Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Steve Wenzel along with fellow team rider, Matt Engen, went north to take on the challenges laid forth by Extreme Adventure racing of North Dakota to compete in the  Extreme North Dakota Spring Primer Adventure Race  Steve provides a nice recap:

The third annual END-SPAR (Extreme North Dakota Spring Primer Adventure Race) event was held at Turtle River State Park, 20 miles west of Grand Forks, ND Saturday, April 28th.  I had participated in a couple of Swamp Donkey Adventure races up in Canada in years past and was intrigued by the close location and getting out and doing something different.

The weather could not have been better - overcast and cool with a strong south east wind.  Fellow Team Maplelag member Matt Engen joined me in the 2 person open category. 
With the course maps freshly distributed along with our check point punch cards the adventure was on.  6 mandatory check points were required and all were to be found in the beautiful Turtle River State Park.  I am sure that we hit every corner of the park at least once not to mention crossing the Turtle River a half a dozen times.  All 6 check points accomplished and our next goal was to grab the optional points along the "river walk".  This task consisted of hiking or running along the Turtle River looking for 3 locations which require an identification punch.  Grab all three and you get 3 points.
After checking in again Matt and I were on our bikes heading to the small town of Larimore, ND.  Speed helps, but in the end getting as many of the 15 optional points in the time allotted is the most important.
In Larimore, we tried everything we could except for the raft section which was 3 points lost.  We did navigate the wilderness around Larimore for 3 difficult check points and bagged them all.  The organizers threw in a couple of crazy obstacles that required patience and skill - a hike a bike down to the lake and back that was extremely hard, building a fire with 3 matches and a cotton ball covered in petroleum (Matt and I failed this task) and a bear bag skill that required our back packs to hang from a tree as if we were in the wilderness to keep the bears from our gear.  All were well thought out and interesting to try.
Being bikers, pushing the wind 10 miles back to the park was perfect for Matt and I.  We grabbed all of the check points to and from with no troubles.
Back at the park, 5 hours into the allotted 6.5 hour event we still had 3 check points that were to be found while riding our mountain bikes.  Matt is good with a map and we found all three and returned to the start/finish just in time.
Of the 15 possible check points, Matt and I finished with 11.  1 lost for failing the fire test and 3 for skipping the boat section.  In speaking with the other racers, it seemed that if you did the boat section you were limited in time to get the trekking points.  So, Matt and I missed the boat, but grabbed the majority of the points.
6.5 hours of non-stop movement in beautiful ND.  Lots of slogging through the woods, rivers, swamps and sand - most excellent adventure!

Steve and Matt checking out the map. Nicely done guys!

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