What's New For 2017, Our 5th Year Of Unique Adventurous Experiences

When we launched this company we never could have imagined that we would build one of the most recognized urban adventure races in the country.  We also never anticipated evolving how races like this could be run, pioneering the use of mobile technology and real-time challenge verification.  Our company has grown significantly over the years and we've provided events for thousands of people, from all around the world, in dozens of cities across the country.  But most importantly, so many of our racers have become close friends with other racers, and our staff, through years of participating in our events.  We have been inspired by those who pushed themselves to be better athletes by competing in our races, those who didn't let age/disability/inexperience prevent them from having one of their best experiences ever, and those who have told us over the years how much these events mean to them.

In 2013 we launched our company and the Xplore Urban Adventure Race.  In 2014 we launched our mobile racing technology.  In 2015 we launched The X-Race, a Global Adventure Race For Change.  In 2016 we launched our Custom and Corporate Events, providing unique experiences for individuals, groups, and corporations such as Microsoft.

In 2017 we will be dedicating ourselves to launching our new series called Xperience, which has been in the works for years but never launched because most of our time and resources needed to be put towards the Xplore Race and growing our company, building our website, etc.  Xperience will be a year-long adventure challenge contest where participants can win prizes from national and local sponsors as well as our year-end Grand Prize worth up to $1,000 in cash!  Most importantly, the series will also raise money for two charities supporting the fight against childhood cancer, a cause that means a lot to us here at HQ and to our racers around the globe. 

As part of this series we will also be partnering with our amazing sponsor, KIND Snacks, to bring this event to college campuses across the country, starting with the University of Wisconsin this Spring!

More info on the Xperience Series will be posted in the coming weeks as it launches nationwide and registration opens....so get ready!

We will also use 2017 to continue building our unique X-Race event.  If you haven't heard about it check out www.TheX-Race.com.  Race right from your own community against teams from around the world who are all racing at exactly the same time! Registration for our June 24th race just opened!

We'll also be expanding our Custom/Corporate events.  We already have a number of groups/organizations booked for the coming months, but if you would like to learn more please check out www.XperienceAdventures.com/custom and fill out a request. We'll follow up with you the same day.

We expect to continue the Xplore Race in the coming seasons once our resources are freed up from some of these larger projects that are launching or expanding this year.  

We are so grateful for all of your support over the years and we're excited to experience everything in 2017 and the years ahead with all of you!  If you have any questions or would like more info don't hesitate to email us at XTeam@XperienceAdventures.com or use our Live Chat feature on our website...another new addition for 2017!

Cheers!

The X-Team

      

          

What It Takes To Become The Best Urban Adventure Racing Teams In The Country!

A group of "Spies" plan their attack on scavenger hunt teams using aerial images of checkpoint locations

A group of "Spies" plan their attack on scavenger hunt teams using aerial images of checkpoint locations

About 15 years ago, during an internship for my degree in Adventure Recreation (yes that's a real major) I had to create a "special project" for the church youth group I was working with. It ended up becoming the first-ever large scale scavenger hunt style "race" I would create.  Teams traveled around the surrounding community getting to various checkpoints, collecting clues, etc.  What was so unique about that event was that we incorporated secret "spies" that were strategically placed in the town waiting to "attack" the teams.  They'd be sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper and suddenly drop it and drench them with water guns, or find a team walking from one checkpoint to another, drive by, and bomb them with water balloons.  In general, a sense of fear and paranoia make it much more difficult (and exciting) for teams to travel around a town completing a scavenger hunt.  There was a lot more to that event but I won't reveal too much in case we launch a similar event at some point in the future (which has been discussed).

12 years later we launched our first Xplore Race, and the first-ever leaderboard in the Urban Adventure Racing industry.  After each of the first two race seasons ended we interviewed the champion team and posted it here in our blog.  This past year there were 4 teams that consistently battled it out at the top of the leaderboard throughout the season.  So when the last team crossed the Finish Line in New Orleans last December and our season came to a close, we thought instead of just interviewing the team that won, we'd interview all 4 teams and try to get some perspective on what it takes to become an elite Urban Adventure Racing team!

Here's some incredible stats:

1. These 4 teams combined to race 26 times throughout the season!

2. These 4 teams combined to race for more than 48+ total hours in 2015!

3. At least one of these 4 teams was racing in every single one of our events in 2015, including both X-Races, and there were 10 events where 2 or more of these teams raced against each other directly!


Team Info

1st Place - The Nads (Colorado)

 
 

Team Captain Andy Almonte has shown that he is one of, if not THE, best Urban Adventure Racer in the country.  He once again led his team to the top of the leaderboard to become back to back champions.

 

2nd Place - TeamShaw (Texas)

Team Captain Brandin and his team were constantly battling with The Nads atop the leaderboard in 2015. With four 1st place finishes around the country and never finishing outside of the Top 5, they have proven that they are just as elite as any other team in the country. 

