Over the summer, my friend L. asked if I were interested in competing in an adventure race with her. She sent me a link with information and upon reading about the race, it didn’t take me long with respond with an enthusiastic YES!
So what is adventure racing? It is a multi-disciplinary sport which involves navigating terrain on an unmarked wilderness course. We participated in the VentureQuest Adventure Race at Fountainhead Regional Park, which was produced by EX2 Adventures as a team. This particular race included trekking, mountain biking, and padding.
On the morning of the race, we staged our bikes and received the course map and rules. We worked together to come up with a rough plan of attack. The goal of the race was to hit as many check points as possible in the allotted time. Certain check points had to be acquired in order and along a specific course (either by trekking, paddling, or mountain biking) so there was an element of decision making involved, which I really enjoyed. I am not a huge fan of running road races so I really appreciated the lack of a pre-determined route.
Over the course of 4 hours, we trekked up and down hills, paddled up a tributary of the Potomac (sadly no pictures of us on the water), carried our canoe uphill (our least favorite part of the race), and rode along the mountain bike trails.
My favorite aspect of the race was the trekking, closely followed by the paddling. I didn’t particularly enjoy the mountain biking portion because it was by far my weakest event. Due to the rainy September northern Virginia experienced, I never had the chance to practice riding the course at Fountainhead because it was always closed during the times I had availably to bike. It is a legit mountain bike trail with obstacles so while I practiced on the wood trails near our house, this particular course was by far the most difficult trail I have ever biked.
We raced as a team and had to stay within 100 feet of each other for the duration of the race. It was a great way to spend four hours on a Sunday morning and we both look forward to participating in another adventure race. Clay really wants to do one so we hope to participate in an adventure race as a co-ed duo sometime in the spring. I learned a lot about adventure racing and hope to put some hard-learned lessons to use in my next race. Like actually practicing mountain bike trails before the race.
*EX2 Adventure pictures in this post were provided by Brian W. Knight of Swim Bake Run Photo.