HydraPak is proud to sponsor Team Bend Racing and their group of amazing athletes. After a successful year of taking top placements in races around the world, the group is gearing up to travel to South Africa in October for the Adventure Racing World Championships.
We asked the team to share some more details about Adventure Racing and what it takes to succeed.What is Adventure Racing?
Adventure Racing (AR) is usually advertised as something like an off-road triathlon combined with a scavenger hunt. That sounds pretty fun - at least to all the us! Races can last anywhere between a few hours and a week - a pretty wild spread. You have to stick with your team the whole time, and you make your way from checkpoint to checkpoint using a map, compass, and altimeter. It's a sport where good decision-making is way more important than how fast you go. After all, walking in the right direction is a lot faster than running in the wrong one.
On Team Bend Racing, we're sending a squad to compete at the AR World Championships in South Africa in October. We've got a big team (it hovers around 12 people total), so it's often difficult to decide who we send to any given race. We're trying to balance personalities, strengths and weaknesses. To have a really fast team, you need at least two stellar navigators, a captain, a stoker, a pace counter, a medic, a bike mechanic, and a closer. Fortunately, most of us can do more than one of these things, or we'd never fit into a 4 person team!
The navigator's job is obvious - keep us going in the right direction. The captain is there to coordinate the bigger flow of the race - when to stop and sleep, when to push it, and when to take it easy (you can't go fast all the time!). The stoker is there to remind everybody that you're in a race. A pace counter keeps track of how far you've come. The medic & bike mechanic are mostly nice to have when things go sideways. The closer is the strong one who holds the team together by being in the back - making sure if someone is hurting, they don't fall off the end.
For our championship squad, we've got things covered like this:
- Dusty Caseria - Navigator, stoker, pace counter
- Emily Caseria - Medic, stoker, pace counter, captain
- Jean-Yves Dionne - Stoker, closer, medic
- Daniel Staudigel - Navigator, captain, mechanic
It's hard to tell exactly what's going to happen out there - we do our best to prepare, train, and follow the plan, but roles can shift a lot depending on what
needs to happen!
Gearing up for World Championships
As we gear up for the AR World Championships, the tools we carry are just as crucial as the team roles we embody. A key component of our preparation is ensuring we have the right equipment that meets both our nutritional and hydration needs. This not only lets us make it through courses in all sorts of conditions, but hopefully fuels great decision-making.
Here's a look at the essential hydration products we'll be taking with us to South Africa:
Flexible Water Bottles
Introduced for their flexibility and compact nature, HydraPak's Softflasks and bottles are some of our must-have items. They're ultra-lightweight and shrink as you drink, saving pack space and reducing water movement - a critical feature in adventure racing. We love our HydraPak Flux flexible bottles, thanks to their robustness and easy-handling design.
We almost always carry hydration bladders - the bigger the better, but we rarely fill them up - a 3L bladder is nearly 7lbs when full! Never hurts to have the capacity, though, because the dry weight isn't that different between the different sizes. Our team favorites are the Contour 3L and Force 3L reservoirs.
We love the 42mm filter caps for our flexible bottles and flasks - it's reassuring to know that you can immediately drink out of a water source. We also will connect the 28mm Inline filter to our reservoirs to ensure we have extra filtered water on hand. While we also use chemical water treatment, waiting 30 minutes before drinking is a surprisingly long time, and so we wind up drinking as much as we can while we're filtering - using the magic of in-bottle and inline filters!
Good Luck Team Bend! Keep track of their adventures by following their Instagram - @BendRacing.