The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
What is an adventure race?
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From the great Wiki, “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, paddling and climbing and related rope skills. An expedition event can span ten days or more, whereas sprints can be completed in a matter of hours. There is typically no 'dark period' (a scheduled break in the race) during races, irrespective of length; competitors must choose if or when to rest. Adventure racing historically required teams to be of a specified size and to include both men and women, but many races no longer restrict team size and include single-sex divisions. Some also include age-based categories."
Is the race format point to point or Rogaine?
Our races are a mix of navigation styles. Point to point races require you to collect checkpoints on a specified order. Rogaine style is where you can collect checkpoints in any order. The style of navigation will be outlined in the race rules.
What kind of bike do I need?
For Tenderfoot (beginner) and longer races you will need a mountain bike for all bike stages of the race. Cyclo-cross and road bikes are not permitted for races longer than 6 hours, but cyclo-cross is usually fine for a Tenderfoot. Ideally the mountain bike will have front suspension. For the Tenderfoot races you can use any bike that has two wheels (or even three).
Do I need a bike helmet?
On any of the biking sections you and everyone on your team will be required to wear a bike helmet. No helmet, no riding.
I want to enter a Tenderfoot race but some team members may not be able to ride a bike. Can I still enter?
We want everyone to come out and have fun. If a team member can not ride a bike, no problem. Just do any of the other legs of the event, be that paddling, trekking, or any other section. If there is a section a teammate doesn't want to do, no problem; skip it and do the parts you're excited about! For some (but not all) races, to be eligible for prizes and ranking you must do all the disciplines. At Tenderfoot events, most have all optional points that can be acquired by foot or bike, so you choose your adventure! Entrance fees will be the same rate no matter how you tackle the course.
Do I need bike lights?
For the 12+ hour races your bike must be equipped with a rear blinking light that must be on at all times when you are riding on public roads. Front lights that have a minimum run time of 12 hours are also required. Lights are not required for Tenderfoot races.
Will there be water stops or areas where water is available throughout the course?
There will be some areas to refill water. You should carry water with you in your pack and on your bike. For longer races it is highly recommended to have water treatment tablets with you so that you can take advantage of “natural” water resources.
Is the race set up with transition areas (places that we will return to and for us to store food/supplies to be used during different legs) or is it a single start and finish (take everything with you)?
There will usually be a main transition area. For 24+ hour races you can expect to be away from there for at least 12 hours so you will need to carry enough supplies (food) to keep you going for this amount of time.
Can family/friends pass food/water to competitors?
No. No outside assistance is allowed. Outside assistance of any kind will be grounds for disqulaification. You can get assistance from other teams, however.
Can the required bike kit be stored on a bike and carried during the bike legs only, or does it have to be carried during the run, orienteering, and canoe sections?
You only need to have the bike equipment while on the bike. Bike shoes and helmet can also be stored with the bike.
I need to find some teammates. Can you help?
Do I need a support crew?
Nope. All our races are unsupported. No outside assistance is allowed.
What are the lengths of the different disciplines?
For the Epic (24+ hour) races you can expect biking will be approximately 40-60 miles, paddling will be approximately 28 miles, and trekking will be between 20 and 50 miles.
For the Strong (6- to 12-hour) races you can expect biking will be approximately 8-15 miles, paddling will be approximately 10-15 miles, and trekking will be between 10 and 20 miles.
For the Tenderfoot Adventure class (4-hour races) you can expect biking will be approximately 10-15 miles, paddling will be approximately 3 miles (if there is a canoe section), and trekking will be between 5 and 15 miles. For the Tenderfoot family races, biking will be approximately 3-4 miles, canoeing will be approximately 3 miles (if there is canoeing), and trekking will be between 2 and 4 miles.
All distances may vary depending on your route choice.
I am a soloist. What type of boat will I get?
If there is a paddle section and a soloist category, soloists will be provided with a kayak for the paddle section with a PFD and paddle. All other teams will be provided with a 17′ canoe, PFDs, and a single blade paddle for each team member. You are permitted to use your own paddle and/or PFD. No personal boats are allowed (unless indicated otherwise).
Do you have more information on the course?
Detailed descriptions for all the races can be found at the Adventure Enablers website under each event.
How much navigation/map reading will be involved?
For races 12+ hours you will be required to navigate using various types of maps. Some coordinates will already be plotted; others will have to be plotted using UTM coordinates. Map and compass skills will be required to locate some of the checkpoints. Mandatory checkpoints will be able to be located with minimal map and compass skills. For shorter races no plotting will be required. All checkpoints will be provided on the map. There may be some checkpoints off the trail that require map and compass skills to locate. For the Tenderfoot races all checkpoints will be plotted on the map and located on trails that will be easy to find. Little or no map and compass skills will be required.
How technical is the mountain bike?
For the races 4+ hours there is a usually a mix of single track, gravel fire road, and pavement. Depending on route choice, the terrain will vary. The single track sections usually require little technical skills but will involve some short steep climbs, loose surface, and small obstacles. For the tenderfoot races the biking will be on flat gravel or dirt trails and fire roads.
