Adventure Racing News
presented by Inov-8

Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series expands to 26 events
posted Thursday, April 30, 2009 by Yak @ 4:03 PM - 1 comments









The Equinox Traverse and Lionheart Adventure Race, both produced by American Adventure Sports, are now part of the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

The Equinox Traverse is a 48 hour expedition format adventure race set for June 12th in Covington, VA. Coed and same sex teams of 2, 3 or 4 will paddle, trek, mountain bike and navigate their way across a 160+ mile course. Rappelling, Tyrolean traverse and portaging are par for the course. This event is worth 200 Series points.

The Lionheart is a 26 hour adventure race set for August 8th in Ohiopyle State Park, PA. Solo racers and coed or same sex teams of 2, 3 or 4 will race 85 to 90 miles across the beautiful & rugged Laurel Mountains of south western Pennsylvania. This event is worth 100 Series points.

The youngest adventure racer
posted Monday, April 27, 2009 by Yak @ 1:37 PM - 2 comments

A six hour adventure race is a daunting challenge for any athlete...and a wonderful experience at any age.

It's inspiring to see our youngest generation out on the course...racing hard, playing in the dirt and having a blast.

Congratulations to Hunter Leininger of team Florida Xtreme for his incredible accomplishment at the B.O.A.R adventure race presented by Pangea Adventure Racing on Saturday, February 28th...at the ripe old age of 7.

He finished the B.O.A.R. in 5 hours and 34 minutes. The best part of the race according to Hunter was all the swamp mud. At one point he fell into the mud up to his shorts and with the help of his teammate (father) he was pulled free. His only comment..."that was cool...I got dirty :-)"

Hunter sets a great example for all young people who want to enjoy the sport of adventure racing and by competing he ups the ante for the older racers.

See more photos of Hunter on our Facebook page.

UPDATE: Hunter just completed the 4 hour version of the Atlantic Coast Conquest with the help of his 10 year old brother Cameron.

Pura Vida adventure racing training camp
posted by Yak @ 10:04 AM - 2 comments

Pura Vida Adventures hosted its first three day adventure racing camp of 2009 on April 17th. Participants learned how to read and paddle whitewater in inflatable kayaks, basic river rescue skills, proper rappel technique, rope assisted climbing, land navigation, UTM plotting and map reading. To read more about the camp and see additional photos visit our blog at http://experiencethegoodlife.blogspot.com.

Two additional training camps are scheduled for the weekends of May 29th and June 25th. We also offer private training weekends for three or more and five day comprehensive camps in the Spring and Fall.

Please call 772-579-0005 or email contact@pvadventures.com for more information.

2009 Wenger Patagonia Expedition Race
posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 by Yak @ 3:28 PM - 1 comments

It was the strongest field in event history, the most prominent press team and the most dedicated staff. Perhaps then, it's no coincidence that conditions brought unprecedented brutality and challenge. The event tested wills, expanded horizons, broke down barriers, raised awareness; all of it bringing us closer to nature, ourselves, and one an other.

Section 1 - 90 km kayak

The start of the 2009 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race blew away all expectations with wind gusts up to 90 kilometers an hour, bringing meter high waves crashing against competitors kayaks as they embarked on the great journey at glacier-lined Lago Grey in majestic Torres Del Paine.

Race organizers closed the section before the swift current of the bulging Rio Serrano dumped racers into the Seno Ultima Esperanza, which churned with nearly two meter white caps and up to 120 knot winds. Staying tight throughout the section, no clear leaders emerged.

Section 2 - 100 km mountain bike

Having wolfed down some calories and quickly assembled bikes with prunes for fingers, teams set out in a tight pack onto a small dirt road flanked by quintessentially Andean snow-capped, jagged peaks in the day's first drizzles of rain.

The first 46 kilometers are pure ascent and descent, racers struggling to gain every meter before cresting, then reaching dangerous speeds in the pothole riddled gravel road.

Adventure was had by all as photographers leapt from truck beds and clambered up hillsides.

