Ever wonder what happens to all of our new race ideas that never quite make it? Or all the amazing training courses we put together for our own team? Well up till now they've usually fit into one of several categories:
impossible to permit (wilderness areas, busy weekends, no off trail travel allowed by permit etc)
too difficult to logistically manage many racer
too technical for many racers
outside the scope of our insurance policy
Sometimes they are all of the above. But they are also almost always awesome. A few years ago we occasionally invited some local racers to join us for these "mock races". And we're ready to take this idea to the next level. So if you are interested, read below for a little bit more about what to expect, and when and how you can join us. Often these become more "true adventures" as we struggle to see if the concept is completable, let alone race-able. But that AR tenacity and constant forward motion will be your best assets out there. And we'll make sure to tout your accomplishments all over social media so you at least get some bragging rights amongst your crazy adventure peers.
Cost: These POC races are all non-permitted, non commercial events. We therefore have group size limits, less or no swag, no insurance, etc. They are free. We do spend a considerable amount of time putting the course together, and creating maps, virtual passports and (occasionally) logistical support, food and media coverage. So we expect to all share the hard costs of this event. Here is how that works to keep things "noncommercial". On the registration page you are purchasing maps. We will bring the maps to the start for you. If there are hard costs that the group is splitting, we will announce those for each individual event and ask that people bring cash for that small amount. Most events will end up costing less than $40 pp.
And if you want to make donations, they are gladly accepted in person or via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mandatory Gear: These are POC, and we don't really care what you do or don't bring. This is where we experiment with different things too. We'll offer some suggestions and a "concept" for each race with some vague details. Nearly always you'll need some standard AR gear. We'd suggest a tracking device or PLB if you are nervous or racing solo. And remember - this is just a bunch of crazy athletes trying to see if a certain adventure challenge is possible, and how fast they can do it.
Passports: For most of these POC races, we'll be using the Orienteer site via a smartphone. This is certainly not required, but a great way to really train the navigation and see how you stack up against other racers. It will also record your time etc. For longer races it will therefore be recommended that you bring a power supply for keeping your phone charged. The phone will act as your virtual passport, confirming that you successfully visited each checkpoint.
Proof-of-concept: Certain courses that are exceptional may eventually show up (in a somewhat similar fashion) either as full permitted events, or stages in a longer event. As such we'll rely on racer feedback to help us decide if things are worth pursuing as a bigger event. Most of these events we (some of our team at least) will be doing alongside you. These are usually not courses that we have vetted in their entirety, if at all. They are concepts. So occasionally, there may be sections or checkpoints that prove impossible. Or at least feel that way. But there is something magical about trying things you are not sure will actually work. In commercial races, (ours included) you at least know that someone has done what you are doing...
Event Levels: Events will range from lvl 1-10 based on a number of amorphous criteria that will never be adequately explained here. Length, navigation difficulty, expected suffer level, skill required, possible danger, possible legal issues, etc. Basically, if you sign up for a 8-10 level race, you should know what you are doing at a pretty high level. 5-7 is more approachable for the somewhat seasoned racer, or avid outdoor adventurer. 1-4 is various intensities of what we'd call a good training day (which often still means we get lost).
Team POC: Once you as an individual have accrued a certain # of points (points are equal to "levels" of races completed), you'll be invited onto the Proof of Concept Adventure Team. Which basically means you'll get to buy a kick ass shirt, and be invited on all "level 11" missions we do forever. You may never wanna do one with us, but at least you'll feel pretty bad-ass when you get the email invite.
Head on over to the events page and see when you can join us next.