So I get the question from time to time, what is an Adventure Race? It’s a combination of trail running, mountain biking and kayaking. There are short “sprint” versions and longer (sometimes days long) versions. The longer versions are broken down by the max time allowed to finish. This can be 6, 8, 12 or even 36 hour races. While the sprint versions have a set course, the longer versions almost always involve some orienting. That is, you are given a map that has been broken into sections, and a set of locations you have to find. The locations are given as plotting coordinates. The coordinates give you a northerly and easterly measurement, allowing you to mark a position on your map. After that it is up to you how to get to the locations and what order you find them. You also are given several set of locations on each leg (running, biking and kayaking). Every location will have a unique hole puncher that you use on a “passport” that will be turned in at the end of the race. The team with the most correct passport punches in the least amount of time wins. So depending on how good you are a plotting and planning your path to the locations to could run 5 to 10 miles. Bike 15 to 25 miles, etc.
I started doing these in 2011 as an excuse to go mountain biking. The bike leg is usually the most time consuming part of these races. Since doing some of the longer races I’ve come to really look forward to the orienting aspect. It forces you to stay engaged in the moment in a way other endurance races do not. Even if you are really good at plotting the locations, once there just finding the hole puncher can be challenging as well. I have yet to do one of these where there wasn’t at least one spot where we are basically standing right next to the thing, but it still takes us 15 minutes to find it. staying positive and being able to think things through while you are physically tired is skill that comes into play as well.
So with the explanation out of the way, here is the video of our “movember” team (Mustache Rides) running the 6 hour Huntsville Hammer Race in November 2016.