Showing posts with label Adventure Racing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adventure Racing. Show all posts

Video: Adventure Racing Through the New Zealand Wilderness

The Red Bull Defiance is a two-day long adventure race held in the country that invented the sport – New Zealand. Over the course of those 48 hours, racers run, mountain bike, and paddle their way across some of the most rugged terrain imaginable, on a 142 km (88 mile) course designed to push them to the limits. As you'll see in this video, it seems that that mission was accomplished. If you're not familiar with adventure racing, this clip will certainly make a good introduction to the sport.

Cotopaxi Just Might Be Hiring for Your Dream Job

Looking for a job that will allow you to travel and play outdoors? Are you savvy with social media, technology, and blogging? Then Cotopaxi just might have an opportunity for you. The company is currently hiring  new Road Warrior to join the team for the upcoming year.

And what exactly are the duties of the Road Warrior? They'll be tasked with driving the company's mobile pop-up retail store throughout the U.S. as Cotopaxi expands its Questival adventure race series in 2017. The person hired for the job will also share their experience in a variety of social media outlets, while crisscrossing the U.S. on a 30+ city tour. The job won't be easy, but it should be fun. And it will be a great opportunity for someone who is looking for a creative outlet that involves adventure, gear, and exploring the country.

How does the job break down in terms of statistics? Cotopaxi has crunched the numbers and here's what they've come up with: Over the course of the year, the Road Warrior will take one truck and trailer, drive more than 25,000 miles, visit more than 30 cities, cross 88 state borders, spend 370+ hours on the road, and pass through numerous state, national, and city parks in the process. Oh yeah, they'll also get the chance to meet tens of thousands of like-minded people along the way.

Sound like something you'd be interested in? Than click here to start the application process. And good luck! You're probably going to need it!

Video: Expedition Alaska Adventure Race Trailer

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team that organized and ran the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race, a 300+ mile (482+ km) multi-sport, multi-day race that attracted 20 teams from across the globe. It was an amazing event with some of the best endurance athletes on the planet taking on a course that ran through some remote and rugged areas. The entire race was filmed by a dedicated and tough team, and a full-length documentary about the event has now been completed. It will be making the rounds of the adventure film festival circuit and will eventually be available to purchase as well.

To get a taste of what Expedition Alaska was all about, and what I was working on up north last summer, check out the trailer for the documentary below. It will give you a sense of what adventure racing is all about, while showing off the amazing landscapes in Alaska. It's pretty epic, and well worth a watch.

EXPEDITION ALASKA TRAILER from Hyperion XIII Productions on Vimeo.

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 Series a Success in China

Earlier this week an epic adventure race took place in a remote region of China, marking the debut of the the Adventure Racing World Series in Asia. By all accounts it was a successful first race with just minutes separating the top teams in what promises to be an exciting new addition to the ARWS in the years to come.

The Xtrail Expedition race took place in the Altai Mountain region of China, not far from the border with Mongolia. The event covered 300 km (186 miles) or rough terrain, which the top teams were able to complete in just a few days time. In fact, in a sport that requires hours and days to complete, the three podium finishers were separated by less than 20 minutes, which is a testament to how strong the 28 teams competing in the race truly are. Of those 26 were international squads, while the other two were local Chinese racers.

The winners of the race were the Thule Adventure Team, which completed the grueling route in just 36 hours and 16 minutes. They were followed closely by Team Adventure Medical Kits, who were 14 minutes back, with Haglofs Silva coming in third another 4 minutes behind. The rest of the teams staggered in over the hours that followed, with the course officially closing on Wednesday of this week. Yesterday, the coed teams of four left the region and began the long journey home.

After such an auspicious debut, it seems that the Xtrail race may be a great new addition to the AR World Series. Having visited the part of the world where the event took place myself this summer, I can attest to how beautiful, rugged, and remote it truly is. With the addition of this race to the schedule, the ARWS now has events on six continents, which is an impressive feat in and of itself, and an indication of just how healthy the sport of adventure racing is at the moment.

