It’s a race, but there are no course markers. It’s not that event organizers were lazy; that’s just part of the challenge in this weekend’s Adventure Xstream Series race at Copper Mountain Resort on Sunday.
Inspired by reality TV producer Mark Burnett’s “Eco-Challenge,” the multi-sport adventure racing series returns to Summit County this weekend. Previously based in Frisco, Copper Mountain will host the start and finish for the first time in conjunction with its Guitar Town and Beer Festival.
Part kayaking, biking, hiking, running and orienteering, the event will give aspiring explorers a chance to test themselves on 25-, 30- or 60-mile sprint- and sport-length courses.
“You’re doing it the old-fashioned way,” said race director Jenny Newcomer. “You have to navigate; it’s an unmarked course.”
She suggests bringing a compass. Racers have to find a number of checkpoints along the course using a topographic map that will be provided. But if that’s not challenging enough, competitors won’t know the course until the night before, giving them only a few hours to plan their attack.
“We don’t disclose the racecourse ahead of time. It’s kind of a mystery to racers,” Newcomer said.
Competitors can compete as individuals or in teams of two. People can form larger groups but results are based on pairs or individuals participating.
Newcomer calls it “less of a competition and more of an adventure.”
The secretive nature of the course continued with the order of events. She said that other events in the series often go from biking, to kayaking, to running/hiking, then back to biking, but she was unable to confirm the order for Sunday’s competition. She did say that the kayaking portion of the course will be on the Dillon Reservoir, the rest of the course will not be revealed until Saturday.
Newcomer also said that “several thousand feet of elevation gain can be expected” on the 60-mile sport course.
Competitors can typically finish the shorter sprint course in three to six hours. Newcomer said the longer sport course takes the fastest competitors around six hours, and most finish within eight hours. There is a 12-hour cutoff for the competition.
The event is geared to competitors age 13 and up. “One of our oldest participants is in his early 70s,” Newcomer said.