Adventure – An introduction to the sport of Adventure Racing

There are those who live among us — by day they might be your landscaper, your massage therapist or your architect, but after hours they become someone else. Forgoing sleep; they travel enormous distances in a short time, traversing rivers, canyons and mountains to achieve their goals. They are tireless, determined and fierce in their commitment to their team.

WHAT IS ADVENTURE RACING?

Adventure racing combines cool stamina, spectacular surroundings, taxing routes and teamwork into a challenge that can last anything from two hours to two weeks.

Opinions differ about when it began, but reference brings to mind the global explorers of old setting off into an unknown land with map and compass. Simply put, teams navigate an unmarked wilderness course in a continuous, timed race. Multiple disciplines are used and usually includes trekking, mountain biking and paddling; however, can include anything from canyoning and horseriding to paragliding and sailing.

It’s a mixed bag, depending on the location, which only adds to the attraction. Racers receive a topographical map marked with checkpoints to be visited, usually in a specific order — and transitions where they switch disciplines and pick up supplies.

It’s a human versus nature thing; it’s also a human versus human nature thing as racers battle both the elements and their own fatigue.

The wilder the location, the happier the athletes are. Mountains, beaches, desert, forest and river are all challenges just waiting to be tackled. Racers tirelessly move forward: cycling, paddling, trekking and navigating while working to keep each other positive and motivated.

The non-stop clock is kryptonite to many new adventure racers: to sleep or not to sleep, that is the question. As the clock ticks, racers need to decide whether to rest and race refreshed (while losing time) or to push through and risk making a navigation error due to exhaustion. Each team has a strategy but it’s a seesaw: too much sleep and you’ll fall behind; too little sleep and you’ll slow down and lose time anyway.

For many racers, the most rewarding aspect is the teamwork required to finish a gruelling challenge. Team members see each other at their absolute worst and best: dirty, exhausted, exhilarated and, finally, triumphant as they cross the finish line together. They rally around each other: encouraging, distracting and, in tough times, even towing each other along! They are in it together, through thick and thin.

CONTINUE READING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PLETT ADVENTURE RACING TEAM who placed 8th out of 60 teams from across the world in their most recent race, Expedition Africa Rodrigues.

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