Now, all eyes will turn towards Australia in November. That will be the host country for the Adventure Racing World Championship, where the 2016 world champs will be crowned. At the moment, it looks like it could be quite an interesting showdown between the best teams on the planet, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

The Adventure Racing World Series is Coming to China!

Over the past few years the Adventure Racing World Series has taken some of the best adventure races in the world and brought them together to create a unified set of events that works towards crowning a world champion in the sport each year. The system has brought order to AR, which in the past has generally consisted of numerous races that operated independently of one another without any type of consistency or cooperation.

While the current state of adventure racing is very different from what it was a decade ago, I'd venture to say that the sport is as healthy now as it has ever been, which much of the credit for that going to the ARWS. If you're looking for further proof of this, one only needs to look to the recent announcement that adventure racing is coming to China this September in the form of the Xtrail Expedition Race.

For now, the Xtrail is operating as a demonstration event for the ARWS, but it is the first officially sanctioned race to be held in Asia. The event will be held in the remote Altay region of the Xinjiang province, in far northwestern China. It will feature the usual disciplines of mountain biking, kayaking, and trail running, all set in a place unlike any most of the competitors have seen before.

In order to lure teams to the event, the organizers of the Xtrail are offering a number of great incentives. Those include a reduced price entry fee of $1,000 USD per team, free transfers to/from Urumqi (arrival city) to Altay (race city), all accommodations and some food in Altay, and a $600 USD cash payment per international athlete on arrival to assist with travel expenses in China. In other words, they are serious about attacking top teams and want to make the process has simple and painless as possible.

Entry into the race is listed to just 25 international teams and 25 Chinese teams, so if you're interested in joining in on the fun, you'll want to sign up soon. The Xtrail will take place on September 23-28, and will cover roughly 300 km (186 miles). Need further incentive? The prize purse for the event is expected to top out at $50,000 USD.

Find out more at the ARWS website.


Help Expedition Alaska Crowdfunding Efforts, Get Some Cool Gear

Last summer I was part of the team that put on the Expedition Alaska adventure race, during which we hosted some of the best AR teams in the world on a grueling 400+ mile (643 km) course through the Alaskan wilderness. It was an epic event, held in an epic location, that was both thrilling to watch unfold and rewarding to be a part of.

The race was filmed by a talented crew of faculty and students from the University of Cincinnati, which has a unique and innovative Production Master Class that is taught by CCM Professor Kevin Burke, DAAP Professor Yoshiko Burke and UC/CCM Alumnus and Emmy award-winning producer Brian J. Leitten. That group spent days in the field filming the race, capturing some amazing footage in the process. Now, they're looking to crowdfund a documentary, offering adventure racing fans a look at this amazing event. 

A few days ago, the team behind the documentary launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000 that will allow them to finish the project and produce 4 half-hour long episodes that show the drama and challenge of Expedition Alaska. There are multiple levels of pledges to be had - starting as low as $5 – which deliver some great perks to those who contribute to the cause. Those perks include everything from copies of the finished product, digital downloads of a "making of" documentary, and even some excellent outdoor gear. 

In an effort to help out the cause, I am donating some gear to help raise funds. In fact, there is a special "The Adventure Blogger" perk for someone who is willing to donate $500 to the campaign. If you select this perk, I will send you a mystery gear package that will definitely exceed the amount that you are contributing. You'll also receive all of the other perks that fall below that funding level too. 

The video below is the trailer for Expedition Alaska, and gives you a good idea of what to expect from this project. If you'd like to learn more, check out the Indiegogo page here.  


EXPEDITION ALASKA TRAILER from Hyperion XIII Productions on Vimeo.

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.

New Zealand Team Claims Victory at GODZone Adventure Race

Last Friday one of the premiere adventure races in the world got underway in New Zealand. That's where the GODZone Adventure Race has been unfolding over the past few days covering more than 530 km (330 miles) through some of the remote and wild regions that make that country so famous. Coed teams of four have been battling it out on a course that includes trail running, mountain biking, and paddling that have tested competitors at every turn. 

