It is about that time of year when we can safely say that winter is over (well maybe, if you look at the forecast this weekend?) and we get to find out if the work we put in over the winter months has served us well…or not!
And although spring has just sprung, here at Adventure Racing Ontario, the 2017 points series has already been underway for a few months, with the Don’t Get Lost Snowshoe Raid, STARS Winter Adventure Race and Raid the Rib already coaxing racers out of hibernation early in the season. Don’t worry though, the series has just begun and there are plenty of opportunities for you and your teammates to catch up on any points missed during the winter months!
The first official adventure race of the season, the always popular Storm the Trent, is coming to Warsaw, Ontario, next weekend on May 13th – 14th. Whether you are new to the sport of adventure racing, want to work out the kinks for some later season races, or just want to go out and have a solid day of racing, there is a course and team configuration for you at Storm the Trent! Registration is still open so don’t miss out on Canada’s largest adventure race!
A few weeks later, on June 17th, the South Coast Adventure Race, now in its fourth year, returns to the Windsor-Essex region. We love that this organizers at the Essex Region Conservation Authority have brought adventure racing to this area, and the SCAR always delivers on its promise to take beginner to experienced racers to hidden gems and previously undiscovered natural areas. New this year is SCAR’s first ever “Pro-Am” contest. Rookie adventure racers will have an opportunity to “win” Brad Jennings, the 2015 and 2016 SCAR overall champion in a draw held June 2. Not only will the winner (solo or team) receive Jennings help in preparing for the race, but he’ll also join them on course!
A favourite of many adventure racers in the province, the RockstAR adventure race is celebrating its 10th anniversary treating of adventure racers like the rock stars that they are at the Bark Lake Leadership Centre every July. As always, the event features both 4 and 8 hour formats full of options and surprises. This year’s race takes place July 22nd and features a new course format that gives racers even more choice about how they want to navigate through the course. If you haven’t raced the RockstAR before, you don’t want to miss out on the experience!
Navigation not your thing? Want the option to go it alone? Both are available to you at the Subaru Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race, being held August 12th in Wiarton. This race proves to be super popular every year and it’s no wonder with the scenery that racers get to traverse through! At the time of writing, registration for this event, which features several course options and formats, great prizing, and a spectacular post-race festival vibe, was expected to sell out in May, so if this race was on your schedule for 2017 and you haven’t signed up, what are you waiting for?
The Cataraqui Adventure Trek offers racers a unique loop format course in which they try to complete as many 10km loops as they can by paddle, foot and bike in a 4-hour “quick ‘n dirty” race format. Held in Kingston, Ontario, this race has been gaining momentum every year since it began in 2015. The Cataraqui Adventure Trek is a great introduction to the sport and the central transition area that racers pass through on each loop makes it incredibly spectator friendly, so your family can high five you after every lap! If you haven’t raced the CAT, you are missing out!
If epic adventure was on your to-do list for the summer, look no further than the Muskoka River X, a paddling event offering several race distances and categories (canoe, kayak and SUP) ranging from 80 to 220 km. This race has a reputation for being spectacular both in its scenery and in the challenge that it offers. Check out this video of the 2014 edition!
Known for its ability to crush souls and build character with both its length and difficulty, the 24-30 hour Wilderness Traverse taking place this year on September 30th – October 1st, will once again be one of the highlights of the 2017 Ontario adventure racing season. If your team wants to find out if you know your stuff, there is no better testing ground that WT. A new host location for 2017 at the Grand Tappattoo Resort offers racers the opportunity to balance a muddy day in the woods with some pre- and post-race luxury. If you don’t have Victoria Day long weekend plans yet, consider attending the premier of Traversing Wild, a film made by Joel Perella of the 2016 edition of Wilderness Traverse that is making its debut at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville on May 19th.
Rounding out the 2017 season will be Raid the Hammer on November 12th in the Hamilton area. The Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running Series are a great way to focus on your on foot navigation, and they never disappoint in the hill climbing or mud department either!
I hope that you are as excited as we are about this year’s race line-up! If you are new to the Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series, you can check out the rules and regulations to find out how to get your team included. And if you haven’t already done so, check out the 2016 ARO Points Series champions!