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Discussion: Primal Quest 2015

in: Adventure Racing; News

Aug 12, 2014 3:46 AM # 
So today I caught wind that Primal Quest will be back in 2015. When I read the news I became super excited. As soon as I got home I immediately Googled the race and started reading about it ( Suddenly my excitement crashed to the floor. The race entry fee is $8000 US for a four person team! I'm not only disappointed that this once great expedition is catered to sponsored and/or financially endowed teams but I fear that it could spark a trend among races in general to raise their entry fees. This sport is not yet big enough to start raising entry fees to these heights. The price burden for gear alone is almost too much for newcomers to overcome, me included. I'm not familiar with the previous pricing for Primal Quest back in the day but it's a different AR world now. Adventure racing is just now on the upswing as far as gaining new racers and as a growing sport. My hope is that Primal Quest's 2015 high entry fees will not have a negative affect on the current AR world but will in some way support its growth, exposure, and accessibility to new racers.
Aug 12, 2014 5:24 AM # 
FYI entry fees for the last two primal quests were in the $11,000 - $12,000 range so this is actually a better deal. It is a similar price to doing xpd in Australia. And if you compare the per person price to doing a multiday stage bike race like bc bike race/transalps ($2000), ironman ($700 for IMC), or even just a week of guided trekking or biking ($2-3000) it isn't way above that.

Adventure racing has always been an expensive sport - no way around that. Running a big expedition race is logistically challenging. And the true cost of doing an expedition race is multiple times higher than just the entry fee when you add travel, gear, etc.. I just don't see a new untapped market of racers magically appearing by lowering the price to say $1000 per person.

And sorry to burst your bubble but I don't think adventure racing has been on an upswing for years...
Aug 12, 2014 7:53 AM # 
yep, XPD is $8000 AUD, Godzone is $7000 NZD (early) so it is in the ballpark. I normally budget $5000 for a race once you throw in airfares, acomm, oh so much food and breaking some of my shiny gear.

It is still much better value than an ironman but also explains why I race so infrequently.
Aug 12, 2014 1:38 PM # 
"The Aug 22-29, 2015 event, limited to 40 classic coed 4-person teams, is designed as a ‘legacy’ event – a rerun of 2003. This has never been done before; it is intended to draw young and old, new and veteran adventurers. “We’re are using this first event to reconnect to the original motivations for creating PQ, to re-centre, and rebuild from there into the following years” says Burton, “with the course being known, navigation may be easier but designated orienteering sections will still challenge navigators; plus this event will give some the chance to measure themselves against 2003. Either way we’re ready to get back out there and it’s bound to be a fantastic event.” "

so every CP is the same as 2003?
Aug 12, 2014 1:52 PM # 
I wonder if an extra $1,000 per team could pay for a course designer...
Aug 12, 2014 2:23 PM # 
Interesting concept. To put everyone on a level playing field are they going to publish the previous maps ahead of time so new teams can pre-run sections like those that raced it in 2003 are going to do?
Aug 12, 2014 6:33 PM # 
Ha! This is still cheaper than all Eco Challenges and Raid Gauloises 20 yrs ago, in the early to mid 90s...literally.

This sport isn't for everyone and never has been. It will never be "popular" unless you dumb it down. Personally I could not do an expedition for many years until I got on a team with sponsorship.

This shit is expensive. The last thing you want is a "cheap" expedition. Keep it raw and rare.

... Or, DIY, with friends.
Aug 12, 2014 7:23 PM # 
$2000 will get you an airfare to Africa, and entry to an AR World Series race - Expedition Africa 2015. Only US$800 per person entry fee (yes, that's only US$3200 per team). It's a bargain for international teams! Location for 2015 was announced today - Kingdom of Swaziland.
Aug 12, 2014 8:52 PM # 

Putting on an expedition, or even a "real" point to point 24hr AR in the USA is a bitch because of permits. that's how we found ourselves with so many rogaine-style girly-races with optional CPs in small state parks or private lands. It's ironic when you look at how much open space we have compared to europe..but that's just our reality for now.

