19 September 2012

AR Glossary

When I posted one of my recent AR race reports, my grandma emailed me (from her iPad!!!) asking about some of the terms I used. She only asked about three or four but I wanted to make a more complete glossary for any non-adventure racers out there who want to learn more about the sport. OK! Here goes.  

Schwag - Promotional items racers receive at check-in. Usually some type of shirt, but could be socks, a hat, a blanket, a backpack, etc. Schwag also includes product samples (like energy bars or gels) provided by sponsors. 

Tow, Towing - Sharing energy among teammates with the use of a tow rope. This happens most frequently on the bike but can happen on the run or even while paddling too. Racers make all sorts of different tow set-ups but most of them involve non-locking carabiners and bungee cord. Contrary to popular belief, the person being towed still has to pedal/run/paddle. The tow is mainly for giving them a slight boost every so often from the stronger teammate (and to keep them in the draft zone while biking/paddling).
Me unhooking the running tow, with the passport in my hand, approaching a checkpoint with a punch hanging from it. (Castlewood 8hr AR 2010)
Trek - Moving through the woods on foot. Top teams run whenever they can and fast-hike the rest. Almost all trekking sections require teams to also navigate using their maps and a compass.

Plotting - Marking the location of race checkpoints on race maps. Race directors (RDs) will hand out a set of UTM coordinates that describes the location of each checkpoint, and teams are responsible for accurately plotting these onto the map. Plotting incorrectly is called misplotting and can lead to huge time losses while racing.

Gear check - A point either before or during the race where teams have to prove to race staff that they are carrying all mandatory gear (example list here). It is important to keep your pack organized so you can quickly show race staff the required items (they can ask to see anything from the list).

Punch - A device that looks like an orange stapler located at each checkpoint. The punch has a unique pin pattern that teams punch on their passport to prove that they visited this checkpoint.

Passport - A piece of durable paper (usually card stock or tyvek) that teams punch at each checkpoint to prove they visited it. Also called the punchcard. 

The canoe put-in (Smithville 8hr AR 2010)
Put-in - The location where teams start a paddling leg, i.e. where they put their boat(s) into the water.

Take-out - The location where teams finish a paddling leg, i.e. where they take their boat(s) out of the water.

Bonk - In endurance sports, to experience severe fatigue due to lack of fueling and improper pacing. Not a good strategy for winning races.

Hike-a-bike - To push your bike when the trail is non-existent or too difficult to ride.

Bike-whack - To push your bike through the woods where there is no trail. Similar to bushwhacking, except much slower.

CP - checkpoint. These are the locations teams try to find during the race. They may be on- or off-trail, manned or unmanned, and the race rules will describe if they are mandatory or optional. Checkpoints are usually marked with orienteering flags. In an orienteering race, they are called "controls", but adventure racers call then checkpoints. Each CP has a way to verify the team's arrival, usually a punch (see above).
In a TA at 2010 Castlewood 8hr AR.
TA - transition area. This is where teams switch between disciplines, usually requiring a change of clothing or equipment (from running shoes to biking shoes, for example). Quick transitions are essential to a winning team.

HQ - race headquarters. Usually the site of the start and/or finish.

UTM - Universal Transverse Mercator, the coordinate system used by races to describe CP locations.

nav - navigation.


Anything I missed? Leave a comment and I'll update this post!
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1 comment:

  1. Love this - and I even learned something new! I had no idea what UTM stood for :)