Introduction to adventure racing
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INTRODUCTION TO ADVENTURE RACING Sept. 4th, 2008 Josh Forester & Jack Forester Team 4LPH4 1337 @ Reality Bikes TOPICS What is Adventure Racing? Types of Races Navigation Gear Teamwork Training Resources Multi-disciplined race Generally held outdoors

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Introduction to adventure racing l.jpg


Sept. 4th, 2008

Josh Forester & Jack Forester

Team 4LPH4 1337 @ Reality Bikes

Topics l.jpg

  • What is Adventure Racing?

  • Types of Races

  • Navigation

  • Gear

  • Teamwork

  • Training

  • Resources

What is adventure racing l.jpg

Multi-disciplined race

Generally held outdoors

Range from a few hours to 2 weeks

Team sport (commonly 3 person teams)

Co-ed tradition

Physically demanding

What is Adventure Racing?

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Basic Disciplines

  • Trail running / trekking

  • Mountain biking

  • Paddling

  • Navigation / orienteering

  • Climbing / rope work

  • Mystery events / special tests

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Team 4LPH4 1337

  • 2 years of racing, 16 races, 5 scheduled

  • 7 members along GA 400 corridor

  • USARA 32nd/330 ranked teams in 2007, currently 19th/368 ranked teams in 2008.

  • CPTracker Series 25th

  • Invited to USARA National Championship

  • Website with tutorials and race & gear reviews, as well as many AR resources.

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  • Opened in 1995 as a professional, full service shop.

  • We are a destination bicycle shop.

  • In 2007, we expanded to double in size.

  • Southeast’s largest dealer for Fuji, Jamis, Ridley, Santa Cruz, Intense and Free Agent Bicycles.

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  • Largest adventure racing club in the US

  • Over 500 members

  • 11 chapters in 6 southeastern states

  • Great AR website/community

  • Benefits

    • Monthly meetings and clinics

    • Organized training events

    • Discounts on gear and races

  • $10 off annual membership today

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Types of Races

  • Sprint

  • Half Day

  • One Day

  • Multi-Day & Expedition

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SprintAdventure Races

  • Time: 2-8 hours

  • Total Distance: approximately 20-40 miles

  • Usually includes special tests or mystery events

  • Examples:

    • Adventure Jam @ West Point Dam, Sept. 13th, West Point, GA –

    • 7 Hills, 3 Rivers Adventure Race, Sept. 20th, Rome, GA -

    • Siege On Fort Yargo, June, Winder, GA –

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Half DayAdventure Races

  • Time: 8-18 hours

  • Total Distance: approximately 40-70 miles

  • Examples:

    • Midnight Rush Adventure Race, Sept. 13th, Clayton, GA –

    • Howl At the Moon, Oct. 18th, Jonathon Dickenson State Park, FL –

    • Blue Ridge Adventure Race, April, Blue Ridge, GA -

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One DayAdventure Races

  • Time: 18-30 hours

  • Total Distance: approximately 75-120 miles

  • Includes night navigation and minor sleep deprivation

  • Examples:

    • Overmountain Extreme, Sept. 27th, Morganton, NC –

    • Upstate Adventure Race, Oct. 25th, Table Rock State Park, SC –

    • USARA National Championships, Nov. 7th, Blue Ridge, GA –

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Multi-Day / Expedition Races

  • Time: 30 hours to 10 days

  • Total Distance: approximately 100-400 Miles

  • Examples:

    • Odyssey Endorphin Fix –

    • Eco-Challenges (no longer held)

    • Primal Quest -

    • Coasta Rica Coast to Coast –

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  • Courses are unknown before starting race

  • Use topo map and compass to get from check point (CP) to check point

  • No GPS

  • Plotting of UTMs

  • Route choice

  • Georgia Orienteering Club meet on Sept. 6th

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  • Each race has a gear list of mandatory equipment

  • Clothing

  • Food and hydration

  • Mountain biking

  • Paddling

  • Mapping gear

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  • Trail running shoes that fit

