Adventure Racing News
presented by Inov-8

Rogers...Glenn Rogers
posted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 by Yak @ 3:18 PM - 0 comments

The Gateway just posted an article about Glenn Rogers of DART-nuun:

Gig Harbor's Glenn Rogers, right, bicycles through the Abu Dhabi desert two weeks ago with a competitor slightly behind him. Rogers, 43, is a full-time father of five and husband to Cheryl. His team, DART-nuun, placed 13th among some of the most athletically gifted adventure racers in the world. The team finished the six-day race in 45 hours, 14 minutes, 4 seconds.

A race for all racers, the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race offers something for everyone
posted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 by Yak @ 1:04 PM - 0 comments

The Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race is hard. The course is long, it features a fair amount of elevation change and we go out of our way to offer as much route choice as possible which makes it a thinking mans race.

Also, the weather has been known to be a factor.

Finishing the entire course by clearing all checkpoints, let alone winning, requires that a team stay focused, keep on the move and make smart choices. It's not a sprint race and it's not designed so that the fat part of the bell curve will get a passing grade. Think of it more as a white whale. A race to be conquered...some day.

So why should a novice or intermediate team come to Dahlonega in March and hurl themselves headlong into such a challenging race?

Because our rules allow a team to skip checkpoints or even entire sections of the course and still be officially ranked so long as they reach the Finish in under 30 hours.

Even a virgin team that's never raced before can complete the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race and set the bar for their next attempt. Racing alongside dedicated, competitive veterans makes it that much more exciting.

There are a lot of races competing for your time and money. Checkpoint Zero, LLC offers professionally managed events designed to preserve the "adventure" in adventure racing, challenge every racer from novice to expert according to their level of fitness and experience while delivering exceptional customer service that surpasses our competition.

We invite you to join us in Dahlonega, GA for the 3rd edition of the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race.

Registration is open through January 31st, 2009.

Please direct questions to race@checkpointzero.com.

Robyn Benincasa and Project Athena team up with The Coastal Challenge
posted Friday, December 19, 2008 by Yak @ 9:55 AM - 0 comments






The Coastal Challenge (TCC), the World's Expedition Run, is proud to announce the addition of Project Athena to it's 2009 competition, taking place January 31 - February 7 along Costa Rica's Pacific coastline. Project Athena, founded by five female adventure athletes who have each survived life-affirming struggles, is a foundation formed to grant the adventure-oriented wishes, or "Athenaships," of women who have experienced medical or traumatic setbacks. To promote its cause, Project Athena's founders will race as a team at select high-profile events in 2009, including TCC.

"We want to get out there and show other survivors what's possible, and to encourage them to again see 'challenges' versus roadblocks," said Athena Captain Robyn Benincasa, who will be joined by teammates Melissa Cleary, (who runs everyday with Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Florence Debout (a two time cancer survivor), as well as Natasha Barton, Jonea Mounsey and Masha Glanville in Costa Rica.

To add further support, The Coastal Challenge is sponsoring the registration for for Team Project Athena's Debout, in celebration of her 5th year as a Survivor, and is offering new female competitors a registration discount. E-mail registration@thecoastalchallenge.com for more details.

TCC also encourages woman who are currently registered to visit www.projectathena.org and consider becoming fellow "goddesses," who will race to help raise money for Project Athena's 2009 "Athenaship" grant recipients.

While Project Athena adds a philanthropic element to this year's race, Benincasa, a firefighter and one of the world's premiere adventure athletes, further elevates TCC's top-notch field of competitors. In the past 10 years, she has earned World Champion honors in both the Eco-Challenge (Borneo, 2000) and the Raid Gauloises (1998), and is sure to enhance the spirit of camaraderie and competition in this year’s field, which features athletes from eight countries.

The 2009 race, which will be capped at 125 competitors, offers four categories of participation:
  • Team Expedition Run - Runners sign up in teams of three to six
  • Solo Expedition Run - The full 200+ km Expedition Run
  • Solo Adventure Run - A shortened, yet extremely challenging 125-km route
  • Guest Adventure Tours - Daily adventure tours like river rafting, nature hikes and more available to guests of the runners
The 2009 course, coined "The Rainforest Edition," is set along Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coastline and weaves into the Talamancas, a coastal mountain range in Costa Rica's Southwest corner. The event finishes in Corcovado National Park, one of the world's premier rainforests and a Unesco World Heritage site.

The course served as the inspiration for the revamped website at www.thecoastalchallenge.com, which includes enhanced 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, www.thecoastalblog.com.

2009 Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race imposes limit of 175 racers
posted Wednesday, December 17, 2008 by Yak @ 4:46 PM - 0 comments

We've just finalized terms with a critical venue and they are requiring that we limit the total number of warm bodies including racers, staff, volunteers, support, spectators, etc.

The only way for us to ensure we don't violate the terms of our agreement at any time during the race is to set a hard limit of 175 racers. We had 204 racers this past March. Right now we've got 17 teams registered for a total of 49 racers which means there are 126 individual racer slots left.

Registration is open now. Payment in full is due by January 31st.

We are providing boats. Each team will be provided a Mad River Adventure 16 canoe. Outside boats will NOT be allowed.

As usual we have an all new course for 2009...designed by Tony Berwald...tested and staffed by team Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8.

We have GREAT transition areas this year. Support crews will find their jobs made easier on several fronts.

