Expedition Oregon Competitor Newsletter #1
Jan 20, 2019 We have been hard at work this holiday season vetting some sections of the course and preparing for the event 3 months time. We hope your training is going well, and that this newsletter can help you better use the time you have for training between now and then. So please read the entire letter, and make sure you send it along to everyone on your team.
HOST LOCATION: BEND, OR - The HEART of Central Oregon
Getting To Bend
Air traveler can fly into either Redmond (RDM) or Portland (PDX).
Redmond is preferred as it is only 30 minutes from the host hotel. We will arrange transport for teams and equipment arriving at RDM on the 21st of April or the morning of the 22nd. Teams arriving outside of this time can book transport for about $50 with a van that can accommodate bike boxes and luggage.
Portland is a cheaper airport to fly into, but is 3 hours away from Bend. But car rentals are relatively inexpensive, flight options more prevalent, and the drive across the mountains is beautiful. It may be worth it overall if the tickets are significantly cheaper.
Personally the airport in Redmond is so easy and delightfully small that we almost always choose to fly in and out of Redmond.
Driving: Bend is nestled into the high desert - just east of the Cascade Mountains in central oregon. 6 hours from Seattle, and 8 from San Francisco. It is an amazingly scenic area with plenty to do if you choose to make a road trip vacation to and from the venue. Roads are generally very safe and conditions good that time of year.
Bend is consistently listed as one of the top outdoor towns in America, and is home to one of the most experienced AR teams in North America. As racers, the Bend Racing/YogaSlackers athletes are excited to be involved in designing a course that showcases all of the amazing terrain that they’ve spent the last 10 years exploring.
Bend has a population of around 100,000, with a thriving outdoor sports culture. It is also famous for its concentration of micro-breweries, and growing food scene. The climate is mild and generally dry, with 300 days of sunshine per year. It is flanked by the Cascade range on the west, and the high desert plateaus to the east. And the iconic Deschutes river cuts through it’s heart, creating magnificent canyons to the north and south.
Bend has so many outdoor shops that you could show up to this race naked and buy nearly everything you need to race in just a few hours. Not recommended of course, but possible. So if you forget it, don’t stress too much.
April 22-28 is what we call the "shoulder season" in Bend, and one of the most magnificent times according to local multisport athletes. The days are longer and warmer, the mountains still holding their snow, and the rivers full and healthy. These are the classic days when you can ski in the morning, mountain bike tacky single track for lunch, paddle the whitewater park in the afternoon and rock climb as the sun sets. And this is just what the locals do....so imagine what it will be like for a group of endurance athletes that don’t need sleep and want to race through the night! You’ll get to do SO much!
That said, we expect the temps at night to potentially dip below 32 degrees (0 C) on some nights. We expect significant snow on at least one of the legs, and some shorter snow sections on others. Day temps may range widely, we’ve seen late April swing from 30s at night to 70 during the day - even hotter if you are on the exposed plateaus to the east. The desert typically has some wild temperature swings that time of year, so plan for it. We expect at least one or two teams to have their race ended or shortened simply by not being well enough prepared for this. Don’t let it be you.
We’ll know a lot more in the weeks before the event. But keep this in the back of your mind!
We are pleased to return to LOGE Bend, the same host hotel from last year. The new owners that took over just before last years race have finished all the improvements, so it will be pretty perfect for racers. LOGE is a unique lodging group focused on outdoor adventure lovers. Rooms have bike hooks, gear lockers, hammocks, YETI coolers and lots of space. Best of all, they’ve agreed to let us stay at the same prices as last year (pre-remodel!).
LOGE is situated 2 miles outside of Bend, with a paved pedestrian trail right to town. Right when you hit town there are lots of food options, outdoor stores, coffee shops and beer.
There are several room options: Budget ($99/night): Double Queen room. You can all fit in here. Much more room than your 4 person bothy bag. AR special ($109/ night): Room with one Queen, and one set of twin bunks. This room is bigger and perfect for a whole team wanting to stay together that leads a bit more space. Deluxe ($ varies) just get 2 rooms, opt for the king suite...you can go as big as you want.
There is a pool and a hot tub for guests, and the LOGE sits on Forest Service land with trails right from the property. It is a short distance to the river too.
We are working to bring some food trucks out to the property like last year, and LOGE is in the process of building a small coffee shop and cafe on site.
It is suggested that you pre-book rooms once you know your arrival and departure dates. Ideally checking in on the 21st of April and staying the nights of the 22nd and 23rd. We will be transporting to race start early morning the 24th. Awards banquet will be on the night of the 28th, so we suggest you also book this night. Teams finishing early will be able to stay on the 27th if desired.
