If you are a first-time Adventure Team Challenge Colorado participant, here are a few suggestions on how you can have the very best experience before, during and after the program.
Each participant category has a fundraising commitment that must be met or exceeded by Adventure Team Challenge Colorado participants. Rather than waiting until the last few weeks to undertake your fundraising efforts, start early. Use your online User Center to create and send emails to your friends, family and colleagues asking for their support. Many companies offer matching funds for employees in charitable causes, which can provide additional support. But, be sure to plan ahead since matching funds often take a month or longer to be processed. Once you reach your goal, increase it to a higher level to encourage new donors to continue to donate.
It makes sense to train prior to a lengthy physical activity, but surprisingly, some participating athletes find one excuse or another to not train. Riding at altitude on uneven, rocky terrain requires physical stamina and skill. This is particularly so on the second day, when you are bound to be a little sore and tired from the first day. The best advice is to simply get out on your bike and ride regularly in the weeks prior to the Adventure Team Challenge Colorado. Ride off road on single and doubletrack dirt trails when you can, practicing your bike handling skills, but even riding ten to 20 miles per day on paved trails and roads will help you at the event.
During the last decade, Adventure Team Challenge athletes have experienced everything from hot, sunny weather with high temperatures in the upper 80s to cool, showery weather, even thunder and lightning. Mornings are often very cool, with temperatures in the low to mid-30s. Watch the weather forecast for Bond, Colorado prior to the weekend (this community is to the west of Rancho del Rio). Consider placing a light rain jacket in your day pack. Sunscreen is important. Bring with you a spare tube, tire iron, portable pump and a few high energy snacks for a quick snack.
Adventure Team Challenge Colorado is a social experience in which teamwork will play a big role in the success of your team. Athletes who have been successful at past Challenges report that simply getting to know their teammates and their strengths and weaknesses helps for their overall success. You’ll be riding, hiking and paddling alongside four other athletes with diverse and interesting backgrounds. Knowing who is good at map reading, or at paddling or at determining an effective towing system will help you.
At each Adventure Team Challenge, approximately a quarter of the athletes are returning for their second, third, fourth or greater time. If you’re a first-year athlete, take advantage of the knowledge and experience of your colleagues. This is true when practicing prior to the prologue and during the Challenge itself.
During the Challenge itself, remember that you are in spectacular mountain terrain. If you have a camera, take photographs when you can. Look around. Enjoy the view.
Don’t get lost in pushing yourself and your team to the absolute fastest time you can complete a segment. There is value to enjoying yourself and your companions, value that will last long after you return home.
Although it is immensely satisfying to complete the day’s stage early, remember that you are only as fast as the slowest team. In other words, finishing hours before your closest competitor can be gratifying, but if you didn’t really see or appreciate any of the terrain you have passed through during the day, you lose that experience.
Don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand or provide advice to another team, particularly if they are having trouble. Sometimes, alliances between teams can make the experience more interesting and satisfying.
On Thursday and Friday evenings following dinner, the map packets for the routes are distributed. Take time with your team to review the upcoming day’s route, noting any potentially difficult sections and the locations of the checkpoints.
If you have gear or equipment that needs adjusting or repair, do it at this time. Get everything ready for the following morning so you’ll be ready for departure on time.
Only after your meeting and gear adjustment duties, take time to relax. Many of you will be camping outdoors and after your preparatory work is complete, relax with your favorite beverage around the campfire before turning in for the evening. The following morning comes much too soon, particularly since the sun won’t yet be shining into the campground owing to the tall canyon walls.
When the teams roll across the finish at Rancho del Rio on Saturday evening, it is time for relaxing and celebrating a successful completion. Awards and discussion follow dinner and participants and volunteers can enjoy a pleasant evening around the campfire.
On Sunday morning, it is time to break camp, pack gear and get ready for departure. With all of this happening, it’s easy to forget the accomplishment of having successfully completed a challenging wilderness adventure course, meeting new friends and learning more about yourself in the process.
Take a moment to acknowledge your achievement. Share emails and Facebook pages with your new friends. Make plans to compete together again the following year. And, better yet, make a commitment to encourage additional athletes to participate in the Challenge in future years.