3rd Place - Adventure Is Out There (DC)

Team Captain Chris and his rotation of athletic and fun teammates may be the most consistent team in the country.  Racing 3 times in 2015 (compared to 7 each by The Nads and TeamShaw) they never finished out of the Top 3 and have been dominating in every city along the East Coast for years. 

4th Place - Schultz Happens (Texas)

 
 

Team Captain Kris may be the smartest and most prepared racer in the country, and she has consistently proven that being prepared gets you top finishes in the Xplore Series.  With the support of her twin sister, and her adorable 4-legged mascots, she is not only a fierce competitor on the pavement, but a fun and supportive friend to all teams at the finish. 


The Interview

1. What was your favorite experience or checkpoint from the 2015 season?

Is that Steph Curry wearing a cowboy hat?

Is that Steph Curry wearing a cowboy hat?

The Nads - Oh man.  There were so many checkpoints that I liked for different reasons.  I liked doing skee-ball (Denver) and shooting baskets (Seattle) for the skill of them.  I liked getting credit for checkpoints in which I thought outside the box (ie. digital temperature in Houston).  And even though it is sometimes hard to interact with strangers when you are all sweaty and sometimes in a panic, getting a stranger to participate and smile make for good videos and pictures later on (Houston, Phoenix).

 

Schultz Happens meets up with TeamShaw, The Nads, and some new friends at the Houston finish line

Schultz Happens meets up with TeamShaw, The Nads, and some new friends at the Houston finish line

Shultz Happens - Running through a city in the middle of a race and seeing one of the friends I have made over the years in Xplore Races, and giving them a quick hug or high five in passing and going off in our separate ways is always a highlight, because the friends I have made through Xplore Races these last few years has been such a big part of why I enjoy it so much. I have met such fun and interesting people along the way, and I respect them all so much, not just for their racing abilities, but they are just good humans. I think Xplore Races attract people who are fun loving and curious about the world and kind of open to the world in a way that is really unique, and that makes for really good, interesting people. And usually we have to wait until the finish line to see each other, because we all have our unique strategies that make sense to us and you don't always see each other on the course. But it is such a great surprise when it happens.

 

 2. What was the toughest experience or checkpoint, or something that really impacted how you did in a race? Or just toughest Xplore city in general?

TeamShaw struggles to sink 3 shots within 9 seconds

TeamShaw - Without a doubt, Seattle was my toughest city from the 2015 season.  I still shake my head every time I think of it. Furthermore, I will never be able to pass a basketball pop-a-shot game again. That was the checkpoint that cost me everything that day...a 4th place finish and a huge shakeup in the leaderboard points.  

Adventure Is Out There - Finding a parking garage in NYC that would allow us to go up to the 2nd level (for the money catch challenge). 

The Nads - There was a checkpoint that involved having one teammate throw a paper airplane from the second story of a parking garage to a second teammate who had to catch the plane.  It also needed to be filmed.  Since I was running by myself I had to convince a stranger to come into a parking garage with me (not creepy at all), look casual to a parking cop, and throw a paper airplane to me while I selfie filmed the whole thing.  Once I finally convinced someone to do this, he threw the plane into a fenced in area in which I couldn't catch or retrieve the plane.  It finally ended up being my skip and I had to run all the way out to a sculpture that I wasn't planning on running to. 

 

3. What's the one piece of gear you make sure you don't leave home without when heading to an Urban Adventure Race (or was the most critical to your team's success in 2015)

An outdated piece of technology is the secret to The Nads' success

An outdated piece of technology is the secret to The Nads' success

The Nads - In a regular UAR a smart phone is something that is imperative.  Being able to look stuff up, look at maps and bus schedules, and also "phone a friend" is key.  Since a smart phone is required in Xplore races, another piece a equipment that I use is a second phone.  Yes, that's right, another cell phone because on one phone I look at the clue sheet, google stuff and take photos in which I need to upload onto Bonfyre.  The other phone is for staying in communication with my "phone a friend".  I'm usually just borrowing my father-in-law's flip phone. 

 

4. How do you train or prepare for these events?

Shultz Happens - I really geek out on learning everything I can about the cities I race in. I spend ridiculous amounts of time looking at maps and streetview and photos and - this is going to sound silly-  but I watch movies and TV shows filmed in the cities where I race and annoy people by pausing the show and looking at the background and trying to figure out where the characters are. It is oddly satisfying when I notice the alley on a cop show that is supposed to take place inNew York City is actually right around the corner from Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. And I sometimes get a little riled up when I realize a character in a movie is supposedly living in one part of New Orleans, wakes up late for work, and rides her bicycle in a roundabout sort of way in the wrong direction to get to the place where she supposedly works. I know it looks good on film for her to be on that scenic bike ride on her way to work. But if she wakes up late and is in such a hurry, there is no way she would go that direction. And then I feel the need to text my sister about it. And she's saying, "Kris, it's just a movie ..." 

