As we move into spring, the weather is not the only thing heating up, with a swag of exciting races due to hit the calendar. Included amongst these is Hells Bells, the longest running 24hr adventure race in the country. Hells Bells has had a consistent sponsorship relationship with the adventure racing gear specialists ARea51 for much of this time.
There is little doubt that adventure racing, with its multiple disciplines, can be a gear-intensive sport. What’s more, many of these gear requirements can be quite obscure and won’t be found at your local K-mart. ARea51 do a great job of covering all of these gear needs whether it be a small compass for a sprint AR, right through to the full kit required for an expedition race.
ARea51 have also supported the Rogue Adventuregaine in the past, and have backed up this commitment to sponsor prizes for the 24hr Rogue Adventuregaine in 2013. Recently I was asked what my favourite piece of ARea51 equipment was. I had to cheat a little as there were 3 items that instantly came to mind.
Intrepid AR51 Mapboard. To navigate comfortably at speed on the bike, a mapboard is essential. I’ve always been a big fan of the Intrepid (formerly Axis gear) map boards in the past due to their light weight, 11 inch board size option and minimal space required on the handlebars. The only critisim I would have is that attaching the board to the bars is definately a learnt skill. ARea51 appeart to have a work around for this now with the modified velcro mount for the ARea51 NTR mapboard. I’m looking forward to getting my hands onto this board and testing it out at the Godzone Expedition race, where it is necessary to remove and attach a map board multiple times during the race in a sleep deprived state.
Silva MTB Clip On Compass. In addition to the mapboard setup, I prefer to use a Silva clip on compass as opposed to a regular compass. Often in a sprint adventure race or MTBO, I don’t place my map under the plastic cover of the mapboard, but instead clip it on directly to the top of the board with bull dog clips. This allows me to change the map over much more quickly on the move, or even leave it open in an area bigger than the board itslef. The Sliva Clip On Compass allows all of this with the bonus of always having the map correctly orientated.
Sportslick Skin Protector. My final choice of invaluable ARea51 kit is a simple tube of Sportlick. I carry a small tube in the waist belt of my pack for instant access for any race over 24hr of length. At 22g, the weight is negligable and has literally saved my arse (as well as my feet, nipples and that one spot under my arm where my PFD rubs) over a number of races up to expedition length.
So, as you head to your next big race, make sure to check out ARea51 for those hard to find toys – sorry – mandatory gear requirements.