Showing posts with label ARWC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ARWC. Show all posts

Team Seagate Wins Adventure Racing World Championships

Last week while I was away in the Caribbean, the Adventure Racing World Championships were taking place in Australia. That's where the XPD Expedition Race played hosted to nearly 100 coed teams from around the world, all of which had come to take a shot at being crowned the champs. But after four days of racing, covering more than 620 km (385 miles) across a challenging course that included mountain biking, trekking, paddling, climbing, and more, there were some very familiar names at the top of the leaderboard once again.

The top spot on the podium was hotly contested by two of the top teams in the world, who battled it out to the bitter end. But when the dust had cleared, two hours separated Team Seagate of New Zealand, who finished first, and the second place team of Adventure Medical Kits from the U.S. Team Columbia Vidaraid – also from the U.S. finished third – while Team Painted Wolf (South Africa) and Naturex (France) took fourth and fifth place respectively.

While the race was decided this pat weekend, some of the teams are still out on the course, which is a testament to both how challenging the course was and how determined these racers are to see it through to the end. The course will close at 1:00 PM Friday, November 18 local time, with all the competitors who haven't completed the race removed from the course.

The XPD Expedition Race marks the end of another long, challenging, and successful season for the Adventure Racing World Series. Now, the ARWS will go on hiatus before starting up the 2017 season at the GODZone Adventure Race in New Zealand next February. Next year's season will be an interesting one, as it is somewhat abbreviated in order to accommodate the AR World Championships being held in the U.S. for the first time. That's when the Cameco Cowboy Tough will host the best teams in the world, with a spectacular course set to be unveiled in Wyoming next August. That should prove to be an exciting race with a big event right here in North America.

Congratulations to Team Seagate on another impressive season and championships. They continue to be in a class all of their own.


Adventure Racing World Championship Set to Begin Tomorrow in Australia

The culmination of a long, and difficult, adventure racing season begins tomorrow. That's when more than 90 teams from around the world will set off on what promises to be quite a competition, with the winner being crowned the Adventure Racing World Champions for 2016.

This year, Australia's XPD Adventure Race places host to the final race in the Adventure Racing World Series for this year. Qualifying teams will duke it out on a 600 km (372 mile) course that promises to be a true classic. The coed teams of four will set out at 12:30 PM local time, with the winning team expected to cross the finish line just 4-5 days later.

The setting for this year's race will be the Shoalhaven region of Australia, which falls along that country's eastern coast, south of Sydney. According to race officials, about 70% of that region is national park or natural forests, making it an excellent venue to host an event that is designed to take place in remote areas. That area is said to be teeming with native wildlife as well, with plenty of kangaroos and wombats to be spotted on the course, and possibly even some whale out on the surrounding ocean.

As usual with an expedition-length adventure race, the competitors will have to trek, mountain bike, and paddle their way across the course. They'll also be asked to navigate from point to point using only a compass and map, and they may even have to climb, run, rappel, or swim on certain sections too. The top teams will go for more than a day and a half without sleeping, and deciding just when to rest will play an important part part of their strategy. Throughout most of the race they'll be tired, hungry, and in pain. And if you know anything about these athletes, they'll be loving ever minute of it.

The odds on favorite going into the race is Team Seagate from New Zealand. But, the field is deep and talented, with Columbia Vidaraid, Merrell Adventure Addicts, and Team Adventure Medical Kits all posing a threat to get onto the podium. In short, it should be a very competitive race to say the least.

You'll be able to follow the race as it unfolds on the XPD website. Right now, the teams are gathering at the starting point, going through mandatory gear checks, and preparing to start. They'll have to wait a bit longer, but the action will begin tomorrow.

Video: What Exactly is Adventure Racing?

I write about adventure racing regularly on this blog, but not everyone knows exactly what the sport consists of. Thankfully, the fine folks over at the Adventure Racing World Series have put together this excellent and helpful video to help explain the sport to newcomers and to remind long time fans just how awesome it is. For my money, adventure racers are amongst the best endurance athletes in the world. Don't believe me? Check out the clip below to find out why I feel that way.

Australia to Host the Biggest Expedition Length Adventure Race Ever

In about three weeks time, the best adventure racing teams in the world will make the pilgrimage to Australia to take part in what is shaping up to be biggest adventure race of all time. That's because this year, the country plays host to the Adventure Racing World Championship, and the entire AR community is looking to get in on the action.