Surprising everyone, first time participant English Team Helly Hansen-Prunesco gained a 39 minute lead over last year's winners, French team Easy Implant on the section. "We're very tired and cold, but the news that we're in the lead is a huge mental and physical boost," said a beaming Bruce Duncan of Helly Hansen-Prunesco. They also put over 11 hours of distance between themselves and Chilean Almas Patagonicas, the last to arrive at checkpoint 2.

Section 3 - 55 km trek

Now with over 12 hours of continuous racing covering nearly 200 km, teams began arriving at Lago Anibal Pinto in the early hours of the morning. Most didn't stop after disassembling their bikes, but continued on following the glow of their headlamps winding to a 100 meter vertical wall and ascending upwards into the moonlight.

Fearlessness and stamina soaking into us all, race organizers cheered on the racers at the transition, while ambitious journalists hung midway up the wall searching for the perfect shot in darkness.

Greeting racers at the top of the ascent was a 55-kilometer trek, enshrouded by a mist-filled darkness and temperatures hovering just above freezing.

"The crest of the mountains was very craggy, limiting where a team could find passage, and we had no visibility due to heavy rain clouds and the rapidly approaching night," recounted Druce Finlay of Calleva. Most teams persevered through the second night of trekking with a 15 minute catnap or two, deliriousness setting in for some.

It only got wetter and colder after the disorienting forest section. "Then it was just all bog and more bog. We were up to our ankles in water all the way and pushing hard to try and get the trek completed in daylight, but when we came off the hill we could see the whole valley below was flooded - there were pools of water everywhere," lamented an exhausted Bruce Duncan of Helly Hansen-Prunesco.

Heavy rain persisted during days 2 and 3, making travel and navigation ever more complicated. Patagonia grit its teeth claiming the race's first two victims. After struggling to reach mandatory checkpoint cutoffs, both Almas Patagonicas of Chile and QuassarLontra Master of Brazil withdrew from the race.

Section 4 - 137 km mountain bike

Many teams had trouble finding the muddy Rio Perez checkpoint where organizers, journalists and sponsors were gaining a greater appreciation for one another as they huddled together for warmth under tarps enshrouded by the forest.

The worsening conditions had made roads to the checkpoint impassable to all but beefy 4X4s. Meter deep ruts filled with slippery goop caused more than a few falls that weren't without consequence, once sunny racing jersey's transformed.

In spite of the conditions, "this race had some of the most scenic riding I've experienced in any expedition race" said racer Druce Finlay.

Leading teams raced on with even more urgency, compelled to reach the day's final ferry at 19:00 departing for Isla Riesco, where they would find their kayaks. Only the English and the French made it, arriving late in the evening of the 12th of February at Rancho Sutivan where they were able to have their first real rest since embarking over 245 km ago.

Section 5 - 88 km kayak

Nature's unpredictability turned the seeming advantage of arriving early to Rancho Sutivan into disadvantage. The English and French teams entered the second kayak section starting with a 15 km open water crossing of Otway Sound in nearly prohibitive conditions that kicked up massive swells.

Conditions subsided, rainbows softening the drastic coastal landscape, allowing for a relatively easier crossing for the Canadians, Americans, Team Buff of Spain and Trespass of Chile. Having completed the mountain bike section Medilast Sport-La Tercera could not continue.

There would be little reprieve following the challenging crossing. After paddling through the fairy tale landscape of Wickhand Fjord, racers commenced hauling their 45 kg Necky Amaruk kayaks and gear across the 'Indian Passage'. The route, once made famous by stalwart natives who used the shortcut to their advantage in battle with invaders, is a brutal 20 km slog through bogs which quickly envelope racers up to their wastes. Bruce Duncan and Helly Hansen-Prunesco will forever remember the black-hole Patagonian bog lands called turba as "PESM, the pink energy sucking monster."

In an arrogant attempt at gaining journalistic empathy, a member of the organization and I made the slog ourselves. In hindsight, a fair comparison would be a journalist covering a war shooting themselves to know how it feels.

Shortly after starting the passage, local team Almas Patagonicas became the race's fifth victim. Team Buff of Spain completed the portage but could go no further leaving only four teams left in the struggle for the finish line.

