Okay, okay, so maybe the Eco-Challenge video clip wasn’t the best way to turn you on to the sport of adventure racing.
As one seasoned adventure racer wrote in the comments, Geez, Abby, I am scared of adventure racing thanks to this video! Class V rapids, people getting serious booboos, that one dude getting airlifted out by his PFD straps looks dead … it is back to 5ks exclusively for me
So, let’s start this wooing over, shall we? And rather than my own ramblings about the sport, let me introduce you to Bill. Bill discovered AR in college and has been racing ever since. When he and his wife started dating, he convinced her to give the sport a try, and now they’re a powerhouse duo in the Philly area.
Why AR? I Adventure Race because of the challenge–both physical and mental. An Adventure Race doesn’t get boring because there is always another discipline to look forward to. Tired of riding the bike? The paddle is in a few miles. 10 minutes into the paddle, I can’t wait to get back on the bike.
Me at a finish line with Charlotte (my first MT bike, RIP Old Friend)
The sport also requires a person to be in the moment. Thinking about placing one foot in front of the other is better than fixating on the millions of steps until the finish line. Better yet, don’t think at all. Riding at night in West Virginia requires attention to what is right in front of you. You need to be in the moment. 60 moments a minute for 2880 minutes.
My wife Laurie and our teammate Ryan during her first 24-hour race, the 2005 G.O.A.L.S. Cradle of Liberty.
Rappelling as B.J. (white shirt) ascends before the Krista Griesacker in 2007.
I also adventure race for the team dynamics. You don’t do this alone. You are only as fast as your slowest teammate. And everyone gets to take a turn being the slowest teammate.
(L to R) Laurie, me, and Matt doing our Rocky impression as part of a checkpoint in the G.O.A.L.S. Cradle of Liberty.
And it’s not just your team. You are in it with every other team, and a real sense of camaraderie develops. And you meet some interesting people along the way.
(L to R) Ryan, Laurie, Betsy Ross, and me after a discussion about sewing spandex in the 2005 G.O.A.L.S. Cradle of Liberty.
Finally, the sport is gender equal. The premier divisions are co-ed. Men and women working together, tearing down gender barriers, toward a common goal.
When my college roommate and I started adventure racing in a sprint race in 2000, one of the experienced racers said it would change our lives. He was right. We haven’t been right since.
B.J. and I after a hike in 2008 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, the day for his biggest adventure: marriage.
So why AR? Because of all that and getting lost in the woods for a few hours.
B.J. and I planning before a race, when it all seems so simple.
Later this week, stay tuned for more on the AR life from the perspective of Bill’s wife Laurie.
And don’t forget to enter to win free team entry to a sprint adventure race this season!