Book directly with LOGE, and use the code: Expedition Oregon to get the special rates.
And that brings us to GEAR:
EO is part of the AR World Series. As such we will be using the ARWS Mandatory gear list with a few notable exceptions below. If you have questions, please reach out to us. We are working on partnerships with some key gear companies to get you deals on some of this gear. The ARWS Mandatory gear list can be found here: https://arworldseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Mandatory-Equipment-List-ARWS.pdf
The following are changes/additions to the standard gear list:
1 single boat per person, or 2 doubles per team. Each racers must have a “seat” in a boat. We know all the packrafts on the marked, so if it is not designed for 2 people, you can’t count it for 2. “XL” boats or “1+” setups do not qualify for 2. Teams will NOT paddle any boats other than packrafts in this race.WW helmet. Multisport helmet ok, such as Petzl Meteor III+, (will accept new Petzl Meteor), Kong Scarab, etc. 2M flat webbing "tail" attached to the stern of each boatwetsuit or drysuit. This may be waived due to warm weather, but teams should make plans to bring.suitable packraft repair kitNote that this is in addition to standard ARWS paddle gear, including whistle, knife, pfd, paddle, and glow sticks.
Any snowshoes will be allowed.
Harness (certified for climbing)Locking belay/rappel Carabiner rappel device (no figure 8s)2 daisy chains or 60 mm sewn slings2 additional auto-locking carabiners Climbing Helmet (multisport certified for climbing ok)Climbing shoes. (can be rented in town)
2x 100 cm sewn sling,3 additional locking carabiners1x fall arrester device (rope solo device)2 x chalk bag (recommended)40m dynamic climbing rope. Any diameter is ok as long as it is Single rated. (Must be designed to catch falls on the single rope) No 1/2 or twin ropes will be allowed.
Gear Rentals, and Gear Deals
Bikes: LOGE also has a small sport store and rental shop onsite that rents high end mountain bikes. They have a limited supply, but have offered EO racers the option of renting a bike for the event for $250. Imagine traveling without a bike! Some of you may want to seriously look at this if you are still riding that 2006 26er hardtail!
You could show up at the event, get in a test ride on the 23rd and just drop your bike at the finish. You need to bring your own pedals unless you want flats...but the bike would be waiting for you and ready to go.
If this is what you decide to do, we can try to help source a bike box for you (it might be cardboard that you tape up) ahead of time if you give us notice.
There are many other bike shops in town too, our favorite being Pine Mountain Sports.
Packrafts: Backcountry packrafts is our go-to rental. They also sell used boats. We suggest you buy a boat (since this discipline in AR just seems to be growing), but these guys are great to work with if you do need a boat. There are a few other packraft rental companies in the US too if you want to compare.
Alpacka raft is offering all EO Racers a 15% off discount for new boats purchased through Feb 22. That is a HARD date, to ensure boat delivery in time for the event. For doubles, we recommend the new forager, explorer 42 or GNU race (if you can talk them into it, as it won't officially launch till later in the spring). All of the single boats are amazing, the caribou is the lightest we'd recommend for this event.
Call Alpacka and order by Feb 22 with "Expedition Oregon" to get the discount.
There are many other packraft brands out there. Kokopelli boats are also reasonable priced and performance, and the closest to Alpacka we've found. We've personally had OK luck as well with MRS, and horrible luck with "Raftpack" and "Aqua Extreme" brands. Both Aqua Extreme and Kokopelli make doubles too.
Climbing Gear: Mountain Supply in Bend rents climbing shoes for about $40 for a week. It is an option if you really cannot source shoes. But considering you can get shoes on sale for around $50USD, we recommend you just buy some and become a rock climber. It is great training.
Gear Thoughts (if you need help deciding)
Packrafting: Single boats have the advantage of maneuverability in technical rapids but are generally slower in flat water. They can be lashed together (bow to stern) though to make them almost as fast as a double. This takes practice however. Singles also make it easier to share weight between teammates when you are carrying them. Doubles are faster, but unless you practice in them, they are much harder to control in technical whitewater. Consider either using a self bailer, or decked boat for whitewater. An open boat - while lighter - will take on more water and hold it until you are essentially paddling a floating bathtub.
Also, strongly consider getting a boat with a Tzip (internal storage), to keep gear dry during the stages. Packs MAY NOT be worn during packraft sections, and all gear must be secured to the boat. Teams needing gear rescued from the river by staff may incur time penalties.
