What is adventure racing (AR)?
Imagine a cross between a scavenger hunt and an off-road, multisport race, but where you only complete as much of the course as you are up for. Instead of being measured by distance, ARs are classified by time, and the course time limit is final. Teams try to complete as much of the course as possible within the specified time limit, and must return to the finish before the cut-off time or risk losing points. In most races, only a few teams will “clear the course”, with many teams obtaining most but not all checkpoints. Teams are ranked in order of how many checkpoints they have obtained within the time limit, and ties are determined by length of time out on the course.
The course is marked by checkpoints (CPs) - usually orange and white orienteering flags - but the route you take between CPs is up to you. Teams will receive before the race pre-plotted maps, a “passport” to punch each CP on, and course instructions. From there, you will navigate between CPs using map and compass. Teams will be instructed to obtain at least a minimum number of points from each segment of the race. Segments will be categorized as either a trek, bike, or paddle discipline. You may have multiple trekking, biking, and/or paddling legs that alternate throughout the race, and will change between disciplines at transition areas (TAs). Part of the fun of adventure racing is switching up disciplines frequently, preventing boredom or getting overly tired of one discipline. Teams compete together throughout the race - this is not a relay!
For more information, check out this great description from our friends at Rootstock Racing.
I’m new to the sport. How hard is it?
One of our goals in putting on this race is to introduce as many new racers to the sport as we can. If you can walk or jog a 5K and paddle one mile you will be more than prepared for our beginner race.
The 8-hour course is designed to be more of a challenge, with longer distances, inclusion of all three typical AR disciplines (trek, paddle, and bike), and more navigational components. However, this race is still appropriate for the outdoorsy, beginner racer since the more difficult CPs will be optional. Estimated minimum distances for the 8-hour race are 3 miles of hiking/running, 15 miles of biking, and 2 miles of paddling. The full course will cover about 40 miles. These distances will differ for each team based on how accurate your navigation is and whether you decide to cut any sections short.
The United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA) provides a helpful review for racers new to the sport.
For the 8-hour race, will we have to leave our bikes in public places during the race? Will they be safe?
Race volunteers will be present at all TAs where bikes are left and will be able to monitor gear, but we recommend bringing a bike lock if you are worried about the safety of your bikes.
Will water be available at the transition areas?
Yes, we plan to have limited water supply at TAs. However, we encourage all teams to carry enough water to supply themselves independently from the start of the race. There will not be water available at the starting area so teams should fill their water bladders and bottles before arriving at the race start.
Do we have to provide our own food during the race?
Yes. We will not provide food at the transition areas, so bring enough food with you at the start of the race to fuel you throughout your adventure. For an 8-hour race, we typically eat several energy bars and salty snacks throughout the race, along with water supplemented with electrolytes. It’s important to keep your body fueled - no bonking!
Will we have access to gear we leave at our car after the race starts?
We cannot guarantee that you will have access to your gear after the race starts. We suggest bringing enough gear (e.g., food and water in addition to mandatory and recommended gear) to last you through the entire race from the start. However, you do not need to carry gear for the bike or paddle disciplines on other segments of the race.
Can we add a team member to our team after we register?
Yes! If your team grows in size, send us an email and we will make the adjustment: StrongMachineAR@gmail.com
I’m having trouble finding teammates. What should I do?
Please email us! We are happy to help connect individual racers to each other. Send us your name, the race distance you are interested in competing in and what your experience level is with the sport.
Who is putting on this race?
The race is hosted by the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, a charitable nonprofit organization founded in 1993 to conserve land, water and wildlife habitat for the communities of northwestern Hancock County. Check out the "Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust" tab for more information.
Cliff and Kate White of Strong Machine Adventure Racing are handling course design. Team Strong Machine is an experienced adventure racing team that has completed races all across the United States and internationally, including most recently in the World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. We have competed in the past four United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA) national championships and the founders and race directors of the Maine Summer Adventure Race, held annually in June in southern and midcoast Maine.