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Discussion: USARA Nationals 2018

in: Adventure Racing; General

Sep 24, 2018 7:33 PM # 
Who's in your top 10??

I'm only ranking co-ed and co-ed master's teams. Not saying there's an Open team that could grab a top-10 spot (#44 MRA or #53 TJ79 Moziatex), but they are not my focus.

(1) #11 Deviate. "The" Garrison is an Indiana native and fantastic navigator. He knows the terrain probably better than DINO, having set several o-meets and ARs here. His teammates Greg and Heather are super strong. They will approach the race with a fun attitude and Greg will buy everyone beers at the awards ceremony.

(2) #1 Rootstock Racing 1. Not that I'm rooting (ha) against them, but I just like to see the victory spread around. I think they will push hard and be a close 2nd. Let's hope they have time for a few "dramatic" photos from Brent!

(3) #24 Team Kuat. These guys are in excellent shape and if they can hold the navigation game together, they will fly. Jason is an excellent navigator and relatively new to larger/crowded races, but SuperSona has been a steadying force of experience on the team. Have you SEEN Ashley run?!? Right, you haven't, because she's that fast (and on the bike too).

(4) #27 With Britt stepping out of the world of nearly-pro road racing to drag the boys around the course, it will come down to how well she can move on foot. Dave "Night Ninja" Lamb's nav is sure to be impeccable.

(5) #9 Checkpoint Zero. Members of this team had great performances at Untamed and Shenandoah. Peter will do very well navigating in Indiana terrain. However I think USARA is a tad too close to Shenandoah for them to be fully recovered. Will they travel in tandem with their counterparts in Masters?? (#29 Checkpoint Zero Masters)

(6) #20 Rib Mountain Racing. I know first-hand after racing with Tim and Anna at Untamed that they are top-notch team, with skillful nav and unfailing teamwork. Anna and Erik will need to keep the team focused with the constant distractions of other teams in the area. This terrain is right up their alley and they are strong on all disciplines.

(7) #19 Quest Race Team. This team has really upped their game in the past few years on the ARWS/multi-day circuit. However, they could struggle with the smaller, more detailed terrain in Indiana. I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to see them win here.

(8) #15 Mountain Race Company/Main Nerve. Rachel and Shane had a hugely successful race at Shenandoah. Will they keep the night nav clean? Are they recovered enough to mix it up at the top? Is anyone tougher than Rachel?

(9) #31 Untamed New England Masters. Whoever gets to race with Joe and Jeff is automatically one lucky chick (have fun, Diana!) and these three already have a couple successful races as a squad.

(10) #5 Big Dogs. This is a sentimental pick for my own team! Hey, my rankings, my way. I'm bringing two newbies to Nats and honestly being in the Top 10 is a long shot. Matt and Stephen are very fit, but we will not be fast on the nav (and hope to make it up with excellent accuracy and efficiency). And this will be their longest race ever. These guys have amazing positive attitudes and I sort of hope it takes us the full 30 hours because they are just that fun to hang out with.

One more shout-out to all of the Missouri teams. The most represented state. A lot of the MO teams are new to Nationals and have varying levels of experience with the 30-hour distance. But they are all stepping up to the plate and "carpe AR-ing" with the short travel distance this year. And almost 100% of these people (not just the teams, the people) have raced at the Castlewood 8-hr AR here in St. Louis in December.
39 Down - really, really good nav. really, really good speed on foot.
Big Dogs - like I said, we will focus on keeping the nav clean but not fast.
In Our Element - another really, really good nav team (3 deep).
On The Ffogy Side - good mountain bikers, not a ton of night nav experience
Team Kuat - see above.
Team Noah Racing/SLOC - Yvonne went to nats in 2004! she is so experienced and positive.
Les Missourables - relative newcomers, but great attitudes and always up for a challenge. They raced Stubborn Mule 30hr on short notice because No Sleep 24hr wasn't hard enough.
Remove The Limits 2 - listed as an IL team but 2 members live in STL. They are going for the experience and I know it will be a great one.
Sep 24, 2018 8:13 PM # 
Question: Is anyone tougher than Rachel?
Answer: No.
Sep 24, 2018 8:29 PM # 
Silkychrome, I wish you could do all the AR race predictions. Thanks, that's great!
Sep 25, 2018 2:40 AM # 
So excited! Without Tecnu/AMK racing, the competition is much more wide open at the top. Excited to see the action first-hand (and hopefully mix it up a bit ourselves)...
Sep 25, 2018 2:03 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
No Complaints - Topo ought to grab a solid finish. Olsen did well at Untamed (13th), plus Benton wins stuff all of the time in the vicinity of the race venue.
Sep 25, 2018 2:41 PM # 
someone else post their top 10!!
Sep 25, 2018 7:25 PM # 
So many teams I don't know much about!