Section 6 - 120 km trek

"As we were preparing the French team arrived. We knew we had a time bonus over them, but 5 hours wasn't going to be much on a trek that was expected to take 3 days," recounts Bruce Duncan of the English front runners.

The quest for the title was still up for grabs going into the last section, a trek with drastic alpine ascents containing unforgiving routes, turba that even Moses would sink into, and sinister forest; far longer and more demanding than the first trek.

The French team made good time in pursuit of the English and thought they may be gaining ground. The better rested English had feared that may be the case when they took a substantial gamble, climbing high up on a ridge on the southern side of the valley they were traversing in an attempt to get out of the forest that was both physically and mentally painful to thrash through.

Five days of relentless toiling against all odds and obstacles, yet it can come down to just one decision. "When we got to the top we were rewarded with a lovely undulating ridge with spectacular views and easy progress, much better than the trees and rivers in the valley below where we could see the French battling along," said the team.

The English were on their way to completing what those of us who witnessed it are calling the perfect race. From there the team, "made great distance, crossed huge rivers swelled with heavy rain, gazed at waterfalls being blown back up the mountain and marveled at the mountains," as they marched on to the 25 meter tall Cross of the Seas - a symbol of spirituality, a marker of both an end and a beginning - lying atop Cape Froward. Here at the very end of the Continental Americas, they were humbly overcome by emotion as they were crowned champions of the 2009 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race.

Next would be the French who had battled past injury and illness in an inspired performance. "I want to give my sincere thanks to the English team who gave us a great challenge," said a gracious team captain Bruno Rey after the race.

Spirit Canada arrived to claim third place the following day, February 18, and waited at the finish line for team Calleva of the U.S. who was expected to arrive shortly. They did not. February 19 came. Team Calleva did not.

Having arrived later than they hoped after both of their kayaks were overturned when they aggressively attempted to make up time by running a river riddled with brambles and rapids, the Americans showed their relentless spirit by continuing into darkness up the steep mountainous climb during their first day of the trek. Shortly after dark, the alpine Patagonia abandoned its ephemeral serenity, transforming into a violent storm of snow, ice and wind.

Left no alternative but to pitch their small, wet tent on a thin mountain ridge, the team relied on each other and instant soup for the warmth needed to keep them from having to call for assistance from the organization and abandon the race.

Waking to a tent buried in snow, the team refused to relinquish their hopes of finishing this test that had taken them to their limits and beyond. Now in daylight and fair weather, the team quickly realized they had veered off course. After bushwhacking for twelve hours and only gaining 7 kilometers in the thickest brush forest they'd ever seen, the team decided to take a short cut.

It proved to be "the longest shortcut of my life," said team captain Mark Lattanzi. It led them to the coast a mere 8 kilometers from the finish. For a few kilometers the going was relatively easy. Slowly though the cliffs grew taller with the sea closing in on the coast. They followed the coast until they had gone beyond the finish line to the south, finally there was nowhere to go.

In a show of superhuman devotion to achieve their goal, Calleva attempted to swim in the 10 C waters of the Straight of Magellan around the looming cliffs for a couple hundred meters but their weakened state - they had now been with little food other than berries they found along the way for days, were beyond exhaustion and had lowered body temperatures - prevented them from making a swim they may have otherwise been able to.

After being trapped at literally the most southern point of the continental Americas and only a few hundred meters from the finish for almost two days, two team members decided to try climbing the massive, vertical cliffs overhead without the aid of rope. Risk was rewarded and the Cross of the Seas came into view after they struggled to the top. The sight of the finish line pulsed through them and they made the final arduous pilgrimage. "Spirit...an invisible force that can't be measured or assigned to anything physical," is what Calleva's Druce Finlay says brought them through the ultimate test of will, and to the finish line.

The organization quickly transported the team by helicopter back to Punta Arenas. After being treated at the hospital they were still able to make it to the lamb feast and awards ceremony to the inspired applause of all.

Walking away from the ceremony there was little doubt in the human capacity to break down any barrier, achieving the truly unthinkable.

