If you are new to Adventure Racing, but keen to get into it, then the event organisers Gold Rush are probably the team for you. They are the oldest and most experienced group of racers and event promoters on the west coast and hold 4 annual events in California which range from an orienteering clinic to, the final event, a 4 day Adventure Race. It’s a great set-up to ease you into the sport with grace and fun.
Adventure Racing is the best ever sport, but it generally requires a fair amount of time. Too much time for many people. And this is where Gold Rush have been so clever. Their first event of the season is the Night ‘O’ – a 3-hour night-time orienteering stint which begins at 8 p.m. and is followed by a barbecue and, if you wish to stay over, a bit of real camping – nice and primitive, no running water, the way camping should be! This is the perfect event for hone-ing your orienteering skills, or not as the case may be… “Last year we went in a small circle for three hours…had a blast though!” said one team member.
The Gold Rush Summer Challenge follows shortly afterwards. This is intended to be a fun 6-hour race, stepping up the challenge from Night ‘O’. Held in central California between the towns of Sonora and Oakdale, the Summer Challenge is a combination of running, mountain biking and paddling. Two person teams or relay teams of 2 or 3 people can enter and if you are having problems putting together a team the race organisers are very happy to help you. The race has an 8 a.m. start and cut-off time is 6 p.m. so whether you intend to race hard or just enjoy your first adventure race, this is a great event to take part in. At an affordable $70 per competitor or $50 for under-25’s this is a popular race and places fill up quickly – which is why this article is being written now… registration is open for the 2012 events.
The Summer Challenge is followed by the 4-day Gold Rush Mother Lode. This is the ‘real thing’ and was also the only North American qualifier for the Adventure Racing World Series 2011. 16 teams from around the world were competing for a guaranteed entry to the AR World Championships in November. The Mother Lode was a challenging 280 mile race held in the harsh and dramatic environment of the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Bridgeport and Columbia. The multi-discipline race included fast packing/trekking, mountain biking, navigating, paddling and a superb 600 ft rappel.
At 4 days in length, it is on the shorter end of the expedition category, creating a perfect opportunity for teams who can’t afford the time off for one of the longer events.
The 2011 event has just finished. US Team Tecnu Extreme won the coveted guaranteed free entry into the AR World Championships that will be held in Tasmania, Australia.
However, back to registering for these races next year. A rough guide is that the Orienteering Clinic will be sometime late April, Night ‘O’ will be in May, the Summer Challenge will be in June and the Mother Lode will be on the 6-9 September. If you want to register or at least make contact with the Gold Rush organisers I suggest you do so earlier rather than later, just follow this link to their Gold Rush website.
photo courtesy of Gold Rush Adventure Races