Adventure Racing News
presented by Inov-8

Poll: All I want for Christmas is...
posted Thursday, November 20, 2008 by Yak @ 9:51 AM - 1 comments

Just forget the new bike or racing hull...buying practical, high quality products that will last is the new conspicuous consumption.

If you were getting just one gift from Santa this year...what would it be?

Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race proves "climate change" is real
posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008 by Yak @ 4:53 PM - 0 comments

The high temperature during the first edition of the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race in Helen, GA in March of 2007 was around 85 degrees:




Conversely, the low temperature during the second edition in March of 2008 in Hiawassee, GA was around 25:




quod erat demonstrandum

Registration for the 2009 Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race is open through January 31st, 2009.

Team Nike takes 2nd at Adventure Racing World Championship
posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 by Yak @ 9:09 AM - 1 comments

After nearly four days and 520 kilometers of racing in oppressive heat through three states in eastern Brazil, Team Nike finished just 1 hour, 20 minutes behind New Zealand's Orion Health at the 2008 Adventure Racing World Championships.

The race began on a remote peninsula that was accessible only by boat and the 60 teams from 18 countries started the competition with 15 kilometers of sand dune running. This was followed by 12 hours of laborious paddling against tides and head winds through the night while covering a mere 60 kilometers to the town of Parnaiba before the race headed inland. A long 106 kilometer bike ride inland led to the first of the mountain trekking sections.

It was at this point that Team Nike, made up of Mike Kloser, Monique Merrill, Chris Forne and Gordon Walker had seemed to be in control of the race lost the lead. Team captain Kloser of Vail, Colorado said "We were well ahead on the first mountain trek then Forne, who is typically flawless in his navigation led us up a steep gully and we lost the trail. I'd say we lost about two and a half hours there, after this we were chasing Orion Health for the latter part of the race."

Through the next stages of mountain bike and trekking the two leading teams were chased hard by a close pack of other highly determined competitors. In an Expedition race like the World Championships, it can come down to those who managed the sleep strategy best (teams had the opportunity to collect a bonus checkpoint and take 4 hours off their mandatory sleep requirement). Orion was one of only a handful of teams that opted to paddle the extra 2 hours to reduce their mandatory 8 hours of rest to 4 hours. Knowing they may have to play catch up, Team Nike opted to bank on the extra sleep and the recovery that comes with it.

Orion Health took a chance on the mandatory rest bonus and left the checkpoint after the ropes section before Nike ever saw them. At this point it was Orion Health's race to lose. Nike had been steadily eating away at the time bonus of Orion. Kloser said "Losing the World title is a tough pill to swallow when you know you are the fastest team in the race." There was still 68 kilometers of mountain biking followed by 60 kilometers of paddling down a virtually waterless river and one more leg of mountain biking to the coast. It concluded with a sailing leg using traditional fishing boats and a trek along the sand dunes to the finish at the spectacular windsurfing town of Jericoacoara. Nike gave the Kiwi’s a run for the title but in the end the Kiwi's were able to hold off the defending World Champions.

In 2009 the AR World Championships move to Portugal and Team Nike's Kloser is already looking forward to it, stating "We'll be back next year gunning to regain the World Title." Team Nike will face Orion Health again in their season's last event in Abu Dhabi in December.

TCC Panama: Island Run
posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 by Yak @ 9:25 PM - 0 comments

The creators of The Coastal Challenge (TCC), the World's Expedition Run, have created a new off-road running race set on the islands off the east coast of Panama. Scheduled September 3-6, 2009, TCC Panama: Island Run serves as a sister TCC event created for competitive runners seeking a shorter course with a focus on relaxation - sending competitors on three courses across three islands. Interested participants can register and find out more information at http://www.tccislandrun.com.

TCC Panama: Island Run is a four-day event that will give runners a full day of relaxation in the colonial town of Bocas before heading off for three straight days of island hopping on a remote and tranquil archipelago. With daily distances between 15 and 25 kilometers, competitors – who can register in individual or pairs categories - will have ample opportunity to venture off on their own after each stage to explore the islands or join staff on daily guided excursions. Registration will be capped at 60 competitors to maintain a small and intimate atmosphere while minimizing the race's environmental impact.

"We wanted to create something special as we head into our fifth year of racing and event management," says Race Director and Event Founder Tim Holmstrom. "European and South American travelers have long been drawn to the beautiful scenery and bohemian atmosphere of Panama, but it's still a relatively unknown destination for North Americans. This event will give everyone a chance to get to know this beautiful country while participating in a fun and challenging race."

