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.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

SNOT outing: Keene, NH 5/10/14

May 2014's edition of SNOT was organized by Sean Lukeman, a resident of the Monadnock region and canoeing guru. Sean strung together a great day of activity consisting of a mini-adventure race which would take us through some of the scenic local terrain. A 5:00 AM departure got us to Troy, NH in time to meet with Sean and the other participants (Team Timberwolves) before being dropped off at the base of Mt. Monadnock for Leg #1, a trek which would take us to the summit of Monadnock and then a long descent, eventually merging with the Metacomet-Monadnock trail. This very scenic and runnable trail snaked through some damp forest, then up and over Gap Mountain. We then ran a couple miles on road back to transition to bikes, after covering 10 miles. After some mechanical bike issues, we were off on a long shallow descent on the Cheshire rail-trail into Keene. Sean met us at Ashuelot River Park where he supplied canoes for us to paddle for several  miles north on this pleasant little river to pick up a few CPs. After the paddle we transitioned back to bikes for about 9 miles of road riding before beginning a tough 1000+ ft ascent of Troy Hill on dirt which eventually deteriorated to a wet rocky technical climb. Following this, a short downhill zoom on pavement led us to the finish at Sean's house. We covered about 37 miles on the day and climbed ~4000 ft.  It was a great outing and we really appreciate the planning and hard work that Sean undertook to put it all together. One doesn't get many opportunities for training that mimics race conditions like this.

Mason descending the pleasant Royce Trail off Mt. Monadnock.

Nick paddling on the Ashuelot.

Sweet conditions on Troy Hill Road!

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