 

5. What advice can you give to a team that is just starting out in Urban Adventure Racing? 

Team Schultz gets a face full of powdered sugar in New Orleans, which eventually mixed with sweat to form a paste all over her phone 

Team Schultz gets a face full of powdered sugar in New Orleans, which eventually mixed with sweat to form a paste all over her phone 

Shultz Happens - Have fun, number one. Pay attention to details. Don't get discouraged if a checkpoint doesn't go right or you turn the wrong way or make a mistake. Sometimes you can actually make mistakes work for you. Never sweat on your phone if it has powdered sugar on it from another checkpoint. It just turns into a weird paste.

 

6. How did your racing team initially get formed and what was your first event like? 

Eliza and Geoff of Adventure Is Out There bond over some rowing machines during Xplore Philly. The two teammates would eventually marry and now race together as husband and wife. 

Eliza and Geoff of Adventure Is Out There bond over some rowing machines during Xplore Philly. The two teammates would eventually marry and now race together as husband and wife. 

Adventure Is Out There - Chris and Geoff had done the races in 2014 with another friend when they lived on the west coast. Once they both moved to DC, where we all live, Geoff and I started dating, (and now he's my husband, So you can say that your races helped us bond more and eventually pave the way to marriage, if you want ;) ) Our first race was Philly, and I had no idea what to expect, but really enjoyed it. 

 

TeamShaw - My wife and I began racing together in 2014 as TeamShaw.  It was really a last second thing, because the friend I was going to race with had to back out at the last minute.  My wife Stephanie said, “I’ll do it with you if you need someone”.  We finished that race in 9th place, followed that up with a 3rd place finish the next time we raced together, then we started finding ourselves with solid 1st or 2nd place finishes.  We have a great support group that we couldn’t race without.  As a matter of fact, the person that now provides our phone support during the races is the guy who originally had to back out on me.

 

7. What does it take to be a top team in the Xplore Race series?

The Nads - Sign up and race with a fun group of friends.  Once you get hooked you start to look at areas that you can improve (i.e. I can be faster or we can both be on our cell phones looking stuff up).  Once you get serious you start recruiting friends to help you on their days off.  

Figure out how to travel super cheap to other cities.  I travel cheap by flying into a city the day of the race, do the race and then fly back that evening.  I don't have to pay for a hotel and it's fun trying to learn how I'm going to get to the starting area.  The adventure begins before the race.

TeamShaw - A flexible work schedule, a great support team, a few plane tickets, and a knack for connecting the dots. 

Adventure Is Out There - You need to be willing to travel to different cities to be one of the top teams on the leaderboard (it can be pricey, but it's a lot of fun to discover new cities with friends!)

Shultz Happens - A sense of adventure, a sense of humor, the willingness to look a little goofy, and the ability to adjust andchange your plans quickly, and improvise.

 

A huge thank you to all 4 top teams for allowing us to interview them and for giving us some insight into their success! 

Reflection and Family

Day 7: It's All About Timing

A full day of flights on day 6 gave Agent40 the energy necessary to push forth into day 7. HQ had Agent40 starting early as he would have the help from various informants at his home.

Before breakfast, the morning began with five puzzles, each locked in a wooden box with a 3-code lock keeping its contents enclosed. Agent40 was allowed to the use the life-line of brotherly love in order to solve the puzzles, and luckily our operative chose the right family member.

We wanted Agent40 to enjoy this part of the trip almost more than any other, so we gave him the rest of the day off from training and let him run free. Although there was one last activity to finish before the day's end; travel out to a remote part of New Mexico and bury a time capsule with family. This would task would Agent40 give time to reflect and truly envision what the future holds for himself and his loved ones.

On a short day 7 that about sums it up. Cheers to an amazing full week of exploring across the country and cheers to more days to come!

Day 8 will be released later tomorrow, stay tuned!

Breezing Through the Windy City

"Found some highly suspect beverages that we had to sample. Turns out they weren't poisoned... thank goodness." - Agent40

Day 3: Trust Your Intuition

After being picked up by our informant, AgentY, the two operatives spent the night reminiscing about old missions and discussing what might be expected out of mission 3. In the early morning HQ enlisted the postal service to drop off a secret envelope in AgentY's mailbox. The top secret package listed the day's challenges as well as what would be expected of the agents while exploring the Windy City.

Soon after the agents deciphered the encrypted message we left with them inside the envelope, they briskly wondered into the city. Although, HQ had set the challenges at the highest difficulty, Agent40 and AgentY showed that seasoned operatives can also be the most resourceful, breezing through the orders laid out. Before finishing the final mini-mission, Agent40 had been tipped off by a personal informant in Chicago that our last destination was compromised, and after a review of the intel collected HQ thought it would be in the best interest of both operatives to scout a different location.

With the operatives overcoming such a hectic day in stride HQ decided to cut off both early to enjoy the rest of the day. The agents rewarded themselves with frothy beverages and HQ rewarded the agents with a celebratory clue on the next flight for day 4 of the birthday adventure.

Tomorrow follows day 4 of Agent40's performance and training review. Stay tuned to find out where we send Agent40 next!

Introducing The X-Race: The Global Adventure Race For Change

In the early Spring of 2013, before we had even launched our company, we bought a web domain called TheX-Race.com.  At the time, we knew we were going to launch our Xplore Urban Adventure Race Series a few months later, but we also had visions of this "other race" and began working on the concept. 