Mike Bitton will be photographing the race. He's in the United Arab Emirates right now following Nike, DART-nuun, Salomon/Crested Butte and Team SOLE at the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge. Have you SEEN his photos?

This race is part of the expanded 2009 Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

If you have questions about the race send an email to race@checkpointzero.com or call 864-325-1181.

Desert Islands (NZ) wins Adu Dhabi Adventure Challenge
posted by Yak @ 11:21 AM - 0 comments

Richard USSHER, captain of DESERT ISLANDS (NZ), draws on the experience and talents of his teammates to complete an error free final day, inspiring his team all the way to the finish at Al Ain to win the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge.

6 days ago, the 36 teams competing in the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge set out from Abu Dhabi city to cover a 361km adventure racing course that would not only test their capacity for physical and mental endurance but also take them on a journey of discovery, as they kayaked, biked and trekked across some of Abu Dhabi's most remarkable and treasured natural attractions.

From the very start on Corniche Beach, competition among the teams was fierce but it was impossible to predict how tight the race would be by the time the teams reached the garden city of Al Ain for the final showdown on the last day. With only 63 seconds between the first and second teams and 2 seconds separating third and fourth, the contenders for the podium places would have to give of their best and remain focused for the duration of the final three sections of this 6-day race.

At 06:00 this morning, in the shadow of the Jebel Hafeet Mountains, the teams raced away on their bikes from the bivouac in Green Mubazzarah up the smooth tarmac road that twists and turns 12km to the 1000m summit of this a jagged rock formation that rips across the skyline east of the city. At the outcome TEAM NZ (NZ) were squeezed into 4th fastest allowing race leaders DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) to stretch their slim race lead to just over 3 minutes. French team SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY (FRA) managed the third fastest over this section, taking advantage of a puncture that slowed rivals WILSA HH (FRA), to finish 8 minutes ahead of their compatriots and subsequently steal 3rd place.

On the following section, comprising a 14.5km trek across rocky tracks interspersed with some breathtaking rope works, one of which was a spine-tingling 200m abseil, DESERTS ISLANDS (NZ) finished third but were still widening the narrow gap between themselves and second place TEAM NZ, who clocked in 28 seconds slower. SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY (FRA) were elated with their performance on the ropes, putting a further 6 minutes on WILSA HH (FRA) and virtually securing the last podium place.

The final 27km bike ride into the finish at the historic Jahli Fort in the centre of Al Ain would determine the outcome for the team that had taken the race lead on the first day, DESERT ISLANDS (NZ), and clung to it throughout the 6 days, staving off repeated, strong challenges from compatriots TEAM NZ. Making sure they kept out of trouble by racing slightly to the side of the speeding peloton, this remarkable quartet of Elina and Richard USSHER, Jarad KOHLAR and Jay HENRY produced a flawless finish to what had been a flawless race.

Final Ranking - Top 5

1 DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) 39:18:20
2 TEAM NZ (NZ) 39:25:23
3 SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY (FRA) 39:31:42
4 WILSA HH (FRA) 39:46:34
5 NIKE (USA) 40:06:20

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Ranking tight at Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge after night in the desert
posted by Yak @ 11:12 AM - 0 comments

As night fell, the leading teams embarked on the remaining 44km of the desert trekking stage, each one hoping to find the combination of speed and guile needed to break the deadlock in the overall ranking.

As the fastest teams arrived at the finish line in Hassab on the penultimate day's racing, the top five on this year's Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge remained virtually unchanged, despite breaking all the records on was an astonishingly fast but arduous 107km through the Rub al Kahli (Empty Quarter).

A short burst of speed over the last kilometer earned the French of SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY the fastest time, coming in at 3:40am. Jacky BOISSET and his crew completed this section in 20h28:06. Rest period management had been already cited as the key to success in this stage: "We approached this as if it were a series of 10 short stages of around 10 kilometers each with rest periods ranging from 40 minutes to 2h30," explained the French captain.

Barely seconds behind came TEAM NZ (NZ) who had done their best in an effort to arrest the race lead from compatriots DESERT ISLANDS (NZ), who came in 5th, but without success. "We ran well through the night with a group of teams and managed to edge ahead but we decided to wait for NIKE (USA) at one rest point which allowed Richard USSHER's team to close the gap again," confessed Gordon WALKER.

NIKE themselves were next in, taking third best time, a fitting reward for having raced throughout the night alongside the other leading teams and allowing navigator Chris FORNE to act as pathfinder. "We spent the whole night with a group of around 5 teams following Chris FORNE. He just kept going, selflessly blazing a trail across the dunes," Marcel HAGENER of WILSA HH (FRA), the 4th finisher, proclaimed. The convoy of five race leaders may well have come in all within 2 minutes of each other but doing so required taking some risks: "We were going really well until at one point we made a route choice that put us out of sync with the front teams. We rectified the error and came back hard to stay in contention," confessed Richard USSHER, captain of DESERT ISLANDS (NZ).

As things stand, the two Kiwi teams most in the running for first and second are a mere 60 seconds apart and only two seconds separate the two French teams looking good for third place! An incredible state of affairs after 35 hours of intense and relentless competition.

