Showing posts with label Expedition Alaska. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Expedition Alaska. Show all posts

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.

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.

Video: The Making of the Expedition Alaska Documentary

Last year I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that put on the Expedition Alaska adventure race. It was 7-day long, 500+ mile (800+ km) race through the wilds of Alaska that tested competitors at every step of the way.

We were joined at the race by a team of very talented young filmmakers from the University of Cincinnati who were a part of a Master Class that came to Alaska to film the race while learning their craft under the supervision of professionals. That documentary is nearing completion, and the UC team released this video to give us an idea of the challenges they endured to capture essence of Expedition Alaska for viewers. In order to do so, they faced many of the same challenges that the racers did as well. Take a look at some of those challenges in the video below, which will give you a glimpse of what the race was all about, while also sharing what it takes to make an adventure film.

Back From Alaska!

After spending more than two weeks in Alaska working the Expedition Alaska adventure race, I am now back home and ready to start updating again on a semi-regular basis. I say semi-regular because this week will continue to be a very busy one on my end. On Saturday I am getting married, and with lots of friends and family coming into town, things could be a bit disrupted again later in the week. So, don't expect too much on Friday or probably next Monday. But other than that, things should be getting back to mostly normal around here. At least for a couple of weeks anyway. 

As for Expedition Alaska, it was an epic event to be sure. The 350+ mile race went through incredibly challenging and demanding wilderness areas, with the teams experiencing just about everything that the state has to offer. They crossed a massive glacier, went up mountain ridges, paddled down raging rivers, and mountain biked some of the best single track in the world. 

To say it was an adventure race for the ages would be an understatement, and the comments from the participants post-race only reinforced that notion. Some called it the race that they had been waiting years for, and others said that it more than lived up to the hype. The team that put on the event hope to do it again in the future, but for now we're all glad to be back home, catching up on some much needed rest, and getting back to our routine. Believe it or not, putting on a race such as this one is almost as demanding on the organizers as it is the racers. 

A lot has happened while I was away, so I'll be spending some time over the next few days catching up with the things I missed. Climbs are proceeding on K2 and Broad Peak, adventurers have set out on new expeditions, and of course the Tour de France – one of my favorite events – has gotten underway. I'll be covering all of this and more in the days ahead. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience while we crank the blog back up once again. 

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.


Off to Alaska for ExpeditionAK!

Tomorrow I'll depart for Alaska, where I'll be serving as part of the team that is putting on the 2015 Expedition Alaska adventure race. As I write this, we're still more than a week away from the start of the event, but it is time to begin prepping for the arrival of the teams, wrapping up scouting of the course, and getting ready for gear and skills checks. There is a lot to do before the start of this epic event, which promises to be an amazing experience for everyone involved.

For those who aren't familiar with Expedition Alaska, it is a 7 day race that will take place in the wilds of Kenai Peninsula. We'll have 25 teams of elite adventure racers competing on a course that will stretch for more than 350 miles (560 km). They'll be competing against one another in a wide variety of stages that involve trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, and more. The action is non-stop, which means once the gun sounds at the start of the event, the clock will be constantly running, and it will be up to the teams to decide when they stop for a rest, when they press on, and just how they navigate from one checkpoint to the next.

Expedition Alaska is also a part of the Adventure Racing World Series, and a qualifying event for the AR World Championships that will be held in Brazil this November. As you can imagine, we are pretty excited to be a part of that organization, and we're hoping to put on a great race that it worthy of the ARWS.

While I'm in Alaska, I will be posting regular updates on the progress of the event, and sharing some of the things that are happening there. But, as is typical with an AR race, time may be in short supply, so blog articles may not come as regularly as I would typically like. On top of that, I won't return home until July 6, which is just five days before I get married. That means there could be further disruptions to the blog content for a few weeks. Please be patient with me until I can get back to a more typical schedule.

Thanks and stay tuned for lots of great things to come!

Adventure Racing World Series: Two More Races Join The ARWS

The 2014 Adventure Racing World Championships are barely over, and the AR World Series is already ramping up for a big year in 2015. Over the past week or so, ARWS organizers have announced two new races have been added to the series, giving teams in North America and Europe more options for qualifying for next year's championship in Brazil.

The first new race added to the ARWS is the Cameo Cowboy Tough, which will be held Wyoming from July 15-19, 2015. The 3.5 day race is accepting 25 teams to competing on a 500 km (310 mile) course through the Big Horn Mountains near the town of Buffalo. The race will have award a $10,000 cash prize package, with an additional $10,000 in gear and other prizes being given out as well. Registration for the event is now open.

The second race to be added to the ARWS is the Raid Gallaecia Spain, which will be held from May 3-10, 2015 in the Pontevedra region, which sits near the border with Portugal. The event will also be 500 km (310 miles) in length, with the winning team expected to cross the finish line in about 75 hours. The race will mix the traditional disciplines of mountain biking, trail running, sea and river kayaking, coasteering, ropes courses, and navigation through a spectacularly beautiful section of Spain.

The AR World Series continues to get stronger each and every year, and 2015 is already shaping up to be one of the best year's for the series yet. The races that are part of the system are incredibly well organized and offer teams excellent challenges in a wide variety of environments across the planet. With qualifiers on six continents, it is now possible for just about any adventure racing team in the world to gain entry into the AR World Championships.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Expedition Alaska, which is shaping up to be one of the best new races for 2015 as well. The event is also part of the ARWS, and registration is also already open for that race too. I am part of the team that is organizing ExpeditionAK, and we're looking forward to welcoming teams from across the globe to the "Last Frontier" in June of next year.

It is a great time for sport of adventure racing to say the least.

Yogaslackers Win Expedition Idaho Adventure Race

Just a quick update this morning on the Expedition Idaho adventure race that wrapped up yesterday on Silver Mountain. After covering nearly 500 miles of rough terrain on foot, mountain bike, and kayak, Team Yogaslackers managed to hold off Team Peaked Sports for the win. It was a battle that came down to the wire, but the more experienced team edged out the locals, reaching the finish line with hundreds of fans cheering them on at the local Blues and Brews fest yesterday.

Heading into the race, the Yogaslackers were the prohibitive favorites, in part because of their years of adventure racing experience in big events. But the team had a difficult time shaking the local Idaho team, which raced efficiently throughout the week of the race. All of the other teams ended up having to be converted over to the "sport" course as they gave up time, and it became clear that they wouldn't be able to finish the full race. This left just the Yogaslackers and Peaked Sports to battle it out for the top spots on the podium.

With the race now wrapped up, event organizers will look ahead to next summer, when they'll launch the first ever Expedition Alaska adventure race. More details in that event will be forthcoming, but we do know that the field will be limited to just 20 team, who will be racing for seven days on what promises to be one of the most stunning courses in adventure racing history. Stay tuned for more info on that race as it develops.

Congrats to the 'Slackers on another great race. It was well deserved win.