Am I Ready to Compete in Adventure Racing?
What exactly is adventure racing?
Adventure racing is a multi-sport endurance event that includes running/trekking, canoeing, and mountain biking. In addition, mystery challenges may be added to test the team’s ability to work together and think quickly under pressure. During an adventure race, teams must follow a map to find checkpoints along the course. All checkpoints must be located in order, and the team that finds them all and reaches the finish line wins the race. Adventure racing is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States with over 20,000 athletes competing on a regular basis. In adventure racing, just finding the finish line is part of the challenge.
Adventure Racing, although a relatively new sport, has been around for over 15 years. The most publicized race in recent years has been Primal Quest. We’ve watched in awe as teams trekked through vast jungle, paddled through Class V rapids, biked up steep mountain trails and rappelled down walls of sharp jagged rock. The best part is that you can experience the thrill of adventure racing without travelling halfway around the world. And, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to try one of these events.
Is adventure racing a relay race? What is the order of events?
Adventure Racing is not a relay race. Team members must travel together at all times. The order of events is not revealed until 30 minutes before the race begins. Once racers receive their maps on race morning, they will see the order of events for that particular race. The events do not follow in a specific sequence like triathlons – the run and biking sections are broken up into several short segments. In longer events, there may even be more than one canoe section.
Do I have to be a super athlete to join in?
Absolutely not! In fact, most of our racers are weekend warriors and are looking for new challenges to take on and unique ways to keep themselves active. Especially in these “sprint distance” events. Often the teams are friends looking to share an experience, or mom’s and dads with their children. The great thing about adventure racing is that anyone can give this sport a try. The key is to go at your own pace and rely on your teammates to complete the course. In adventure racing, the challenge is not winning the race, but in finishing it. No other sport allows you to tackle a course that alone, you would not be able to complete. But, with teammates and a never give up attitude, you can definitely succeed!
How do I train to complete my first adventure race?
It’s important to plan a training routine for the coming months to prepare for your adventure. There are two components to focus on in your training program; skill training and physical training.
Skill training includes spending some time riding your mountain bike with your teammates. Of course there are no mountains along the Gulf Coast, but it does take some practice getting comfortable riding in a group with your team. Basic bike handling skills come in handy whether you’re asked to ride up over street curbs, or to handle a bike obstacle course. Another necessary area of skill training would be in paddling a canoe. Most of us have spent time running, walking or riding a bike. But, paddling a canoe takes a bit more time and effort to become proficient, especially as a team of 3 in one canoe with two paddles. So, invest some time on a river or lake to develop those skills.
The best method of physical training is to go out and simulate the different elements that you can expect on race day. You know there will be hiking and mountain biking sections, so make sure you include those in your training regimen. Also, it is highly recommended that you train with a backpack on to let your body adjust to those extra pounds. During an Adventure Race, your team is required to carry its mandatory gear (food, water, maps, passport,) throughout the race. Therefore, in a sprint distance race, you might have on a Camelbak or other hydration system, along with your food items.
Are there age limits?
Gulf Coast Adventure Racing has had racers as young as 12 years of age racing with their mom or dad or brothers and sisters.
How do I find teammates?
There are a couple of ways to go about finding teammates. The first suggestion would be to talk to your friends and family members. It is often easier to find people with like goals and fitness levels that you already know something about. Another opportunity to find teammates is with the Teammate Finder on the Gulf Coast Adventure Racing website. You can also submit your details to allow racers to contact you for training and racing opportunities.
What gear will I need for this race?
Gear is very basic for a sprint distance race. A mountain bike, approved bike helmet, comfortable shoes, and a means to carry food and water for the length of the race. Only emergency water is supplied on the race course. Gulf Coast Adventure Racing supplies 16′ Mohawk canoes, life vests, and paddles for each team.
How can my team qualify to race in the coed masters division?
To race as a coed team, the three racers’ combined age must equal at least 120.
Can I use a GPS system during the race?
Nice try, but no! What’s the fun in that?
Get out there and sign up for an adventure race. We can guarantee you’ll have a blast!