As they finished during the course of the day, the teams were transferred by bus to Al Ain, in readiness for the final and decisive day, involving a 12km MTB grind from Green Mubazzarah to the top of Jebel Hafeet Mountain, a 14.6km trek with a breathtaking 200m abseil in the middle and a final, nail-biting bike sprint to the finish at the beautiful and historic Jahili Fort in the city centre.

Top 5 after Section E - Desert Trekking - 107km

1 DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) 35h40:47
2 TEAM NZ (NZ) 35h41:50
3 WILSA HH (FRA) 35h58:12
4 SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY (FRA) 35h58:14
5 NIKE (USA) 36h24:45

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Sun and sand take a toll on Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge competitors
posted Monday, December 15, 2008 by Yak @ 10:00 AM - 1 comments

At 07:00 this morning, the 36 teams, equipped with gaiters, loose-fitting trousers, wide brimmed hats and faces smeared with sun-block, set off on a 107km trek through the Liwa Desert, one of the most daunting stages of this 6-day competition. After a night spent in the bivouac at Moreeb Dune, the athletes awoke to a thick fog masking from view the towering dunes of the Rub al Kahli. The unanticipated "pea-souper" was a welcome rarity as it blocked the heat of the rising sun and shed a layer of moisture across the sand, hardening the surface in the process. Some teams even found that the lack of visual landmarks made the task of finding a viable route through the dunes more complex.

With having to rely on the GPS to help them though the dense mist, some teams were reduced to picking their around dunes until, at around 10:00, the sun broke through and the mercury began to rise. The fastest teams alternated between running and trekking. So advantageous were the flat stretches that the teams would alter their "optimal" trajectory to hit as many of these relatively smooth areas as possible in an effort to gain a maximum of time no their adversaries.

5 hours 38 minutes into the stage, the sun had already pummelled the teams into a panting and perspiring mass strung out across the dunes in several tight clusters. As they crossed the salt flat leading to CP 4, another welcome opportunity to grab some bottles of water and stave off the possibility of a crippling dehydration, an epic struggle was already taking place between the leading teams.

First to check in, by the slimmest of margins, was TEAM NZ (NZ), literally comingled with the fastest French, SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY, and Kiwi archrivals DESERT ISLANDS (NZ). All three picked up some water before collapsing into the first fragment of shade available to discuss tactics and recuperate for the arduous task ahead. NIKE (USA), pushing hard to make up the time separating them from a step on the podium, came in 2 minutes behind the section pace setters and a stream of teams, already displaying signs of creeping exhaustion, followed them in at regular intervals over the next 16 minutes. Surprisingly enough, ADCO AROC (AUS) after looking poised to take the race by storm with their excellent result on yesterday’s sea-kayaking stage putting them into 3rd overall, came in over an hour off the front of the race looking somewhat dejected.

20km further on, at CP5 (63km), TEAM NZ (NZ) were still pulling the train, taking 9h11 to cover the distance (with 3h39 of rest time). DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) followed with a three-minute gap (3h45 rest) along with NIKE (USA - 3h37 rest), and SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY 8 minutes behind (9h19 and 3h30 rest). SALOMON SANTIVERI (ESP), having laid low for most of the race up until now, showed their true talents overland putting in the 5th fastest time to this part of the course in 9h26 (3h14) ahead of WILSA HH (FRA - 9h30 racing and 3h18 rest).

With the prospect of another moonlit night in store, the athletes switched on their headlamps at around 18:00 and raced through the dark. Early tomorrow morning at Hassab, we shall see the outcome of their efforts.

Section E – Times at CP 5 - 63km

1 TEAM NZ NZ 09:11:00
2 DESERT ISLANDS NZ 09:14:00
3 NIKE US 09:14:00
4 SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY FR 09:19:00
5 SALOMON SANTIVERI ES 09:26:00
6 WILSA HELLY HANSEN FR 09:30:00
7 ORION HEALTH.COM NZ 09:34:00
8 LUNDHAGS ADVENTURE SE 09:47:00
9 SALOMON / CRESTED BUTTE US 09:49:00
10 SPORT 2000 VIBRAM LAFUMA FR 10:29:00

photo by Mike Bitton

Kiwis capture top two spots in Abu Dhabi
posted Sunday, December 14, 2008 by Yak @ 9:06 AM - 0 comments

As the race hits its mid point, early front runners DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) see their race lead reduced with the power paddlers vying for supremacy over the second 82km sea-kayaking section.

The 3rd day of the race started early this morning as the teams awoke from a well-earned slumber on the Island of Umm al Kurkum. The moon was still bright in the sky as, over a period of half an hour, the teams embarked in the same order they finished the night before. In total contrast to the stiff breeze that had made the initial sea-kayaking section the day before so demanding, the air was relatively still and the sea had lost most of its ire. Before them lay the prospect of a further 82km on the sea to the seaside resort of Mirfa on a section that some saw as an opportunity to consolidate their advantage while others, especially those with strong arms, hoped to make their presence felt in the overall ranking.

