What is Adventure Racing?

First of all, adventure racing is AWESOME.  It’s like a giant scavenger hunt in the wilderness for grown-ups, and instead of just one mode of transportation, you get to switch things up.  Adventure races last anywhere from three hours to ten or more days non-stop, and always involve travel on foot and on bike while using a map to find checkpoints along the way.  In addition there is often a paddling section involved, as well as rope work and sometimes other surprises along the way!

The essence of adventure racing is teamwork.  Teams are usually co-ed, and team members are required to stick together at all times.  If one person has to drop out, the whole team is disqualified or can finish unranked.

At the beginning of the race or sometimes the day before, racers are given a map with marked checkpoints (CPs).  Most races will have mandatory CPs which must all be found to complete the course.  No GPS allowed, only map and compass. Often there are also optional CPs that teams can find to gain extra points.  Sometimes CPs must be found in a specific order, while sometimes you can find them in any order. A “rogaine” race format means that racers try to find as many CPs as possible in any order, within a certain time limit.  Our races typically will have a combination of mandatory and optional CPs, with some rogaining as well!  Basic white and orange orienteering markers will be used and each one has a specific number and hole punch.  Teams must punch their race “passport” document as they find CPs to prove they were there.

The feeling of finding a tough checkpoint is one of the more satisfying feelings there is, and keeps you hungry for more!

I’m brand new to Adventure Racing. Can I do this?

Yes! Adventure Racing is a sport you can pick up at any point in life. If you can hike, bike, and are willing to spend some time getting familiar with topo maps, you certainly can do this! One of the best parts of AR is teamwork, so a great way to get into the sport is to try it out with a teammate who has either raced before, or who has experience with navigation. Or, just sign up with a friend who is also new to AR and commit to learning navigation together! We get lots of new people at the Teton Ogre every year, in both the 8 and 24hr races.

Some of our tips for newbies:

  • Test out your gear and nutrition plan during training, not on race day
  • Use a map during training sessions as much as possible. Bring a compass and practice orienting the map as you go along. Get used to keeping track of where you are on the map. You could even try studying a map of where you’re going before you go out, then see how it “feels” in real life. Was it easier than expected? Harder? Steeper?
  • Discuss race goals with your teammate before race day–make sure you’re on the same page.
  • Get your bikes tuned up before the race…a broken bike is no fun!
  • Keep moving, even if you’re stopped! Even if you’re not actually moving forward during the race, there’s always something you can be doing to keep your momentum going. This could be eating, taking care of your feet, feeding your navigator, putting on sunscreen, etc…

What is the biking like in the Teton Ogre?

Terrain varies greatly from year to year. Sometimes there is smooth single track or double track, and sometimes it can be a mix of technical and/or hike-a-bike. The most important thing to remember is to ride at the speed at which you are able to stay in control, even if this is slower than you want to go. As long as you keep moving and stay safe, you’ll be good! For our 2023 course, expect to find some adventurous riding and lots of single track! 🙂

If you are new to mountain biking, we highly recommend taking a lesson from an expert, if you can find someone. Also, check out the book “Mastering Mountain Bike Skills,” by Brian Lopes.

What about bears?

Teton Valley is located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and yes, there are both Black and Grizzly bears here. That said, they are not out to get you and would much rather be left alone! It is a special thing to see a bear in the wild and it is very rare that an encounter would be dangerous, especially when traveling with others. Be sure to carry your bear spray in an outside pocket of your pack, easily accessible, and know how to use it. Talk and make noise, especially when in dense vegetation.

What kind of food should I eat while racing?

This varies greatly for each person. For the most part, eat whatever your body can take in, and eat frequently. For shorter races, you may feel fine just using bars and gels. For a longer race, you might find that having some “real” food is better. Having some variety is important, in case your body decides that it can’t handle a certain type of food anymore. As mentioned above, practice eating during your training sessions, so you can learn what your body can handle. Keep in mind that some foods will be harder to eat while biking, and eating while on-foot is usually easier. Consuming 100-200 calories per hour of exercise is a good goal. Try not to let more than an hour go by without eating, because this deficit will catch up with you later in the race!

What is the altitude of the Teton Ogre?

This varies from year to year, but generally you’ll be going from around 6,000ft up to as high as 9500ft or more. If you can, spend some time at altitude before you race, so you know how your body will react.

Got more questions? Feel free to send them our way!