Adventure Racing 2011 is well underway… and February is choc-full of extreme events

The Wenger Patagonia Expedition Race was completed on 12th February. Held in the extreme south of Chile, this 9 day, 700km race explored some of the most pristine, untouched areas of the world. The disciplines included in this race were trail running, mountain treking, ropework, navigation, mountain biking, river and sea kayaking.

Wenger Patagonia Expedition Race

15 teams were invited to the race which styles itself ‘the last wild race in the world’. Despite extreme conditions…

… plus swimming through glacier-fed fjords and rock climbing up cliffs more than 200 meters tall – many racers say they plan to come back again in 2012.

A second race began on Saturday, 20th February, the Terra Viva AR – it is a 100 % non-stop, un-assisted race where teams of four will traverse approximately 450 km in six days across mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers of the Cordillera de los Andes, Patagonia Argentina. The team members must stick together at all times and follow the instructions carefully. Maps and compasses are allowed. The disciplines included will be trekking, mountain biking and kayaking. All 4 members of the team must complete the course.

And on the 27th February, the 10th Annual Iditarod Trail Invitational will begin. Running from the 27th to the 9th March, this event is for experienced winter ultra athletes only and in fact, so extreme is this race that entry is only possible after a personal interview with race organisers.

It follows the historic Iditarod Trail from Knik Lake to McGrath: 350 kms through remote Alaskan backcountry in the middle of winter. Racers will traverse the Alaska Range at 3,100′ (1,000 m) and cross frozen rivers, lakes and tundra by either bicycle, ski or foot. The course is extremely remote and often temperatures of -40 have been experienced. Immediately after leaving the start line the race goes off-road. Racers have to be self-sufficient in the arctic winter environment.

Only 50 competitors are invited.

This race has two distances… either 350 miles to McGrath or 1,100 miles to Nome… 12 of the 50 competitors are going the whole hog ie: 1,100 kms. 6 are going to bike it, 4 challenge it on foot and 2 are going to ski the distance…

There are 15 people on the waiting list in the event of someone dropping out before D-Day.

An update of condtions on 18th February was that snow, snow and more snow had fallen in the Mat-Su Valley, but less near Point McKenzie and up on the Yentna River near Luces. If conditions remain the same it looks like the first part of the trail could be fast, but warnings are out to beware of the rogue moose somewhere between Shell Lake and Skwentna!

The following is a video of Kathi Hirzinger Merchant’s ride on the Iditarod Trail. She become the first female cyclist to finish the 1100 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational race from Knik to Nome, Alaska…

Good luck to all and every one of you.

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