the course of a 10 hour trek. With the highest point on the course being on Mount Defiance (4960 feet), teams were challenged to make this epic trek to gain the highest point value of 1001 points and the opportunity to get their 15 seconds of fame; Fox Sports was waiting for them with cameras rolling, a great chance to show off your skills and your sponsors support. Locals have described Mount Defiance as a harder climb than if you were to summit Mt. Hood (11,249 feet). Once you reach the 4100ft. mark you get a breathtaking view to the north of the Cascade Range, the Columbia Gorge, and all the smaller hills that dot the horizon.

The morning dawned with racers once again back on their bikes to see what sort of Wicked single-track was available. As route planning was a key to the success of the teams in this race, choosing the points you wanted would determine the kind of ride you had. Some teams chose to bomb straight down into Hood River to pick off the more easily found points in town while others chose a more challenging route, gnarly riding, with a higher points value. Another opportunity to climb Mount Defiance was available for an additional 1001 points for those teams who were gluttons for punishment and greedy for an additional 15 seconds of fame.

The race finish brought all teams back to the waterfront area of the Columbia River to the promise of an equally epic post-race feed provided by Next Adventure-a Portland, Oregon based alternative outdoor store- as well as the swag give-away from other sponsors such as Tecnu Extreme, SPOT, Kagome, Mountains Plus Gear, National Guard, Hammer Nutrition, and Next Adventure. If you missed any of the action, then you can look forward to race highlights broadcast during the 3 and 1/2 hours of prime time coverage on all Fox Sports network stations in the U.S starting August 18th. The Games coverage will reach a potential target audience of 84 MILLION households. Now that is a Wicked Adventure!

For more information about Wicked Adventure Racing along with results and photos of the 2008 Wicked Gorge visit http://www.wickedar.com.

Race Day Films releases second Primal Quest Sprint Series video
posted by Yak @ 1:33 PM - 0 comments

This one features the second race of the Series which took place at Pocahontas State Park in Richmond, Virginia in May.

The last two events in the series, originally set for September and October, were recently canceled and Primal Quest announced that the Series would be re-launched in 2009.

Here comes the Thunder
posted Tuesday, August 5, 2008 by Yak @ 12:10 PM - 0 comments

High Profile Adventure Racing, LLC presents the 6th annual Thunder Rolls Adventure Race.

Featuring both a 12 or 24 course, supported teams of 2 or 3 will navigate by map and compass while mountain biking, trekking, orienteering, coasteering, pack rafting, canoeing. Racers will also spend time on a fixed ropes course.

WHERE: The race will start in Illinois City, Illinois. The point to point course is all new, covering 50 - 100 miles in two states! This is not an urban race, it is in very beautiful and rugged country. Check in is at Active Endeavors in Davenport, Iowa.

WHEN: Saturday, September 6, 2008

FORMAT: 12 and 24 hour races with coed, masters (all over 40) and same gender divisions.

CHECKPOINT TRACKER SERIES: The 24 hour course will utilize Checkpoint Tracker to provide online coverage so that friends and family can watch your teams progress during the race. The winner of the race will also receive points towards the Series prize purse worth over $30,000 in cash and gear.

USARA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: The top three coed open teams in the 24 hour race will qualify for the 2008 USARA National Championship held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia in November.

COST: Only $117.00 per person for the 12 hour race and $150.00 per person for the 24 hour race. Thunder Rolls is a tremendous value! All racers will receive a $65 North Face logo fleece, $15 SmartWool socks, $35 tube of Zanfel, $5 jar of Boetjes Mustard, cold 180 energy drink at transition areas, after race pizza, and other valuable schwag. FREE camping is also available at the start/finish line. The winners in all divisions will receive valuable awards from our presenting sponsor, Salomon Sports.

ONLINE REGISTERATION: Free online registration at getmeregistered.com.

WEB-SITE: thethunderrolls.org

SPONSORS: Enviromark, Orthopaedic Specialists P.C., Salomon Sports, The North Face, Active Endeavors, Boetjes Mustard, ECOLIPS, Coffee Hound, Healthy Habits, Suunto, Smartwool, Zanfel, and180 Energy Drink.

Looking for an alternative to Terra Traverse?
posted Monday, August 4, 2008 by Yak @ 9:39 AM - 0 comments

Terra Traverse has been rescheduled until the summer of 2009, but you still have one last chance to enjoy a multi-day race this fall.

Head to Moab to finish off your season with the 3 day Xstream Expedition.

The race is held in the spectacular canyons, deserts and mountains surrounding Moab Utah, September 25th-28th.

This will be the last opportunity to compete in this event as it will be taking a sabbatical in 2009, returning in 2010. Solo, 2 Person and 4 Person teams will race for 3 days in this spectacular venue.

The Xstream Expedition is part of the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8. Because of it's length it's worth 200 points making it a valuable late season event for those teams looking to boost their final Series ranking.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.GravityPlay.com.