  • Good socks – foot care is critical

  • Triathlon shorts / tights

  • Wicking top

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Hat

  • More specialized clothing depending on the weather/race requirements

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Food and Hydration

  • Gels

  • Energy bars

  • Backpack with a bladder

  • Water

  • Sports drinks

  • Try to drink every 10-15 minutes and eat every 45 minutes to an hour

  • Most important for 24+ hour races – JUNK FOOD

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Mountain Biking

  • Types of bikes

    • Full suspension

    • Hard tail

  • Tool kit with spare parts (chain, etc.) – for transition area

  • Multi-tool (with chain tool)

  • Pump

  • Spare tubes / patch kit

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  • PFD

  • Paddles (kayak)

  • Canoe

  • Portage wheels

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Mapping Gear

  • Waterproof map case

  • Map tool / UTM grid

  • Pens, pencils, highlighters

  • Table

  • Yard stick

  • Contact paper

Sample gear list siege on fort yargo l.jpg

Mandatory Individual Gear


Container(s) in which to carry at least 1 liter of water

Paddling Section

Paddle (Canoe or Kayak)

PFD - minimum of Coast Guard approved Type 3

Mountain Biking Section

Bike helmet

Mountain bike

Spare tube (or tubeless tire patch kit if you ride tubeless)

Mandatory Team Gear



Waterproof map case

Mountain Biking Section

Bike tool

Tire pump or CO2 inflator with enough CO2 to inflate 3 tires

Tire Lever


1-Recreational Canoe (i.e. No composite or racing boats) per team

Recommended Gear

Dry bag

One compass per team member


First aid kit, including band-aids, polysporin, anti-inflammatories

Cell phone and method of waterproofing

Sample Gear List(Siege on Fort Yargo)

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Individual Gear



knife (1.5 " or greater blade)

waterproof lighter

emergency blanket

1 flare


PFD - minimum of Coast Guard approved Type 3

Mountain Biking

bike helmet

white front light mounted on bike

red rear light mounted on bike

Team Gear

water purification system

first aid kit

sleeping bag (at least 30 degrees)


Fully charged cell phone

First Aid Kit Contents

3 - 4x4 gauze pads

1 roll 1" waterproof medical tape or equivalent amount of duct tape

1/2 ounce betadine antibacterial ointment

3" ace bandage

moleskin/compeed (enough for all three competitors)

3 doses of anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen, etc)

Sample Gear List(Checkpoint Zero 30 Hour)

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  • Have individuals with similar goals. Some common goals are:

    • Have fun;

    • Finish;

    • Be competitive (top 10 finish).

  • Use teammates strengths and help teammates through low points — a team is only fast as its slowest member.

  • Have teammates that have a similar fitness level.

  • Have teammates with compatible skills (e.g., navigator, bike mechanic, first aid experience)

  • Train together.

  • Recruit a strong support crew.

  • Consider the personality makeup of the team.

  • Assign everyone specific roles (e.g., lead navigator, lead biker, paddling steerer, TA coordinator, etc.)

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  • Train in similar conditions of the race itself, preferably in the area the race will be held;

  • Focus on your weakest discipline;

  • If you’re looking for a regimen, triathlon training guides are a good start.


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First Race

  • To prepare for your first race there are a few factors to consider in order to finish:

    • Build a team with similar goals

    • Choose a race for which you will have proper time to train

    • Train for the disciplines that the race will include

    • Plan on having fun!

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  • Runner's World Guide to Adventure Racing by Ian Adamson   

  • The Complete Guide to Adventure Racing by Don Mann and Kara Schaad

  • Adventure Racing: The Ultimate Guide by Barry Siff and Liz Caldwell

  • Adventure Racing by Jacques Marais and Lisa de Speville

  • Adventure Racing, Guide to Survival by Derek Paterso

  • Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth by Martin Dugard

  • The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of My Feet: Tales from the World of Adventure Racing by Neal Jamison

  • Be Expert with Map and Compass by Björn Kjellström

  • Off The Beaten Track: A Guide to Mountain Biking in North Georgia by Jim Parham

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