Our team always pushes each other to create new ideas and take on things that others might not. That thinking was inspired by studying some of our world's greatest visionaries.  For example, in an address to Congress in 1961 JFK told them within the next decade the US would land a man on the moon and bring him back to Earth safely.  Congress gasped.  It was such a far-fetched idea that almost no one could envision it, except the man declaring it.  The following year he made a famous speech at Rice University to support his vision, which included claims such as "we will send a rocket..made of metals that have not yet been invented". It's that type of thinking that fuels our nation's greatest achievements and innovations, including walking on the moon only 7 years later, and the development of the powerful technology you're using to read this blog post.    

 
 

In the two years since our company launched a lot has happened.  We grew the Xplore Race into a leader in the urban racing industry and broke away from the "traditional" races by implementing mobile app technology and real-time verification.  

During that time we continued to develop the concept for The X-Race, working with our app partners to build out the technology that is necessary to support it, and created top secret internal processes that will enable us to manage it.  

It took every bit of two years to create, but that's because it evolved into something even bigger and better than what we could have envisioned back in 2013. 

 

So here it is.....





We plan on growing this event into a global phenomenon over the next few years. It will bring people together from all over the world, it will help people become more active, have more fun, explore their communities, and support a great cause at the same time!  

We hope you and your family, friends, co-workers, sports team, or any fun person you've ever met, will be a part of this event in the future!  Thank you for your support over the last 2 years and we can't wait for what lies ahead!

For more info go to TheX-Race.com or follow @TheXRace on Twitter! 

Exclusive Interview with the 2014 Xplore Champions "The Nads"

Competing in a record 7 different cities nationwide in 2014, The Nads finished in the Top 5 in each of those races, and crossed the finish line 1st in 4 of them. Over the entire season they had an average Domination Factor of  -1:21:15, which means that if your team finished right at the average of all the teams in the race, then The Nads would have likely already been at the finish for over 1 hour and 21 minutes!  

The Nads are notorious in the Urban Adventure Racing industry for two things:

1. Winning

2. Being really great guys

 

We first met The Nads a few years ago when our urban racing team "The Hard Corps" was competing in a competitor's championship race in New Orleans.  We were fairly new to the urban racing scene but we had read up on some of the toughest teams expected to be there, and The Nads were at the top of our list.  We had spent an entire day scouting the city before the race and felt confident regardless of one of our team members badly spraining his ankle the week of the race.   

The Hard Corps scouting Bourbon pre-race

The Hard Corps scouting Bourbon pre-race

When the race began we knocked out a few quick challenges and then sprinted for one of NOLA's famous street cars.  We caught the street car just as it was leaving the station and as we boarded the car, gasping for breath, we looked up to find The Nads, and Vignette (a team from Texas who also has a well-documented history of winning) sitting among the passengers.  I looked at my teammate and just smiled, thinking "we're in the right place".  

Reconnecting with The Nads in PDX pre-race

Reconnecting with The Nads in PDX pre-race

We didn't see The Nads again until the following Fall when they competed in one of our first ever Xplore Races in Portland, Oregon.  It was there that we got to talk more in depth with them and begin to learn just how classy these guys are.  

They have been great supporters of our race series over the years, but in 2014 they went all in to chase the championship title.  It was not easy.  There were numerous teams that battled atop the points leaderboard throughout the season, and gave The Nads a run for their money...literally.    


The Interview

The Nads Team Captain during the 2014 season, Andy Almonte

The Nads Team Captain during the 2014 season, Andy Almonte

When the season ended, and The Nads were finally able to recover and enjoy their title, we got the chance to do something most teams weren't able to do all season. Catch up with them.

Here is an exclusive interview with their Team Captain, Andy Almonte, who raced solo in 6 of the 7 races nationwide to help lead his team to the coveted Xplore Championship title!

 

 

 

What was your favorite Xplore experience or checkpoint from the 2014 season?

moving target.jpeg

My favorite checkpoints from this past season had to be the moving targets.  They made for some awkward situations and great stories afterwards.  In Seattle we had to find a secret person in a particular area of the city who was wearing red.  When we got there, the only person in the area wearing red was a rather large man with red pants paying for his parking.  We were supposed to go up to this person and say "You are beautiful" and that person would then allow us to take a picture with them.  My partner and I went back and forth as to who was going to tell this large fellow that he was pretty, but luckily, before we expressed our admiration, the real target had moved.  Phew!!!
 

 

What was the toughest checkpoint, city, or something that really impacted how you did in a race? 

The toughest checkpoint this season was in Denver.  I had to film myself touching the four pillars of this sculpture and do it under 9 seconds.  Of course, there was no one in sight to help me film this so I would be doing a movie selfie while running.  The attempt took about a dozen tries because either my finger slipped or I couldn't get all four pillars in under 9 seconds.  I was very close to skipping the whole thing but I was able to muster enough energy to finally get an admissible video.  I probably sprinted about a half mile in total. (click on the image to watch Andy's run)

Toughest city had to be San Fran because of all the hills.  Brutal.  Seattle is not flat either.