Snowshoes: Light snowshoes are preferred, however, it may be deep powder in sections, so ultralight trail running snowshoes may not be the best choice. Racers will be required to carry snowshoes on only one leg, but may opt to carry them on other legs depending on conditions.
Climbing Gear: Ultralight gear is perfect for this race, and both Edelrid and Camp make UIAA rated harnesses that weigh less than 100 grams. The Petzl Altitude is also a fantastic harness at only 150 grams which is a bit more normal (gear loops, belay loop, etc). We have used all 3 extensively and are working on getting discounts for racers.
Edelrid also makes some ultralight auto locking carabiners that are the lightest in the world.
Fall arrester device: These will be used as safety for one of the climbing sections. There are a large variety of devices that will work, so it is essential that you understand how to use your device. A traditional handled ascender is heavy, but can also work if it is all that you have. Non-handled ascenders, or mini capture devices are recommended. You must be able to demonstrate safe use of your setup. Below are several suggested devices if you do not have one. Must be CE or similar certified.
There are many many other options, so please do not hesitate to ask if you are unsure.
Due to the technical nature of this course, participants in Expedition Oregon will be required to show competency in a variety of specific skills - primarily in packrafting and climbing. The most technical sections of the course will be "optional" - in the sense that they will not be required to continue on the course, but opting to skip them may result in missing an optional "pro" point, or facing a time penalty, so we suggest you take your skill training seriously.
All significant rapids will be portage-able.
Bend Racing has a core philosophy that the "adventure" part of adventure racing is vital to an epic event.
Packrafting. The following are required skills.
Boat wet re-entry. (Getting back in the boat wearing life jacket in deep water)Boat inflation.Equipment securing (making sure all equipment is attached well to boat)Eddy turns and Eddying out.Assisted water rescue Reading the river and risk assessmentBoat repair
All boats will be required to have a “tail”. 2m piece of flat webbing attached to stern. Boats cannot have perimeter lines around the boat, but may have lines across the bow and the stern.
Proving Proficiency: Teams can send a letter explaining their experience (packraft course, past WW experience, etc). Race staff will assess wether or not an onsite skills check will be required. Teams without extensive packraft training/experience will be checked during pre-race. Rapids may be up to technical class III.
2 members of the team will be required to have the understanding of lead climbing - including lead belaying, following, basic top-anchor building (bolted anchors), how to avoid z-clipping, rope management, basic crack climbing technique (hand and foot jamming), and the ability to climb to a 5.9 level indoors. Other climbers will need to understand basic top rope setup, figure eight knot, and possess top rope ability to a 5.8 level. All team members must have understanding of rappelling.
Only one team member will be required to "lead", but two people must understand the lead/follow multi-pitch process. Teammates could also "swap leads" if they are both comfortable on the sharp end.
Teams must send a letter explaining climbing experience (must be extensive and include multi-pitch), OR two of the members must send in copy of a climbing gym “leading cerificate” which allows them to lead climb in the gym. All racers must demonstrate their set-up pre-race and be ready to answer basic climbing questions. Teams that fail to meet the climbing requirements will still be allowed to race, but may not be allowed to complete the climbing stage.
Ultimate Navigation Training
We've partnered with Orienteer.co to bring you a brilliant AR training tool. Check it out, and make sure your navigation is up to the challenge. We've been beta testing it for 4 years now, and are super pleased with our personal results! It allows you to create courses via online map tools, and then "run" the course using your phone as a virtual passport. It is perhaps the ultimate navigation training we've ever done. No more navigation excuses! Get out there and use Orienteer.co to finally up your nav game to the world class level like we did.
Questions, bugs, ideas for future development? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Train hills, technical singletrack and biking endurance, packrafting, and rock climbing. Become familiar with all your gear as much as you can. Dial in your food systems, spend time with your team if possible. Train in some snow if you can. And go ahead...get a little scared....we expect only half the teams to finish the full course. We are not known for "easy" races.
See you in April.
Register nowThank you to all of our amazing partners: Alpacka Raft, Caboost Kombucha, Deschutes Brewery, Edelrid, Ellsworth Bikes , Entrada Lodge, Gear Junkie, Leki, Lone Pine Coffee, Mountain Khakis, Nite Ize, Organic Valley, Paleo Eats, Pine Mountain Sports, prAna, Rebound Physical Therapy, Recharge Sport, Red Tank Cider, REI Bend, Travel Oregon, United States Forest Service, and Visit Bend
GET EXCITED! OREGON IS WAITING FOR YOU.