Best bang for buck ever, for North American teams, was the Baja Travesia expediton race, 2006-2008. It was as big and raw and real as it gets, but accessible logistically and economically feasible for anyone who can already afford a bike/kayak/free time.

there have been other very well-run expedition races in latin america (Doug Crytzer's race in Belize) that failed to draw very many US teams...despite cheaper entry fees, and flights that are relatively short and cheap.

For the same cost and time away from home, where would you rather race 300+ miles...Wyoming, Virginia, or COSTA RICA??? And, if the 300+ mile "expedition" had optional CPs and random order, in a small area, would you go? I would not.

Expedition Idaho seems like a "REAL" expedition in a giant, wild area, but nobody showed up this year. If it was called "Primal Quest" would more people show up?

I don't think so.

A rose by any other name.....

The market for these races has continued to shrink, as events like OCR (Spartan 1-4hr race) and GoRuck (8-48hr nonstop events) is skyrocketing out of control. A lot of adventure racers probably aren't even familiar with GoRuck yet. They should be, and they will be.

Part of the draw has been and always will be "social proof". When you consider the wild places we visit, that are hard for outsiders to comprehend, you can't blame them at all! That's why FB is so successful.

If people want video/photo documentation of their big, wild journeys, that's more affordable than ever. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, you NEEDED a camera crew. Today you don't . You just need a GoPro and a couple extra batteries and a week off from work to go play with friends in a big national park.
Aug 12, 2014 9:25 PM # 
All over the map.
E-C B.C. '96 $10K or $12 K can't remember exactly
E-C Aus '97 $2,500... and they sent us a 'refund' of $700 or $800 after the race?!?
I think they (E-C's) maxed around $15k?
In my 'paying' experience Expedition races have ranged anywhere from $800 to $12,000 per team (entry fees) with very little discernible difference between them in terms of race experience (except maybe the Swedish Airbourne Expedition, where we actually had to catch a chartered flight mid-race). That is to say that some races are 'better' than others, but price seems to have little to do with it.

Some countries are inherently more expensive to 'do' things and some races have better local and/or corporate support.

What's your motivation: the challenge; to explore 'cool' places; to get on T.V. (internet); to impress your friends/colleagues; spend time with like minded people; beat yourself up and spend lots of cash; a new/unique experience; etc, etc... There's probably a race/event for you.... and probably people on this 'forum' or others that can help you find it.

... and EA is awesome value in my opinion... and yes, difficult/expensive to get to for many of us.
Aug 13, 2014 2:59 PM # 
My post was obviously a boo boo lipped response to being disappointed. It's just saddening to see prices rise when it's an inherently expensive sport to begin with.
AR events definitely shouldn't be dumbed down nor should they be gouged by inflated hype.

Anyways, there are plenty of great races that are affordable to choose from. Expedition Idaho being one that I hope becomes a staple race. Long, hard, and affordable.
Aug 14, 2014 1:57 PM # 
Aug 14, 2014 6:09 PM # 
Cali Cowboy:
Mhayz, that article is 6 weeks old. The race is indeed a go. I chatted with Maria Burton (original PQ co-founder) last week. She is putting on the event with a new cast of characters.

I am curious to see how things develop...
Aug 14, 2014 8:01 PM # 
MRAPhil: For those that want a recap of events for the race.
Aug 14, 2014 8:31 PM # 
I remember sitting in David Kelly's kitchen in Fairfax with Dan Barger and Maria back in 2001 and laughing about the yet-to-be-released name of the race "Primal Quest" we all thought it was funny, compared to "Southern Traverse", Raid Gauloises, etc.

I keep dropping names all the time. At least that's what Kanye keeps telling me.
Aug 20, 2014 1:55 AM # 
So they say they are using the same course, but then there is this:

"Idyllic Sierra Nevada scenery, non-stop multi-sport expedition and navigating while trekking, mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, flat water paddling, down river paddling, ascending and rappelling, caving"

I don't remember Stand up paddle boarding being around in 2003
Plus there is no talk of kick bike or rollerblades. Do remember those being around in the 2003 and 2004 races.