2009 Wenger PER Gallery

Become a fan of Checkpoint Zero on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge cuts entry fee by 40%
posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Yak @ 1:02 PM - 0 comments

Excellent news from the organizers of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge as they make a massive reduction to the 2009 entrance fee, ensuring access to all teams across the international adventure racing community.

An adventure race of this importance requires serious funds, preparation and logistics but, more than any of these, it requires you.

Without the athletes, there is no race, and to ensure that no team is excluded from competing in this remarkable challenge, the organizers of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge have decided to restructure some of the administrative aspects of the competition in order to reduce costs.

This means that the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority are delighted to lower the registration fee by €1,000 (~$1,300), bringing the entrance fee for this year's ADAC down to €2,500 (~$3,250) per team and opening the world's most international race to the entire adventure racing community.

Online registration is now open and you can put your names down right away for what promises to be another spectacular event, cleverly designed by our team of experts to expose you to the natural and cultural wonders of Abu Dhabi, a tough contest and some heart-warming hospitality.

Quit shining that headlamp in my face
posted Friday, April 17, 2009 by Yak @ 9:20 AM - 1 comments

The GoMotion concept is the brainchild of Jonathan Craig and Bob Hunnewell, a pair of Boston-based (props to my fellow Massholes) innovators that were simply not willing to shelve their running habits in the dark of a New England winter.

They were unsatisfied with the available choices of highway reflective vests and forehead-mounted mini lamps, so they went back to the drawing board.

The GoMotion Light first came to life when Craig - tired of wearing an uncomfortable and marginally effective headlamp for post-work runs - fashioned a then state-of-the-art incandescent lens onto a hand-carved wood chest plate and tied it to his torso using a rope harness.

Mounted over his chest for stability and minimal movement, Craig had created the foundation for a true outdoor innovation. The GoMotion product line is the result of a passion for the outdoors, a bit of ingenuity and problem solving, combined with the desire to be active outside within the constraints of today's busy schedules.

The patent-pending GoMotion Light with CoreBeam technology is designed from the start as a body-mounted light source. GoMotion lights incorporates a high-output, low-profile LED with multiple functions including adjustable beam angle, wide ranging beam width control, and three brightness level options; mounted in a comfortable and stable location on the body. GoMotion lights are attached to performance packs, vests, and belts made of breathable mesh & high-tech fabrics offering unparalleled comfort and flexibility.

The GoMotion line also includes a Sternum Light Kit that retrofits the GoMotion Light onto shoulder straps of existing packs. Additional performance features include blinking tail-lights and reflective trim.

Team Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 will be putting the GoMotion through the ringer over the next few weeks and months. Stay tuned for a no-BS review of this intriguing new concept in personal lighting technology.

Next time you're racing in the dark and see a gaggle of dwarfs wearing headlamps coming at you that'll be us :-)

Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series invited to join ADTA Awards
posted Thursday, April 16, 2009 by Yak @ 9:49 AM - 0 comments

In 2007 the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge burst onto the expedition adventure racing scene and has quickly become a magnet for the world's best racers.

The production value of this event is off the hook.

Race management is among the most experienced and professional in the history of the sport, the cultural setting is nothing short of magical and the locale is...breathtaking.

In 2009 the ADTA Awards will collaborate with 7 different races/organizations who share our idea as to the necessity to help and encourage new, strong teams. A section on the official race web site will be dedicated to the awards and will feature information on the procedures, the partner events/organizations, the award winning teams, etc.

We're very excited to have been selected to participate in this outstanding program and look forward to sending a Checkpoint Tracker Series team to Abu Dhabi in December. We'll be posting updated Series rules soon to spell out exactly how this spectacular prize will be awarded. In the meantime check out the list of Series events...you've got 24 races left to wrack up points.

High Profile Adventure Camp
posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 by Yak @ 11:18 AM - 0 comments

The 3rd annual, High Profile Adventure Camp presented by High Profile Adventure Racing was held from Friday, April 3 through Sunday, April 5 at the beautiful and historic YMCA Camp Benson in Mount Carroll, Illinois.

145 campers and volunteers from 10 states as far away as Florida and California participated in a full weekend of instruction and field practice in navigation, ropes (rappelling, ascending, zip lines, Tyrolean traverses, cable ladders, top rope rock climbing) and cyclocross racing.

