Adventure racing is a combination of two or more endurance disciplines, including orienteering (if an orienteering map is used) and/or navigation (when non-orienteering maps are used), cross-country running, mountain biking, and paddling (climbing and related rope skills can also be included in some races).
There are several types of adventure races. Expedition races can span 3 days or more. But most popular are the Elite, Sport, and Sprint races that can range from 1 to 30 hours in length. There is typically no suspension of the clock during races, irrespective of length; elapsed competition time runs concurrently with real time, and competitors must choose if or when to rest.
AR is a team sport. The entire dynamic of the sport revolves around getting team through the course. Team members take on different roles throughout the race to make this possible. There are some great teams out there and the bonding and motivation of racing with a team is a wonderful aspect of the sport.
There are many types of adventure races, usually designated by length (8-hour, 12-hour, 24-hour, etc). A common question about AR is how far is each section, but this actually does not make sense. AR really measures the race distance by time as different conditions can make different sections easy or amazingly difficult. For example, in a 8-hour race, you can expect to spend about 2.5 hours on the bike, 2.5 hours on foot, and 2.5 hours on the canoe. Whatever the race length is, simply split the total time evenly between all three main disciplines.
Florida Xtreme Adventures has 4 different types of adventure races.
Sprint – These are races that can be completed by casual athletes in less that 90 minutes. The courses are typically marked but some navigation might be required. This a great way to start adventure racing for racers of all ages and fitness levels. There is usually no required gear for these races – but you will need an off-road bike for the bike section.
Sport – These races follow Rogaine format – where you have a time limit for the time on the course. They typically run 3-4 hours and racers get a little bit of time in each discipline. Some navigation is required, and there will be some mandatory gear like hydration an a safety whistle. This is a good division for beginner weekend warriors.
Elite – This class of racing is designed for experienced adventure racers. The navigation and terrain can be extremely challenging and the races are usually more than 8 hours long, going up to 30 hours. There can also be an extensive gear list.
Expedition – These are multi-day races that can cover hundreds of miles and take days to weeks to complete. To see the best of expedition racing just go to http://www.arworldseries.com/ and be prepared to be amazed. Florida Xtreme Adventures sets Florida’s only expedition race – the Florida Sea to Sea.
If you are interested in learning more about Adventure Racing at the National and International levels you should visit www.sleepmonsters.com