While some of the coed teams of four remain out on the course, the podium has already been set. The winning team crossed the finish line in just 3 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes with Team Yealands Family Wines claiming victory. They were followed by Team Swordfox claiming second place 4 hours back, and Team Torpedo finishing third more than 16 hours behind the winners. 

Most of the teams in the race are from New Zealand, which gave them a decidedly home-field advantage. But teams from the U.S., Australia, the U.K., Sweden, and Japan have all been competing, with the top foreign finisher being American team Adventure Medical Kits. 

GODZone is the second race in the 2016 Adventure Racing World Series. The next event is scheduled to take place in Chile in just a few weeks time, with five other races on the schedule for the rest of the season. The top teams will gather in Australia in November to crown an ARWS champion for the year. 

Congratulations to the winning team at GODZone for completing the course in such a quick time. That was an impressive performance to say the least. 

Patagonia Expedition Race Now Underway in Chile

The legendary Patagonia Expedition Race returned from a three-year hiatus yesterday when 18 coed teams of four embarked on what promises to be one of the most challenging adventure races of their lives. Over the course of the next ten days, the competitors will run, pedal, climb, and paddle their way across more than 600 km (372 miles) of the most spectacularly beautiful, and incredibly grueling, terrain on the planet.

Anyone who follows adventure racing has no doubt heard about the Patagonia Expedition Race. For years it set the standard for the sport, offering some of the most physically demanding courses ever. The famously bad Patagonia weather often played a role, with cold conditions, heavy rains, rough seas, and high winds often impacting the outcome of the event. Sadly, the race was off the schedule for the past two years, but has now returned bigger, and badder, than ever.

The teams arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile over the weekend where they went through mandatory gear and skills checks prior to the start of the race yesterday. As usual with an adventure race like this one, the competitors received their route information 24 hours before the start of the event, allowing them to plot their navigation points ahead of time. After the gun went off signifying the start of the race yesterday, they'll now spend somewhere between 6-10 days racing non-stop, 24/7 until a winner is crowned.

You can follow the PER on the race's official website or at SleepMonsters.com. It should be an interesting race to watch unfold.

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.

Primal Quest Adventure Race Underway in Tahoe

A legendary adventure race has risen from the ashes, and is currently underway near Lake Tahoe in California. The 2015 edition of Primal Quest began yesterday, with 11 coed teams of four setting off on a 400+ mile (643 km) expedition-length course that is expected to take up to seven days to complete. The start of the race marks the return of one of the truly epic brands in the sport.

If there are two races that have epitomized adventure racing in the past, it is the Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest. Both were considered the toughest, most grueling races on the planet back in the day. Eco-Challenge – which was created by TV mogul Mark Burnett – was the event that brought adventure racing to a world stage, making a much larger audience aware of the sport for the very first time. It drew millions of viewers who mesmerized by the amazing athletes who spent days racing through some of the most challenging environments on the planet. But the race folded up shop back in 2002 and passed the torch on to its spiritual successor – Primal Quest. That even ran from 2002 to 2009 with some truly epic courses of its own. 

Despite a few rumblings of a possible return over the years, PQ remained off the AR schedule for a long time. It has returned at last however, with a new race management team that hopes to rebuild the brand back to its original status. 

Right now, the teams taking part in the race are into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where over the next few days they'll be running, mountain biking, paddling, and climbing their way along the route. As I write this, the lead teams are through the early checkpoints and are well into the competition. Team Bones from the U.S. is running in first place through CP 8, while Team GodZone of New Zealand is currently in second through CP 6. They're being chased by the Team Too Much Fun Club, who are in third through CP 6 as well. Considering there are 31 total checkpoints in the event however, there is a lot of racing yet to come. 

As someone who served on the staff of the previous two Primal Quest races, I'm glad to see PQ back on the schedule. Hopefully it continues to be a successful event in years to come. Good luck to all the teams racing this week as well. Have fun and stay safe. 