I sent some questions to the contact us link on the site, but have not heard anything back yet
Aug 20, 2014 3:24 AM # 
Carbons Offset:
Clearly the kick bike and rollerblading sections have been replaced with stand up paddle boards ;)
Aug 20, 2014 2:09 PM # 
just remember Gurney's boat mod.
Aug 20, 2014 3:19 PM # 
Check this out.
Aug 28, 2014 7:23 PM # 
I'm all for PQ and I agree with FB - for whatever reason you are racing, there is a race for you out there. Price tag as very little to do with race quality.

Untamed New England is a very affordable race according to international AR standards and offers great value.

AR is not a mainstream sport and it's hard to see this change anytime soon. But there are certainly many things that could be done to get more people into it, starting with some kind of common sens racing calendar.

It's very funny there seems to be inexistant communication between all these expedition races in North America.
Cowboy tough, Expedition Idaho, Goldrush, Raid International Gasp├ęsie and now PQ all happening within 8-10 weeks targeting pretty much the same 50 potential teams in 2015? No wonder why so few teams showed up at Expedition Idaho and GoldRush was postponed.

And unlike Untamed New England and MTB races, marketing for these races is shaky at best, with sometimes very little infos and lead time. Races like BC Bike race and TransRockies all have everything dialed in months and often years in advanced with online infos and everything in place to create such a hype that people can't wait to get the party going.
The Maya Mountain race in Belize has potential, but very little marketing has been done before and even since the race in February. It is mentioned 2016 somewhere on their FB page but nothing on the web site. Pangea adventure racing has also something interesting in hand with the Sea2Sea but still has nothing announced for next February.

I would definitely give a shot at a remote foreign race with lower entry fees that somehow seem to have a decent organisation than spend that amount of money on entry fees alone.
Sep 3, 2014 12:53 PM # 
Oct 30, 2014 12:11 AM # 
According to Outside Mag, registration is Saturday:
Oct 30, 2014 6:32 PM # 
Here's the straight scoop from Primal Quest Tahoe RD Maria Burton. On the TA1 Podcast.
Oct 30, 2014 7:07 PM # 
Cali Cowboy:
What is this?...
Oct 30, 2014 7:31 PM # 
Primal Quest 33 is the interim team name for Paulette Kirby, Toby Evans, Tara DangerGirl Flanery, and Joelle Vaught.
Oct 30, 2014 7:44 PM # 
Cali Cowboy:
I read that. What does that mean?
Oct 30, 2014 7:51 PM # 
Cali Cowboy:
I used to adventure race with a Joelle Vaught. Same one? Elite Montrail Ultra Runner? She is racing PQ 2015 on this team?
Oct 30, 2014 8:14 PM # 
C'mon LegendaryRandy, what's the scoop? That's your wife's name on the list. Then Vaught!, while the other woman is a roller derby girl, and the guy is the Happy Mutant.
Oct 30, 2014 9:00 PM # 
I talked to Toby (aka Happy Mutant) after a bike race this wknd. He says he's putting that team together. Sounds like the same Joelle.
Nov 1, 2014 2:28 AM # 
Cali Cowboy:
This answers my question of PQ v Exped Alaska...

Alright.. Back to putting things into ziplock baggies...
Nov 1, 2014 3:32 AM # 
Good move by Adlard with ARWS. Location, location, location.
Nov 1, 2014 4:56 PM # 
Carbons Offset:
Yes, that location definitely caught my attention! Great race course (and wilderness) potential!
Nov 2, 2014 6:17 AM # 
Sorry been in the woods. Toby asked for 33 because 3 is his lucky number. And that is the same Joelle. Toby raced with Paulette at Rogaine Worlds and they hit it off so of course Primal Quest would be the next thing they do.

This discussion thread is closed.