Without giving away too many secrets what is The Nads strategy when the race starts?

The Nads work their mobile devices to solve clues while communicating with their support team through ear buds

The Nads work their mobile devices to solve clues while communicating with their support team through ear buds

Panic sets in at the beginning of the race but that is what gets the adrenaline pumping.  As soon as the access point is found and the clues are revealed, the first thing I do is get my "phone-a-friend" up to speed on the clues.  I quickly scan the clues for something I recognize and take off in that direction.  It's a strategy that works really well most of the time but it can really backfire if you start heading in the wrong direction.  That happened a few times last year.

 


 

 

How do you train or prepare for these events?

I train for these races like I'm training for a 10K.  Being able to run 6-7 miles helps but it's not always the running that puts you ahead.  Pre-race research is just as important, especially if you are not from the city that you are racing in.  Researching the history, the landmarks, as well as the public transit is just as fun for me as doing the race.  It's a great way to learn about a city.   

 

What advice can you give to a team that is just getting into Urban Adventure Racing?

Do as many as you can and then figure out a system that works best for you.  Some teams sit down and solve all the clues before they start moving.  Some teams can solve on the run.  Using a phone a friend can be very beneficial.  Plotting an efficient route is one of the most important things you can do.  But most important is to have fun (so cliche, sorry).
 


How did the Nads racing team initially get formed and what was your first event like?

The original "Nads", a dominant college intramural basketball team

The original "Nads", a dominant college intramural basketball team

The Nads originated in college.  We were an intramural basketball team that dominated for two straight years.  We started doing urban adventure races in 2005.  At that time, there were a lot of sponsored teams beating us.  In particular, teams Go Lyte and Go Fast.  That's when we came up with our racing shirts that say Go…Nads.  They were not fans of the shirts, especially when we started beating them. 

 

 


 

Do you have any pre or post race traditions?

One of our favorite pre-race traditions is trying to convince our significant others to let us grow mustaches.  There is a sense of pride, a little humility, definitely power in a good stache.  Post race traditions involve shaving said mustaches.
 

 

 

Will teams see you out on the course in 2015?

The Nads will be at most locations in some capacity.  Hoping to see familiar faces at multiple races this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does it take to win the X-Prize?  

The number one thing is a supportive family.  With their support I am able to travel to multiple races.  It also takes an awesome team of friends who are as addicted to these races as I am.

(click on the image below to watch some more of what The Nads had to do to win it all)

 
 

 

Thank you to Andy Almonte for a great interview, and to all of the Nads for a memorable season!  See you guys again in 2015! 

Stay up to date on what The Nads are up to by following them on Twitter @NadsControl 

 

        

BEAST Series: Installment #2

Whether you want to just improve from a previous race, or you want to out-perform everyone around you and be remembered in urban racing lure for years to come.  

Everyone wants to become an Urban Racing BEAST!

 
 

The 2nd installment of our BEAST Series begins with the 3 Key Factors to becoming a BEAST.  As we mentioned in our 1st installment, these factors were developed from our years of competitive urban racing with our team "The Hard Corps", as well as the insight we've learned from starting a successful urban racing company: 

BE PREPARED

One of the best ways to improve your chances in a race is to know the city inside and out. It sounds easy enough, but even someone who's lived in the city their entire life has something to learn. Understanding the public transit routes and schedules can be clutch during a race and is often something novice race teams will overlook.  Another good way to prepare pre-race is to pick two spots on a map and figure out in your head the best way to get from A to B.  One of the biggest time savers during a race is to know exactly where an attraction or an address is located without having to map it, and then knowing the quickest way to get there from wherever you are in the city at that moment.

Race planners love to send teams to things that are not your typical touristy attractions. So study guidebooks or Google something like "unique sites and attractions" for that city, and you're likely to know exactly where that statue of a donkey playing guitar is when your team needs you most.

Get to the city a little before the race so you can purchase a transit pass for each member of your team.  Each race company varies and some events are less likely to need public transit, but if you do, having it pre-race can save a lot of time. There's no better feeling then being on a subway and watching the doors close as dozens of other teams fumble with the ticket kiosk on the platform.

 

BE FLUID

Every race company, every city, and every challenge or checkpoint is different.  If you go into a race saying "this is our strategy" and you actually stick to that strategy the entire time then you're either some super-genius and I'd like to invite you to join our racing team...or more likely, you're naive and haven't been burned badly enough yet to know better.  The key to winning is being able to adapt to what's happening, as it's happening. Even the best teams in the country occasionally find themselves finishing out of the Top 25 if they make a few really bad decisions along the way.  That's the beautiful thing about urban racing! It's not like running a 5k and you can't break a 6-minute mile pace so you'll never win.  If you make very few mistakes along the way and you adapt well when you do make one then you have a very good chance at being in the top few teams at the end of the day.  