Island Run will take place in Bocas del Toro, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world that includes two national parks and two protected cloud forests. Over the course of four days competitors will explore three islands while traveling by boat and catamaran, and will have opportunities to see unparalleled marine life while experiencing the rich flavors of Panamanian cuisine and culture. "The Island Run in Panama is ideal for both those who have raced in Costa Rica and those who have been unable to commit to a week-long stage race," adds Holmstrom. "We are staging this race in a lush and beautiful tropical setting on small islands where people get around by boat wherever they go. We invite everyone to 'Go Island' with us in Panama."

About The Coastal Challenge

The Coastal Challenge is the "World's Expedition Run," releasing runners over approximately 200 kilometers of exotic and wild Costa Rican mountainous regions and rugged coastline. For six days, runners embrace the spirit of adventure, discovery and camaraderie within a long distance running competition while navigating wide river crossings, rain forests, jungles, windswept highlands, beaches, and rock outcroppings. It is an expedition run of epic proportions introducing competitors to the hospitality of the local Tico culture while pushing the limits of their will and endurance.

TCC Panama, being just a 3-day race, represents a shift in format and a middle ground between what we've created at the Expedition Run in Costa Rica and the much shorter distances at The Coastal Experiences. It's another great alternative for competitive runners seeking a shorter course with a focus on relaxation or those not feeling entirely prepared for The Coastal Challenge, Expedition Run. As always, all the races remain true to The Coastal Challenge tradition of combining tough races set in beautiful locations with fun and friendly adventure.

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

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Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong
posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by Yak @ 3:26 PM - 0 comments

I haven't read it yet, but Fatal Tide, a new book by David Leach, looks to be to a must read for every adventure racer. It was singled out for a Special Jury Mention at the Banff Mountain Book Awards just last week.

Here's a snippet from the book's website:

On June 1, 2002, sixty-eight after-work athletes and other “weekend warriors” set off from Saint John, New Brunswick, for a sweaty day of competitive adventure: 15 kilometres of trail running, 40K of mountain biking, and 12 kilometres of sea kayaking on the legendary Bay of Fundy. However, as a storm swept across the final paddling section, what began as a fun introduction to the sport of adventure racing soon turned into a tragedy that would haunt many of the participants for years to come.

Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong is a work of investigative journalism that dramatizes, in the storytelling style of such non-fiction bestsellers as Into the Wild and The Perfect Storm, precisely what happened at the controversial Fundy Multi-Sport Race. Fatal Tide also explores the psychology of risk taking in the outdoors, the contemporary culture of reality TV and extreme sports, the science and treatment of hypothermia, as well as the legal and emotional fallout from the first death of an adventure racer in North America.

The book is available in hardcover at Amazon.

Primal Quest Badlands
posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 by Yak @ 10:52 AM - 0 comments

By now, most hard-core adventure racing enthusiasts know the location of the next Primal Quest, "The World's Most Challenging Human Endurance Competition." The 600+ mile, ten day expedition length, multi-discipline race will be held August 15th - 24th, 2009 in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, USA. Don Mann Productions and the South Dakota Department of Tourism announced the dates and location of the 6th edition of this legendary adventure Friday, September 26th on location at Custer State Park.

After the extremely successful return of Primal Quest Montana in the Summer of 2008 the organization was focusing on taking the race to several international locations, but that was to change. "We have always enjoyed producing this event in the U.S.," expressed Race Director Chris Caul. "We had a lot of racer feedback saying they wanted the race to stay domestic."

Veteran adventure racer Robyn Benincasa, captain of Team Merrell/Zanfell, agrees that the Badlands venue is a positive decision. "I love racing in the United States...I'm so used to packing up everything for airline weight specs and paying way too much in excess baggage fees that driving to a race is a rare treat."

Robyn, at the time of this interview, had just returned from the Furnace Creek 508 in Death Valley to her home in San Diego, California. She finished the non-stop bike race in 33 hours: 10 minutes. "This was actually my first bike race, believe it or not." Robyn revealed, "Interestingly, all of the girls on the podium were in the 40-plus age group. Nice to be reminded that we ultra types are actually just hitting our stride in our early 40s! Definitely not a race for the youngsters."

In the Summer of 2008 South Dakota representatives contacted Primal Quest and invited the organization to check out what the state had to offer. "After several follow-up conversations, a scouting trip was planned," said Chris Caul. "From spending time on the ground, seeing the terrain, we knew we had our next race course!" Caul expounded, "We are excited about the vast and trailless areas South Dakota holds. I have never seen a location that has such variable terrain. The different landscapes of the area will be an unbelievable experience for the racers."

