An Adventure Race is a team event involving racing over an unmarked course lasting from several hours up to multiple days. If you love hiking, mountaineering, and the outdoors we highly recommend you put an Adventure Race on your bucket list for 2016 and beyond.
A perfect option is the upcoming Purdue Outing Club Adventure Race (POCAR) is a 48-hour adventure/ orienteering race in the Morgan Monroe State forest in Southern Indiana. There is still plenty of time to sign up and with these tips for making POCAR a more enjoyable experience, your team might even take first place!
For more information and registration details go to http://www.purdueoutingclub.org/pocar/2016
Each team should have at least one racer who is skilled at using a map and compass. Each team will be given a map, score card, and a set of coordinates. At each point you will find an orienteering flag with a unique hole punch to mark your score card.
Most teams choose to stay on the course into the night. Having good headlamps/ flashlights is important to light the area especially when you are searching for a flag. Remember to bring extra batteries!
When you are moving between points you can build up a good sweat but when you slow down you cool quickly. The weather and temperature can also fluctuate wildly. Bring multiple layers to adjust to conditions and you can always leave extra clothing in your car at headquarters.
Bring either waterproof boots or waterproof socks. Nothing is worse than stepping in a puddle and then your shoes freeze during the night. Gaiters can also help keep out the water if you have low top shoes. They also protect your legs if you are going through some tough brush.
Nutrition is a very personal decision. Some racers feast on protein bars, some just bring a lot of honey, and some love the warmth of a dehydrated meal. No matter what you decide to bring, make sure you have enough calories. I would suggest easy to eat, calorically dense, snacks in your pack to munch on when you take breaks.
One of the biggest mistakes is not drinking enough. There are 3 fire/water stations on the course where you can refill your water bottles. If you are using a hydration pack, remember to clear the line by blowing air into it after you drink. If you don’t, the water in the line may freeze. Water bottles in backpacks will also freeze if it is cold enough. You can avoid this by adding electrolyte powder mix (like Gatorade) to keep it from freezing.
You should try to be in decent physical shape before POCAR. You will cover a lot of miles and trek up and down steep ravines. It is a both a physically and mentally grueling course but also a lot of fun!
Form a team with people of similar capability and goals. If your teams decide that they just want a good time and complete the first loop, that’s great. If your team decides they want to sprint the whole race, that’s fantastic too! Just make sure everyone on your team understands what they are signing up for and are on the same page.
Bring plenty of socks and change them often. This will keep your feet warm, happy, and blister free! Leave the cotton gym socks at home and bring wool (or synthetic) hiking socks instead.
The number one rule of POCAR is to just have fun. It is challenging and it will push you, but with the right attitude, everyone walks away a winner!
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