Wednesday, June 14, 2006

E-Camp Adventure Racing Camps

This past weekend I traveled to Big Bear, CA for Team SOLE's E-Camp. E-Camp is a very intensive camp where aspiring adventure racers learn from the best... Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren. They make up Team SOLE and are very accomplished professional adventure racers, some of the best in the biz. For this camp the coaching staff included three DART-nuun team members. Cyril, Aaron Rinn and myself.

My Friday started at Paul and Karen's house in Big Bear, CA. Having traveled from Seattle and having mentioned to them Krissy had been getting me up at 5am to run in the days prior, they let me sleep in to 8am. Then it was off to help, got on the Turner Flux and rode to the top of a mtn that didn't have the CP punch/flagging yet. From there it was straight to the camp to greet E-Campers as they arrived. The E-Campers arrived in the afternoon. We did gear check, then starting at 4pm and going all night there was a interactive instructional discussion on all aspects of adventure racing by Paul and Karen, with us coaches filling in with examples. After the meeting the maps were passed out and CPs were plotted. In typical Adventure Racing style no one got much sleep the night before the race.

Saturday - 7am start to their race/training course. E-Campers where put into teams based on skills and a survey they had filled out before arriving. Each team was
assigned a coach to start with and they were off. The teams consisted of some first timers, some 2nd timers, a team preparing for Primal Quest and a corporate team that competes internationally in adventure races against other corporate teams. It was a great mix of people. As they raced the coaches provided feedback, and tips on how to race. Some teams didn't know each other and it was obvious in the lack of teamwork. One team I had to remind a thousand times to help their weakest link by towing, taking her pack or just pushing her from behind. She suffered and they just dallied. Not the way it's supposed to work... but they all figured it out eventually.

Highlights of the camp for me:
  • the excitement of a first time adventure racer when he realized that his team had made a great navigational decision that allowed them to beat a faster team to the TA... he was jumping up and down like a little kid.
  • working with a 16 year old "local bike chick" as she worked through sleep deprivation and teammates that weren't at her speed. I think she really got a feel for what AR is all about.
  • getting a chance to use my new bike lights from Light and Motion, the ARC rocks! - thanks Jackie!
  • that sunset in the photos - well that is if you can see it behind my cannons - get your tickets


  • biting my tongue as an E-Camper repeadedly whined "I can't".
  • racing much slower than I'm used to meant I FROZE my butt off during the cold night hours. Aaron warned me before that "you will be wearing every bit of clothing you own in the middle of the night". Ah... yeah he was absolutely right.

This camp was an awesome experience - Paul and Karen were great and so hospitable - THANKS GUYS!

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