"Most people have never experienced the beauty of South Dakota. The scenery of the Badlands is like another planet," Don Mann, Primal Quest Producer, enthusiastically conveyed.

As the most prolific adventure sport event producer in the world, Don Mann has been instrumental in reviving the Primal Quest brand. He is moving it forward, with a fraction of the initial budget, regaining the image it once had when backed by seriously large capital. Mann is very optimistic about the success of Primal Quest Badlands - presented by SPOT. "We expect even more media coverage and exposure than we had in Montana. With more than nine months before race day we already have the entire course planned and expect to have nearly 90% of this layout unchanged by the time permitting is finalized."

Don and Chris have already been on most of the 603 mile tentative race course. In South Dakota, unlike other previous Primal Quest venues, bushwhacking is OK unless otherwise posted. "This means teams will be able to pick their own route between check points along the course." Don Mann's optimism is bolstered by the warm reception South Dakota has shown the Primal Quest organization. "We have around 75 local and state officials backing this event 100%. We should have less issues with permitting than any previous race," Don proclaimed.

"We have a saying here in South Dakota, we roll out the red carpet, not the red tape," stated South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds. "That doesn't mean we'll cut corners; what we will do, is give an up or down answer very quickly." This approach to such a large expedition type event should help speed along the permitting process, at least at the state level. Governor Rounds continued, "In South Dakota, we don't want people to just look at the natural beauty of our rugged terrain, wide open prairies and beautiful Black Hills, we want them to use the trails, streams and rivers. We just ask folks to leave these areas just as they found them."

Commenting on the organization's ecological standards the Governor said, "The Primal Quest team's goal is to be environmentally friendly and we will hold them to it." Primal Quest could mean millions of extra dollars in visitor spending from the exposure the race will bring the State. The Tourism Department is already a partner in bringing Primal Quest to South Dakota. "We have substantial time and money invested in it's success. That commitment will continue until the last team finishes the race and beyond." The Governor’s office feels strongly that South Dakotans will embrace this event and want to be involved with it.

The Primal Quest media team will showcase the wonders of South Dakota to the world through it's television agreement with Rush HD and other standard definition networks. Print media magazines and newspapers will publish articles before during and after the race. The public will also follow the race online through the Primal Quest web site and the near real time tracking of each four person coed team through GPS devices, provided by presenting partner SPOT.

Unlike the 2008 Montana version of Primal Quest, the Badlands event will be an unsupported race. This means no plush RV's and multi-person support crews to pamper the racers at each transition area. Race team's will be responsible for carrying their own food and vital equipment during each leg of the course. "I'm a big fan of support crews, so that aspect about the 2009 edition is a bit of a bummer for me," racer Robyn Benincasa replies. "I think support crews allow family and friends to be involved at a deeper level and to really be part of the team, not to mention the ever important emotional support they can offer." Robyn Continues, "On the other hand, a non-supported race definitely levels the playing field a bit. For example, in the 2008 primal quest, the timing of the sections worked out perfectly for team Nike to run the race like a stage race and sleep comfortably in their motor home every night. That was a huge factor in their speed and ultimate success, since they had warm food and a bed every night versus a bag of cheetos and a pupply pile of teammates on the freezing ground like most other teams. Good for them for using their crew to their benefit and working hard to get back to them every night."

There are other major differences the South Dakota environment will pose. 580 of the total 600 mile course will be comprised of off-road travel. Orienteering and route finding will be required during each leg of the race. According to producer Don Mann; one-third of the race duration will be spent on the water, one-third will be on mountain bikes, and one-third will be comprised of the trekking/climbing/spelunking. "The race through the South Dakota Badlands will have more single track mountain biking than any previous Primal Quest," proclaimed Don. The planning team is excited about the number of terrain options course designer Rick Emerson has presented to them. "We have a very knowledgeable course designer who truly knows every inch of the course," said race director Chris Caul. "He has found us more climb sites and caves than we can ever use. We are working closely with the local spelunking groups, as well as the land managers, to select our best options," Chris continued. "The climb sites are truly unlimited, and much like Utah, endlessly beautiful," Don Mann expressed. The entire Primal Quest production team believes that the South Dakota event will be, "The benchmark that all future Primal Quest races will be judged against!"

