Adventure Racing (known as AR) takes several forms and the races I specialise in are races of 24, 48, 72 hour and more duration. My team, Werewolves/ MPGear.com, is a co-ed, 4 person team, enjoying some not immodest successes at local, regional and National events. These races are not stage races, nor are they relays; all team members race at the same time, together, as a team, all engaging in running, kayaking, mountain biking, climbing or whatever else the race directors come up with (in-line skating, scootering, rapelling, riverboarding, special tests- you name it!).
A hallmark of adventure racing is navigation. Map and compass are used to navigate between Check Points (known as CPs) for which the team is responsible for plotting on their maps, after the grid coordinates have been provided by the Race Director (RD). So poor plotting will result in a poor performance and poor navigation will result in a spectacularly poor performance, too. Speed is not everything in AR. Inaccurate navigation coupled with speed merely results in being lost or in the wrong place more quickly, accuracy of navigation coupled with sustained speed is key.
Keeping hydrated, fueled, alert (and awake) are major challenges for the endurance race AR teams. During 24, 36 and 48 hour races we do not sleep, for 72 hour races we aim for 90 minutes sleep per night and for expedition races (such as the 10 day, 500+ mile race Primal Quest which Werewolves compete in) we try for 3- 5 hours per night.
If you have ever thought about doing this exciting sport- do! It is not for only the young, talented and gifted athletes. The sport is dominated by the 40s+ crowd and is populated with teams just wishing to race for the fun of it.
Road Cycle Racing
"Enthusiastic" would be the best way to describe my road cycle racing. Lacking strength, speed, stamina or skill I try to make up for these shortcomings with gritty enthusiasm. Road racing is a heavily governed sport, unlike adventure racing. I focus on criterium races (round and round a circuit, which are aggressive, brutal, power struggles- if you think cycle racing is not testosterone charged then go and do one, you will be shocked at the physical contact and at times violence displayed on the bikes. Racers aim to physically, mentally and emotionally destroy each other out there on the road. Outstanding!
Skydiving- the other diving
Skydiving used to be considered dangerous at one time. I started skydiving just after I started scuba diving and was hooked. In the 20+ years I have been jumping things have evolved dramatically and now the once radical Freestyle Flying (flying upside down or in unusual positions) seems old hat.
I still thrill at being at the door of the aircraft prior to jumping and when doing the core of competitive skydiving- 4 way formations. (Accuracy jumping is for people with no friends!) The adrenalin rush is enormous and the focus required for success intense.
Well, truth be known this is something I did more as a younger man. I raced Kawazaki and Yamaha 400cc race bikes as an enthusiastic, but wholly untalented amateur. I tried my hand at 750s GP racing but was very much out of my league- enormous fun though. Suffice to say this has been relegated to the 'when I' bracket.