Originally slated as a nine-hour section, the 8 hours and change taken by the leading pack of boats is a clear indication of the intensity of competition among the teams forcing the pace of this 6-day race. First into Mirfa were TEAM NZ (NZ) after spending just under 8h3’ on the water, a result that wouldn’t surprise anyone after seeing the force this team put into each stroke on the leg out of Sir Bani Yas Island. This result brings them within 2 minutes of DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) who remain at the head of the race despite only taking 4th place on this section. Just less than 3 minutes behind the fastest came ADCO AROC (AUS), having had the kayaking tables turned on them by the team they pushed into 3rd place yesterday. But they won't be too disappointed as they now move into the third podium position. The biggest gain of the section was had by French team WILSA HH who hit the jackpot with their 3rd fastest time over the section enabling them to leapfrog from 6th to 4th in the overall ranking. The other French team in contention for the podium, SPORT 200O VIBRAM OUTDRY, could only manage 7th on this section, after a splendid effort yesterday rewarded them with top honours, and they slipped back in the overall ranking to 5th place.

Further back but still among the leading lights of the AR world, NIKE (USA) drew on all their experience and tenacity to squeeze themselves into 10th but it may be asking too much of even this legendary world-beating formation to claw their way back into the top 3. With three days to go and only 19 minutes separating the first 5 teams, there is still everything to race for as, over the next 2 days, the world’s most talented adventure racing teams prepare to take on 107km of the world’s most inhospitable desert.

Provisional Top 5 after Section D – Sea Kayaking 82km

1 DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) 15h11:24
2 TEAM NZ (NZ) 15h13:37
3 ADCO AROC (AUS) 15h23:46
4 WILSA HELLY HANSEN (FRA) 15h29:12
5 SPORT 2000 LAFUMA OUTDRY (FRA) 15h30:08

photo by Mike Bitton

Peddling and paddling on day two of the Adu Dhabi Adventure Challenge
posted Saturday, December 13, 2008 by Yak @ 1:21 PM - 0 comments

For the second day of the race, based on the picturesque Sir Bani Yas Island, the teams started with an opening 45.5km MTB section followed by a 27km kayaking leg culminating at Umm al Kurkum Island, where competitors will now spend the night.

The herds of gazelles that abound in the Sir Bani Yas Island nature reserve were certainly perplexed. Their usual calm was somewhat disrupted this morning at sunrise as the teams sped by on the opening 45.5km MTB section, leaving a substantial cloud of dust in their wake. A looping course took them around Sir Bani Yas Island, the glow of the setting full moon being rapidly replaced by a rising sun growing brighter and hotter with passing minutes. With only 300m of elevation gain over the entire course, the only redoubtable adversary was going to be the tracts of soft sand interspersed by the draining roller-coaster ride. In the final reckoning, DESERT ISLANDS (NZ), NIKE (USA), TEAM NZ (NZ) and TEAM SOLE (USA) were the fastest along with SPORT 2000 VIBRAM LAFUMA (FRA). NIKE (USA) put in the fastest time at 1h37 covering the course at an average of over 28km/h.

After a break of around two hours, the teams undertook the first leg of a sea kayaking section prudently shortened to 27km, due to unusually strong winds and troublesome swell. Racing away from East Beach, the 36 teams first negotiated the emerald waters of a mangrove-strewn lagoon before undertaking the demanding 14.5km paddle out onto the high seas towards Umm al Kurkum Island.

TEAM SOLE (USA) led the fleet a few meters ahead of current race leaders DESERT ISLAND (NZ), TEAM NZ (NZ), WILSA HH (FRA), ADCO AROC (AUS) and SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY (FRA). The French completed a magnificent paddle by eventually taking first place at the end of the day with the best time on the section at 2h59.

The French, led by Francois FALOCI and Jacky BOISSET are currently sitting in 3rd place in the overall ranking, with the Kiwis of DESERT ISLAND and TEAM NZ just ahead. The last of the 35 teams finished this section shortly before nightfall, joining the other competitors on Kurkum Island for a welcome overnight bivouac and a chance to recharge their batteries before the massive and challenging section tomorrow, kayaking to Mirfa, 82km along the coast.

Provisional Top 5 after Section C - Sea Kayaking 27km

1 DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) 7h00:24
2 TEAM NZ (NZ) 7h10:49
3 SPORT 2000 LAFUMA OUTDRY (FRA) 7h11:52
4 ADCO AROC (AUS) 7h17:31
5 TEAM SOLE (USA) 7h17:40

photo by Mike Bitton

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Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge begins with triathlon
posted Friday, December 12, 2008 by Yak @ 1:34 PM - 0 comments

The opening day of the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge embraced extremes of more than one nature: first came the effort required by the athletes to compete this morning's inaugural triathlon, won by defending champions DESERT ISLANDS (NZ), fittingly followed by the discovery of the idyllic Sir Bani Yas Island, where the teams settled down for the evening, after a transfer by road and ferry, in preparation for tomorrow's arduous program.

The morning of the first day brought an explosive start to race as the teams sped away on their bikes for the first leg of an opening 40km triathlon held along and just offshore the Corniche Beach waterfront. The 17km MTB section along the wide avenues was followed by 12.5km of sea-kayaking around Lulu Island, 10km of trail running along the island's tracks and dunes with a final sprint paddle back to the beach for the finish. The hot sun and stiff sea-breeze added to the fierce competition that saw last year's winners DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) come out on top ahead of compatriots TEAM NZ and a SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY (FR).

An elated but somewhat perplexed Richard USSHER expressed his surprise at the outcome of this opening stage: "We are a little surprised at our lead on this first section, especially as we thought our strengths would lie more on the biking and running stages. Our paddle went really well though and we had an error free run on the island. The team is really well balanced overall and if any of us appear to be suffering they can always get help from another," he said confidently.

