Racers feeding their inner demons at CP3 of END-SURE.
summer spring not-winter on the horizon, it's time again to put your money where your mouth is and pick a "big hairy goal." I think I first heard this term either from Andy or one of the good folks at Operacion Muerto, but I can't find any evidence of that. All it means is a goal that's going to send you over the moon if you accomplish it. Sometimes the planning and execution of these things can take years (summiting Everest, cycling around the world, etc.), but that's for the people I like to call (affectionately) "the real crazies." If you're new to the game, pick something doable but hard. Like the hardest thing you've ever done. Or the most planning you've ever needed. Or something you've failed at before.
One such BHG that requires no entry fee is the Operacion Muerto Summer Challenge 2013: a ride or run across Manitoba without using any paved roads. Another in my local area is the Winnipeg-Grand Forks-Fargo ride (2013 details TBA; not sure if this will be gravel-only as well). For touring cyclists, though, this stuff is easy. For multi-sport athletes, perhaps the Minnesota Lowest to Highest Duathlon Challenge is your cup of tea: race from Lake Superior in Grand Marais to the top of Eagle Mountain (the highest point in MN) and back.
Personally, I'll be tackling the Lutsen 99er as proof that I can ride farther off-road than ever before, on this on a Surly Pugsley, as well as finishing a complete 24-hour adventure race at END-AR. Are these big goals compared to other people? Not necessarily. Do they matter to me? Undoubtedly.
You're primed and ready now: what's your Big Hairy Goal?
(zoomable map here, miles count down to finish, 1.5 mile out-and-back at CP2 is not included)
Northern Plains Athletics and Toe'ds have teamed up to provide a third checkpoint for END-SURE: the Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience...and what an experience it's going to be!
Together with Toe'ds executive chef Ted Bibby, I'll be hauling gear in (on foot or via snowmobile) to the most 'wildernessy' part of the 31-mile END-SURE course to set up a checkpoint and aid station between six and seven miles from the finish line. Unexpected amounts of snowfall have made the finish time estimates grow longer and longer the closer we get to the race. The impending storm tonight into tomorrow will add insult to injury, and perhaps finally convince some of the racers that they'd like to be wearing snowshoes (for those not in the loop, gear has been quite the debate).
If you'd like to follow along with the race, we'll be tweeting from @nplainsathletes, sharing the hashtag #endsure with the two other checkpoints and the finish line. Check out the roster to see if you know anyone in the race, and feel free to tweet us some messages to pass along. An extended 6.5 hour cutoff to reach CP2 at mile 18 means a potentially longer finishing time, so who knows how long we'll be out there.
I've been working on this for a while and finally found the time to figure it out this weekend. Any of the #hashtagged event types listed in association with an event can be clicked on to bring you to a page listing upcoming events of that type. This is nothing new, but NOW you get an interactive map of those events!
Check out the example below, which can be accessed here.
If you want to quickly search by event type with a map, mouseover the 'Event List' menu item up at the top and select from the dropdown menu.
One quick note on maps: Basemaps shown on Northern Plains Athletics use OpenStreetMap, the world map that can be edited by anyone. If you prefer base maps from Google or somewhere else, you can select a different base map by clicking the icon in the upper right of each map.
I've dabbled in hosting results before, but it became a big mess very quickly, so I set it aside. I'd still like to incorporate a regional athlete ranking system someday, akin to that on crossresults.com, but that won't happen until there's a little more user interaction.
Results are important, however, so I'd love to at least link to them on the site. There being a lot of races, this becomes difficult unless you (the race director!) send them in. Skinnyski has a great writeup on results and Google Docs/Drive and how to get things in the right format. Ship your results to me in any format (even including snapshots of the results sheets) and I'll get them up under the right event.
Results will be accepted in the following manner:
- in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- in a comment on the event page (this will get them out there the most quickly)
- in a tweet to @nplainsathletes, with the hashtag #results
- in a post on the Northern Plains Athletics Facebook page
Thanks for the help!
Attention climbing gym managers! Let's collaborate and schedule next year. I'd like to see two regional series, one each in the spring and the fall. This doesn't have to be formal, but the fewer date conflicts there are, the more climbing everyone gets to do.
This plan is focused on the North Dakota-South Dakota-Minnesota-Manitoba region, but obviously if there are competitions that are outside the edges of this region that will pull climbers away, we need to take that into account as well.
What you need to do:
1. Look over this list. If you see a comp I missed, mention it in the comments (and provide a link if you know it).
2. Grab a weekend in the comments. Make sure to include your email address so we can all contact each other. If there is another kind of event near you that might draw away your climbers, keep that in mind.
3. Comment about what you think will work and won't.
3. Send other managers to this page to do the same thing.
Obviously, none of this is binding, but again it seems silly to have comps within weekend travel distance that fall on the same day. I'm posting this to get the momentum going before next year rolls around, but if someone wants to jump in and be "in charge," feel free. I'll keep this page updated as I find out more, or you can check the official list of future comps here at NPA.