Team Mountain Design Wins 2015 XPD Adventure Race in Australia

For the second year in a row, Team Mountain Designs of Australia has taken first place in the XPD Adventure Race. The squad made a list minute push to the finish line, edging out a competitor that was ahead of them on the final stage to claim victory, and an automatic bid in the Adventure Racing World Championship to be held in Brazil later this year.

Heading into the last section of the 648 km (402 mile) race, Team Peak Adventure was ahead of the defending champions and faced a potentially crushing 4-hour penalty for a rules infraction earlier in the event. The final stage – aptly titled "The Maze" – required a keen sense of navigation, which allowed Peak Adventure to pull away and gain some much needed ground. But unfortunately they had a tough time locating the final checkpoint, spending hours searching for it before moving on. During that time, Mountain Designs was able to not only locate the missing CP, but also cruise to the finish line for the win.

Meanwhile, back out on the course, Peak Adventure continued to struggle. Eventually they called for a withdrawal after becoming exhausted and having one of the team members succumb to injury. This allowed Team Merrell Adventure Addicts of South Africa to slide into second place, while New Zealand's Bivouac Inov-8 – which also struggled to find the final CP – claimed third.

A number of the teams remain out on the race at this point, with most slowly making their way toward the finish line. It will be several days before some of them wrap up the expedition-length competition, which traveled through some of the most remote sections of Queensland over the past few days.

Congratulations to Mountain Design on defending their title, and good luck at the World Championship in November.

Australia's XPD Adventure Race Underway in Queensland

The 2015 adventure racing season continues to unfold in various parts of the globe, as teams compete in the Adventure Racing World Series for a chance to go head-to-head in Brazil in November, where a new world champion will be crowned.

The latest major race in the ARWS is now set to get underway in Australia, where the 2015 edition of the XPD will begin tomorrow. 36 coed teams of four from across the globe have descended on the tropics of Queensland, where they will be running, mountain biking, and paddling their way across a course that is 648 km (402 miles) in length, and is expected to take between 5 and 10 days to complete.

The full course was revealed to the teams yesterday, and includes some great highlights from the area. The route will take the teams on a stunning coasteering course along the Magnetic Island, as well as trekking up Mount Spec and through the Paluma Range. They'll also mountain bike through rainforest around Paluma Dam, go paddling down the Burdekin River, and pass through remote towns along the way. As usual with the XPD, it should be a tough but fair course, that delivers plenty of excitement and beautiful views.

All of these elements should lead to an outstanding race, with teams that manage their navigate efficiently, work well together, and manage their sleep schedule properly will rise to the top. In a race of this length, it isn't always about being the fastest or most physically fit. It is also important to be smart, think strategically, and take advantage of team strengths along the way too. The winning team will no doubt have a combination of those qualities, plus a bit of luck on their side.

You can follow the race as it unfolds on the XPD website, Facebook page, and live tracker.

Adventure Racer Looking to Set Record for Youngest to Complete Expedition Race

The Cameco Cowboy Tough expedition adventure race is set to get underway today in Wyoming. The 360+ mile long event will take place over four days, with teams of two and four going head to head against one another on foot, mountain bike, and kayak. The race, which is a qualifier for the Adventure Racing World Championships in Brazil this November, features some of the top teams in the world, including the YogaSlackers, NYRA, and Team Tecnu, which recently won Expedition Alaska.

One of the racers taking part in Cowboy Tough is looking to do more than just race with those top teams however. 14-year old Hunter Leninger – who is a part of Team Florida Xtreme – wants to set a new record for being the youngest person to complete an expedition length adventure race, something that is challenging for racers more than twice his age.

Hunter is no stranger to AR. He has taken part in more than 20 shorter events over the past seven years, and even completed a three-day race at the age of 12. During that time he has been gaining valuable experience, and we're told that his goal has now shifted away from simply completing the race to actually winning it.

