Racer updates are organized chronologically from the most recent.
Racer update #2 - 2/22/22
You're hearing from us today with the second racer update for the 2022 Endless Mountains Adventure Race. For those of you who missed the first racer update, you can access it here. We will be posting all subsequent racer updates in this same google doc, the most recent at the top, so that you will have all the information you need in one place.
And now for some updates!
1. In case you missed it, we are excited to welcome MRS Packrafts as the latest partner for the 2022 Endless Mountains. In addition to contributing rafts to our prize table, the company is also offering a discount to registered teams.
2. We have heard from a number of racers, men and women of varying levels of fitness, skill, and experience, who are interested in taking part in the race but have not yet linked up with a team. If you're still looking to fill out your roster, reach out. We're happy to try to play matchmaker!
3. For those who aren't following Rootstock Racing on facebook, we have been posting weekly editions of what we're calling the Expedition Playbook, stocked with resources, tips, and general suggestions on everything expedition racing. Right now, you can access all of them through our News page. We have two more editions to release in the coming weeks - packrafting and nutrition. Once both of those are published, we will build out a separate web page consolidating all of the content in the Expedition Playbook. You can expect that in early March.
4. On that note, we know that biting off an expedition race can be overwhelming, whether it's your first or your tenth. Jen Segger offered some great general training tips in her Live Q&A last month. We anticipate one more with Jen in April, specifically on nutrition and fueling. In the meantime, if you have other questions, send them our way! If there is sufficient interest, we - as the RDs - will hold another Live Q&A in March. Note that this would NOT be to answer specific questions about the Endless Mountains that we haven't already answered elsewhere (IE - what to expect from the course, etc...).
That said, we know some folks are itching for more details about the 2022 Endless Mountains, too -- read on for those :)
1. Travel! We expect that most racers will be driving to the start, but we know that there will be some teams getting on a plane and we want to make that process as smooth as possible for you. We will be able to pick up and drop off teams and their gear at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).
When you're booking your flights, please plan to arrive Saturday afternoon 6/18 and depart on Sunday 6/26 midday or later -- and please send over your flight info once you've reserved. We will arrange the shuttle (likely only one) to accommodate everyone's flights. This may mean that teams will have to hang out at the airport for a few hours.
2. Schedule! The preliminary schedule on the website is still accurate. We plan to do all pre-race check-in on Sunday 6/19. You will receive maps on Monday morning and then enter a period of lockdown before the clock starts. That said, there are a lot of very excited folks who want to welcome you to the region! We anticipate the official race festivities to begin Saturday evening with a welcome dinner in Clarion. The town is also trying to arrange their two big summer festivals to bookend the race -- one the weekend of June 18 and one the weekend of June 25. So, as you're planning your travel, consider arriving sometime on Saturday so that you'll be able to take advantage of the activities.
3. While we are still four months out, we've received many inquiries about the course. We will not be divulging any specific details until June, but we do want to offer some initial guidance to help in your planning, gear, and training considerations. You can expect the finer details in early June, which should help with packing logistics.
- Overview: the rough course overview that we published on the website is relatively accurate. Distances will vary somewhat due to some route adjustments, but they should still give you a good sense of the overall course. Keep in mind that these are projections for the FULL course. The majority of teams will be completing a shorter, modified, but still amazing journey through the PA Wilds. How much shorter will depend on your training, navigation, and strategy.
- Total Distance: 342 miles/550 kilometers
- Total Biking: 176 miles/283 kilometers
- Total Trekking: 81 miles/130 kilometers
- Total Paddling: 85 miles/137 kilometers
- Paddling: You can expect multiple paddle stages during the race. A clear majority of the miles will be in canoes. Unfortunately, PA’s waterways have been shallower as we see less and less snowfall during our winter seasons, and one stage could see relatively low water levels. It is for this reason that you will be using packrafts there. You will not be required in this year's race to carry your rafts for any significant distance. That said, you may choose to carry them at some points for up to a few miles all told. During that section, some teams may elect to deflate and reinflate, others may decide to portage inflated boats, and others may forgo portaging boats entirely. We can't wait to see what you decide to do!
- Biking: Bike stages will vary from twenty-five miles to ninety or more. Biking will largely be on various road surfaces, with some stretches of single track and alternative off-road routes. The majority of the riding will take place on backcountry dirt and gravel roads. While some teams may find themselves hike-a-biking up some of the endless mountains of northern Pennsylvania due to tired legs, there are no significant intentional routes that are designed to take you off your bikes. There are some route options that might entice teams into unrideable routes; these options would be by choice and are entirely avoidable and limited in duration.
- Trekking: Anyone who has raced Rootstock events before knows that trekking tends to be the crux of our races. The 2022 Endless Mountains AR is no different. You will see some short and sweet sections, but you will also take on a significant trekking leg that could keep top teams out for as long as thirty hours. This stage, in particular, will have short-course options, but we do expect that non-podium teams trying to clear this stage could be out for significantly longer than that thirty-hour estimate. Expect significant opportunities for off-trail travel and navigation on this stage especially. Generally, 80-90 percent of the foot travel in the race will be on trails, dirt roads or off-trail.
Racer update #1 - 1/10/22
We hope 2022 is treating you all kindly so far. We're still six months out from the inaugural edition of the Endless Mountains Adventure Race, but we have some news and notes to share with you as registered participants. If you have teammates who have not yet signed up, please forward this email to them.
1. Over the winter and spring, we will be offering a series of zoom and/or FB Live Q&As. These will generally be targeted toward newer racers, and we don't anticipate offering any specific information about the 2022 course that we will not have shared via other venues (the website, social media, etc...), but more experienced racers may benefit from these session as well.
Our first Q&A will take place over zoom with the official coach of the 2022 Endless Mountains, Jen Segger. On Wednesday, January 26 at 8:00pm eastern, Jen will be talking training and preparation for expedition races. Mark your calendars now; we will sending out a zoom link closer to the date.
To that end: if you have specific questions you'd like answered in this or future Live Q&A's, please email us! We'll be keeping a running list.
2. We have had a few questions about the Wilderness First Aid requirement for the event. Because of the remote nature of expedition racing and the need for teams to be self-sufficient for long stretches of time, we are requiring that at least one member of each team hold a WFA certification or higher.
Teams should email us at this address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a copy of your certification, including expiration date.
For teams who have a medical professional on their roster (RN, MD, EMT, etc...), we will accept those certifications as well, but we still recommend that teams seek out wilderness medicine training to ensure that you're prepared for the unique challenges that may come in wilderness settings.
3. For teams interested in honing or brushing up on your paddle skills, we recommend checking out Packrafting Adventures for skill and safety courses offered by adventure racing and seasoned packrafter, Eric Caravella. Eric is offering a 15% discount to all Endless Mountains registrants.
Eric also sources packraft and gear rentals - feel free to reach out to him through the Packrafting Adventures site for details.
4. And speaking of discounts! One of our amazing partners, Dirtbags Bikepacking, is also offering a 15% discount for Endless Mountains participants. We have been riding with dirtbags for several years, and we love how their gear allows us to take the weight of gear and food off our backs during extended bike stages. At Rootstock, we're particularly partial to their grub bags, burrito haulers, and minimalist seatbags.
That's all for now! You can expect to hear from us with additional updates throughout the winter and spring, with course details closer to race week. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any questions!