Today's Adventure Racing Is Not An Extreme Sport

If you are familiar with adventure racing, than you've probably heard the stories of the 10-day/500mile adventure races.

Though adventure racing at this level is inspirational, most of us do not have the time or money to train and participate in a 10-day race. So, what options are there if you want a taste of adventure racing?

Adventure Racing Today

California race organizers are helping to redefine the sport for the 21st century. Gone are the extreme and sometimes dangerous aspects of these events, leaving only the adventure. Getting started has never been easier.

The sport today is comprised of three main disciplines:

  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Trekking (walking, hiking, running)

Most of these activities are done on trails and lakes, and sometimes on rivers and oceans. Basically, it sounds like a wilderness triathlon without the swimming, right? Not exactly. What sets adventure racing apart from triathlons are:

  • The team component
  • No marked course

Combining the team component with the requisite skills of orienteering, mountain biking and kayaking are the keys to success in the sport of adventure racing.


Adventure racing consists of two to four member teams, combining their strengths and weaknesses to reach the finish line. The strongest cyclist on the team can only go as fast as the slowest rider. The same applies for the running and kayaking portions.

Team members have to stay together. For this reason, towing systems have been developed and grown in popularity. Simply explained, the strongest athlete in each discipline will connect himself to his teammates in an effort to pull the team along and keep everyone together. This may sound strange, but it is a very effective technique.

Varying fitness levels, skills and personalities make for a very dynamic environment during races. Add to this fatigue, and you will face one of the biggest challenges of adventure racing: how to keep the team working together. The best teams in adventure racing are not the fittest. Rather, they are the teams that have learned to combine their individual skills to go fast as a team.

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