By Brent Freedland
Picking an event, especially as a less experienced adventure racer, can be a bit daunting. Because adventure races rely on navigation, details about individual races are often kept secret by race directors until a week or so before the start, and much of the course information is not revealed until racers are at check-in or even out on the course. While this dearth of information can be difficult to adapt to, there are several ways racers can learn about a given race, a specific race director (RD), or what to expect out on the course.
First and foremost, understand that when you pick a race, you are really picking an RD. Unlike sports such as marathons and triathlons, there is very little standardization in the sport of adventure racing, and races reflect the personal philosophies, passions, preferences, and creativity of the RD. Some RDs focus on biking, others on foot travel. Some design races that only require basic or intermediate navigation, others challenge the best navigators in the sport. Some set out to serve up the most physically challenging courses they can while others focus on creativity and strategy.
Even then, many RDs are forced to adapt to land conditions or what local land managers will allow, so races can feel very different year to year, especially if a race organization involves different course designers. Additionally, a particular race organization may approach each of their events very differently, depending on their target audience. Considering all of this, newer racers who are not familiar with the different styles and reputations of a given RD may want to do a bit more research before picking the event that is right for them or, more importantly, the event that is right for their team. Here are some thoughts to get you started:
TOP 7 TIPS FOR PICKING THE RIGHT ADVENTURE RACE FOR YOU
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