Competitors prep for Never Summer Adventure Race
The Never Summer Adventure Race kicks off next weekend in the Three Lakes area.
The event will bring teams of competitors from throughout the US to the high country to participate in a multidiscipline cross-country navigation and endurance race in and around the three lakes resting between Grand Lake and Granby: Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Lake and Granby Reservoir.
Adventure racing, sometimes referred to as expedition racing, is a team based competition wherein participates navigate a wilderness course, often cross country and with few trail markers, using a variety of modes of travel from mountain bikes to river rafts and even on foot. Participants are typically required to engage in some form of independent land navigation to stay on course during the race.
When the Never Summer Adventure Race begins next weekend on August 6 racers will compete in either six-hour race, designed for beginners, or a 24-hour race for more advanced participants. Among the teams competing in the 24-hour race will be Team Nyara out of Colorado. Team Nyara is made up of three members, Erik Sanders of Golden and Whitney and Olaf Hedberg of Breckenridge.
Sanders and the Hedbergs are experienced adventure racers with multiple competitions under their belt. Earlier this year Sanders competed in a five-day race around the northern portion of New Zealand’s south island. The 27-year-old man has raced throughout the US and the Americas, crossing the rainforests of central and south America while racing in places like Ecuador and Brazil.
Sanders has been competing in adventure races for about seven years now. His first race was in 2009 and took 12 hours. The longest race he has participated in was held in Costa Rica and saw racers travel cross-country, through dense mangrove swamps and up the highest peak in that nation, while traversing the entire country before ending on the Nicaraguan border.
The Never Summer Adventure Race will be Sanders first in the State of Colorado though he feels living in close proximity to the race area will give him a slight advantage over teams from lower elevation areas. “I think we will handle the altitude really well,” he said.
Sanders said he expects his team to do well during the race, they are aiming to come in first, but cautioned against predicting victory, or estimating a timeline. “We don’t know where we are going, or how hard each mile will be,” Sanders said. “Ever mile is not equal. We could be bushwhacking through dense forest or traveling along an open ridgeline.”
Racers like Sanders won’t find out the exact route of the race until just before race time, when race organizers will provide participants with maps of the course. Race organizer Katie Ferrington said both the 24-hour race and the six-hour race would feature mountain biking, paddling and trekking portions.
The 24-hour race will start and finish in down town Grand Lake while the six-hour race is scheduled to begin and end at the Cutthroat Bay Campground area on the shores of Granby Reservoir.
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The Mustangs cross country team trudged through a muddy 5K Saturday morning during the West Grand Invitational, a race that slowed times but sent the fun factor through the roof for many of its competitors.