March 21, 2012
We are fortunate to have Billy Mattison as the Event Director for the 2012 Adventure TEAM Challenge. He is a very experienced adventure racer who has competed in major adventure races around the world, including three Eco-Challenges—one of which his team won. Billy is also a professional raft guide in the summers and the avalanche director for the Vail Ski Patrol in the winter. Here is some insight from Billy into this year's event:
Hello adventure teams!
We are excited about this year's venue and race. We have moved the entire course to the desert on the Colorado/Utah border. This is exquisite, wild country not to be taken lightly. I have been on site numerous times already with the Bureau of Land Management looking for interesting and fun options for the course. Huge cliffs, old mining roads, unique navigational challenges, and the Colorado River flowing through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons all in the spring time desert will be a race that no one will soon forget.
Hiking this year will be big and teams will once again need to be prepared for towing and stabilizing their teammates in the 'one offs'. One inch tubular webbing attached to the bikes on all four corners has proven to work well.
Mountain biking will be on classic canyon country dirt roads. There will be some short uphill and down hill sections, rolling terrain is the best way to describe it. Bring a good assortment of spare tubes and patches since flat tires are common in the desert. One tip is to never take your bike off the road. Cactus and sharp shale rock abound just inches off to the side. This area is some of the most famous mountain biking in the country. You will be on sections of the famous Kokapelli Trail which runs from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah.
Exploring the high Colorado Plateau desert by mountain bike.
Photograph by Helene Mattison.
Navigation will be extremely crucial this year. This insures that the race will not be won by the strongest team but by the cleverest and keenest navigators. Practice carrying your maps in a way that you can constantly check them on land and in the water.
The Colorado River through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons is 'class 1' whitewater, easy but swift. This will allow teams to be more self reliant than in previous races. Stand-up paddle boarding will happen this year no matter the river level. Rent one and practice as much as you can before the race. Numerous check points will be located along the river and teams will need to be "on it" in order to not miss them.
As of this writing we have not located our climbing/rappelling sites. The BLM is working on this with us and assures us that we will be impressed with what they have in mind. My guess is that it will be big. Practice rappelling, climbing, and putting on your gear properly. We will have a nice training area to use at base camp.
Environmental issues - keep in mind, as this is the desert and it will be hot and dry. Hydration will be of the utmost importance. CamelBaks and big bike bottles will work the best. Sunscreen, long, loose fitting shirts and pants, brimmed hats and good sunglasses work best. Cactus is everywhere, bring tweezers. There are rattlesnakes in the area, but they should not bother us.
Moe's Original Bar B Que will be back and our volunteers are calling in at a record pace. The guides who have been with us in the past are really fired up to help out again in such a cool location.