Outstanding educational sessions were presented by Dan Boelman, the Customer Service Manager of Zanfel on "Poisonous Plants", Dr. Ron Stonitsch on "Foot Care", Gerry Voelliger, Captain of Team Enviromark/Orthopaedic Specialists on "Adventure Racing Lessons Learned", and Robyn Benincasa on the "8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy", "Race Strategies", and Project Athena.

The ages of the participants ranged from high school students to college students from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, to adults. Experience levels ranged from beginners to Eco Challenge and Primal Quest veterans.

Using and reinforcing the skills learned, the camp concluded with a 3 hour sprint adventure race which included a cyclocross course, a 100' rappel, a 300' zip line, exploring two caves, multiple river crossings, a bouldering wall, and an orienteering course.

Camp Director, Gerry Voelliger, was very pleased and encouraged by the strong interest in the camp. He stated, "Adventure racing is very much alive and well in the Midwest. The goal of the camp was to prepare racers with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively participate in an adventure race, from a short sprint to a multi-day expedition. The incredible natural features of Camp Benson and the Mississippi Palisades State Park allowed for training and practice in many of the highly specialized skills inherent to adventure racing. Attendance in the camp will only make for better, more prepared racers in the future. Many of the camps past participants have placed high in races throughout the country. Having Robyn Benincasa participate in the camp was an added highlight. She is a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a truly inspirational and motivational speaker. Her enthusiasm towards the sport and warm personality were well received."

The camp was sponsored by Enviromark, Active Endeavors, SUUNTO, Merrell, Healthy Habits-Quad Cities, Coffee Hound-Quad Cities, SPOT, Eco Lips, Salomon, Thunder Rolls Adventure Race, SOLE, Polar Bottle, and Mountain Hardware.

Robyn Benincasa's appearance was sponsored by ZANFEL.

The camp was sanctioned by the United States Adventure Racing Association.

The 2010 camp is scheduled for April 2 - 4, 2010.

For more information and to view photographs taken by professional photographer, Greg Boll, visit http://www.thethunderrolls.org/camp.

Photos by Greg Boll

Cairns to host 5th edition of XPD
posted Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by Yak @ 11:41 AM - 0 comments

Organizers are excited to announce that Cairns, and the surrounding area of tropical North Queensland, has been chosen to host the 5th edition of XPD. This international expedition adventure race will bring 200+ national and international athletes to Australia from 17-28 May 2010. It will be "as much an expedition as a race".

Race Director Craig Bycroft said, "Tropical North Queensland offers the ideal location to host the 5th edition of XPD. We plan to take competitors through the Great Barrier Reef and nearby islands, the rich and diverse rain forests of the wet tropics, over waterfalls and cascades that feed crystal clear rivers, across lakes of the tablelands and through eucalyptus woodlands of the Eastern savanna country. We even plan to incorporate some of the iconic legs undertaken in the Eco-Challenge of 1997".

XPD is open to mixed, all male or all female teams of four from around the world. The exact course is kept secret until 24hrs before the start. Then with much excitement and anticipation, teams are provided a course booklet and their race maps. The course booklet contains the location of each of the race checkpoints. Once teams start, racing is 24 hours per day; teams choose when and where they will sleep. The winning team is expected to trek, mountain bike and kayak the 700km course in 4-5 days. All other teams will be permitted up to 10 days to complete the expedition without mid-race cut offs. XPD will be challenging for first time racers and experienced teams alike.

As a member of the AR World Series, XPD is a qualifying event for the Adventure Race World Championship. The AR World Series is an international circuit of premiere adventure races representing 10 countries creating a 12 month calendar of professional events around the world. The top two teams at each qualifying event receive automatic entry to the ARWC.

XPD receives generous support from Casio, Macpac, Adventure Racing World Series and Sleepmonsters.

For more information visit http://www.xpd.com.au.

Is Primal Quest too big to fail?
posted by Yak @ 8:40 AM - 15 comments

The field for Primal Quest Badlands stands at 32 teams. Last year it was 58 and in 2006 it was around 90.