The XPD Expedition Race is this year's ARWC event and is scheduled to run from November 8 - 18. It will take place in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, and will cover approximately 600 km (372 miles) of tough backcountry terrain. As usual, coed teams of four will have to run, mountain bike, paddle, climb, and trek through a challenging course that most will be happy to simply complete, but the teams looking to stand on the podium will finish in about 4.5 days.

Of course, this is all standard fare for the world of adventure racing, which has been staging some of the toughest endurance competitions on the planet for years. But what makes this year's AR World Championship so special is that the starting list for the race includes 99 teams – the largest field ever for an event of this kind.

According to reports, those teams hail from 20 different countries across six continents. What's more, at least three of the four members of a given team must be from their country of origin in order to claim that home country. That means that this race isn't just about winning the championship, it is truly a competition between rival nations as well. With the tops teams coming from the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil, this should indeed be one of the most competitive races ever as well.

While the course for the race won't be revealed until just before the start of the race, we're told that it is a very straight forward affair. The course designers promise "no mandatory stops, no dark zones, no optional controls – pure adventure racing at its best!" Because of this, the race course will be open for just 8 days, making it one of the shortest and fastest World Championship events ever.

Right now, the teams that are competing in the race are in wrapping up their training, planning their travel, and packing their gear. They still have a couple of weeks before they set out for Australia, but those weeks will go by quickly, and the'll be setting off before they know it. It should definitely be a fun race for fans of the sport to follow. With so many great teams on hand, the competition should be fierce. Of course, I'll share updates once the race is underway as well.

Good luck to all of the athletes, event organizers, volunteers, and support crew who will be at the event. I know from first hand experience how challenging and demanding these races can be for everyone involved.

Adventure Racing World Championships Come to the U.S. for the First Time

The Adventure Racing World Series has announced the dates and location for the 2017 World Championships revealing that the event will be held in the U.S. for the very first time.

The Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race will serve as the championship event, which will take place from August 13-20, 2017 in the wilds of Wyoming. As usual with this race it will pit coed teams of four against one another over a course that will be hundreds of miles in length that they'll cover on foot, mountain bike, and kayak. As always, navigation will play just as important of a role as speed and endurance.

This will be the earliest in the year that the AR World Championship will have taken place, with the best teams from across the globe descending on Wyoming to take part in the race. Expect dozens of teams from places like Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Canada, and of course the U.S. to be on hand to battle it out for the win.

For those of us who are fans of adventure racing here in the U.S. this is great news. Previous AR World Championships have been held in Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, and other great locations, but it will be good to have the race taking part stateside. I know that a lot of my AR friends will be looking forward to this as well.

Check out the announcement video below for an idea of what to expect from Cowboy Tough and start looking ahead to August of 2017 with the official race website.

Final 2015 Adventure Racing World Series Rankings Revealed

With the Adventure Racing World Championships being held in Brazil last month, another season of the AR World Series has come to a close. Earlier in the week, the final rankings for 2015 were released, and for those of us who follow the sport closely there are some familiar names at the top. 

The rankings are a result of how teams finish over the course of the entire season, which began last February at the GODZone Race in New Zealand and wrapped up at Pantanal Pro in Brazil. Each team receives a point value based on their performance, although sometimes their overall score is skewed by how often they race. Still, the best teams do tend to gravitate to the top of the list, and the best team in the world is definitely ranked number one in my opinion. So, without further ado, here how the top adventure racing teams stacked up, along with their point totals for the season:
1 - Seagate - 700
2 - Columbia Oncosec - 556
3 - Adventure Medical Kits - 458
4 - Haglöfs Silva - 398
5 - Swedish Armed Forces Adventure Team - 371
6 - Raidlight-Naturex - 364
7 - Merrell - 355
8 - GODZone Adventure Team - Expedicion Guarani - 338
9 - Peak Performance 306
10 - YogaSlackers - 275
11 - Estonian ACE Adventure - 223
11 - France Green Caffte Costa Rica - 223
13 - R'ADYS Team Switzerland - 218
14 - Ecuador Movistar - 183
15 - Arverne Outdoor - 176
16 - Bivouac Inov-8 - 160
17 - Sweco Adventure - 150
18 - Fenix Multisport - Adidas - 133
19 - DART Nuun - 108
20 - Chimpanzee Bar - 105
20 - Kailash Brou Aventuras - 105
The 2016 season will begin in February at the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge in Belize, and the ARWS will have another full schedule of events planned for the months that will follow. It should be another interesting year, with some great races set to take place on five continents, including the World Championships being held in Australia.

