top of page

The AR Immersion

Adventure Race Retreat

4-Day Camp: Aug 30-Sept 2, 2017


You’ve sat and listened to your friend’s stories, grimaced at their scrapes and bruises, oohed and ahhed over their race photos, and watched the dots long enough. It’s time to come to the adventure racing side. The AR Immersion is for anyone wanting to gain experience and explore the amazing sport of Adventure Racing. Immerse yourself in adventure—it’s the proven path to success and it’s going to be fun as heck.


At the AR Immersion, you will learn the foundations of adventure racing, which include navigation, mountain biking, paddling, and trekking (and sometimes ropes), by doing those things with people who live and breathe it. This 4-day/3-night camp is geared toward those wanting to get into the sport for the first time but is also useful for those ready to try a 24-hour AR. 

During the Immersion, you will develop and learn the different skills to prepare for the final activity of the week, the Tenderfoot AR, where you will compete against fellow AR Immersion participants and put your newfound skills to the test.


With adventure racing, it’s common for a participant to be great at one discipline (say, mountain biking), decent at another (like trekking or trail running), and almost terrible at another (like, paddling or navigation). After the AR Immersion you’ll be armed with the knowledge and confidence to take on an Adventure Race that lasts up to 24 hours. And like doing it!

The retreat includes: Lodging and meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner); 8-10 instructed activity sessions, mini adventure race, shirt, hat, buff, nutritional products, compass, plotting template, and access to laundry facilities.


Items to bring: Small backpack with hydration system or water bottle, outdoor recreation clothing, and appropriate shoes. Participants will need a bike and biking gear. Rental bikes are available.

All activities will be instructed by veteran adventure athletes pulling knowledge from more than 100 different adventure races as athletes and race directors. The organizers and instructors have managed the world's top-tiered races from United States Adventure Racing Association Nationals to the Adventure Racing World Championship. The camp will have group and one-on-one training session to help you learn about adventure racing and improve your skills as an outdoor adventurer.


The AR Immersion is hosted out of Shenandoah River State Park, which sits on a beautiful 7-mile stretch of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and is nestled between Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest. Activities will take place in and around the park and forest. This is also the location of our premier AR series, the Shenandoah AR Weekend.

Shenandoah River State Park

350 Daughter of Stars Dr

Bentonville, VA 22610

38.8491° N, 78.3074° W

We will be staying in the Lodge (cabin 3). Follow the signs to the cabins.


We know Adventure Racers are a tough crowd, but we see no need to rough it. Enjoy accommodation in the Lodge at Shenandoah River State Park, where you will bunk with fellow campers in style. After a hard day on foot, bike, or the river, we'll leave you time to relax on one of the decks overlooking the Shenandoah River and watch the sun set behind the mountains. You'll also have access to a group kitchen, and there will be plenty of opportunities to tell stories and discuss race tactics in the great room.


Gels and trail bars are fine for race day, but we want to make sure you have some delicious food while you spend some time with us. Breakfast food will be provided for you at the cabin to start your day. Each day we will have a gourmet lunch pack for you, prepared by local food artisans. For dinner, we will visit local restaurants (1 dinner out) and enjoy a cookout with some local brews and wines. And as you put the calories on, we will make sure you take them off too.


Whether you are local or from afar we can help you get to the AR Immersion. The nearest airport is Washington Dulles International (IAD). We can pick you and your gear up from the airport the day of check-in and drop you back after camp is over.


Wednesday August 30th, 2017 at 1 pm to Saturday September 2nd, 2017 at 11 am

On Aug. 30 plan to arrive at 1 pm at the Lodge (Cabin 3) at Shenandoah River State Park (350 Daughter of Stars Drive, Bentonville, VA). Follow the signs to the Cabins. We will be there to meet you! 

Click here for the camp itinerary.

Registration Fee

4-Day Immersion (Capped at 16 campers)

Bunk House - $450 pp

Queen Rooms (Double occupancy required) - $500 pp

Twin Room - $475 pp

Participants must be 16 or older

A 2.5% fee is added for credit card transactions

What You Will Learn

Adventure Race Overview

  • Disciplines

  • Race lengths



  • Elements of a map

  • Compass skills

  • Reading a topographic map

  • Navigating

  • Night navigation

  • Plotting

  • Route choice and planning


Trekking/Trail Running

  • Equipment overview & maintenance

    • Footwear selection

    • Poles

    • Lights

    • Packs

  • Trail running techniques: Hills, pace, assessing the terrain

  • Training for trail running

  • Foot care



  • Equipment overview & maintenance

    • Types of bikes FS, HT, 29”, 27.5”

    • Lights

    • Accessories

    • Puncture repair, chain repair, & other quick fixes

    • What to have in your bike toolkit

  • Technical riding skills: Downhill, uphill, logs, rock gardens, stream crossings

  • Towing

  • Night riding



  • Equipment overview & maintenance

    • Types of boats - kayak, tandem kayak, canoe, pack raft

    • Paddles

    • PFDs

  • Paddle strokes

  • Position in boat

  • Reading a river

  • Water safety​


  • Hydration

  • Electrolytes

  • Food

  • Pre and post race nutrition


Teamwork and WTF moments

  • Team member roles

  • Individual and team goals

  • Stronger than the weakest link

  • Carrying the load

  • Towing


Basic First Aid and Wellness

  • Medical kit

  • Blisters

  • Chafing

  • Sunburns

  • Bug bites

  • Analgesics



  • Gear bins

  • Organization

  • Packing for race day


Safety and Risk Assessment

  • Terrain

  • Weather

  • Fatigue

  • Equipment

  • Communication

Mandatory Gear for the Camp (What to bring)

  • Pack to carry gear

  • Hydration system (Hydration pack, water bottle, etc. with capacity to carry at least 2 liters)

  • Headlamp with extra batteries

  • Whistle

  • Knife with minimum 2.5-inch blade (preferably with a serrated edge)

  • Emergency blanket or bag

  • 1 long-sleeved wool blend or other type of insulated top (not cotton)

  • Fleece/wool hat

  • Waterproof jacket and pants

  • Trail shoes (2 pairs)

  • Socks (wool or wool blend) (4 pairs at least)

  • Mountain bike

  • Helmet (CPSC, ANSI, or SNELL certified)

  • Rear light (must be capable of blinking)

  • Front light with enough battery power to last 12 hours.

  • PFD Class III (Provided by the Adventure Enablers, but feel free to bring your own)

  • Paddle (Provided by the Adventure Enablers, but feel free to bring your own)

  • Dry bag or method of keeping equipment dry in the event of bad weather and during the canoe section

  • Bike tool kit and at least one spare bike tube

  • Emergency First Aid kit – Recommended is the Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight 0.7 or similar

  • Toiletries

  • Personal medications

  • Change of clothes for 3-5 days

  • Chargers and charging cables for all your electronic devices

  • Pillow (Optional for your own comfort)

  • Sleeping bag (Optional for your own comfort)

  • Linens and towels are provided in the lodge but please bring an additional towel for use in the field.

  • Casual clothing for end-of-day chilling

  • Hat and sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellent


Feel free to contact us at with any questions. We look forward to seeing you at the AR Immersion!

The AR Immersion is not affiliated with Virginia State Parks or Shenandoah River State Park.

Please reload

bottom of page