That's a 45% decline in attendance since last year and a whopping 65% decline since the Utah edition...which in hindsight was likely it's financial heyday.

32 teams at $11,500 per team is $368,000 in organic revenue...not including cash from sponsors.

So how much is Primal Quest taking in from sponsors? There's no way to know for sure, but we can make an educated guess. Looking at the sponsors listed on the official PQ website and their 2009 rate card I get $270,000...IF...and it's a big if...every sponsor at every level paid full price for their sponsorship package. If you've ever worked in the sports marketing industry you know how likely that is.

So far we're at $368,000 + $270,000 which is $638,000, but we're still missing a big chunk of change.

There are 5 partners listed on the site for which we don't have sponsorship rates...2 broadcast partners, 1 presenting sponsor and 2 state sponsors. It's safe to assume that all of these paid something north of the most expensive package for which we do have rates...the Segment Partner which goes for $20,000.

I have NO idea what any of these top line packages are worth. If you're a sports marketing guru and think you have an idea please post a comment and educate us. It may be that the broadcast partners didn't pay anything...or that SPOT is simply providing tracking units and free use of their service.

Lets err on the side of overestimating and say that for these 5 packages combined PQ took in twice what they got from all their other sponsors....we'll call it $500,000.

So now we're looking at $368,000 + $270,000 + $500,000 which is $1,138,000 in total revenue. We'll even round up and call it $1,250,000.

That's a lot of money, but it pales by comparison to what was spent on prior editions when the Watkins' were writing the check.

To give you an idea of what I mean consider that in a May 2007 interview with Stephen Reginold, The Gear Junkie, Don Mann was quoted as saying:
Last year, we spent $100,000 on the ropes sections. We spent $100,000 on the horse start. We spent $2 million on the web site.
The number I've heard floated for the entire event in 2006, soup to nuts, was on the order of $4M. That's a lot of duckets and a more than 3 times our imaginary working budget for the 2009 edition.

So what does all this mean?

Nothing really. It's Tuesday...it's raining like cats and dogs here at Checkpoint Zero corporate headquarters and I'm just thinking out loud.

It's certainly possible to produce Primal Quest...and do it well...for a LOT less than what's been spent in the past. Don and company proved that last year.

What I wonder is at what point will they have to make sacrifices that have a material impact on the things that in the past made Primal Quest what it is (was).

Remember that early on PQ's tag line was "the world's richest expedition adventure race". That was changed last year to "the world's most challenging human endurance competition".

The race is now longer, and by extension, arguably even harder than ever before, but I don't worry about safety. There are too many smart people at the helm with too much experience. They're not going to send people into the wild without the staff, communications, transportation, etc to ensure their safety.

PQ has never left the continental US, but as of this writing there's been no news about a US broadcast since Voom bailed on the US market.

The cash component of the prize purse has been trimmed substantially from $250,000 to $100,000 last year. The website says that over $175,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded in 2009, but I don't know how much of that is cash vs prizes.

At what point is Primal Quest just a long race?

Does a paring of the "bells and whistles" detract from it's appeal?

Is a lack of TV exposure making it more difficult for teams to lure financial support from sponsors or it is it just the economy stupid?

Is it enough to get a well run and REALLY long suffer-fest for $11,500 or should racers expect more?

What do you think?

Post a comment and lets talk about it.

Pre-Order Primal Quest Montana DVD at MPGear.com
posted Saturday, April 11, 2009 by Yak @ 6:53 PM - 0 comments

Follow the worlds most extreme endurance athletes as they race in teams of four along a grueling 500-mile journey, experiencing wild adventure and intensely emotional highs and lows. Live the excitement as they mountain bike, river board, kayak climb, rappel and trek through spectacular Montana back country in the epic 5th edition of Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race!

The DVD features four 26-minute episodes that were filmed in the highest quality HD format. Additional features include promos from Broadcast Partner RUSH HD, Presenting Partner SPOT, and State Partner Travel Montana.

Order now
for shipment on April 15th.

Jon Barker is Nucking Futs
posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by Yak @ 9:18 PM - 0 comments

If you don't know Jon your life is less than it could be. He's a rare and inspiring individual and he impresses me.

