Adventure racing is an endurance sport which involves travel on foot (trekking or running), mountain bike and by water (canoe, kayak, raft, occasionally swimming).

What differentiates AR from other racing sports is the inclusion of wilderness navigation using a map, compass and common sense. There is no set race course; participants must find their own route from one checkpoint to the next. The checkpoints (CPs) are marked on maps which the racers receive shortly prior to or at the start of the race. AR also differs from other sports in that racers are part of a team of 2-4 people who travel together the entire time.

The races can last from several hours to many days and are unsupported, for the most part, which means that the racers carry what they will need (food, water, gear) in backpacks for the duration of the race.

To succeed, racers will need athletic endurance, navigation skills, mental toughness, good pre-race planning, strategic decision making as well as a strong and supportive "team" mentality.

Sound intimidating? While it's true that longer races can test even the toughest outdoor athletes, AR is a very open and inclusive sport. Beginning racers will feel welcome at nearly every event. Most races are organized so that anyone at any level of experience and fitness can participate. You can find a race near you on the calendar at the USARA website.

Monday, February 11, 2013

SNOT 1/27/2013 Stratham Hill Park, Stratham, NH

We had the opportunity to host some SNOT this January. SNOT (Southern New hampshire Off-road Training) is a monthly-ish get-together of adventurous outdoor types organized by Untamed Adventure Racing.

Rob setting up the course.

We organized a trail-based event designed to develop and test each other's distance estimation skills.  Recent weather conditions resulted in a trail surface that was mostly ice, so added metal traction underfoot was essential for efficiency and safety. The attendees traveled from as far away as Cape Cod to spend a few hours on the trails with us in 20 degree temps and 20 mph winds.  The harsh conditions dictated that only the hardcore would show up.

Chillin' (literally) pre-event
Testing the effects of a 15% grade on pace-counting

Initial 100 meter segments and a 5k trail loop got everyone warmed up for the main event, a 6k trail run/hike that would require accurate pace counting to punch the 4 correct orienteering flags. In the end, Eric and Jillian Martin from Cape Cod emerged as victors with 3 out of 4 flags correctly punched. Post-race gear prizes were provided by Untamed Advenure Racing's Grant Killian. Thanks to Grant for providing prizes, O-flags, passports and organizing SNOT.

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