Greetings from the Adventure Racing Cooperative! A lot has happened in the adventure racing scene in the US and in the world. ARC has continued throughout 2020 to support races and racers. We maintained a calendar of events (frequently and sadly updated each time an event was cancelled). We added virtual events to the calendar as well: a new race format that is likely here to stay, and with good reason. Virtual events are convenient to set up and to administer for race directors, and they give racers a lot of flexibility to attend the event. Granted, the social aspect is greatly diminished, but it has worked well during the global pandemic, and we think we will keep seeing this format into 2021 and beyond.
2020 also brought the resurrection of the famed Eco-Challenge race and a surge of motivated and excited new racers. Advice and encouragement to this group by more experienced racers has been heart-warming and speaks to the generous spirit of the adventure racing community.
The big news this year is that USARA was purchased by a group of race directors and converted to a not-for- profit company. If you haven’t visited the new USARA website, you should check it out (usara.com).
Along these lines, ARC and USARA have been working together to decide how to proceed moving forward. One of the main goals of ARC has been to grow and promote the sport of adventure racing in the US by providing resources to new racers, experienced racers, and to race directors. This is also one of the goals of the new USARA. We are beyond thrilled about having a single organization overseeing the adventure racing scene in the US, so we are using 2021 to merge the two organizations/websites into one entity. You will be seeing aspects of ARC migrate on to the USARA website as the year progresses.
First to be transferred is the ARC race calendar/map/list. USARA is taking over hosting and administering the calendar, but its features and functionality will remain the same. The race calendar/map/list has always been a popular public service of ARC. The only requirements to list your events are that they be navigation- based and pertinent to the AR community. This will continue under USARA. Other services (ARC power rankings, ARC resource pages, race report database, reading list, etc.) will all migrate from the Adventure Racing Cooperative website to USARA eventually. You can find the new community calendar at usara.com/calendar.html
If you joined ARC in the second half of 2020, you will be getting an email saying we converted your ARC membership into a USARA annual membership for 2021. We will be closing down memberships to the Adventure Racing Cooperative at the end of 2020. The new USARA has annual memberships (currently $35). It comes with some new perks such as individual racer insurance when you are racing at USARA-sanctioned events as well as a membership to Expert Voice, which has great deals on many outdoor retailers (up to 70% off many great brands). Your membership fee will also help USARA get sponsors for the US National Championship and other races. Membership details can be found on the USARA website.
A lot of people helped form the Adventure Racing Cooperative and grow it in the past three years, providing ideas and direction for ARC. Some served on the board; others helped with the calendar, rankings, and website. We would like to thank everyone who was involved and hope that we will all come together to help build the new USARA into a great organization. It is going to take effort from race directors and racers alike to grow and strengthen our sport in the US and worldwide.
We are excited that we can all come together and provide a more cohesive, comprehensive organization to further the adventure racing community in the US. We are not sure what 2021 will bring, but ARC and USARA will be there providing support with adventure racing resources, race insurance, coverage of races around the country and world (see USARA’s Tales from TA blog), and a place to “virtually” hangout!
The Adventure Racing Cooperative Board
Mark Lattanzi, President
Virtual Adventure Races
While Virtual Adventure Racing is not new, it was not widely experienced within the adventure racing community. That is
Race Directors have been adapting to
the changing landscape by designing
virtual races that you can do around
your own local area or in specific areas,
if you are permitted to travel there.
These may be so much fun, you
may want to dance!
ARC has been working on guidelines for these virtual races to help set a standard and rank participants. Some of the virtual races that
have been or are available include:
The Lockdown AR by Rootstock Racing. Ended June 30. See article in the ARC newsletter.
Virtual Adventure Race Challenge by Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. Ended June 30.
Adventure Enablers Quarantine Race (Epic) by Adventure Enablers. Ended May 24. Here is their leaderboard:
The Wolpertinger Navigation Challenge by Teton Ogre, a course in Idaho open between June 20 and 28.
Virtual Orienteering by TanZ Navigation. There are courses put on the website weekly. This is an excellent way to practice your map-reading skills.
A new company known as thisABILITY Adventures, LLC will have several courses open up in the next few months. They create a course, provide maps, have a method for collecting results, and even have an after event party
Athena Adventures has created two courses where racers can complete the course on their own time between specific dates. Participants are provided a map and course instructions. The results will be compiled and reported on the website once all results are in. The courses will be in Mesa County and Routt County, Colorado.
The 2020 AR Season
When 2020 began, we had high hopes for a great adventure racing season with new and ongoing events taking place throughout the year.
That abruptly ended in March. Suddenly the entire world was turned up-side-down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of the writing of this newsletter, many events for the summer have been canceled or postponed while States and Countries around the world try to figure out the safest way to open their economies without overwhelming their hospitals and medical personnel. Unfortunately, this trend of postponing and canceling races may continue for a while. States and counties in the United States are all taking various different approaches which means some places may be open for races and others may not.
Please be patient with your local Race Directors as they navigate the moving target of recommendations and regulations coming from federal, state, and local officials. But if your favorite races are canceled, please keep in mind that these Race Directors are dedicated to the sport of Adventure Racing and are going to bring those races back as soon as possible.
In the meantime, many AR Directors are coming up with new ways to keep you entertained and out in the woods (or at least on your local streets). There are several “Virtual Races” that are cropping up throughout the nation, some that are located in a specific area and others that can be done in your own backyard. We will continue the adventuring one way or another.