Mike Garrison

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Always striving to push my limits and see how good my best is.

Mike Garrison

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

What to expect (and not expect) at the 2010 PA Sprint

As has been stated a couple of times the 2010 PA Sprint is taking on a slightly different style than in years past.  Planet Adventure has added a number of shorter sprint races to the calendar that are great for beginners and experienced racers alike.  Their length make them perfect races for first timers and novices to "get their feet wet".

This race will still fit into that description to some extent, but we're trying to also make it a better transition for teams looking to step up to (or just warm up for) a 24 hour race, or just looking for a race that is a little bit longer and a little bit more challenging that the traditional sprints.

(Now not everyone has a desire to "step up" to a longer race, so we'll have a standard sprint length offering, but it will still have the same format/layout as the full "jumbo" sprint.)

In an attempt to answer some questions before they get asked, here are a few things you can expect at this years PA Sprint, (as well as some things you shouldn't expect).

(note that the following statements only apply to the Jumbo version of the course.  If you've chosen to do the shorter offering, skip to the end!)

What to expect:

1) Longer legs of each discipline.  Nothing crazy long, but you could/should be spending over two hours on a particular discipline at one time.

2) Multiple legs of each discipline.  You will do each discipline at least once.  Being able to transition from one to another efficiently will be important!

3) UTM plotting.  Although you will not be required to plot ALL your points, you WILL be required to plot some points.  And there is a very high likelihood that you will be required to do that while on the clock.  Get online and research how to do it or find someone to show you the ropes.  This is probably the easiest thing to practice as all you need is a map and a UTM tool!

4) Slightly more challenging navigation.  Some of the control placements were chosen because chances for parallel error in the wrong reentrant is not only possible, but likely.  You will have to be paying attention at all times to clear the course quickly!

5) Length.  Obviously the course is longer.  Long enough that we will be scoring a larger portion of it "rogaine" style.  If you want to clear the entire course you will have to move quickly when possible, and navigate cleanly.

6) Hills.  Not a lot, but more than the Indianapolis area has.  Which admittedly, is not really saying that much.

7) An opportunity for discounted entry into the PA24 race this June.  That's right, if you compete as a 3 or 4 person coed team in the Jumbo version of this years Sprint, you have an opportunity to get a discount off your  entry into PA24!  Keep an eye on the PA website for more info on this.

7) A fun, challenging yet rewarding race!

What NOT to expect:

1) Special challenges.  Although a great element of sprint races, and frequently a source of great entertainment/humiliation, you generally don't find special challenges in longer races.  It's because of this that we decided to exclude them from this race and give you that much more time on your feet, on your bike, and in your boat.

2) Single track riding.  I wish we didn't have to include this one in the what not to expect, but unfortunately there will not be any trails to ride for this race.  (Those that raced last year might actually be quite happy to hear this...)

If we think of any other details pertaining to the race, we'll be sure to let you all know!

Friday, February 5, 2010

2010 Planet Adventure "Sprint"?

Well, my stern determination to not design/direct any races in 2010 didn't even last to 2010.  Sad.  But, it will be fun to get involved with this years "Sprint"!

You may have noticed that Planet Adventure has greatly expanded the number of adventure races available in and around the Indianapolis area. In 2010 there will be three "Amazing Adventures", four traditional sprint length races, the always popular Urban Sprint AND the AR boot camp in March. All of these races serve as great "entry points" for first timers and great tune-ups and all around fun for the more experienced racer.

However, with all these short races it got me thinking about what the PA Sprint could or should be. For that reason this year the PA Sprint is growing up a little. It's format is changing and it's getting longer!

In short, the intent is to have the PA Sprint serve as a better stepping stone from the shorter sprints to 24 hour races. Although it is possible to jump right in to longer races (and many have and have great stories to show for it), it's nice to build up to the longer events.

The hope for this years Sprint is to have it be more of a "mini-24" that will better prepare you for PA in June (and any other long race you might have on the calendar this year). As such it will have/be the following:


  • 8-12 hours in length, maybe a little longer (We'll no more as we get the course ironed out)
  • No special challenges (traditional longer races generally don't have special challenges that are not related to your movement through the course, by removing them you'll have more time to spend riding, running and paddling!)
  • Plotting of points will be required (although there may be some premarked maps, people that are adept at plotting maps will have an advantage)
  • Multiple maps, mostly 1:24,000 scale
  • Longer legs (probably won't be able to get by with a few gels and a bottle of water any more)
  • Harder nav/orienteering section (where possible route selection will be key, and the orienteering specific sections will be more challenging)
  • The need for a headlamp (you may actually be racing in the dark!)
  • Transitions, but no TA (You'll be transitioning disciplines multiple times, but there will likley be no access to gear at those times.  This will hopefully give everyone a better feel for how to handle gear on longer races.)

Got any other ideas about how to make this race a better intro to long racing?  I'd love to hear them.  For that matter, with all these changes it kind of begs the question as to whether this race should really be called a "sprint". If not, anyone got any ideas?

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 USARA Nationals (race report summary)

OK, whether it's due to the race being the national championship race, or the fact that it's the last big race of the year this race report is going to be longer than normal.  And I haven't exactly been good at keeping them short up until now.  So, I'll summarize real quick for starters.

Texas is far from Indiana, even farther when you go there the wrong way.  USARA Nationals brings a decidedly stronger field of racers but they still ask an awful lot of questions.  Not all adventure racers are comfortable riding in large high speed groups on the road.  God either doesn't like adventure racing, paddling, or maybe just paddling in adventure racing.  I don't know if everything is bigger in Texas but a few things damn well are including thorns, mud puddles and briar patches and thorns.  (Yes, it was appropriate to say thorns twice, I have the scars on my scalp to prove it.)  Even when things aren't going your way if you hang in there you'll frequently still be pleased with the result.  And most importantly, don't forget to turn east at St. Louis.

And that about sums it up.

If you're wanting more details than that, you'll have to wait another day or so.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Official placing for nationals

Fifteenth place coed.  Not too bad.  The real kicker though is that one hour would have put us in seventh.

Considering my sloppy navigation for a large number of checkpoints (and one 40 minute transition) this amount of time would not have been impossible to make up.

However, I'm honestly more happy to have been so close to such a good finish than bummed at not actually getting one.

Sleep now.  Drive home tomorrow = bad...

Race is over...

Too tired to form any coherent thoughts worth writing, but as of now we're unofficially 16th.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Here goes nothing...

And yes, that's actually a Gremlin...

Sunshine?

After 5 inches of rain in the area, I'm hoping the sunset is an indicator that the forecast for clear skies is not a load of crap.  Apparently the course designers have had to get pretty creative to keep us above water for things like trekking and biking.

Prerace meeting is over (for what it's worth the field looked decidedly more experienced than most races I've done), no maps till 5am, and the gear is packed.

Might actually get some sleep tonight...