Team Seagate Wins Adventure Racing World Championship

Last week, the Adventure Racing World Championship was held in Brazil, where the top teams from around the world went head to head to decide just who is the best in this grueling endurance sport. The teams tested themselves on a course that was 720 km (447 miles) in length, and after seven days of nonstop racing, it was a familiar team that stood atop the leaderboard.

Team Seagate from New Zealand was the favorite coming into the event, and they did not disappoint. The squad took first place at Patanal Pro, the host event for this year's AR World Championship. The Kiwi's finished with a time of 6 days, 16 hours, 44 minutes, which fast enough to put them seven hours ahead of second place team Haglöfs Silva of Sweden. Third place went to team SAFAT, also of Sweden, who finished another five hours back.

At the start of the race back on November 15, there were 30 teams set to compete. Only five managed to run the entire course, with 17 other teams continuing on a short course, while 8 others retired from the event. Two additional teams continued on unranked after losing one of their four-person squad.

As usual with adventure racing, the ARWC required coed teams of four to trek, mountain bike, and kayak through a remote course using only a compass and map to navigate between checkpoints. In this case, that remote course ran through the Patanal region of Brazil, which is the largest wetlands area in the world. The dense forests found there are reminiscent of the Amazon, although the terrain varies to a higher degree.

Congrats to the champs who have proven once again that they are the top team in the world. Hopefully we can lure them to come compete in Expedition Alaska in the future.

Team Seagate Wins GODZone Adventure Race in New Zealand

The home team favorites and defending adventure racing world champions Team Seagate proved that they are still a formidable force in the sport this week by taking first place in the GODZone Adventure Race in New Zealand. The team managed to hold off a field of 52 teams to claim the top of the podium once again, completing the 550+ km (340+ mile) event in just 4 days, 8 hours, and 28 minutes.

The GODZone race is the premiere AR event in New Zealand, a country that is synonymous with the sport. It is also part of the Adventure Racing World Series, which means that is serves as a qualifying race for the AR World Championships to be held in Brazil later this year. As is typical with all ARWS events, GODZone pits coed teams of four against one another in a non-stop endurance event that mixes trail running, mountain biking, paddling, and various other disciplines including climbing and abseiling.

While the race is still ongoing at this time, many of the teams have reached the finish line and the podium spots are now secure. Coming in second was Team Columbia Vidaraid with a time of 5 days, 3 hours, and 57 minutes, while Team Tiki Tour claimed third place by finishing in 5 days, 7 hours, and 52 minutes.

For Seagate this was just another opportunity for the team to flex its muscles on its home territory. The team has now won all for editions of the GODZone race and doesn't appear to be slowing down in any way. The squad, which consists of AR legend Nathan Fa'avae, Sophie Hart, Chris Forne, and Stu Lynch are now poised to defend their world championship in Brazil this November. By winning the GodZone they automatically receive an entry into that race months before it is set to take place.

You can find out more about this race, and check out the full standings, at GODZoneAdventure.com.

Team Seagate Wins Adventure Racing World Championship

Part of the reason I was in Ecuador over the past week and a half was to cover the start of the Adventure Racing World Championship, which began in the Andean highlands, descended through the rainforest, and eventually ended on the Pacific Coast. While I was there, I witnessed the start of the race, during which 50 coed teams of four set off on a grand adventure that would cover more than 710 km (441 miles) on foot, mountain bike, and kayak. The race was an exciting one to say the least, and in the end there were some familiar names standing on the podium.

The top team at this year's ARWC was Team Seagate from New Zealand, who were the odds on favorite to win the event before it even started. They managed to complete the entire route in just 4.5 days, which is an impressive feat in and of itself. This was a course designed to test the participants at every turn, and having witnessed some of the route myself, the race certainly lived up to its billing of being a tough one.

Second place went to Team Columbia Vidaraid of Spain, who put in impressive performance throughout the race as well, finishing four hours and 15 minutes behind the winners. Team Movistar of Ecuador claimed third place overall, proving that the home field advantage can play a factor. This talented team was near the top of the leaderboard almost the entire way, and they managed to finish in a little over five days.

I want to thank the entire staff at the Huairasinchi Explorer – the host of this year's AR World Championships – for putting on such a great event. It was a joy to be back in the middle of a major adventure race once again, and it was great to catch-up with old friends, and make new ones too.