Comps that happened in 2012:
February 11 - SDSU (Brookings) (toprope)
February 17-19 - Festiglace (Winnipeg) (ice)
April 14 - NHRG (Grand Forks) (toprope)
April 21 - Vertical Endeavors (Minneapolis) (toprope)
April 28 - UND (Grand Forks) (toprope)
October 20 - NDSU (Fargo) (toprope)
October 20 - Boulders (Madison) (boulder)
October 27 - Vertical Endeavors (St. Paul) (boulder)
November 10 - NHRG (Grand Forks) (toprope)
November 10 - Vertical Adventures (Winnipeg) (toprope)
November 10 - MN Climbing Coop (Minneapolis) (boulder)
Comps scheduled for 2013 (when other things are happening):
Jan 5 Sat
Jan 12 Sat
Jan 19 Sat
Jan 26 Sat
Feb 2 Sat
Feb 9 Sat
Feb 16 Sat - Vertical Endeavors Passion for Flashin' (St. Paul) #toprope
- Festiglace (Winnipeg) #ice
Feb 23 Sat
Mar 2 Sat
Mar 9 Sat
Mar 16 Sat
Mar 23 Sat - SDSU Spring Cling (Brookings) #toprope #boulder
Mar 30 Sat
Apr 6 Sat -
Apr 13 Sat - NHRG Escape the Horizontal XIII (Grand Forks) #toprope
- Vertical Adventures Brass Monkey (Winnipeg) #boulder
Apr 20 Sat - Vertical Endeavors Spring SCS Comp (Minneapolis) #toprope (comment)
- NDSU Rocky Balboulder (Fargo) #boulder (email 2012-12-12)
- UND Dirty 30 (Grand Forks) #boulder
Apr 21 Sun - UMD's 22nd annual Concrete Smorgasbord (Duluth) #toprope (comment)
Apr 27 Sat - Boulders (Madison) #boulder
May 4 Sat
May 11 Sat
May 18 Sat
May 25 Sat
Jun 1 Sat
Jun 8 Sat
Jun 15 Sat
Jun 22 Sat
Jun 23 Sun
Jun 29 Sat
Jul 6 Sat
Jul 13 Sat
Jul 20 Sat
Jul 27 Sat
Aug 3 Sat
Aug 10 Sat
Aug 17 Sat
Aug 24 Sat
Aug 31 Sat
Sep 7 Sat
Sep 14 Sat
Sep 21 Sat
Sep 28 Sat
Oct 5 Sat
Oct 12 Sat
Oct 19 Sat
Oct 26 Sat
Nov 2 Sat
Nov 9 Sat
Nov 16 Sat
Nov 23 Sat
Nov 30 Sat
Dec 7 Sat
Dec 14 Sat
Dec 21 Sat
Dec 28 Sat
Just a quick note that we will be experiencing some downtime at some point this week while switching to a new hosting provider. Current hosting for this website is generously paid for by my Campus Dakota colleague Brian Fier, but if there are any local hosting providers willing to trade services for a permanent advertisement on this website, please get in touch with me.
If the website is down, please follow along on Twitter to see how things are going: @nplainsathletes.
I'm organizing a climbing competition that is coming up shortly, and I'm afraid it's not going to do very well. I've organized several competitive athletic events in the past, but this one's different, for three reasons.
- I've never planned a climbing comp.
- I don't have any sort of experienced co-organizer who can guide me in the right direction.
- I have people looking over my shoulder.
The first two points wouldn't bother me except for the last one. There are expectations. There is precedent. There is a financial impetus to get it right. In the past, the fall would never have been very far. Soon, we'll find out.
The funny part is that I'm generally not a competitive climber.
If you are looking for nordic ski races, you undoubtedly know about SkinnySki.com. They have an event calendar (which will be updated as we get close to snow time) and a race director's calendar (which is subject to change for now). Although I'm not trying to compete with SkinnySki, I do intend to add relevent ski races to the Northern Plains Athletics calendar.
Why duplicate this information? For a few reasons.
Nordic ski racing is like racing bicycles: steep learning curve, specialized gear needed, and generally low profile, along the lines of people saying "man, I could never do that. It looks hard." And there are a lot of cyclists and skiiers if you know where to look. But these are sports that have a high threshold for entry, for the reasons stated above, and as such aren't on most people's radar.
One of the reasons I intended for this site to be comprehensive is to create crossover between different sports in order to enrich all the races and sporting organizations in the region. Running is king, obviously, and race directors for non-running endurance events are all trying to get a piece of that pie, but the goal isn't necessarily for runners to diffuse into other sports, it's for people to find an event appropriate for what they feel like doing and what time of year it is.
Nordic skiing is a blast. And it hurts. Which is why so many cyclists combine road racing with skiing (although, in our region, not so much at the collegiate level because the road/nordic season overlap is so great). But running is also a blast. And it hurts. And adventure racing is a blast. And it hurts.
My masochism aside, however, the point is to let people know--at a glance--what they can do this weekend, or what is happening in a few months that they can train for. This website can help you do that. So this winter, try something new and get out those skis.