Thursday, June 9, 2011

Switching Gears

This is my next race

and I am freaking excited for it.

What is Adventure Racing?
Multi-sport team event in which racers navigate their way through an open course using a map, compass and route strategy within a set time length.  It is usually a wilderness event but it can also be an urban race.

Typical Disciplines:

  • Mountain biking
  • Orienteering (using a map and compass to get from one point to another)
  • Canoeing
  • Trekking/Trail running
  • Climbing/ropes
  • Swimming (possible) 

Why Adventure Race?

  • Multi-sport: Allows your body to handle much longer races than if you were just running or biking
  • Blend of Smarts and Speed: Navigation, orienteering, map reading can help slower teams compete with more athletic teams
  • Wilderness Experience: Compete on rivers, lakes and forests
  • Teamwork:  Teammates must work together, make decisions together, encourage each other.
  • Challenge and Self Discovery:  Allows you to push yourself and find your limits.  Takes you out of your comfort zone by putting you in unfamiliar surroundings while testing your physical limits.
  • Act like a kid:  Finding hidden checkpoints is like an adult Easter egg hunt.  There are 30+ moments of elation in every race.

What to expect
  • Pre-race briefing: Explain the course, rules and hand out maps and passports
  • Passport: Must get punched at every checkpoint
  • Checkpoints:  All teams must locate CPs.  Some may have additional challenges at specific CPs.
  • Transition areas:  Where teams change disciplines and have a chance to replenish supplies
  • Gear check:  Most races have random locations throughout the course to check if the team and individuals have all mandatory gear.
  • Finish:  Your performance is based on how many checkpoints you get within a set time limit.  If you get 30 checkpoints in 3 hours by another team gets 31 checkpoints in 3:59, they finish above you.

This is what is what is involved for the g.r. urban adventure race:

Bike in and around downtown Grand Rapids
Run through woods and buildings, conquer challenges
Climb hills, stairs and walls
Search for hidden checkpoints with a map and clues
Length: 4 hours (8-12 miles biking, mostly paved; 3-5 miles on foot)

My husband got out some of his Army wilderness navigation resources and his compass.  He gave me a quick tutorial on how to use a compass and topographical maps.  

This is gonna be fun!

  • Have you ever done an adventure race?

  • Do you know how to use a compass?


  1. I am so freaking jealous and how cool is that!!! I bet you will have a blast

  2. That looks way cooler than your standard Muddy Buddy or Warrior Dash! That is awesome girl, you are going to have a blast and a helluva story to tell!!!!!

  3. That looks pretty awesome. I'd never heard of a race like that, but it sounds like it will test your abilities on several levels. Congrats on taking the plunge. And yes, sounds waaaay better than a Warrior Dash.

  4. That can only be great fun. They have those races here as well but I've never thought about doing it.