In no order:

Rootstock 1 (They have to be the favorites, right?)
Rootstock 2 (They're all horses and have had a great season - Joel especially)
CP0 (Great at UNE, and Peter won the Tough)
CP0 Masters (Didn't they race together as a super-team last year?)
MRC/MainNerve (Strong, strong, strong - is there a faster team?)
Deviate (Great people, great racers!)
Quest (I don't know much, but I'd be remiss to not expect them to do well)
Rib Mountain (Great race at UNE - sounds like they are in top form) (Can they repeat last year's success? Probably!)
UNE Masters (Is there anyone better on the maps than Joe?)

Torn between:
TanZ (Raced well last year, can they repeat?)
Journey (Strong at nationals last year, but is this is same team?)
Kuat (I don't know them, but they sound like a strong group)
Chaos Machine (Ever improving, would love to see them mix it up in the top 10!)
GOALS (I'm biased)

If that first group holds it together, they'll be tough to knock out of the top 10. I think the most likely to sneak in is either TanZ or Kuat.
Sep 26, 2018 1:57 AM # 
The Rootstock squads will be tough to beat. I don’t see any weaknesses in either of their teams although I wouldn’t put it past Jesse to hurt himself on some type of stupid human trick the night before.


I’m partial to obviously. I think DML is in the best shape he’s been in since I’ve been racing with him. He has won this event 3x. Britt is probably the strongest cyclist in the field and will provide valuable nav help. Chris will make sure they both have light packs.

Quest cannot be overlooked. MHayz (of DART fame) is a solid navigator with tons of experience in big events. They’ll hang around quietly and capitalize on any mistakes by the others.

MRC/Main Nerve- Shane and Rachel will be ready to go despite racing S-Tough 2 weeks ago. If Charlie’s nav is up to speed they’ll be in the top five for sure.

Not to hit any nerves on purpose but does anyone know if there’s live tracking this year?
Sep 26, 2018 3:19 AM # 
Jay I figured since you weren't racing you'd run around and report everyone's location every 15 minutes.
Sep 26, 2018 12:49 PM # 
No live tracking this year. There will be updates on Facebook - they did a decent job with it last year, but obviously tracking would be nicer.
Sep 26, 2018 2:06 PM # 
Thanks for the kind words, JayXC!

I don't have much more to add. I think all the primary players have been touched on by at least one if not more people.

I will add/echo one specific thought:
Quest. This team doesn't get a ton of recognition because they have mostly been local to the NW. That said, they came to Nationals once (I believe in MD) and finished 5th (as I recall). They also were top 10 at Nationals and just gave Bones and Vidaraid hell at PQ. Matt and Brent (2/3 of the Nationals team) beat the Yogis (handily I think) at a Bend race a month or so ago.

Point is, I like them to do very, very well. Maybe best of all:)
Sep 26, 2018 7:02 PM # 
It's not my country but does anyone know the rationale for not providing live tracking at a national championship? Aside from the safety benefits of tracking, it seems like a huge missed opportunity to promote a very important event.
Sep 26, 2018 9:04 PM # 
Broots and JayXC, I overnighted bubble wrap to Jesse. #nobull
Sep 26, 2018 9:54 PM # 
Work4justice, thanks for looking out for him :)
Sep 27, 2018 2:20 AM # 
Hey Bash, I think I know the answer and it starts with "c" and ends with "a$h."

