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Adventure Racing August 13, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, ar guide, extreme sports.
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I just read a new article on Adventure Racing and thought I would pass it along.

Brush up on Your Navigation July 10, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, orienteering.
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There is a new product available to help you brush up on your navigation skills when you can’t get outside to do it for real.

It is billed as a “Table Top Adventure Race and Navigation Challenge”  and is available from ARNavSupplies.com

Check it out!

Adventure Racing Tidbits January 16, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, extreme sports, Just Stuff.
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Here is a quick overview of the History of Adventure Racing, that I found just tag surfing this today.  While it only really covers the big expedition events, it is a decent primmer.

Wikipedia has a much more extensive article about AR, and it even has a link to a race that I am the director of, the Gilmore Adventure Race.  Speaking of Wiki, we all know not to trust it as a reliable source right?  That is because anyone can go onto it and change info at any time…so reading from it is more like saying, “Someon told me……”  Lots of good info in Wiki, just use other sources to verify it!

Also found this article called Why I love Adventure Racing, and You Should Too! This is a re-publication of an article that world class adventure racer and all around AR stud Ian Adamson wrote a while back.

Gilmore AR was a Sweet Success! September 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, orienteering.
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I just finished putting on the 7th Annual Gilmore Adventure Race this last weekend, and boy oh boy was it awesome! The weather was great and the scenery was stupendous!

We had over 185 racers compete in two different length courses.

The short course was 3 miles of trekking, followed by 10 miles of mountain biking (some teams turned this into 12 or 13), and there were 2 mystery events thrown into the mix too.  Then after that they were given a map with 13 orienteering points marked on it and told to find as many as they could before their 2:00pm cut off.  So total distance for short coursers was between 13 and 18 miles!

The long course was 4.5 miles of trekking, followed by 22 miles of mountain biking (1mile of which was a tough hike-a-bike down a narrow rocky canyon), and they also had the 2 mystery events.  Then they were given a the nav map with 13 orienteering points marked on it and told to find as many as they could before their 3:00pm cut off.  So total distance for short coursers was between 27 and 32 miles!

At the beginning of this post I said “I” just finished putting on the race……well, I was the race director, but there is NO WAY that the event could have gone off without the unbelievable efforts of our awesome volunteers!  They are really the ones that put on the race, I just put it and them together.  Thank you guys!

The vibe at this year’s race was really great.  Many racers brought their families and friends to cheer them on, so we had lots of people and lots of fun.  I didn’t expect so many people however, and we ran out of food and snacks.

Here are just a few photos that will be available to view on the GAR web site as soon as I get around to putting them up there!

Rocks Lurk Below September 15, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, orienteering.
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Kent and I were joined by our buddy Pat yesterday as we vetted the freestyle navigation portion of the GAR.  It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. The sky was a bright blue doom from horizon to horizon and the temperature was about 75°F.

The grass and weeds that have grown so well this year due to all our monsoon rains are now turning from green to yellow-brown.  What looks like a nice smooth hillside as you approach it is really a rock strewn, ankle-twisting nightmare masked by the grass.  Not only are there rocks lurking below the “surface”, but there are also shin high catclaw bushes that grab at your legs, ankles and shoes with every step.

Now that I am done whining about the hiking conditions, I can tell you that despite a few scratches and pokes, we had a great time on our walkabout.  We spent the better part of the afternoon on hilltops, in canyons and amongst the trees, spotting several deer and other creatures as we hiked.

It will be interesting to see if any teams can actually clear the freestyle nav. portion of this course.  It will require someone that is good with a topo map and compass. It is pretty spread out, and in some tough terrain.  We will know on Saturday!

The GAR is Almost Here! September 14, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Less than a week now to the Gilmore Adventure Race near Prescott, Arizona.  Kent and Bob and I did a mountain bike ride on the short course yesterday, and everything is looking good.

Teams are coming from all over the state and southern California to be a part in the what has become the largest (in attendance) and longest running (in years) adventure race in Arizona.

They will begin to arrive on Friday about mid-day, by Saturday at sunrise, we will have almost 200 people revved up and ready to go.