Also, congratulations to Team Seagate for running a great race. They were certainly the class of the field, and remain the best AR team in the world.

AR World Championship Update: A Major Penalty Has Deep Impact on the Race

What a difference a day makes at the Adventure Racing World Championships here in Ecuador. Not only have we seen nearly every team hit with a major penalty, it has had a major impact on the standings as well. While the controversial ruling from the race organizers has left some teams incredibly dissatisfied – including the team that was leading the race yesterday – it looks like all appeals are likely to fall on deaf ears, which means we could have a dark cloud hanging over the event.

The penalty came about because the race's rule book specifically says that during Stage 3 of the race,  all teams must keep the river on their left at all times. All but three teams  – Seagate, Team Silva, and Team Polaska AR – failed do to this, with most of the teams crossing the river at the wrong point. As a result, the three teams that obeyed the rules had longer times on that leg. To make up for this mistake, race leadership is enforcing a four-hour penalty on all of the teams, save the three listed above.

This has obviously had a major impact on the race. As I write this, Team Seagate is now in the lead, with a two-and-a-half-hour head start on Columbia Vidaraid of Spain. The French team of Caffte UPS Maurien/Vanois is now in third place, three hours and 15 minutes behind the leaders. That squad was in the lead when they were hit with the penalty.

With a few days to go until the first team is expected to arrive at the finish line, there is still time for anyone to make up ground. But Seagate is a very experienced team that doesn't make many mistakes, and catching them is going to be very hard. Still, anything can happen at this point, which is why it'll still be interesting to see how everything plays out. Hopefully, this penalty won't have an impact on the ultimate winner.

You can follow the race live by clicking here. The site includes the most current locations for each squad, and has the latest news and commentary on what is happening out on the course.

AR World Championship Update: From the Highlands to the Rainforest

I may no longer be covering the AR World Championship directly while I'm here in Ecuador, but that doesn't mean that I am not still trying to follow he race as best I can. I've only been able to check in when I've had Internet, but of course I'm eager to see how things are shaping up in the early going.

It was an exciting first day yesterday to say the least. The coed-teams of four too off yesterday morning at 8:30 AM local time on a trekking route through the highlands of the Andes. Since then, the lead teams have transitioned three times,  going from on-foot, to their bikes, back to foot, and back to their bikes once again. Over the first day and a half of the race, the lead has shifted a couple of times, with some surprising results heading into the second evening.

The top team at the moment is Caffte UPS Maurien/Vanois out of France. That isn't particularly surprising, as this team is made up of very experienced adventure racers who are amongst the very best in the world. Close behind them is the Spanish team of Columbia Vidaraid, and in third place is Team Movistar of Ecuador. They are using the home field advantage to the fullest at the moment, taking advantage of their familiarity with the terrain and weather conditions.

Other teams of note are lurking just off the podium. For instance, the Team Tecnu Adventure Racing from the U.S. is currently in fourth place, while adidas TERREX is in fifth. Pre-race favorite Team Seagate from New Zealand is one spot back in sixth place as well.

With the race only two days old, a lot can happen yet. The winner isn't expected cross the finish line until sometime around Thursday, and the lead is likely to change hands multiple times before then. Still, the race is shaping up to be a really competitive one, and it could come down to the wire. At this point, no one is running away with the event, and there are still plenty of major challenges to come before it is said and done.

You can follow all of the action at the live tracking website, which is updated regularly not only with team positions, but also news articles about what is happening out on the course. Also, be sure to drop by SleepMonsters, as they have two great reporters following the race, and posting updates as well. They'll keep you in the know as to what is happening here in Ecuador.

Adventures in Quito: A Visit to the Middle of the World, and the AR World Championships Opening Ceremonies

My second day in Quito didn't quite start the way I had hoped. After a busy, and fun filled day 1, I was ready to get a good night's sleep, and hit the ground running this morning for more adventures in Ecuador. Unfortunately, a bit of the local cuisine didn't sit all that well with me, and I was woken in the middle of the night to the sound of my stomach gurgling in a tell-tale fashion. Yep, it was a bout of the Revenge of the Incas, or what ever term would should use to describe food poisoning here in South America. While I'll spare you the gory details, lets just say that between the hours of 1:30 and 3:30 AM I was wishing that I was dead. Fortunately, I'm both blessed, and cursed, with a fast metabolism, so while something from last evening's dinner didn't sit well, by breakfast time I was on the mend, and after lunch, I was my old self again.