Team and Volunteer registration opens today, November 10th, at http://www.ecoprimalquest.com. Primal Quest Badlands 2009 will cost each team $11,500. The price is $1000 less than it was for the Montana 2008 race. This should help to encourage more teams to enter the event. While the cost has dropped, the prize purse has increased from $100,000 to $175,000 in cash and prizes for the top finishing teams. "Bring it on!" exclaims Robyn Benincasa. "That will probably draw at least a few more international teams to the party." Robyn continued, "I've never raced for the money, so its not a factor for me. Just a nice bonus when it happens! If I were in AR for a living, I'd definitely be living on the streets of San Diego in a Geo Metro by now. Prize money is a nice-to-have, but with four people and so much gear and equipment, you can't count on it! Just getting to the finish line of the Primal Quest and feeling like you had a great race is a victory for most teams. That’s worth far more than any prize money."

Old Farmer's Almanac predicts "fricken freezing" Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race in 2009
posted Monday, November 10, 2008 by Yak @ 3:51 PM - 0 comments

Seriously, you can't make this s#%& up...

As if the last Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race wasn't cold enough (hint: it was)...it seems the elders that have been publishing the Almanac since 1792 see another dose of the chills coming our way.

Specifically, the Almanac portends "cold temperatures and normal to above normal precipitation, with more precipitation in the south" for NC, SC and GA.

Rest assured we learned something this past March and have been designing next year's course such that support crews will be better situated to both withstand nasty weather and provide a higher level of support than was possible at Ice Station Zebra on the shores of Lake Burton during the 2008 CZAR.

Registration for the 2009 Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race is open and the first 10 teams to register and submit payment will get CP0 branded Headsweats.

Orionhealth.com are crowned the Adventure Racing World Champions
posted by Yak @ 2:52 PM - 0 comments

New Zealand adventure racing team Orionhealth.com were crowned the Adventure Racing World Champions in Brazil yesterday.

After a race through the three states in the north east of Brazil Orionhealth finished 1hr 20 mins ahead of the second place and defending world championship team Nike (USA)

The race started on a remote sand covered peninsula that was accessible by boat only and the 60 teams in the ARWC 2008 begun the race of 450 kilometres with 15 kilometres of sand dune running.

This was followed by a all night 60km paddle to the town of Parnaiba before the race headed inland. A long 106km bike ride inland led to the first of the mountain trekking sections.

It was at this point that the USA team Nike, who had seemed to be in control of the race lost the lead. Team Captain Mike Kloser "We were well ahead on the first mountain trek," he said, "then Chris Forne led us up a steep gully and we lost the trail. I'd say we lost about 2 and half hours there, so then we were chasing Orion for the later part of the race."

Through the next stages of Mountain bike and trekking the two leading teams were chased hard by a closely following pack of teams. With not more than a hour separating the top five teams it was gong to come down to who had managed the sleep strategy best. (teams had the opportunity to collect a bonus checkpoint and take 4hrs off their mandatory sleep requirement)

Until the final point of mandatory sleep options it was only mathematical calculations that put one team actually ahead of the other. But at Vicosa de Ceara with the sleep options expired it was Orionhealth.com who ran into town in the lead. All the calculations had put them with about 1hr 30mins lead but the were in no mood to test that. They made one of the fastest transitions ever in adventure racing - changing from a 12hr trek stage to mountain biking in just 8 mins and were well done the road and out of sight before the second place Nike appeared.

At this point it was Orionhealth's race to lose. Only three stages separated them from the coastal finish but this involved 68kms of mountain biking followed by 60kms of paddling down a virtually waterless river and 43 kms mtn bike to the coast. At this point the race was won - the practical finish, but still the teams had a sailing leg on traditional fishing boats and a trek along the sand dunes to the 'marketing finish' at the spectacular windsurfing town of Jericoacoara

When asked what the best thing about the race was ...as they happily gave dozens of TV interviews the Team Captain Wayne Oxenham Oxenham summed it up "Winning" was his answer.
He added, "I think we ran an intelligent race and that was the difference. Others were going out too hard, but we took it a bit easier in the heat of the day and tried to move faster at night and it paid off."

He added "The best thing, apart from winning, was the Brazilian people. On one stage we met a man and asked for water, so he rode off to his house on his bike to get us some! Things like that were happening all the time."

Orionhealth.com have made it their mission over the last few years to win this World Championship and have steadily increased their experience and results. With a 8th in New Zealand, 5th in Sweden and 3rd at last years World Champs in Scotland.
Team members of Orionhealth.com are Wayne Oxenham captain)
Stuart Lynch, Brent Edwards and Anna Berthelsen

At the prize ceremony Captain Wayne Oxenham had the last word , "This was a race worthy of a World Championship. It tested all the disciplines, and our team work, strategy and survival. A great race!"

Next year the World Championship moves onto XPD Portugal.