This year’s event will send teams of 2 or 3 persons out into the mountains where they will mountain bike, trek, hike, complete mystery events and finish up with a freestyle navigation leg that is very similar to an orienteering meet.

The weather gurus (yeah right!) are predicting perfect weather for the day.

I can’t wait!

Walk with the Dog August 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Tracie and I took our dog out on a day hike yesterday afternoon.  Because we were checking points for the upcoming Gilmore Adventure Race, I can’t divulge the location of our hike yet.

It was still pretty warm at 84° with a bright blue sky littered with big fluffy clouds that caused the humidity to be fairly high as well.  The temp and humidity made the sweat factor pretty high.

Oddly enough, we didn’t see anyone on the trails.  We did see a large tarantula though!

We didn’t go all that far, including the out-and-back that I did to one of the points while Tracie relaxed under a tree with the book she is currently reading, the total was only about 3.5 miles.

What a great way to spend an afternoon with the one you love!

Making Sure the Course Works August 14, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Yesterday evening Kent and I decided to ride part of the mountain biking leg on the long course for the upcoming Gilmore Adventure Race.  Despite all the recent rains and the surplus of vegetation that has popped up because of it, for the most part the course was in very ridable shape.

In fact, I worry that maybe some of the hard core adventure racers will think that maybe it is too easy.  We keep the location and course info secret until just days before the event, so am I giving away too much information with this story?   Or maybe I am providing a little misdirection?…..hmmm

Now is the time in the preparation for the race that I have to start looking for volunteers, so if you are within driving distance of Prescott, and you want to lend a hand, just let me know!

This will be the biggest race yet in the 7 year history of the GAR.  We are expecting approx. 75 teams to compete.  It looks like it will be almost half and half when it comes to long or short course, but I can tell you this, both length courses will offer up some challenging terrain and navigation.

Granite Basin was Gorgeous Today July 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Ray and I were the only two to show up to ride this evening.  Maybe because today was so hot, maybe because people were on vacation….who knows?

We went up the 349 today.  This is a trail that I have ridden down about 98% of the time, and hardly ever gone up.  It was really beautiful today, plenty of shade and because we weren’t bombing down it (yet) we had plenty of time to see things that are usually just a blur.  There are some big old ponderosa pine trees in there!  On the way up, Ray and I were talking about Adventure Racing, and I told him about the Gilmore Adventure Race.  He thinks he wants to get a team into it this year!  I told him to hurry though, as it is almost sold out for 2008.

When we reached the pavement we went down the 351 (lots of fun) to the Cayuse area. Then we chugged up the hill to the 2 gates.  Luckily it was getting a little cooler by then.  We absolutely bombed the “10 jumps” trail today!  What a gas!  From there we headed back towards the 351 and down towards the lake.  Part way down there is a little social trail that cuts over to near the camp host’s spot.  We headed across it and then started our climb back up the 350.

The 350 is always a pleasure because it is a “no horses” trail, which means that it is not torn up by horse hooves, and is smooth as silk.  Ray was climbing like a mountain goat, and I could feel myself running low on fuel.  We took the turn onto the 349 heading west (today was the first time I have ever actually made that climbing turn without dabbing). As we topped out before the big downhill, we admired the view of Granite Mountain and figured that the mountain lions that live on it have it made.  What a great habitat.

Ray and I bombed the 349 all the way to where it comes up over a little saddle facing west again.  That has got to be one of the funnest rides around, swoopy, and narrow with lots of ways you could easily blow a turn and end up in the pine needles 50 down an embankment.

From there, we played Michaels “coasting game” again.  Ray made all the right turns this time, I guess I just forgot to tell him not to pedal until you come to a complete stop…..that is the point, to see how far you can coast.  Michael’s record still stands.  I had a real chance at it, as I was carrying lots of speed into the last corner, but I started to wash out and had to dab to save it, thus blowing my momentum.

From there, we just road the pavement back around to the cars.  Great ride today, thanks Ray!