Urban Racing often reminds me of another favorite sport of mine. Golf.  You could be going up against the strongest and most athletic person you know but if they're hitting shots into the woods and you stay in the fairway the whole day then you'll walk off the 18th green with a much better score. 

 

BE A STUDENT

Teams aren't often great their first race.  And if they are then they're likely to tank in one of their next few races and wonder what went wrong.  Urban Racing is constantly evolving and so is the competition so in order to keep up with it (or get ahead) you'll need to go back to school.

Many of the best teams in the country have blogs and they often detail each race in glorious turn by turn fashion.  Find these blogs and read them regularly, especially if they've competed in a city you're planning on racing in.  Figure out what worked well for them, what transit they used, and how they would change their strategy the next time.

The post-race venue is a great opportunity to talk with other teams about their experience.  Everyone we've ever met while racing has been really friendly and open to talking about their race if you talk about yours. This will open your mind up to what others are doing and what seems to work well for a majority of teams. This is especially beneficial if the team is local and experienced.  They may tell you something like "we don't use the green subway line, it's really slow on Saturdays".  Remember what people say or better yet write it in a notebook or on your phone so next time you race you can pull up that info and plan your strategy around it.   

Replay the race in your head and figure out where you could have saved time here or there, then discuss it as a team and find ways to improve for your next race.


Gear

It's like the saying goes "you need the right tool for the job".  Becoming a BEAST at anything not only requires improving your body and mind, but having the best gear for your needs.  Unlike some sports where the participants are all wearing similar gear, Urban Racing can vary greatly from the most modern and high-tech running gear, to an over-sized Sponge Bob costume.  

Although teams wearing all kinds of outfits have been known to finish at the top of the field, we'll focus on the gear we believe will give you the best chance for success.  

 

"Hard Corps" Gear (aka, an exclusive look into our packs)

Like most teams, the gear our racing team uses has evolved since our first race to now.  We began with a few matching green t-shirts and shorts that we got off of the discount rack at K-Mart, some thin black calf-high socks (also K-Mart), maybe a water bottle in hand while running, a smart phone, and a map and pen in our pockets. 

The Hard Corps Racing Team after their 1st event

The Hard Corps Racing Team after their 1st event

The Hard Corps with upgraded outfits (and teammates)

The Hard Corps with upgraded outfits (and teammates)

A few key things we've upgraded since that first race were:

1. Clothing- our shirts which are now lighter and have some wicking ability.  The socks we wear are more padded in the sole and heel to take a pounding on city streets, and are also wicking. Our shoes which are lighter but have thick soles with deep ruts for good traction as you transition from pavement, to grass, to subway car, etc.  

2. Smartphone Apps- look for more details on these in an upcoming BEAST installment.

3. Support Team- look for more details on this and a breakdown of advantages vs. disadvantages in an upcoming BEAST installment.

4. Packs- upgrading the way we carry hydration and our supplies has made a huge difference in our performance. Our first few races we each probably had a small backpack (like a day hiking pack) which we filled with water bottles, maps, transit passes, pens, extra clothing, and food.  Even the best ones can be bulky, shift back and forth as you're running, and force you to carry lots of cubic square inches of empty space.  Large bags can also create an issue when you get to a checkpoint and need to find something quickly such as a pen or a map.  There's nothing worse than running up to a turnstile at a subway entrance and suddenly having to dig through everything to find your pass.

Over our racing career thanks to technology and our improved pre-race routine we've been able to reduce our on-the-course load down to a small waist pack (kinda like a cool fanny pack, if that's even possible) and a hydration vest pack.  Both kinds of packs move well with your body as you run, don't contain more space than you need, and have lots of quick-access pockets which is critical.  Check out this gear review video to help you choose the best hydration pack for you!  

 

Although it varies slightly depending on the race we do, each of our packs typically contain:

-Smartphone and charger (get to the starting venue early and find a table near a plug to get your devices to 100% before you take off)

-Pen and Paper (pencils are tempting because you can erase the mark but it's also harder to see a pencil mark on a map and if the point breaks or you run out of lead you're screwed. Only 1 small folded sheet of paper is probably needed to write down a quick note or address while on the go)

-Map of the city (we now do most of our route plotting on our phones but it doesn't hurt to have someone looking over a small folding map and plotting the checkpoints to give you perspective)

-Cash, ID, and Health Insurance Cards (cash should be small bills so you can buy things quickly such as water, or a transit pass. It's always a good idea to carry your ID and Insurance cards as well in case you need them.) 

