CALAIS, Maine — From biking to kayaking, it is just a stroke to the finish line as adventurous folks participate in this year’s Washington County Community College 8th annual Outdoor Adventure Race on Saturday, May 5.
It all starts off at the college Saturday morning as athletes prepare themselves for a challenging day of biking, running, canoeing and finally kayaking on the St. Croix River.
The race starts at 10 a.m. Teams must report to the race start by 9 a.m. on race day.
The course takes advantage of the unique terrain at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and the beautiful and historic St Croix River and estuary.
“This race is unique in that each arm of the race promotes the natural resources that we have to offer here in the St. Croix Valley,” said Chris Woodside, Outdoor Adventure Center coordinator, in a press release.
There are three race categories: individual, team and relay. This is an entry-level race, but if this course sounds a little too daunting, it can be completed as a team.
For a team race, there must be three racers and one support person. “All three racers must complete all legs of the race together staying within 50 feet of each other at all times,” Woodside added.
For the relay competitors, there must be four racers and one support person. “One racer from each team completes one leg of the race and hands off to the next racer to complete the next leg,” he said.
Individual participants also must have one support person. The racer completes all legs of the race by his or herself.
Racers will begin the 21.1 mile course by mountain biking up and over the WCCC hill and across 12.3 miles of mountain biking territory.
Returning for this year’s race is the orienteering challenge in which racers will need to get off their mountain bikes and locate using a map and compass two “control points.” After these points are found, racers will then continue riding mountain bikes through the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge to Baring where they will drop their bikes and get in canoes to whitewater canoe down 3.6 miles of the St. Croix River to end at the Milltown Bridge.
The race continues with a 2.3 mile run from Milltown to the Calais waterfront behind the Calais Free Library. Finally, racers then jump into sea kayaks and paddle the 2.9 miles back to the college.
“The orienteering challenge in this year’s race is very typical in adventure racing. It’s really what separates an adventure race from a triathlon or similar multi-sport challenges. It’s been very challenging logistically to include it in the race, but we think we have it all figured out,” Woodside said. “In keeping with our mission to keep this an entry-level race for beginners, we’re hosting a free orienteering workshop for any racer that is interested in learning how to navigate using map and compass at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 4, at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Room 12 of the residence halls on campus.”
To add some fun to the race, costumes are encouraged.
All racers will receive a race T-shirt, and there are prizes for first-, second- and third-place finishers, as well as for the best costume. This year’s major sponsors are Ski Rack Sports in Bangor, Alpenglow Adventure Sports in Orono, North Country Rivers in Bingham, Johnson’s True Value, and Classic Hits Radio WQDY in Calais.
It will take approximately 50 volunteers to coordinate the race and a committee made up of WCCC students and staff has worked to pull it together.
Teams must register in advance by 5 p.m. Friday, May 4. There is a registration fee. For information or to register for the race, log onto www.downeastadventurerace.org.
Registration forms can also be picked up at the WCCC Calais campus, or by calling the Outdoor Adventure Center at 454-1060.
Racers can also rent most of the gear required for the race from the Outdoor Adventure Center including sea kayaks, canoes, mountain bikes, and wet suits. Registration forms must also be received by 5 p.m. Friday, May 4.
Proceeds from the race go to the WCCC Outdoor Adventure Center to fund student scholarships and student work positions in the Outdoor Adventure Center.