What equipment do I need?
Mandatory gear lists can be found on the Adventure Enablers web site listed under the event.
Do I need a first aid kit?
For races over 4+ hours you will need to bring you own first aid kit as part of your mandatory gear. We recommend the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight .7 (http://www.rei.com/product/695383). This has all the required medical supplies.
Do I need a dry bag?
For races 12+ hours it is mandatory to have a method of keeping your gear dry. Two suggested methods of keeping your kit dry:
Have smaller dry bags inside your pack. This will also help organize your kit. You can pick up a 3 pack of water tight bags from Walmart for about $10. One drawback to this method is that if your bag gets wet the contents stay dry but your bag may hold water and gain weight.
Have a dry bag large enough to put your whole pack in. This way if it gets wet, everything stays dry. The drawback is that you have to carry a dry bag large enough to put your pack in, adding to weight.
During longer races you may be on a river for 5-8 hours. Even if you don’t capsize there will be water sitting in the bottom of the boat where your bag will be sitting. Keeping your gear dry is essential to having a happy and successful adventure. Weather is also a factor, and if it rains, you'll need to keep your kit dry.
Why have mandatory equipment?
Most of the mandatory equipment is required to help you complete the course safely in the event you have an emergency or mechanical issue. Usually the longer the race and the more time you spend on the course, more equipment is necessary. The mandatory gear also plays an important part of our overall safety plan for all the events.
What is a PFD?
A PFD is a Personal Flotation Device or life jacket. This will be provided and must be worn at all times during the canoe section if there is one.
What is a space blanket?
A space blanket (also known as a mylar blanket, first aid blanket, emergency blanket, thermal blanket, or weather blanket) is a blanket used in emergencies to reduce heat losses in a person’s body caused by thermal radiation, water evaporation, and convection. You can get one from any good major outdoor retailer, such as your local outdoor store or REI, or you can order them online at REI at
Is there food or water on the course?
There will be water/drinks on all the courses, but you should plan to carry a water bottle or a hydration system. For the 12+ hour races you will need to carry enough food and water throughout the entire race that will sustain you for at least up to 12 hours.
Is there an age limit?
For the races over 4 hours, racers must be 16 or older. For the Tenderfoot Family race category you must have a least one team member who is younger than 16 and one older than 18.
Can I bring my own paddle/boat/PFD?
If there is a paddle section, no personal boats are allowed, unless otherwise indicated on the specific course description page. Personal PFDs and paddles are permitted but must be transported by teams. Boats, paddles, and PFDs will be provided and are included as part of your entry fee. If you bring your own PFD and paddle, there is no reduction in the cost of entry fee.
Is there a rope section?
Some but not all races include a ropes section. Review the race description to see if there is a rope section.
Do I need to stage or transport equipment on the course?
Information for staging equipment will be provided prior to the race.
Are there cut-off times?
There are usually cut off times for adventure races. Details will be explained during the pre-race brief.
Will there be a pre-race brief?
Yes. Every race will have a pre-race brief just before it starts. Locations and times will be provided for each individual race.
What are the USARA & North American Adventure Race Series?
Adventure racing is a growing sport and over the past few years different race series that tie together different events across the country and world have been formed. USARA is the longest-running series. You can register your team to be part of the series online at www.usara.com. Different Adventure Enablers races are USARA national qualifiers, or sanctioned, races that will allow teams to earn points toward their ranking. The North American Adventure Racing Series (formally known as ECARS) is a rapidly expanding series. The NAARS focuses on different AR events accross the United States. Point winners in the series stand to win a large cash prize and sponsorship gear. Some Adventure Enablers races are part of the NAARS. See for more deatils on the NAARS.
I have never done a 24-hour race before. Can I do one?
A 24-hour race is not something to take lightly, but if you are fit and spend a decent amount of time in the saddle of a bike or on running trails, a 24-hour race is a great way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. If you have never done an adventure race before and want to see what it is all about, try doing a Tenderfoot or Strong race first. They usually cover all the same disciplines (mountain biking, canoeing, trekking, and navigation), are fun, and provide a great introduction to the sport.
What are Adventure Enablers’s refund, transfer, and cancellation policies?
Once you have registered for an event, we do not issue refunds. If for some reason you can’t make it to race day, feel free to come to packet pickup, pick up your race t-shirt, cheer others on, and say hi! Your entry can be transferred to someone else or participants may change class/distance (4-person to 2-person, 10K to 5K, etc.) up to 2 weeks before race day (with a $15 transfer fee). With changes, entry or swag is not guaranteed. No refunds/credits will be given in the event of transfers or changes. Changes must be made online or requested via email: email@example.com.
The race will be held rain or shine. In the event of severe weather, the race start may be postponed or the course may be shortened. As the race company, we reserve the right to alter, postpone, or cancel any race for safety concerns. In the event the race is canceled, no refunds or credits will be provided. In the event a participant cannot attend a rescheduled date, no refunds or credits will be provided.