Stats:

  • distance 10.49 miles
  • total riding time 1hr 8min
  • avg speed  9.2 mph

Gilmore Adventure Race is Only 2 Months Away July 17, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation.
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I will have to be spending some of my time out on the course of the Gilmore Adventure Race in the next few weeks, so my blogs might be a little cryptic.

Because we don’t release the event location until 4 days prior to the race, I will have to make sure that my blogs don’t give anything about the GAR away.  I will continue to blog about my outdoor adventures, but try to be vague enough so that racers don’t figure out where I have been……yes, they are like that!  I have had racers try and trick me into divulging the location in the past, so I know that they will often go to great lengths in order to know the location in time enough to either get out and scout it, or spend many hours on the internet pouring over maps and aerial photos.

I will tell you all this much.  This year, as always, it will be a lot of fun!

One Week to the Fiesta! April 9, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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I know I write about mountain biking and other pursuits in the woods, but there is one road riding activity that I just have to do year to year and that is the Rosarito to Ensenada 50 mile ride.  This is a ride that friends and I do that ends in what might be the world’s biggest fish taco fiesta!  They do it two times a year, but we have only done the one in the spring, as I am always tied up as the Gilmore Adventure Race Director in the fall.  There are slated to be over 5000 riders this time, and it is always a hoot to see the different bikes and outfits that people wear.  Check it out.

Finally got my bike back April 5, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Monday I dropped my bike off at the lbs, and told them how bummed out I was with the troubles I had with it at the Desert Rage Adventure Race.  I told them I was going to be busy all week and that I wanted it fixed more than I wanted it back in a hurry. Remember it gave me fits at the race, and  Team Gilmore Adventure Race (that’s us), didn’t have time to get all the nave points.

Well, I went and got it this afternoon, and can’t wait to get out and see if it’s 100% again. A full week off is killing me.

Sand Storm Race Report March 12, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing.
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The final climb to the finishTeam Gilmore AR was made up of Kent Keegan, Jonea Mounsey, and me Dave Sewell. Not sure, but I think we might have been the 3 oldest racers that day. We started out with an uphill run of about 600 yards to pickup our passport, then out into the hills to pick up 4 other CPs in any order. We jogged down part of the Arizona trail past Kentucky Camp’s old adobe buildings and out into Kentucky Gulch. There was a point high up on a ridge, and we chose to go up the ridge-line to it. Once we had the point, we bailed straight off into the gulch and then followed it about a half mile to the next point. By now, my knees couldn’t run anymore, so we fast hiked. From that point we went over the shoulder of a hill into a narrow gully that we followed uphill to the 3rd point. We climbed out onto a road and followed it for a few minutes then descended into yet another draw to get the 4th and final point. From there it was half a mile up the road to the TA.

We transitioned to bikes, remembering to pack our trail shoes for the trek we had been told would be somewhere on the bike section. We headed out down the same section of Arizona trail that we ran down before. No sooner had we turned up a rocky forest road than my back tire felt mushy. It was going flat. We stopped and began our best pit crew impression and got it changed is just a few minutes. Then back on the bikes and up into the hills. The we arrived at the next CP at the same time as 3 other teams, it was on an old piece of equipment in a field by the road. The other teams out-climbed us to the next checkpoint, but the blew right by it and we got it before they figured it out and came back to get it. Shortly after that, there was a big nasty rocky section that we had to hike-a-bike. At the top, we stopped to make a route choice decision and while we were doing that 2 teams went by us on up the forest road. 2 other teams were also looking at their maps and we all decided to to take a single track down to some hairy-steep switchbacks that went down into Gardner Canyon. We got onto Gardner Canyon Road and followed it up to the third biking checkpoint which was also our bike drop. While we were changing our shoes, the teams that had chosen to continue on the forest road arrived.