-Hydration (hydrate a TON the day before the race and you won't need as much during the actual race.  Our waist pack only has two bottles, one with all water and one with a 1/2 water 1/2 lemon gatorade combination. If you run the race well you may only be out in the city for 2 hours max. If more water is needed use your small bills to buy a few bottles from a street vendor)

-Transit Pass (if the city has an inexpensive day pass for all transit types it is the best option so that you can jump on and off any public transit along the way. Keep the pass either in your pocket, with nothing else, or in an outer zipped pouch in your pack that's easily accessible.  Public transit will not wait for you if you can't find your pass, and that mistake could cost you)

-Energy (our sponsor ENERGYbits created a product that is basically rocketfuel for your blood stream, and is all natural.  It's lightweight and compact and gives you the sustained boost you need to kick past the competition.  Before discovering the bits, we used to eat bars and gels, which keep you going, but ENERGYbits will make you a BEAST.  If you want your own supply you can get 15% off by using the code "XploreRace" on their website) 


Coming up in our next BEAST installment we'll reveal some of the top-secret smartphone apps we use in preparing for a race, and the apps we use for out-smarting the competition during the race.  We'll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a remote support team while you race.  Also look for our list of super foods that will help you feed the BEAST!

 

The Next Big Thing in Urban Adventure Racing...yeah, there's an app for that!

As we've competed in urban races over the years with our team "The Hard Corps", and having built a new racing series from scratch less than a year ago, we are always thinking of new ways to improve the racing experience.

To some extent, the urban racing industry hasn't evolved much over the past decade.  Teams are given a few paper clue sheets, with everything typed out, and asked to take a picture in front of this statue, or that business with a catchy name.  They get to the finish line in a pack of other teams and wait around for someone (who may or may not be qualified) to manually go through each of their pictures.  This process can be hard to regulate, and fairness can sometimes get overlooked if the race company is disorganized.  During the off-season as we brainstormed within our own company, and in joint sessions with race teams across the country, we began to realize just how outdated this model has become.  Races are limited creatively to those 2 pieces of paper, and a race "series" can become more of a traveling sideshow of props, and a template of repetitive clues.         

I can remember these ads AT&T would run on TV about 20 years ago that became somewhat inspirational because they were striving to advance the way we did things in every aspect of our lives.  At the time, they seemed so far-fetched that I probably blew most of the concepts off as just hype.  But looking back it's incredible how prophetic they were, given the fact most people in the world had never even "signed on" to the internet up to that point.          

 
 

We believe technological advances aren't only meant to improve the way we run our daily lives, but also the way you run in urban racing, and how you experience an event like Xplore.

Knowing that, we have spent a lot of time in the off-season collaborating with the creative minds of the "Experience Network" app, called Bonfyre, and we're incredibly excited to announce our new exclusive partnership with Bonfyre to be the platform for our Xplore mobile racing experience!

 
 
 
 

Our Xplore Austin teams are the first ones to use our mobile experience and the excitement is growing fast as race day approaches!  They have already begun engaging with each other, and our Race Headquarters, by posting pictures and videos of their teams, asking race-related questions, and getting to know other fun teams even before the race starts.  

Registered teams in each city will join two Bonfyres in the weeks leading up to the race:

1. Race Bonfyre - all racers from the entire event will be a part of this group. This will be used to post pictures or video of your team leading up to the race, get your race questions answered immediately, and receive important information or hints about the race from our Race HQ.  It will also be used by our HQ after the race for posting results, and by teams having fun at the after-race party.

2. Team Bonfyre - this is a private group for only racers on your team and our Race HQ.  This Bonfyre will be used for submitting your pictures and videos during the race and receiving real-time verification from our Race HQ.

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Our long-term goals include a focus on creative and strategic challenges that aren't limited to sheets of paper, a social and fun experience like no other, and the use of technology that's at the forefront of anything out there.  Our new racing model will enable us to continue to lead the way in innovating the sport of Urban Racing.  As AT&T would have said...have you ever been a part of something so advanced, social, and fun that you want to do it in every city in the country?  You will.       

We are proud to be partnering with Bonfyre and we strongly recommend you check out their website HERE, download the app using the buttons below, and start using it for any and every adventure you experience!

 
 
 
 

  


We Bib You Farewell...Ending The Era Of Paper Race Bibs

Throughout all of the races our inaugural year, there was one question that was consistently asked when teams were checking in.  It occurred seconds after we handed a racer one of our paper race bibs and a handful of jagged safety pins.  "Do we have to wear this...?"

Up until today the answer was always "Yes, you'll need to wear it."  

Being racers ourselves, we've never really liked having that annoying piece of paper pinned to us.  It gets in your way, it's uncomfotable, the pins damage your clothing, and it tends to deteriorate when racers get soaked or dirty...which seems to happen a lot in our races.

 
 

Going forward our racers will use a method that has long been the preferred choice by triathlons and serious adventure races alike.  "Body Marking", or having your bib number displayed on yourself, is a durable and effective way to identify that you are in the middle of a fun and competitive race through the city, without having to wear a paper bib and safety pins.

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Not only will our racers now be able to spend more time running through city fountains, rolling down a muddy hill, or getting hit with a jelly donut, but we also think Body Marking looks pretty badass too!

There are endless types of durable markers that will do the job, from the standard Sharpie found in your junk drawer, to those specifically for races like this, found at running stores, sporting goods locations, or online dealers like the one found HERE.

No matter what option you go with, all are safe and can be removed after the race using a variety of methods.  Some simple ways of removing your body markings are detailed HERE.   


