2018 USARA Nationals

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On Thursday, the adventure racing team departs for Bloomington, IN for the 2018 USARA National Adventure Racing Championship. We will be racing on foot, bike and canoe with a time limit of 30 hours starting at 7am Friday and ending at 1pm Saturday.

We will be going up against the best in the nation. Teams that are way more elite then we will ever be. I won’t sugar coat, we don’t belong there!

Before you say “That is being pessimistic”, we take pride in the fact that a team such as ours, can go up against the best. It’s rare in other sports that the playing field is leveled where the most inexperienced teams can go against the elite. Just because you play peewee football, doesn’t mean you get a chance at the Superbowl.

For those that don’t know about adventure racing, let’s break it down.

Unlike other sports, we have no clue about the course until we get our maps on Friday morning an hour before the race starts. We must pack all gear, food and water for the duration of the race. No out side support is allowed. There maybe limited locations in which we can resupply on water much less food. No GPS allowed, only map and compass.

We will spend the duration of the race continuing to move forward, from location to location, discipline to discipline, all while looking for small orange and white flags know as checkpoints (CPs). CPs are either pre-plotted on the map or we have to plot with a UTM plotter before/during the race. They are what you are after. The team with the most CPs in the least amount of time wins.

Even though the race director has placed the checkpoints out there, you make your own path to get them. Not everyone goes the same way. Not everyone gets all the checkpoints. That makes adventure racing as much about strategy as it is being physically fit.

We are racing as a three person coed team as we always do. Kiersta Tucker is our female, Travis is the second male and I (Aaron) am the navigator. That places us in what is considered the premier division.

Our longest race ever was Nationals in 2015. We lasted 24 hours before one of us was falling asleep. Being realistic, our goal is to finish strong with minimal mistakes. Get everything we go after. Race our race, not worrying about what others are doing.

While Kiersta is in great physical shape, Travis and I are 50lbs heavier than most of the top racers. Still, we don’t let that stop us and we give it everything we got.

We will be happy with whatever outcome because we are doing something amazing for us. To me at least, it’s about going way out of my comfort zone and doing something crazy. It may suck or hurt during, but at the end, you have accomplished something that is not common.

I want to thank each and every participant that came out to a VINDURA event in 2018. You are what gave us the opportunity to cover the cost of Nationals and new race packs. No outside sponsorship financially, just loyal participants that made this happen. We are representing you and everyone in the Lake Cumberland area.

We would like to also thank SWORD for their continued support fueling our races and Mike at OutThere USA for helping us secure those new awesome MS-2 race packs.

If you want to follow our “dot” online during the race, check the VINDURA or USARA Facebook page for a link to the tracker.

We will see you at the end.