The first trekking point was back down the road we had just ridden up about a mile then up a canyon to the mouth of a cave. Only one team member was required to go into the cave to punch the passport, but all three of us wanted to see the cave! So we probably gave up about 5 minutes so we could enjoy the experience. After that, the next point was back on the other side of the bike drop at the very peak of a mountain. We decided to to go to the drop and get rid of our helmets (they were required in the cave). From the bike drop it was about a mile and a half of up hill, and more up hill on a seemingly never ending rocky forest road. We encountered teams coming back down as we were going up, and vice versa. One the way up, Kent said he saw something in the road ahead of us, and then it was gone. A minute later he saw it again (hallucinations?), nope he did see something, it was a grey fox trotting a few yards ahead of us up the road. It had a huge bottle brush tail. We got several good looks at it until it left the roadway on a bend and disappeared into the tall dry grass. Coming down was hard work, it was steep, and hard on the knees and feet.

We got back on our bikes and had to ride another 3 miles up Gardner Canyon Rd. At the 4th bike CP we had to take a hike-a-bike trail up a creek-bed then switchback up through a fairly recent burn area to a junction with another forest road on the spine of ridge. We road down the forest road and crossed the creek several times, getting another CP along the creek. Then we followed the road back around the mountain to the Gardner Canyon Rd again. Here we followed it back down to the base of the same hairy-steep switchbacks we had descended earlier in the day. Now, we pushed our bikes up them. We got to ride about 5 miles of the Arizona Trail on our way back to the TA, and it wound through some beautiful country. The final hill up to the finish was enough to put me over the top, as my legs had turned to silly putty. We finished in 6 hours and 12 minutes though, not bad for a team whose combined age is 136 years!

Adventure Racing is Hard to Beat March 10, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing.
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Our team just raced on the long course of the Sand Storm II Adventure Race in southern Arizona, and boy oh boy was it cool!

This race was put on by a company called Monsoon Adventures, 2 guys that have raced in the Gilmore Adventure Race the last few years under the name of Team Chupacabra. They did a super job of organizing and hosting this race. It was very challenging (for our team anyway), and took us through some very scenic country.

When most people think of Arizona, especially southern Arizona, they think of flat, hot desert. Well this was anything but that. We started at a place called Kentucky Camp at an elevation of about 5200′. The terrain there is rolling hills leading up to steep mountains that still held snow on the NE face. At one point in the race we were up as high as 6000′.

Once I get my photos sorted out, I will post a complete race report, but until then, I will just say that our team comprised of 2 forty-five yr olds and a forty-six year old were very proud of our finish.

Arizona Adventure Racing March 6, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing.
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The sport of Adventure Racing has introduced me to a really wonderful group of people.  Back in 2001 when we opened the Gilmore Adventure Race up to the public, I got my first taste of who and what Adventure Racers are really about.Now 7 years later, I can tell you that being both a racer and a race director has allowed me the privilege of becoming a member of the Arizona Adventure Racing Family.  I say “Family,” because that’s what it feels like, both out on the course in the heat an event, and any other time that I am around other Adventure Racers.

I have never seen another sport where your direct competitors cheer you on or even help you during the event!  It is amazing how you can be running up a rockstrewn canyon in the middle of nowhere when another team passes you, and as they do, they say, “Good job!, Keep it up!”  Don’t get me wrong, teams are competitive, but never it seems, so competitive that they would ever wish bad luck on their opponents.

Another great thing about this adopted family of mine, is that without exception, every location I have ever either raced, or hosted a race, has been picked up and left cleaner than before the event took place.  Adventure Racers don’t wait for someone else to clean up after them, in fact, they take the initiative and clean up after both themselves, and those other users of our great outdoors that seem to throw things anywhere they want to.

I am very proud of my Arizona Adventure Racing Family.

Phoenix Urban Adventure Race March 1, 2008

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Tracie and I just got back from a fun day as volunteers at the Phoenix Urban Adventure Race that is put on annually by Rick Eastman of Sierra Adventure Sports.  I race in AR several times a year, and am the Race Director of the Gilmore Adventure Race in Prescott every September, but I don’t find the time to volunteer very often.  We had a great time out there.  We manned two different CP’s, one one the mountain biking section, and another on the scooter or skate section (remember it is urban!).  There were several first-timers, and they all did very well!