My adventure racing story, solace for fellow beginners

I’m a pretty regular attendee at a Friday exercise class. Recently, the teacher let me pick the class agenda. My choice: a circuit. Why? Because the variety of exercises and equipment keeps it interesting.

In the outdoors, as at exercise class, I’m all about mixing it up. I like to backcountry ski one day, cruise groomers via chairlifts the next, and then top off the week with a skate ski.

And, yes, this does mean my husband and I own a semi-ridiculous quiver of skis.

Garage Grown Gear - Quiver of Skis - Learn to Adventure Race

The summer is no different. On any given day, I might be found trail running, mountain biking or packrafting. Not to mention the fact that I’m also totally equipped to go backpacking and rock climbing as well.

My favorite days are when I link multiple sports together. And the true cherry-on-top days are when I figure out how to link winter and summer sports into the same day, such as when my friend and I did a bike-ski in Grand Teton National Park one April.

Adventure Racing for Beginners - Amy Hatch - Garage Grown Gear

Add to that a totally unheard-of, off-the-beaten path wilderness route, and I’m in pure paradise.

My background is in ultrarunning, with a handful of finishes at 50 and 100 mile races. So it’s fair to say I have an endurance mentality. (Is that a hospital-corners way to say I’m a glutton for punishment?)

Leadville100 - Amy Hatch - Garage Grown Gear

All of this, I fear, makes me an ideal candidate for adventure racing. And, so, this summer, in the spirit of living life to the fullest, I’m signed up for:

The Adventure Xtreme race in Buena Vista, Colorado, in May

The Teton Ogre Race in Driggs, Idaho, in June

The Casper Strong Full Day Adventure Race in Casper, Wyoming, in July

For those of you unfamiliar with adventure racing, it’s essentially a hodgepodge of sports, challenges and terrain often done in teams. For example, on the website for the Casper Strong Full Day Adventure Race, I’m quite kindly informed that supplied gear includes: inter tubes, firearms and ammo. (But I have to bring my own mountain bike, running shoes and water bottle).

I’m not going to lie. I love the fact that I now have to go learn how to shoot a gun, because, yes, I’ve never shot one before. The challenge of trying new things is the beauty of these types of events.

But I’m also a little daunted. My chief fears are managing transitions, team dynamics and training time.

I’ve never been very good at quickly switching between activities. When backcountry skiing, for example, I feel like I’m always last to get my skins peeled off, my boots buckled and my belly full.

Team dynamics are tricky because it completely changes the game when you’re dealing with other’s abilities and mindset, as well as your own. I imagine sometimes the team approach inspires best effort and at other times it could cause everything to disintegrate.

My concern about training time has to do with the fact that adventure racing is squarely priority number three for me. My family is my first priority and my two businesses, and Jackson Hole Packraft & Packraft Rentals Anywhere, clock in second.

But where there is a will there is a way. This past weekend my husband and I snuck down to Pocatello, Idaho for early season mountain biking. It was part romantic getaway, part training weekend. (We highly recommend Lava Hot Springs after a day on the trail).

Adventure Racing for Beginners - Pocatello Mountain Biking -

Adventure Racing for Beginners - Pocatello Mountain Biking - - Web (5)

As my bike tires once again looped and rolled down rocky trails, I felt a flood of excitement about the race season ahead, whatever it may bring.

What are your tips on adventure racing for beginners? (I’ll take all the help I can get).  


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