The teams then transferred from Abu Dhabi West along the coast to Jebel Dhanna where they took the short ferry ride across from the mainland jetty to the spectacular desert island destination of Sir Bani Yas for the evening bivouac and a introspective night before tomorrow's early morning MTB section.

The mountains that crown this 17km by 9km pearl-shaped paradise loom out of a brilliant blue sea. In the fading light, the greenery that blankets the island appears to sweep down to the waters edge where mangroves blur the transition between land and sea. The dominant hues of deep ocher, burnt umber and green remind you of other renowned havens of peace and spirituality like Australia's Ayers Rock and the short trip around the island, to the bivouac on the East Beach, reveals a tiny portion of the millions of trees planted over the years to provide a suitable habitat for the thousands of wild animals, including twenty-three rare species of birds and the iconic Oryx, not to mention giraffes, deer and the odd leopard, that run free here.

Extensive archaeological digs have unearthed traces of early Christian and Muslim settlements, emphasizing the historical importance of this "Arabian Eden" that is now home to cutting edge research and experiments aimed at "greening the desert". From its ancient roots as a pearl fisher's paradise to the modern cradle of the country's agricultural rebirth, Sir Bani Yas is a truly emblematic essential in this race itinerary, providing a perfectly serene centerpiece for tomorrow's 45.5km MTB section that gets underway at 07:00.

Top 5 after section A - Triathlon

1 DESERT ISLANDS NZ 02:23:12
2 TEAM NZ NZ 02:26:32
3 SPORT 2000 VIBRAM OUTDRY FR 02:27:30
4 ADCO AROC AU 02:29:07
5 LUNDHAGS ADVENTURE SE 02:29:26

photo by Mike Bitton

Start of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge just hours away
posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 by Yak @ 2:16 PM - 0 comments

At 10:00 this morning, the first of the 36 teams from 20 different nations started the round of compulsory clothing and gear checks set up beneath the soaring arch that serves as one of the entrances to the Armed Forces Officers Club here in Abu Dhabi.

By 14:00, all the teams had passed muster, though some were experiencing minor issues. Some new faces were in evidence like the young physical training instructors from the Royal Air Force, racing under the aegis of TOWERGATE WILSON, eagerly looking forward to measuring their training techniques against the "Top Guns" of AR from around the world. The Americans of DART NUUN could hardly believe their luck when they were chosen as the North American continent's ADTA award winners: "This one comes about a month after the end of the season so it's a welcome bonus for us, especially as we have been invited by the ADTA," they beamed in unison. Another team new to the ADAC, SINGAPORE TEC, were already encountering a steep learning curve: "We have done a lot of stage races in Singapore but the desert is totally new for us..." they confided as they discussed possible problems with the sand.

Earlier in the day they had their first real look at the course in detail. A spectacular start awaits them in Abu Dhabi city, with a 40km triathlon involving MTB, sea kayaking and trail running on a looping circuit beginning and ending on Corniche Beach. The teams will first head west on the Corniche road, exceptionally closed for the duration of the race, for an initial 17km MTB leg, sprinting past the sumptuous Emirates Palace in one direction, looping around the headland and then back along the corniche, with a u-turn east of the beach bringing them back to the kayaks. Next they take to the seas for the opening 12.5km kayaking section out to and around Lulu Island. Once on the island, they will complete a very fast 10.5km trail run, leap back into the kayaks for the 500m dash back to the beach and the finish.

The next phase of the competition will introduce them to one of the world's most remarkable ecological success stories. Sir Bani Yas, Island is located just off the coast of Jebel Dhanna, about 170km west of the city of Abu Dhabi. It is home to over three million trees and thousands of animals, including twenty-three rare species of birds and wild animals, so the teams will have to pay particular attention as they speed along the small dirt roads and tracks that criss-cross this sublime destination. With the 45.5km MTB stage over by 09:00 for the fastest, the teams will take to their kayaks for a mass start on what promises to be a long and arduous 2 days on the water. The first 33km section starts from the Eastern Beach on Sir Bani Yas at 11:30 and, after traversing 10km of mangroves abounding in exotic seabirds, takes the teams out to Kurkum Island, another enchanting desert island destination with a beautiful lagoon at its centre. Here they will spend an unforgettable night with before setting off again for the 82km main kayaking section East towards Mirfa.

After transferring to Moreeb Dune for the night at the bivouac, the teams will finally confront the desert with a 2-day, 107km desert trek across the appropriately named "Empty Quarter" starting at 07:00. Navigation on this stage will be crucial and it is essential that the teams make the right choices if they still want to be in contention when they reach the stage finish in Hassab.

The last teams are expected by 13:00 on the 16th after which the caravan leaves for the garden city of Al Ain and the race's grand finale. In the shadow of the jagged peaks of Jebel Hafit, the teams will enjoy the lush and verdant Green Mubazzarah camp in preparation for a fast and furious face-off. The morning starts at 06:00 with a 12km MTB ride up the mountain road to the summit, followed by an immediate departure on foot, trekking across the mountain to a spectacular and challenging rope works, eventually returning to Green Mubazzarah 14.6km later. All geared up for the final sprint into the finish at Jahili Fort, the teams will cover the last 27km on their bikes for a sensational end to this entertaining and demanding event.

Race reports, the official leaderboard and GPS tracking can be found at http://www.abudhabi-adventure.com.