I won't bore you with an unauthorized biography...just a few highlights.

He's British...or is it English...I don't know...he's from across the pond. His accent adds to his charm...fortunately :-)

He's THE dude that got team Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 off the ground in...I forget the year...back in the day.

I'd met Jon once prior to the one conversation we had about forming a team (which is all it took)...in the kitchen at HQ at the NGAR...if you don't know what that stands for you're a newbie...and we hit it off.

I'm pretty sure Jon hits it off with everyone he meets...he's that kind of guy.

Despite what you may be thinking this post is not an ode...and I don't have a man crush...there's no bromance to whisper about.

Jon stepped back from the front lines of team CP0 at the end of the 2007 season and passed the torch, but he never stopped supporting the team, encouraging me as I continue to bang my head on the proverbial AR brick wall, mentoring newbies, volunteering at races...he's an under appreciated pillar of adventure racing who's done more personally to advance the sport than most of the self-proclaimed blowhards that think they're more important than they really are...myself included.

That's what this post is about and it's long overdue.

In keeping with his character Jon recently decided that he hadn't suffered enough as of late and decided to take a second shot at the Barkley Marathon.

It didn't go well...which is irrelevant. That's how he's wired. Take a minute and read his report and be thankful he walks among us.

Props hommie!!!

PS - Jon thinks carrying water in a bladder is a sign of weakness :-)

LBL Challenge is under way
posted Saturday, April 4, 2009 by Yak @ 10:31 AM - 7 comments

This new event from Bonk Hard Racing is the second stop on in the 2009 Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series presented by Inov-8.

The race just got started at 9:00 am EDT. Jason and crew will be providing updates from the field including a leaderboard, photos and videos. Remember to stop by the Shout Box to drop a note to your favorite team.

2009 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge
posted Thursday, April 2, 2009 by Yak @ 5:06 PM - 0 comments

In keeping with the last two years, when early December was chosen as the ideal period, both from the point of view of athletes and organization, for adventure racing's Blue Ribbon finale, the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge will be held from the 4th to the 9th of December.

With the technical verifications due to take place the day before, most teams will be arriving on the 2nd and leaving on the 10th. After 6 days over a course worthy of the world's most international field and matched only by the quality of the encounters with Abu Dhabi's vibrant culture, a lucky few will take with them the "glittering prizes" but no doubt all will leave enriched by an event that places the pleasure of participation on a par with intense competition.

Last year's race included the innovative ADTA awards, that took some fortunate 'local' teams from Britain, Sweden, Slovenia the USA and South Africa, all with no international race experience, handed them entry fees, plane tickets and the opportunity to rub shoulders with and learn from the very best.

A wise decision indeed as team DART-nuun from the USA even managed to finish well up the overall ranking in 13th place. Competing against this group of handpicked rookies were a broad range of local teams from The Emirates, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Poland and more, all racing hard in an effort to pick up one of the to ADTA Continental Rookie Prizes (2,500 USD) on offer. This "carrot" met with a resounding success as 3 of the winning rookie teams finished in the top 10 and the outstanding TEAM NZ were narrowly beaten into 2nd place. Both schemes will be maintained for 2009 with races and organizations participating in the ADTA Awards being announced in the very near future.

In total contrast to many other headline-grabbing races held around the globe, the ADAC is designed to not only appeal to the world's top teams but also to those with the ambition of becoming one themselves but who, as yet, might lack sufficient international or big race experience. There are no blind dates, no dead ends, no outs, no disqualifications - you pay your money and you take your chance but everyone gets to finish the race one way or another. Only in this way are all teams able to complete what is after all the objective of any sporting event: to participate and be enriched by the competition, rivalry and ensuing camaraderie. To learn from the experience, come back again and win.

What's more, to make the race even more democratic and encourage teams to compete, despite the current economic vicissitudes, options are being explored with the aim of reducing costs for all teams. This will ensure that a race of this caliber offers a sporting challenge rather than an economic one to as broad a spectrum of teams and athletes as possible.

http://www.abudhabi-adventure.com