Journey Racing: Professional Coaching, Gear-Sourcing, and Workforce-Constructing Ideas

Getting began in journey racing could be difficult, each bodily and mentally. However with some cautious planning and preparation, you’ll get to the end line feeling proud and able to crush the following one.


Editor’s be aware: This text was initially revealed on USARA.com and has been modified for GearJunkie.


Introduced by

Journey racing (AR) is a multisport, primarily off-road, navigation-based self-discipline. The premier occasions require racers to type mixed-gender groups of three or 4. However races around the globe range of their laws, so occasions permitting single-gender groups or groups of 1 to 4 racers are widespread.

Right here at GearJunkie, we’ve got an extended historical past of journey racing. For instance, Workforce Bend Racing got here out on prime within the Patagonian Expedition Race. The crew, together with GearJunkie founder Stephen Regenold, has competed in different journey races earlier than and since.

Oh, and GearJunkie can also be the official media accomplice of the United States Journey Racing Affiliation (USARA). So it’s secure to say we all know a factor or two about AR.

Learn on for a breakdown of AR’s core disciplines, in partnership with the USARA, in addition to skilled assets on coaching, gear-sourcing, and team-building.

Kyle Nossaman and Stephen Regenold mapping out their route at USARA Adventure Racing Nationals in 2021 with a map laid out on a table outdoors.
(Photograph/Randy Ericksen)

Journey Racing Core Disciplines

A core function of AR is the mixture of a number of disciplines into one occasion. Basic AR codecs contain trekking, biking, and paddling legs. However different disciplines can embody wintersports, crew challenges, mountaineering, horseback using, swim-run, rollerblading, or anything the race director can dream up.

The Journey Racing Cooperative (ARC) provides a spread of assets to assist racers put together for the core disciplines of AR. Most races require members to modify between disciplines a number of instances.

As famous above, AR is a navigation-based sport. Which means that groups navigate by compass (GPS is just not allowed in most races) utilizing a map that signifies the placement of checkpoints. Some races are “point-to-point,” which means that groups should get hold of all checkpoints to be thought-about a ending crew.

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Different races are “rogaine,” indicating that there are non-obligatory checkpoints inside a bit and that checkpoints in that part could be obtained in any order. “Modified rogaine” occasions embody a mix of point-to-point and rogaine sections.

Conventional point-to-point programs are usually extra widespread in multiday, expedition-length races, although race administrators typically provide short-course modifications for groups unable to finish the entire race.

Shorter, native races are usually rogaine or modified rogaine occasions. Groups capable of “clear” (efficiently find) all checkpoints are usually probably the most aggressive and skilled groups.

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Regardless of the format, all journey races share an important function: the time cutoff. Programs are open for a specified period of time, and groups should cross the end line with the required variety of checkpoints to complete the race.

Journey races can vary in size from a pair hours to multiday “expedition races,” taking as much as 2 weeks.

For extra, many different on-line sources clarify AR intimately. However some favorites of the USARA are SleepMonsters — a global media group that covers the game — and the video introduction to AR from the Journey Racing World Sequence (ARWS).

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Coaching for Your Objectives

Coaching on your first journey race will range relying on the sort of race (together with the disciplines concerned), its size, and your crew’s targets. Many groups enter the game with the aim of “ending as pals,” whereas others additionally search to compete at a excessive degree.

Accordingly, coaching can vary from growing your time spent open air with enjoyable day journeys, to a close to part-time job with a centered coaching plan.

To get a really feel for the sort of coaching journey athletes are doing day by day, take a look at Attackpoint AR. It’s an internet coaching and race log the place many skilled racers publish their health regimens. This web site additionally hosts an energetic internet discussion board for AR-focused dialogue together with deciding on gear, speaking about races, and supporting coaching.

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Some athletes choose the construction and care of working with an AR-focused endurance coach. The USARA recommends Jen Segger, Sarah Goldman, and Travis Macy as skilled endurance athletes themselves with years of teaching information. Some race organizations, like Bend Racing, provide AR-focused coaching camps. Coaching plans can vary from mounted to extremely individualized and interactive applications.

As a result of journey races require ability in navigating with a map and compass, it’s necessary that at the very least one crew member be proficient on this area. Becoming a member of your native orienteering membership is an effective way to develop this ability in shorter occasions.

You can even familiarize your self with map studying by bringing topographical maps with you on mountaineering, biking, and paddling journeys. TanZ Navigation is a wonderful useful resource for AR-focused navigation coaching, providing “Squiggly Traces” (a ebook on AR navigation) and digital orienteering occasions.

Coaching can also be a wonderful method to discover your most well-liked gear for AR. All journey races publish a required gear record earlier than the race with necessary gear to facilitate security and effectivity. Remember to overview this record nicely upfront to make sure that you and your crew can supply the required gear.