For coverage focusing on the US teams racing in Abu Dhabi stay tuned to Checkpoint Zero's ADAC Blog. Mike Bitton will have reports and photos of Nike, SOLE, Salomon/Crested Butte and DART-nuun.

Swiss Army Knife and precision equipment specialist, Wenger, signs to title sponsorship of Patagonian Expedition Race
posted by Yak @ 9:09 AM - 0 comments

Wenger, maker of the genuine Swiss Army knife and precision outdoor equipment, has agreed a three-year title sponsorship of the Patagonian Expedition Race - the adventure at the end of the world.

Beginning in 2009, the international event - which has become known as "the last wild race" - will now be called the 'Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race' and the official event logo will carry the Switzerland-based company's famous Swiss flag emblem.

Wenger will supply Swiss Army knives and Swiss watches along with footwear, tents and other camping equipment to the Patagonian Expedition Race. This new association will run through 2011 and is the first title sponsorship of the annual adventure race, which has grown in popularity and awareness since its inception in 2004.

Peter Hug, Chief Executive Officer of Wenger SA, said, "We are delighted to extend our involvement in and support of the Patagonian Expedition Race. It's a unique human challenge, conducted in an environment where preparedness is everything and precision multi-discipline tools for the job are vital - exactly the principles on which our company was founded over 100 years ago."

Stjepan Pavicic, Race Director, said, "In 2002, we began the large undertaking of organizing the Patagonian Expedition Race. From the beginning, we have focused on creating an experience that is not only a physical and mental challenge, but one that sends a message to the world: we must protect and preserve this remote and pristine region of Chilean Patagonia. Today, our event is bringing this message to the world, and we are proud to have a global company of Wenger's calibre to join our quest. The brand, its products and its corporate philosophy fit perfectly with our initiative."

The Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race is the only adventure race worldwide that has been granted an official partnership by an Olympic Committee. The 2009 race will again follow the event's successful international challenge format.

Approximately 60 athletes, from nations including USA, Canada, China, Australia, Germany, Croatia, Israel, Spain, France, Brazil, Argentina and Chile will compete against each other and Mother Nature in mixed teams of four.

Their challenge will take them across some of the most remote lands on Earth, starting south-east of the Southern Continental Ice Field until they reach the end of the American continent, where it breaks up in a maze of islands and fjords, reaching the Cross of the Seas at the end of the world; a 10-day, 600km challenge incorporating mountain biking, trekking, rope work, kayaking and orienteering.

Last year's challenge was won for the third time by France, as Team Authentic Nutrition completed the challenge in a total time of 6 days 2 hours and 42 minutes.

The 2009 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race will take place from 10th - 21st February. Further details will be announced closer to the event date.

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

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Inov-8 presents the 2009 Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series
posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 by Yak @ 10:54 AM - 0 comments

The next edition of the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8 will feature an expanded lineup of 26 events, new sponsors and enhancements to the Checkpoint Tracker website as it returns for it's third season in 2009.

Checkpoint Zero is excited to report the continued participation of all 2008 Series promoters and the addition of 5 new promoters who will be bringing a total of 6 new events to the lineup.

The new event promoters joining the Series include Pangea Adventure Racing in FL, 4LPH4 1337 Adventures in GA, Bushwhack Adventures in NC, Perpetual Motion Productions in ID, and Trioba Adventure Racing in WA.

"The reaction to the Series in 2008 exceeded all of my expectations", commented Paul "Yak" Angell, president of Checkpoint Zero, LLC. "As the season progressed we saw increasing interest as more and more teams showed up in the rankings. Virtually all promoters reported teams attending their events solely to wrack up points. That's always been the one metric that we knew would be a true measure of our success."

The 2009 Series kicks off with the Odyssey One Day Extreme on January 18th in Hiawassee, VA followed by the 3rd edition of the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race set for March 7th in Dahlonega, GA.

Sylvan Sport, makers of the revolution Go "adventure camper", will be supporting the 2009 Series along with Inov-8, Numa Sport Optics, nuun, myTopo.com and several other soon-to-be-announced new sponsors.

For more information about the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series visit http://www.checkpointtracker.com.

Sponsorship opportunities for any budget are available through December 31st, 2008.

Adventure Week 2009
posted Tuesday, December 9, 2008 by Yak @ 4:19 PM - 0 comments

Adventure Week is a 10 day long festival of outdoor races, contests, clinics and social events taking place at Farragut State Park, 30 miles north of Coeur d' Alene, Idaho beginning on June 5th 2009 and continuing through June 14th.

There will be 18 separate races, with something for everyone:
  • XTERRA-Farragut - an official off-road triathlon, including a .8 mile swim, an 18 mile mountain bike, and a 10 k trail run, which will be an official qualifier for the XTERRA nationals!

  • The Deepwater Trail Runs - a trail marathon, a 50 K run, and a 50 mile run, which will be an official qualifier for the Western States Endurance Run

  • Mad Dash - a 4 and an 8 hour "lap" mountain bike event.

  • Crux and the Crucible Adventure Races - two 8 to 12 hour stage races involving kayaking, mountain biking, orienteering and running, plus a couple of other surprises!

  • Crux and Crucible Sprint Adventure Races - 2 to 4 hour versions of their "big brothers" a perfect opportunity for everyone of any ability to enjoy the thrill of adventure racing!

