In one of the worst kept secrets in Rogue Adventure history, I’m excited to announce that team Rogue will be racing at Expedition Alaska in June. Hosted in the birth place of adventure competition with a history of events like the Alaskan Wilderness Challenge, Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, Expedition Alaska promises to be a spectacular race as a qualifying member of the Adventure Racing World Series.
Coming from Australia, there are number of unique features about Expedition Alaska that will present some true challenges. Not least of all is the actual terrain itself: it’s not often that we can race across glaciers or have multiple packrafting legs in an event. Indeed the race is preceded by two days of crevasse rescue training for the entire field. Combine this with the white water rivers, snow, canyons, remoteness and big local fauna and you have a recipe for a true wilderness race.
For Expedition Alaska, I will be joined by experienced competitors Rob Gowland, Dave Schloss and Kathryn Preston. Each team member has previously undertaken 3 or 4 expedition races, which should give vital experience on what is looking to be a very technical course. Reading over the race itinerary below, it would appear paddling is a major component of the race, featuring in some form or another in 7 of the 14 segments. Conversely, mountain biking places a much smaller part than most traditional adventure races. Judging from the gear list, which was released today, Sloshy will need to buy a bigger pack with an extra two pages of equipment on top of the XPD mandatory kit. Teams have the option to race in a team of 2, 3 or 4 competitors, with the premier category being mixed teams of 4.
- Segment 1: Trek/Glacier Travel – 64 km
- Segment 2: Packraft/Trek – 26 km
- Segment 3: Ocean kayak – 48 km
- Segment 4: Trek/Packraft – 32 km
- Segment 5: Whitewater rafting (Guided) – 13 km
- Segment 6: Trekking/Coasteering – 16 km
- Segment 7: Mountain biking – 72 km
- Segment 8: Flat water paddling – 48 km
- Segment 9: Trek/Glacier travel/Bike – 48 km
- Segment 10: Packraft/trek – 48 km
- Segment 11: Orienteer – 16 km
- Segment 12: Bike/Coasteer – 19 km
- Segment 13: Ocean Kayaking – 16 km
- Segment 14: Run – 5 km
Hints from the race Facebook page suggest a point-to-point linear course spanning from the Denali area of Alaska finishing in the town of Seward in the Kenai region during 4th of July celebrations. As organisers of Expedition Idaho, the race promoters Permo Events are known for their big finishes.
While an official team list is not currently available, membership in the ARWS and the location of the race have already attracted a top field of competitors. This includes the #1 ranked team in the world, Columbia Vidaraid, along with #4 ranked team Tecnu. Kathryn’s husband Rob Preston (VIC) will be navigating for Tecnu after a successful world champs in 2014. Other Australian teams include Traces of Nuts (NSW) and Team Cameltoes (WA). A preliminary team list with a very international field can be found below.
- Team Idaho—USA
- Gung Ho—USA
- Adventure Explorers—Denmark
- Team Columbia Vidariad— Spain/USA
- Team Tecnu—USA
- Team Alaska—USA
- Team Yogaslackers—USA
- Team NYARA—USA
- Secretos du illum Rayovac—Argentina
- Traces of Nuts—Australia
- Ultra Sport—Uruguay
- Vaucluse Aventures—France
- Team Everyday Adventure—USA
- Team GOALS AR—USA
- Team Orion—USA
- Team Boom Boom Pow—USA
- Journey Racing—USA
- Team Nutrixxion Sweden—Sweden
- Team Allex – France
- Team J&C Challenge—USA
With GODZone just around the corner, and 2015 being an XPD year, it was a big commitment to enter this race. Everyone on the team has kids under the age of 10, requiring a constant juggle for training and travel. Aside from the terrain, there will be a number of other unique challenging features for Expedition Alaska. Held at the peak of summer, we will be racing in almost 24hrs of light which is a navigator’s dream. There should be virtually no dark zones either, which I guess allows for so many moving water elements. On the theme of navigation, working with 1:35000 maps where distances are marked in miles and the legends are different should be an interesting challenge. Magnetic declination is similar to NZ at around +18 degrees, but we’ll have to get our hands on a northern hemisphere compass. I’ve also been busy tracking down packrafts to borrow, although we will be paddling Necky Amaruks in the ocean and flatwater legs. And does anyone know anything about bear spray?
In addition, the team will be involved in another scientific study examining the effects of sleep deprivation, performance and recovery. More on this and a number of exciting training missions to come.