It's a good thing too, as today was another busy day in Ecuador's capital city. It started with a media briefing for the Adventure Racing World Championship, which officially gets underway tomorrow. This year, the race is being hosed by the Huairsinhi Explorer, one of the top races in South America each year. At a morning meeting, those of us who are here to cover the race in some capacity met to discuss logistics of that coverage, and to talk about how the race will unfold in the days ahead. As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of moving parts for an athletic competition that includes 50 teams of four running, mountain biking, and paddling their way across a 710+ km (440+ mile) course in the remote regions of Ecuador. The briefing helped to put everyone on the same page, and get us thinking about how things will unfold over the next eight days of the competition.

The briefing took place in the offices of Gulliver Travel, one of the leading adventure tour operators here in Ecuador. The company offers options for travelers who want to visit the Andes, the Amazon, the Pacific Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. They also very wisely offer acclimatization packages for Ecuador, which allow adventure racing teams from across the planet to get ready for the AR World Championship. I thought that was pretty clever marketing on their part, and a great opportunity for teams looking to gain valuable skills in a variety of environments.


Sadly, the meeting ran a bit longer than expected, which meant I was cramped for time for some of the other things that were planned for this morning. I ended up having to scrap my trip to the top of Pichincha Volcano aboard the famous Teleferico, a cable car that shuttles visitors to the top of the mountain for some unprecedented views of the city, and the surrounding area. I was let down that there wouldn't be time for that excursion, but the schedule was tight.

With the Teleferico off the table, I instead set out on a 45-minute drive north of Quito to the Mitad del Mundo – the Middle of the World. This monument, which is surrounded by a quaint little village filled with tourist shops, restaurants, and places to get a snack, marks the equator as it passed through Ecuador. The line passes through the village itself, allowing visitors to pass freely between the North and South Hemisphere at will.

The main attraction at the Mitad del Mundo is a three-story tall tower with a ten-ton globe on the top. It provides some excellent views of the surrounding countryside, with the compass points clearly delineated below. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the tower, but should definitely walk the stairs back down. Each level of the tower offers insights into Ecuadorian culture, with images and heirlooms from numerous indigenous cultures.

After I left the Middle of the World, I traveled just next door to the Museo de Sitio Intiñan, which also sits directly on the equator, and uses that location to its advantage. The site is a mix of Incan cultural displays, and scientific experiments that demonstrate some of the strange happenings at 0º latitude. For instance, you learn how easy it is to balance an egg on the head of a nail when you're at the equator, as well as how the Incan's used the movement of the sun to tell time. It was fun, fascinating stuff, and a good compliment to the more touristy Mitad del Mundo.

Once we finished marveling at the equator, it was time for some lunch at the Crater Restaurant, which is said to offer some pretty spectacular views of the collapsed caldera of a nearby volcano. Unfortunately, that view was obstructed today by low hanging clouds, so I had to settle for a tasty meal, before heading back to Quito proper.

I arrived back in Quito just in time to reach the San Francisco Plaza – a site I visited yesterday – for the start of the Adventure Racing World Championship's opening ceremonies. Over the following hour and a half, the teams were brought up on stage and introduced to the crowd, while a gaggle of eager media types (like me!) crowded around for photo ops. The race opened with a lot of pomp and circumstance that included a large band, a speech from the mayor of Quito, and traditional dancers showing off their moves.

After the opening ceremony, it was time to head to a nearby theater for the race's official briefing, and for the teams to receive their maps which would reveal the course of the race at long last. But before we could move to that new venue, the skies overhead opened up, and began to drop a deluge on those in attendance. You would think that adventure racers would be use to roughing it in all kinds of poor conditions, but watching them scramble for cover from the rain was a source of much amusement. This humble travel writer calmly pulled on his rain jacket (thank you very much Outdoor Research!), which he had remembered to pack because he knew it was the rainy season in Ecuador.

Eventually we did make it to the theater however, and the festivities continue there for another couple of hours. Much of the briefing was to give the racers information about what they could expect out on the course, and how they should interact with the environment (Hint: Leave No Trace!). They were told to watch out for snakes, rabid dogs, and even lava flows. Those aren't typical elements of an adventure race, but they sure will help to keep things interesting.

The ceremony did drag on however, thanks to the numerous cultural displays of music and dancing. While those aspects are always appreciated when you visit a new place, I do believe that by the end, the racers just couldn't wait to get their hands on their maps. Eventually they were rewarded for their patience however, and tomorrow at approximately 8:30 AM local time, they'll set off on their first trekking stage from a nearby national park.