  • Beaches to Boulders Trail Trek - 6 k, 12 k, and 10 mile trail and fun runs for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities!

  • Adventure Kids Challenge - A clinic and race for kids age 7-14!

  • It's only a Flesh Wound Orienteering Meet - 4 races including a short course (20-30 minutes), a Medium course (40 minutes-1 hour), a Long (Classic) course (1-1.5 hours) and a 4 hour "Rogaine"

  • Gauntlet (short course off-road triathlon) - a .4 mile swim, 10 mile mountain bike and 5 k trail run. (Perfect for anyone who wants to try a triathlon for the first time!)
For more information visit http://www.adventureweek2009.com.

Abu Dhabi Welcomes the World
posted Monday, December 8, 2008 by Yak @ 11:12 AM - 0 comments

With a field of 37 teams representing a record 21 different countries, the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge positions itself as the world's most international adventure racing event.

Next 12th December, a glittering field of 37 teams, representing no fewer than 21 different nations, are due to line up in Abu Dhabi city for the start of the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge. This remarkable turnout, the most globally representative of any adventure race in the history of the sport, not only establishes the undeniably international credentials of this race but also underpins worldwide interest in the sport itself.

Among the 37 are both heroes and legends from the illustrious past of adventure racing. On the team front, the indomitable NIKE (US) led by Mike KLOSER, are back to try and go one better than their second place last year. Also back this year to defend last year's win are Richard and Elina USSHER, accompanied on their quest by Jarad KOHLAR and Henry JAY, racing under the aegis of DESERT ISLANDS (NZ). Karine BAILLET has drafted ace biker Marcel HAGENER into WILSA HELLY HANSEN, in a bid to improve on last year's third spot. Top British squad SAAB SALOMON, no strangers to international success, are racing here for the first time and hoping to capitalize on their obvious speed over the ground to reap some delight from the desert. ADCO AROC (AU) make a welcome return to the international scene, sure to leave a competitive and emotional mark on this event.

LUNDHAGS ADVENTURE, with comeback captain Bjorn RYDVALL, are one of three Swedish teams eager to take the honors while ORION HEALTH.COM (NZ), SALOMON CRESTED BUTTE (US) and Spain’s SALOMON SANTIVERI will give even the best a run for their money. Standing out from an impressive list of individual athletes are "hall of famers" like Marc BALASKOVIC, captain of SPORT 2000 LAFUMA (FR) and who can count among his long list of achievements an appearance in every Raid Gauloises. He will confront Karim BENAMROUCHE, one of the sport's most well known personalities who has raced with the likes of SPIE, INTERSPORT and SALOMON SUISSE.

First-timers are also in abundance, including the five lucky ADTA Awards winners from Britain, Sweden, Slovenia the USA and South Africa. Handed a "golden ticket" to this prestigious event, by virtue of their international neophyte status and achievements on their respective domestic circuits, they will want to prove themselves worthy of a place in this world-class field. Competing against this field of rookies and adventure racing icons will be, among others, local teams from The Emirates, Brazil, Belgium, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Poland and more; a tribute to the global appeal of this truly international event.

Live race coverage and information at www.abudhabi-adventure.com.

MXR takes a sabbatical
posted by Yak @ 9:52 AM - 0 comments

Inaugurated in 2007, the highly innovative "MXR" was rapidly adopted by the AR community and, after an excellent 2008 showcasing the worlds top teams in a thrilling competition that drew worldwide media attention, looked likely to fulfill its initial 3-year mandate with ease, until the global economy decided otherwise.

Both Saab and Salomon, the erstwhile principal sponsors of the race, have in the light of recent economic events and in the context of evolving commercial strategies decided to refocus their involvement in the world of outdoor sports. The delay that seeking new sponsors will impose upon preparations for the 2009 event has convinced all involved parties to postpone next year's race and concentrate on 2010 as the best course of action. This will ensure an event in keeping with the already impressive achievements of this fledgling competition and provide the most effective means of maintaining the race's perennial existence on the international multisports scene.

In the mean time, races like the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, also started in 2007, is a fine example that the sport has an undeniably long-term future as a promotional platform for commercial and institutional organisations.

Be assured, this is not goodbye just au revoir...

A New Odyssey Awaits You in the Wilds of Central America
posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 by Yak @ 10:18 AM - 0 comments

For over 11 years, Odyssey Adventure Racing (OAR) has been the leader in multisport event production, providing the 'first taste' of world class adventure racing for aspiring outdoor enthusiasts. OAR is extremely pleased to announce another first: the launch of Odyssey Adventure Travel and our partnership with Euforia Expeditions as its premier adventure host in Central America. Euforia will be providing our clients an "Adventurer's Adventure" throughout many locations in this beautiful part of the world.

Although born in different Americas, OAR and Euforia share a unified vision. Odyssey's mission is to create and produce experiences that provide athletes with mental and physical challenges not found in more traditional events; to attract adventurous individuals who are eager to escape their ordinary routines. Euforia seeks to provide clients with an integral travel experience that, unlike any other, facilitates an intimate encounter with the wilds of Central America and deep, meaningful interaction with the local culture.

In recent years, an increasing number of racers, their families and friends have expressed an interest in adventure travel and have been looking for opportunities to actively explore the world, not just 'tour around' with large groups in heavily visited places. Enter Odyssey Adventure Travel: purveyors of adventure-journeys reflecting our hallmark leadership, providing travel opportunities with small groups of like-minded active adventurers to the far (and not so far) reaches of the globe.

