Thursday, November 10, 2011


Adventure Racers. CrossFitters. Triathletes. Cyclists. Ultrarunners. Explorers. Fighters. You.

We're blesssed to have the ability and freedom of movement and free will. Every day I thank God for my health, and my family's. Watch this video of Connor and Cayden Long. This 8 year old boy pulls his less-fortunate but much-loved 6-year-old brother through triathlons!

This video reminds me to put excuses in context and make the most of what I DO have, today.
What is under your control *right now*? Your posture, your thoughts, your words, your actions,
the way you treat people, the choices you make...

Every day is a gift.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Power Rankings: The Best Adventure Racing Teams in America

Explore Compete LIVE has just released their Power Rankings of the top American Adventure Racing teams. We (DART-nuun) are currently ranked #2, behind our friends Tecnu Extreme/StaphAseptic.

Tecnu just came back from the Adventure Racing World Championships in Tasmania, where DART-nuun racer Ryan VanGorder joined their squad in an impressive 12th place finish.

From the ExlporeCompeteLIVE website:

We have been juggling the idea of a team ranking for a few years and have finally decided to pull the trigger. Our panel has based our inaugural rankings based on an informed opinion of team’s performances at key races in the US (and a few international ones where relevant). This will be a monthly addition to the site so race hard and perhaps you will see your team’s name on the list (if not already) moving forward.

AR Power Rankings:

1. Tecnu Extreme/Staphaseptic—Strong showing at both CPT and USARA Championships (2nd at both), winners at Gold Rush, 12th at the AR World Championships in Tasmania (top North American team there), strong showing at APEX Switzerland race, 6th at RTNX — Kyle Peter is poised to be the first big AR star of a new generation of athletes, in our humble opinion.

2. Dart-Nuun-SportMulti—1st American team at APEX in the Swiss Alps, 3rd overall at Gold Rush and 3d overall at RTNX — Tecnu beat them head-to-head at Gold Rush in Sept and that’s good enough for us to place them under Tecnu.

3. WEDALI—Won the CPT Nationals race, 3rd at USARA Nats (behind hybrid of Tecnu/SOG teams); 9th at RTNX; overall body of work for 2011 too impressive to bump them out of our top 3.

4. Team Bones—3rd at Expedition Idaho (1st American team), 16th at the AR World Championships (2nd American team) has them in our 4th spot. They rarely race the shorter events, but for the big epic races you can count on Team Bones powering through the course.

5. GearJunkie/YogaSlackers—Despite a 6th place finish at CPT, they took 2nd at Gold Rush, 4th at Exped Idaho (2nd American team), and 5th at RTNX (2nd American team). Perhaps the best performance by this team was their 2nd place finish this year at what may be the hardest race on the planet, the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race. The longer and tougher the race, the more money I’d put on these guys. I have no problem slotting them in at #5.

6. Team SOG—They won USARA Nationals and took 2nd (on a hybrid team) at CPT Nationals — so maybe they should be ranked higher, but their inconsistency in race personnel made us uncomfortable placing them above this 5th spot. Their 6th place finishing Expedition Idaho team, for example, was vastly different than their USARA Nationals team. Still, 6th place on this list is pretty darn good!

7. Odyssey Adventure Racing/—They won the USARA Nationals Masters division (finished 4th overall) and took 3rd at CPT Nationals. No expedition race results of note for this bunch in 2011 (although Mark Lattanzi has had a great race at the World Championships in Tasmania on the “Dancing Pandas” team).

8. CheckpointZero/Tech4o—5th overall at USARA Nationals, and 9th at CPT Nationals . . . Their 10th place finish at RTNX (5th American team) is just enough for us to place them above the Alpine Shop team.

9. Alpine Shop—USARA Masters 3rd Place (6th overall) and 4th at CPT Nationals. Not far behind Wedali at the 36-hour Berryman in September. No true expedition race results that we could uncover, though.

10. Bushwhacker A strong team from the midwest, 5th at CPT Nationals wrapped up a great season for them.

Honorable Mention:

• Team Granite (aka Team Light & Motion, Team Untamed New England)—A lighter schedule in 2011 than usual for this bunch, but impressive results when they did race.

• NYARA—Some different personnel racing under the NYARA name, but strong teams every time and top finishes to their credit.

• GOALS ARA—A disappointing expedition race in Costa Rica earlier in the year, but some redemption later in the season.

Dirty Avocados—A strong team on the West Coast, consistent results in Big Blue series and others in their region

Monday, November 7, 2011

Whiskeytown Extreme 24 Hour Adventure Race Report

NorCal Adventure Racing's series finale event for 2011 was the Whiskeytown Extreme 24 Hour Adventure Race.

Located in hilly Northern California near Mount Shasta, Whiskeytown Extreme was ominously billed as a "graduate level race". Teams faced mazes of trails and fire roads across challenging terrain strangely devoid of any flats. A single paddling section took racers across Whiskeytown Reservoir. Through narrow coves and inlets (too narrow to turn a triple kayak around) teams sought checkpoints hanging from high branches in the darkness of night. Mountain-top checkpoints gained by climbing and bushwacking up steep walls of forest rewarded racers with magnificent views of distant mountain ranges and alpine lakes.

The ~100 mile course largely avoided gratuitous hike-a-bike and bush-wacking in favor of multiple route choice decisions and strategies.

Significantly and quite impressively, Whiskeytown Extreme 24 stuck to a genuine Adventure Racing format. Teams found checkpoints in sequential A-Z order. This should seem quite obvious to most, but an increasing number of lame races over the last few years have foregone Adventure Race courses, opting for a new orienteering format where teams can hit checkpoints in any order, skipping the "hard ones" and still "finishing" officially. In the orienteering format, many teams strategically skip portions of the course as they please and the winning teams sometimes cross the finish line last, with all the checkpoints.

Kudos to Rich and his staff for keeping it "real". For back of the pack and new teams with developing navigation skills, there were short course options towards the end of the race.

Team nuun-SportMulti (Ryan VanGorder, Jen VanGorder & Sean Clancy) moved swiftly as a team but made a few uncharacteristic and costly navigational mistakes that would preclude a victory this time out.

The details of these navigational SNAFUs will be shared over beers and laughs at a campfire, or out on the trail. Suffice it to say that even the most experienced and successful teams can make self-immolating 'rookie' mistakes. The Whiskeytown Extreme 24 course punished any mistakes while handsomely rewarding the best navigation decisions, another sign that the course was thoughtfully and strategically designed by the highly experienced race directors.

After completing the course in a bit over 26 hours, a disappointed but focusedTeam nuun-SportMulti ran across the finish line as the 3rd place team in the mixed 3/4 person rankings. Whiskeytown Extreme 24 would be Sean Clancy's first adventure race since doing both 24 Hour Adventure Racing National Championships (USARA and Checkpoint Tracker Series) in October 2010. The race also marked Jennifer VanGorder's return to team 24hr racing after the birth of her second daughter Jora earlier this year. Lastly, it also served as a tune-up for busy dad Ryan VanGorder in his preparation for a moonlighting assignment Down Under. RVG is off to race as a hired gun with our friends and rivals Team Tecnu Extreme/StaphAseptic at the 2011 Adventure Racing World Championships in TASMANIA in November!

In Adventure,


PS, I snapped this shot of Golden Gate Bridge on my way up from Santa Barbara...taken from Crissy Field. I lived here in 2001 and would enjoy
this view on my evening never gets old.