You'll be able to follow Hunter's efforts on his Facebook page, and the race itself on the Cowboy Tough website. Good luck to Hunter and all of the other racers too.

Expedition Alaska Update: Old School Adventure Racing on the Last Frontier

Greetings from the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, where one of the best adventure races in recent memory is taking place as I write this. Expedition Alaska is unfolding like an old school race similar to the likes of Eco-Challenge or Primal Quest, which were events that squarely put the "adventure" into adventure racing. In a sport that has, by some estimations, become a bit predictable and safe, this is an event that is testing racers at every turn, and pushing them to their limits.

ExpedAK got underway this past Sunday when 20 coed teams of four took to the starting line at the alarmingly picturesque Eklutha Lake. When the starting gun went off, the teams set off on a 12 mile (19.3 km) trail run that did nothing to reveal the challenges that lay ahead. But at the end of that trail however the fun truly began.

The first obstacle in their way was a raging river crossing that punished more than a few competitors with its speed, ferocity, and temperature. Most of the teams made it across without a major incident, but more than a few of racers – as well as the support crew – came away with bumps and bruises.

The rushing waters proved daunting to cross, but they were nothing compared to what followed next. At the end of the trail sat the massive Eklutna Glacier, a giant slab of snow and ice that punished the teams – some of which spent upwards of 30 hours trekking across it.


The biggest casualty from this opening stage was Team Columbia Vidarade, who are arguably the best team in the entire world. While crossing the glacier at night – which isn't particularly dark this time of year – one of the members of the team slipped and fell into a crevasse, separating his shoulder in the process. He was eventually retrieved from the crevasse with the help of Team YogaSlackers, and was airlifted off the ice the following morning. But that put an end to the Vidarade's attempt to win this epic race, and blew the field wide open.

Following the loss of the Brazilian squad, Team Tecnu has picked up the mantle as race favorite, and has been tearing up the course. They have been moving quickly and efficiently, and are currently one of only four teams who are racing the entire length of the course, and with with a full compliment of athletes. The aforementioned YogaSlackers are in second place, but are a considerable distance back.

After the glacier crossing, the teams had more backcountry trekking before moving on to the first paddling stages. That included a considerable amount of pack rafting, and today the first teams started to arrive at the whitewater rafting section down Six Mile Creek, widely considered to be one of the best whitewater rivers in the entire world. Unfortunately, most of the racers won't get to experience it however, as the time cut-off for paddling the river will end before many of them arrive.

The days ahead should be interesting, with the first mountain biking stage yet to come. The fastest teams will probably reach that section tomorrow, but they'll also enjoy plenty more paddling too. As I write this, we are only about half-way through the race, and there is plenty of big challenges to come, some of which will take place in settings that are amongst the best ever seen by adventure racers.

As if racing 350+ miles (560+ km) wasn't enough, the teams will face one other challenge when they arrive in Seward along the Old Iditarod Trail this weekend. On Sunday morning they'll run their own heat for the Mount Marathon, a brutal mountain race that is only three miles in length, but provides plenty of carnage each year. If Expedition Alaska is close on the final day, Mount Marathon could decide the winner.

No matter who eventually wins, the race is destined to go down in history as one of the most challenging. The long, tough stages are testing the athletes constantly, and the epic landscapes of Alaska seem grand in scale as these racers travel through them. Throw in the threat of bear or moose encounters, and you start to see why this is an event that could earn legendary status.

For my part, I'm happy to be here and playing a small role in making this all happen. It is a cooperative effort put on by the entire staff, and while days are long and hectic it is also incredibly fun and rewarding.

A special tip of the hat should go out to race director Dave Adlard who had the vision and determination to create an event that is on par with some of the major adventure races of yesteryear. He set out to create a great race that took place in Alaska, and so far has succeeded swimmingly.

Stay tuned to ExpeditionAK.com for further race updates and to track the teams as they proceed. It should be an interesting couple of days leading up to the finish. Also, for a glimpse of what is happening, check out the video below.