"When I first looked at adventure travel, I had difficulty finding trips that satisfied the pace, distance, raw adventure and cultural encounters that I sought. It's been a longtime dream of Odyssey's to be able to offer endurance athletes customizable packages that utilize the skills we've acquired through racing and through other outdoor pursuits," said Ronny Angell, president and owner of OAR. "Teaming with Euforia will make this dream an accessible, affordable reality for all of us. The Euforia ethic will also enable each traveler to both receive and give as much as desired to the lands and peoples encountered."

"Our goal is to offer the OAT traveler a tremendous amount of variety; steeped in elements reflecting the destination and providing as much of a local experience as possible," shared Andres Vargas, Euforia's expedition director. "Euforia gives a warm welcome to OAT and awaits the arrival of expeditioners with open arms. Allow us to unveil to you the splendors of the geography and the wonders of the cultures that we live amidst."

"Navigate through crystal waters, explore the lush mountain ranges of Central America and take in the sunrise on the ferocious Atlantic and the sunset on the mighty Pacific - from the same perch. Trek a land of volcanoes, walk in the clouds and peer below the ocean's surface. Feed off of sacred lands that host flora and fauna beyond scientific explanation. Experience adventure where cultures collide in a blend of traditions, colors, flavors and surreal experiences."

Count on Odyssey's time tested commitment to quality and service and Euforia's own track record and passion to bring you an outstanding personalized experience.

Packages revealed soon. Travel to Central America is more accessible and more affordable than many destinations in the U.S. Contact J. Andres Vargas via info@euforiaexpeditions or Ronny Angell via info@OARevents.com with questions and to discuss the possibilities.

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Primal Quest Badlands registration update
posted Monday, December 1, 2008 by Yak @ 3:00 PM - 0 comments

Registration for Primal Quest Badlands Presented By SPOT recently opened, and teams continue to sign up! The top teams from 2008 have already committed to returning, as well as other veteran PQ teams and those new to getting "Primal" - ensuring another competition filled with action, drama and intrigue.

With a $1000 reduction in entry fees from PQ Montana, coupled with the fact that the race will be unsupported, Primal Quest Badlands will be more affordable and accessible than ever, opening up the race for more teams to experience the "World's Most Challenging Human Endurance Competition".

At 600 miles in length the Primal Quest Badlands course will be the longest and most navigationally challenging in PQ history. The unique and stunning South Dakota landscape will make for a dramatic backdrop as competitors race against each other, and the environment itself. They'll trek, mountain bike, climb, swim, kayak and spelunk as they go over, under, up, and down the Badlands and Black Hills in ten days of intense, world-class adventure racing, beginning on August 15th of next year.

To learn more about Primal Quest, go to EcoPrimalQuest.com.

Blackheart.com.au wins XPD Australia
posted by Yak @ 12:55 PM - 0 comments

The Blackheart.com.au team blitzed the field finishing the expedition in 5 days and 15 hours, crossing the line at 4.55am in Thredbo. Sydney / Canberra team Blackheart Salomon were second across the line, and Canberra Team Tangerine came in third.

XPD covered the most mountainous terrain of any expedition race in Australia with teams gaining over 20,00 meters in elevation throughout the race. "

The course this year was really different, much harder than last year. On every leg of this race, at least one of us had a moment of pain, at some stages it was all 4 of us were in pain". Said Damon Goerke from the winning team Blackheart.com.au

There were 31 teams competing, seven of which were internationals. Teams of four traveled over 800km on foot, mountain bike and kayak in the only Australian qualifier for the World Championships. Team members were to keep within 100metres of each other throughout the entire race and averaged 1 to 3 hours of sleep per night throughout the race.

The race kicked off in the rocky outcrops of Mt Buffalo in the Victorian High Country, with teams navigating their way through the thick fog and rain. The area received over 100mm of rain in 24 hours, playing havoc on the overnight mountain bike leg and the next days 85km Bogong and Feathertop trek legs.

The rain certainly made for a quick kayak down the rushing Kiewa River although the increase in water levels forced teams to walk the first 8km of the kayak, a mental blow for sore tired feet coming off the back of an 85km trek. Then in came the snow, with racers making their way through the high plains on bikes, but the inclement weather saw race organizers put a stop to racing for a 24 hour period while the weather eased.

"It was so cold out on course that we were really worried what we would do if we got a flat or broke a chain. If we had to stop for any length of time we really risked getting hypothermia" said Heather Logie from Tangerine.

Racing commenced again Sunday afternoon and it was a dash for home, a bike through the Upper Murray region, a paddle across the freezing cold Lake Eucumbene and then onto the final mountain bike leg which took teams through the Kosciuszko National Park to Charlotte Pass to the last leg a trek to the top of Mt Kosciuszko into the finish line in Thredbo.

"The high country has a lot of risk involved with the variability of the weather and the terrain. The conditions over the last few days has made for some very challenging racing for the teams" said Craig Bycroft, Event Director. "

Elements like the weather just add to the challenging of expedition adventure racing". Bycroft said.

As the qualifying event for the AR World Championships, Blackheart.com receive a free entry to the World Championships in Portugal in 2009, The Bull of Africa race and the next XPD race. XPD is held at a different location every 18 months.