They used to provide tracking with downloadable GPX files for all teams easily loadable into Google Earth - so cool. But they stopped two years ago, no direct explanation given.
Sep 27, 2018 2:26 AM # 
As for rankings, I think the top teams have all been mentioned and that 7-10 teams have a legit shot at winning. One team that hasn't been mentioned for a top 10 finish is Chafing the Dream. Tom and Amanda are from Vermont and just dominate the local race scene. Not sure about their third teammate but last year they raced with current RD Brian Holzhausen and did fairly well (I believe 14th?). They just raced Raid Gaspesie (they were the only American team) and both did Ironman Lake Placid in under 12:30, so they're primed.
Sep 27, 2018 2:30 AM # 
Strongmachine - writing on behalf of broots, who’s currently in the driver’s seat. “I’ve done ten of the last eleven usara champs and don’t remember ever having tracking.”
Sep 27, 2018 5:38 AM # 
You can see why it's on my mind. :) The Wilderness Traverse 24-30 hr AR is this weekend and I'm the lucky Yellowbrick Volunteer! I've been busy boosting batteries all week.

It will be my 8th year of managing Race HQ and we've always had tracking. I'm not sure I'd want to manage HQ if we didn't because it would be so stressful to feel partially responsible for racer safety if I didn't know their location and if they didn't have the ability to communicate with HQ from anywhere on the course. It would also be more difficult to create spectator excitement through our race coverage. If I were you, I'd push future USARA organizers to charge a little more and get tracking!

Sep 27, 2018 10:45 AM # 
WT is less expensive to enter relative to USARAs but yet somehow manages to provide this service. And they provide Kevlar boats...
Sep 27, 2018 11:49 AM # 
I do remember tracking being at USARA race in Maryland (2014).

good point JayXC on the cost of USARA vs WT. i'm guessing USARA spends most of it on the awards banquet, hotel meals are never cheap. i don't think that's going away anytime soon. and while most racers would probably prefer to have tracking instead of a pasta buffet, the banquet is such a part of the traditional schedule that i don't think it will go away.
Sep 27, 2018 1:00 PM # 
Is tracking something the race organizer provides as part of their event management process?
Sep 27, 2018 1:23 PM # 
We brought the trackers down to 2015 Nats in Kentucky.
Sep 27, 2018 2:33 PM # 
WT has a hot buffet breakfast pre-race and a post-race luncheon with salads and sandwiches - not as fancy as the USARA banquet, I’m sure. Race HQ is in a hotel conference room for 2.5 days. It would be a huge stretch to say that Bob could make a living from what he charges. Someone without another job would need to charge more than $230 US per person. (Regular entry fee, currency conversion as of today.) As a racer, I’d be willing to pay more for tracking in an overnight or multi day race. Every year we hear from a few teams on the course who have problems and are unable to reach HQ by cell phone.
Sep 27, 2018 2:34 PM # 
@xm980, yes, at some races.
Sep 28, 2018 2:08 AM # 
course updates.

Leg 1
800m run to a paddle

Leg 2
“Triple Trouble”
9 CPs worth 3 points total. teams can split up and use any mode to obtain.

Leg 3
probably a bike

Leg 4
probably a trek

Leg 5
probably a bike

Leg 6
dog-bone orienteering. 6 (i think?) sets of CPs. must obtain both CPs in a set before going to next set. using O map and e punch.

Leg 7
probably a bike

Leg 8
probably a paddle back to Race HQ

might be a surprise Leg 9 which is short???

maps at 0630, start at 0700. updates via USARA facebook page.
Sep 28, 2018 4:31 AM # 
Blazing paddles at CP1 during Leg 1.