Following that pre-race briefing, the assembled media gathered once again for a final update as well. The race director gave us some ideas on how to approach covering the race, and what we should expect as well. Sadly for me, most of it didn't apply, as after I see the racers off in the morning, I'll be headed to other parts of the region to have some outdoor fun of my own. That includes some mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. You'll be hearing much more about those things in the days to come.

Tomorrow, the ARWC gets underway at last, and it should be a good one. The setting here in Ecuador is perfect for an adventure race, and I think this will be one for the ages. I'l try to keep tabs on things in the days ahead, but I'll also be a bit preoccupied with my own adventures as well.

More to come soon!


I Am Off To Ecuador!



Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am headed to Ecuador tomorrow for a little fun and adventure in South America. While there, I will be exploring the city of Quito, and everything that it has to offer, while also getting the opportunity to witness the start of the Adventure Racing World Championships, hosted by Huairasinchi Explorer.

That event will feature the best adventure racing teams from across the globe, competing on a 500 km (310 mile) course. The race officially gets underway on November 9, and I will be on hand as the teams go through their initial check-in process with race officials, and as the course is revealed to them for the first time. I'll also get the chance to see them off at the start of the race, before launching some adventures of my own in and around Quito.

Fans of adventure racing can follow the progress of the race at ProyectoAventura.com, as well as on the Visit Quito Facebook page. Tourism Quito is one of the main sponsors of the event, and are using it as a showcase for the incredible adventure travel opportunities that exist within a short distance of the city. They've even teamed up with Intrepid Travel, Timbuk2, and LAN Airlines to give travelers an opportunity to win a trip to Ecuador to experience Quito for themselves.

My visit to the city won't just be about the AR World Championships, although I am excited for that event. I'll also be touring some of the great historic locations in and around Quito, visiting Cotopaxi National Park, and hiking and mountain biking throughout the region. In the latter half of my stay, I am looking forward to spending some time with the good folks at Tierra Del Volcán, an ecotourism and adventure tour operator that welcomes guests to traditional Ecuadorian ranches near Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano on Earth. Before that however, I'll get the chance to do some lodge-to-lodge trekking in the Andes with Tropic, another adventure travel company that with an amazing track record for innovation and sustainable travel.

I'm told that I should have Internet access for at least part of the time when I'm traveling. That means that I should get the opportunity to post some stories and photos from my Quito adventure. I am very much looking forward to this experience, and I can't wait to share it with all of you as well.

Expedition Alaska Joins Adventure Racing World Series


Over the weekend, there was big news for fans of adventure racing, as it was announced that Expedition Alaska, a major new race taking place next summer, has joined the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS), making it a qualifier for the Adventure Racing World Championship to be held in Brazil in 2015. 

Expedition Alaska, which is being organized and run by Perpetual Motion Events based out of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, will take place from June 27-July 4 of next year. The race will host 30 coed teams of four from across the globe, as they compete with one another on a 500 km (310 mile) course that promises to be amongst the most spectacular, and challenging, that the sport has ever seen. As usual, those teams will have to trek, mountain bike, paddle, climb, and navigate their way along the route, which will take them through the Alaskan backcountry, and into one of the last truly wild places on the planet. 

Joining the ARWS is a major feather in the cap for the race directors of Expedition Alaska, especially in its first year of existence. This distinction makes the race one of just two qualifiers to be held in North America next year, the other being the Gold Rush Mother Lode, which takes place in California Sept. 9-14, 2015. Registration for Expedition Alaska is already open, and teams have already started filling up the limited number of slots. If you plan on racing in this great event, you'll want to register early as well. 

This news comes just days before the start of this year's AR World Championship, which is taking place in Quito, Ecuador starting next weekend. In a few days, the best adventure racing teams in the world will gather to challenge one another for the right to call themselves the world champs, and I will be fortunate enough to be on hand for the start of the race, and to report from the event in Ecuador in a few days time.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'd also like to point out that I have just joined the staff for Expedition Alaska as well. I can tell you that the whole team is excited about the race, and we're looking forward to putting on spectacular race that will feature a breathtaking course, and an unbelievable finish for the competitors. As such, you'll likely be hearing a lot more about the event in the days and weeks ahead. It promises to be one of the best adventure races in history, and AR athletes are not going to want to miss it.