Had quite the weekend… took till today to fully recover, absorb everything, and write about it.
At some point in the last few months I decided that it was time to find something new and challenging to devote my time and energy to. I’ve spent the last year getting myself into good physical condition, I might as well use it. This decision has recently materialized in my interest in Adventure Racing. Adventure Racing is a multi-sport team challenge that generally involves Mountain Biking, Orienteering (map/compass), Trekking, Canoeing, and ropes (rappelling, tyrolean traverse..). Race durations can be anywhere from 4hrs to 36hrs to several-to-many days.
The first race I’m able to do (really busy summer this year) is this July – one of the Subaru Adventure Racing Series by ARC. There’s a 6-8hr race, and a 24-36hr race. I’m hoping to do the 24-36hr Outback race on July 6-7 – pending approval by potential teammates.
This past weekend, I took part in a weekend-long clinic by the gang at Synergy. What a fantastic time! We spent the first day-and-a-half learning and practicing all the skills required for AR, and the afternoon of the second day was spent putting it all together in a 5hr race. It was very physically demanding, as you can imagine – an entire weekend of physical activity – hiking, biking, rappelling, climbing, canoeing… I realized shortly before our technical bike instruction that I hadn’t been on my Bike in about 2 years – and it felt like it. My legs have finally recovered today. Ankles are still a little sore from hiking through the bush up and down hills on and off trails… I learned a lot about my physical limits and where I have to place my focus in my training over the next few months…
I think the thing that is attracting me most to AR is the element of self-discovery. It’s easy in life to fall into a certain complacency – living life on autopilot, for the sake of security. We like to feel warm, safe, and comfortable – rarely pushing our limits or taking risks. The road to self-discovery lies beyond this security blanket that we build for ourselves – our daily routines and our daily comforts and our fears. To really feel alive is to push beyond these perceived limitations.
The only way to defeat fear is to face it head-on. The only way to truly feel life is to take it head-on.
Adventure Racing can be gruelling. Ever seen Eco-Challenge? Granted, those races are on a massive scale, but imagine doing any amount of physical activity and sustaining it for many hours or even days on end. Then add the unpredictable nature of AR – dealing with poor weather, physical and mental exhaustion, equipment malfunction, team dynamics… Mix it all up and you’ve got yourself one helluva journey.