I'm told Leg 2 will include the 'fastest o-team' section but will be unique in that teams can split up and have to get checkpoint 'pairs'. Should be interesting to see the team's strategies in the daylight.

Having lived in Bloomington and paddled, run, and biked in the Lake Monroe area, I'm excited to see the course unfold (while unfortunately watching from Aus). It should be a beautiful setting.

6 hrs till maps...
Sep 28, 2018 10:50 AM # 
Maps and course rules distributed. They will receive several plotted maps on the course and be plotting #2-7.
Sep 29, 2018 2:23 AM # 
After the first paddle and the 'Triple Triple' (teammates divided up to get CPs along the peninsula), it appears the Rootstock teams are together in the lead to defend their title with several teams close behind. Here are the top 15 full course teams with their split for the 'Triple Triple' leg (and TA2 departure time):

21 – Rootstock 2 (:48) 1:57
1 – Rootstock (:44) 1:59
9 – CP0 (:45) 2:04
27 – CP0 Master (:47) 2:07
25 – UNE (:52) 2:08
53 – TJ79 (:49) 2:18
19- Quest (:46) 2:19
15 – MRC (:46) 2:34
20 – Rib (:46) 2:36
11 – Deviate (:58) 2:50
43 – Michigan (:52) 2:52
12 – GOALS (:44) 2:58
7 – Chaffing (:46) 3:00
8 – Chaos (:58) 3:04
2 – 39 Down (:62) 3:14
Sep 29, 2018 2:31 AM # 
The course is a rogaine, so it is tough to know which points people have collected, but as night falls the teams have made it to the orienteering section in the following order: (I have just captured the full course top 15 teams listed from above)
53 – TJ79 5:04
19- Quest 5:20
20 – Rib 5:36
25 – UNE 6:52
21 – Rootstock 2 7:40
1 – Rootstock 7:42
27 – CP0 Master 7:47
9 – CP0 7:49
15 – MRC 8:34
11 – Deviate 8:35
7 – Chaffing 8:53
43 – Michigan 9:15
2 – 39 Down 9:37
12 – GOALS 9:42
8 – Chaos Not Yet arrived
Sep 29, 2018 2:34 AM # 
My assumption is that TJ79, Quest, Rib, and UNE chose a more direct route (less CPs) to Story, while the rest of the field followed a similar path. Rootstock 2 and 1 are racing well together and holding a 5 minute lead over the CP0 teams. There is a good O map from ICO for this section.
Sep 29, 2018 4:19 AM # 
Team 19 Quest took 5.5hrs to complete the O section and is the first team moving on. They had the benefit of a few hours of daylight at the start of the O section but likely have more CPs to collect on the bike.
Sep 29, 2018 5:49 AM # 
Quest, winners of the Bemd AR have passed the manned CP on the bike leg (CPs25-27)... the last time they were on the same route as RS / CP0 was after the Triple Triple and were 20 min back. Sounds like they are moving well.
Sep 29, 2018 6:42 AM # 
UNE had the fastest split so far on the O-Course.

Departure times (and splits) from the O-Course:
19 Quest (5:24) 10:44PM
53 TJ79 (5:51) 10:55
20 Rib (5:54) 11:30
25 UNE (5:16) 12:08AM
21 & 1 Rootstock (5:33) 1:13AM

I think RS covered more CPs before the O-Course so we should have a good race as they mount the bikes.
Sep 29, 2018 7:17 AM # 
CP0 (#9 and 27) are also finished the O-Course.
Sep 29, 2018 9:22 AM # 
CP0 passed the manned CP25 2:20 after rootstock. Several route options...
Sep 29, 2018 10:01 AM # 
From the O-Section:

9 & 27 CP0 left at 2:28AM (6:39)
11 Deviate left at 3:29 (6:54)
Team 45 also cleared the o-course in 8hrs
Several full course teams still on the O course
Sep 29, 2018 11:26 AM # 
Rootstock 1 & 2 have held onto their lead are the first back on the paddle and onto the final legs. Great work team! Sad to hear TJ79 has withdrawn due to bike mechanicals.
Sep 29, 2018 11:53 AM # 
Rootstock is on the final trek! The finish line is in their sights now.
Sep 29, 2018 12:18 PM # 
UNE's fast o course has put them in third. They are now paddling back to the final 4 trekking CPs.
Sep 29, 2018 1:10 PM # 
Rootstock wins nationals! Congrats team! Great race.
Sep 29, 2018 1:23 PM # 
CP0 (9 & 27) heading out to the final trek CPs now
Sep 29, 2018 2:25 PM # 
UNE finishes 3rd! Quest in for 4th!
Sep 29, 2018 9:35 PM # 
Official results are in and seven teams cleared the course. Looking forward to hearing the stories from the teams and dreaming about next year! Great work all and congrats again to Rootstock for killing the course and finishing as National Champs. Congrats also to UNE for their smooth Nav on the O Course and winning the 'O-Team' and third place finish. (We will wait to see who won KOM and blazing paddles)

1 & 2: Rootstock Racing (45) 25:58
3: UNE (45) 27:00
4: Quest (45) 27:07 (close finish!)
5: CP0 (45) 27:36
6: Rib (45) 29:13
7: Deviate (42) 27:30
8: 39 Down (42) 27:52 (first nationals! Curious which 3cps they dropped)
9: MRC / MN (42) 28:09
10: Kuat (41) 29:40
11: Only Mostly Lost (40) 29:15
12: Chaffing (40) 29:46
13: GOALS (39) 29:50
14: Foggy (38) 28:40
15: In Our Element (37) 29:22

In the Masters Division CP0 was the only team to clear the course racing alongside their teammates in the Coed Division. Congrats on the national champs!

1: CP0 (45) 27:36
2: UNE (40) 28:37
3: TanZ Navigation (39) 19:39
4: We Will Survive (38) 29:36
5: GOALS (34) 29:56 (with a broken derailleur)

There were more teams in the Open Category than perhaps ever before in the Open Category. Congrats to Michigan Racind Addicts for the win and finishing with minutes to spare!

1: Michigan (44) 29:54
2: Toenails (37) 29:50
3: Unplugged (37) 29:56
4: RoAR (35) 29:31
5: Cherubini (34) 29:40

It was the first year nationals had 5 Female teams competing in the Female Open Category which was won by Fragile Flowers.

1: Fragile Flowers (30) 29:48
2: 361 Chickpoints (27) 28:59
3: Tribe 325 (25) 25:17
4: 3 Bike Momd (22) 29:00
5: Dirty Skirts (21) 28:05

Finally Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary won the collegiate division racing safe as they were new to Nav and clearing 16 CPs in 24:19.
Sep 30, 2018 2:44 AM # 
UNE also won the Blazing Paddles section (paddle through CP1 on Leg 1).
Sep 30, 2018 11:13 PM # 
Congrats to Rootstock and to all the teams! :)
Oct 2, 2018 1:30 PM # 
Thanks Bash! And thanks to jbrown for following the race so closely. I think you had a much clearer sense of what was happening than we did:)

It really was a terrific course, esp. for those who like strategy and nav. Constant adjustments and you really had to plan on the go. We loved it.

I've written a report. Not much imagery for this one (Sorry, silkychrome; I left the camera at home), but I did make a little map explaining our "awesome" unmapped trail adventure gone wrong for those who saw us bikewhacking where no bikes have ever been...
Oct 2, 2018 2:12 PM # 
broots, that's such a great write-up. although i don't understand leaving the camera at home. congrats to the Rootstock crew!!
Oct 2, 2018 2:52 PM # 
No "dramatic" photos? :( Well, I guess I'll read it anyway.
Oct 2, 2018 3:14 PM # 
Thanks for the inside scoop, Broots - well done!

This discussion thread is closed.