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Three people carrying gear on a dock during a USARA Adventure Race.
(Photograph/Randy Ericksen)

Sourcing Gear for an Journey Race

Gear lists for journey racing could be daunting, particularly when contemplating signing up for a 24-hour occasion or an expedition race. In case you’re ranging from scratch, it might probably value hundreds of {dollars} to outfit your self in high quality gear for a race like Eco-Problem. Even for a brief dash race, you could have to make some preliminary investments.

To get began, check out some native races to verify investing in a brand new mountain bike is value it. Chances are high, you already know somebody with the gear you want. Most races present boating gear, however are you able to borrow a motorcycle from a good friend when you don’t have one? How a couple of headlamp?

Even for a brief dash race, you’ll seemingly want some new gear to satisfy the necessities. And there are all the time high-end, tremendous light-weight fashions of … nicely, all the things.

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Many seasoned journey racers will let you know, nevertheless, that the gear with the biggest price ticket or lightest marketed weight is just not essentially the fitting selection for AR, as it may be tough in your gear. Why put money into a $200 pair of sun shades when a $5 pair will work simply nice? There’s no have to put money into a elaborate bailer from REI when a sawed-off milk jug will do the trick. Get artistic.

As you get extra skilled, you’ll determine what gear is value spending on. Speaking to extra skilled racers and seeing what the extra aggressive groups are racing with can even assist. That is very true as a result of a number of the most favored firms will not be family names.

Three team members in a canoe paddle through a reed filled lake during USARA Adventure Racing Nationals.
(Photograph/Randy Ericksen)

Discovering a Workforce

Journey racing developed initially as a team-based sport that’s mixed-gender on the premier degree, although most races (excluding a number of the premier expedition races) now embody divisions for single-gender groups.

As famous above, some races provide solo racer divisions, as some racers choose to race alone. Nonetheless, many racers search to race as a crew for at the very least some portion of their profession. They will take a look at assets just like the Journey Race Teammate Finder group on Fb or contact their native race director and find out about different racers searching for teammates.

It might take a while to discover a crew you race nicely with. Profitable groups, whether or not those that have identified one another for years or these simply assembly, talk successfully nicely earlier than race day.

All teammates ought to agree on the targets for the race. Are you aiming for a podium end or simply hoping to get pleasure from a day outdoors collectively? How laborious will the crew push? What sort of coaching effort are racers placing in earlier than the race? Who’s bringing what gear, and do you’ve the necessary gear record lined? What are the strengths and weaknesses of every racer, and how are you going to assist one another at low moments?

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Answering these questions could be useful instantly earlier than a race, significantly for teammates who haven’t raced with one another earlier than. Groups also needs to talk about who will fulfill key roles on the crew similar to lead navigator (or sharing navigation roles) and the obligations of the captain. These can vary based mostly on crew preferences from the teammate answerable for organizing pre-race logistics to the first decision-maker within the occasion of disagreements.

Expedition race groups may talk about their sleep technique for multiday racing.

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Becoming a member of the Neighborhood

The AR group is welcoming, inclusive, useful, and humble. Many longtime racers be aware that the group retains them coming again to this sport at the very least as a lot because the races themselves. New racers will discover many keen mentors on this group, whether or not by means of speaking on the post-race social gathering or participating in on-line dialogue with racers around the globe. (Teams just like the Journey Racing Dialogue Group on Fb or the Attackpoint AR dialogue boards are choices for this.)

The USARA and its occasions’ major intention is to assist a group of people that reside to journey within the open air. The Legendary Randy Ericksen, a photographer and AR-media rep, additionally provides a sequence of interviews with racers on his “TA 1” podcast, a wonderful addition to any lengthy exercise.

You can even join with different racers by following USARA social media on Fb, Instagram, and YouTube.

A team of three using headlamps to refer to their map during a USARA Nationals Adventure Race in 2021.
(Photograph/Ann Ilagen)

Time to Race

Like something new, you’ll ultimately have to dive in. And we promise: After your first race, all you’ll take into consideration is getting on the market for the following one.

The USARA is a good useful resource for all issues racing. Take a look at the group’s calendar for USARA-affiliated races occurring all through the U.S. You can even reference the ARC calendar for a complete itemizing of journey races and AR-adjacent races within the U.S. and internationally. SleepMonsters additionally maintains a calendar for the worldwide racing scene, and the ARWS updates its calendar of sanctioned occasions.

In selecting and getting ready on your race, overview experiences from racers who’ve accomplished previous editions to get a way of what you’re signing up for.

Positive, everybody needs to do Eco-Problem, however there are loads of different unimaginable races on the market. Take a look at what’s obtainable in your space — and get on the market!


This text is sponsored by Toyota. Discover out extra in regards to the 2022 Toyota Tundra on the model’s web site. 

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