Steamboat to host adventure race later this June
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs summer calendar will now include a new type of race.
On June 30, teams of two or more will gather at Howelsen Park for the Quarry Mt. Quest adventure race.
Adventure racing has no set course. Teams of two or more receive a passport and must navigate the fastest ways to get to each checkpoint to get their passport stamped. Races usually include three or more disciplines. At the Quarry Mt. Quest adventure race in Steamboat, participants will tube down the Yampa River, then mountain bike and trek Emerald Mountain.
Teams can start with any discipline, as long as they reach each checkpoint. The race is estimated to take six hours, covering 2 miles of tubing, 12 miles of mountain biking and 9 miles of trekking.
“I think it’s the physical challenge and the mental challenge,” Quarry Mt. Quest adventure race director Jessica Evans said. “It’s a thinking race. It requires some amount of endurance and training — need to have both.”
Members of the team tackle each sport discipline together, as opposed to doing it relay style. This means they must keep all their members within feet of each other at all times and all members must be present to stamp the passport.
Adventure races at their most elite levels can span days. Evans is a race director from the The Rocky Mountain Adventure Series, which plans adventure races of all levels in the Rocky Mountains. While competing in a 12-hour adventure race at Steamboat Lake last summer, Evans met Steamboat locals who were eager to share the sport, including, Lisa Renee Tumminello.
“So we were like ‘How can we introduce more people to the sport?”‘ Tumminello said. “Create a narrower version and still give people all the excitement and make it very doable for beginners. We love that it’s going to be close to town so it can be spectator friendly, most adventure races you may not see anybody.”
Where: Howelsen Park
When: Sunday, June 30
Cost: $50 per adult, $25 per young adult (16 & under)
How to register: Visit 361adventures.com/quarry
Registration deadline: Thursday, June 27
Tumminello’s first adventure race was four years ago with her husband, Doug. The two loved the multidisciplinary nature of the sport, but found the four-day race daunting, especially being a team of beginners amongst the most elite in the sport. When they saw there were shorter adventure races, they brought along their son, Bowden, to compete at an eight-hour race in Wyoming.
The condensed formula was family-friendly and easier than navigating the wilderness at night. She also likens the experience to the Steamboat pentathlon, a winter race where individuals or teams raced through a variety of disciplines to make it through a course.
The strategy involved in adventure racing makes it a lower barrier to entry at the fitness level. The fastest runners, bikers or tubers may not win the race if they don’t know where they are going or don’t plan the most efficient route.
There’s minimal time to plan, since participants don’t know where the checkpoints will be until they receive their maps at the start of the race. With the Quarry Mt. Quest adventure race being in the heart of Steamboat, Tumminello said participants can’t stray too far.
Both Tumminello and Evans hope that families participate.
“That was on our minds: Make this very friendly to someone who has never done the adventure race before,” Tumminello said. “It shouldn’t be intimidating because the terrain will accommodate different levels of fitness, and also the close proximity to civilization in the town will take the intimidation factor out.”
The race costs $50 for adults and $25 for ages 16 and younger, all proceeds will go to Search and Rescue, a fitting beneficiary for mountain adventurists.
“As an adventure racer, we are up in the mountains a lot and Search and Rescue is your safety blanket,” Evans said. “A lot of that is true for recreationists. They’re the unsung heroes of the mountains.”
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