Here's how to "Body Mark" yourself on race day:

1. Simply write the word "XPLORE" somewhere highly visible on your body or exterior layer of clothing.

2. Write the 3-digit Race Bib Number that you registered with, somewhere highly visible on your body or exterior layer of clothing.  If you forget your 3-digit Race Bib Number you can confirm it by logging into your Eventbrite account and reviewing your registration details. The number you wear will need to match the number you registered with so our race headquarters can verify your team members throughout the race.  

 

*The word "XPLORE" and your 3-Digit Race Bib Number need to be visible at all times, clearly written, and large enough that you can easily be identified by on-course volunteers, partnering businesses, and our remote race headquarters. 

*If you prefer to not write on your body you can simply write the two required pieces of information on any exterior layer of clothing, headbands, hats, costumes, etc.  Be creative and have fun looking like the true adventure racer you are!

An example of racers displaying their body markings on their forearms so it's visible when they "flash the X". 

An example of racers displaying their body markings on their forearms so it's visible when they "flash the X". 

An example of racers displaying their body markings on headbands and long sleeve shirts.

An example of racers displaying their body markings on headbands and long sleeve shirts.

If you have any questions or need more information about our move to Body Marking just send us an email at XTeam@XperienceAdventures.com at any time! 

BEAST Series: Installment #1

In our recent post we mentioned that in our travels both competing with our urban racing team "The Hard Corps" (follow us on Twitter here) and putting on the Xplore Racing Series we've learned that there's one thing all racers seem to have in common.

A desire to be better.  

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A desire to be in better shape, to have a better strategy, to know public transit better, or find gear that works better. 

Whether you want to just improve from a previous race, or you want to out-perform everyone around you, and be remembered in urban racing lure for years to come.  

Everyone wants to become an Urban Racing BEAST!

Knowing that, we've started our BEAST blog series that will help you get there! This series will provide exclusive content on everything urban racing and beyond, but to get all the inside tips and secrets you'll need to join our adventure community using the sign-up form in this post!   


Health and Fitness

There are a lot of skills that go into becoming a BEAST, but because urban races take place in a landscape constantly in a state of chaos, agility may be the difference between catching that subway that will carry you to your next checkpoint, and watching it pull away from the platform just as you're arriving.

Improve your agility and you'll be better at avoiding all sorts of time-sucking obstacles along the way.  Weave in and out of busy sidewalks like a gold medal run in the Slalom. Make a split-second decision to cut down that cobblestone alley instead of going around the block. Or dodge the bar flies at the post-race party and get your hands on that celebratory beer before the competition even arrives.

Start improving your speed and agility NOW using the workout below    


Strategy

Throughout this series we'll be talking a lot about different strategies in urban racing, including having various teams from around the country as guest contributors. For this 1st installment we are breaking down our 3 Key Factors in every winning strategy.  These exclusive tips are being sent out to our adventure community via our email list so if you're not signed up yet then use the form below and get them. Having been heavily involved in races from both the competitive side and the planning side these Key Factors are useful to learn and remember whether you're a first-time racer or an elite veteran to the sport.       

Join our mailing list to receive exclusive information on Urban Adventure Racing, health tips, gear reviews, and what we're coming up with next! 

We respect your email privacy


Technology

The use of hi-tech devices and apps is a part of almost everyone's strategy in urban racing.  Whether it's as simple as a smartphone to research information, or an app you use during the race to give you that edge over the competition, we'll be covering a lot of it during this series.

These days using technology in your training is not only a really effective way of getting the most of your workouts, but it's also a lot of fun!  

We're excited to announce that we will be partnering with Runtastic for our 2014 Urban Adventure Racing season!  Runtastic has rapidly grown into an innovative suite of apps, products and services that track and manage health and fitness data to motivate individuals to get in shape, stay healthy and improve overall fitness.  

Our team has begun using it and we have to admit that it's pretty incredible!  Being someone who loves analytics and analysis (of pretty much everything), it enables me to workout smarter and achieve my goals faster.  

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With more than 60 million downloads worldwide and 25 million registered users on Runtastic.com, Runtastic’s mobile applications track distance, speed, pace, time, heart rate, calorie consumption and route traveled (via maps) when running, biking or engaging in other exercise activities. The results can then be viewed directly within the app, via Runtastic GPS devices or on Runtastic.com where users can view their online training log, get detailed data analysis and compare with others. 

In the near future we will be announcing Runtastic deals and prizes that will be available to our adventure community so stay tuned to our blog and social networks!  Until then, we highly recommend you download the free app and start using it.  Runtastic is available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry and can be downloaded HERE.   

It will become the preferred training tool for many Urban Adventure Racers across the country and could be the first step in you becoming an Urban Racing BEAST!  

Become an Urban Racing BEAST with our new series!

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The first time I had competed in an urban race was a few months before my wedding.  Knowing my love of adventure a few of us guys got together for a bachelor style event (minus the Mike Tyson encounter) and decided to try out this racing thing. We had no idea what we were doing, we were out of shape, our outfits were bargain bin specials, and my Best Man wore his headband like a scrunchie the entire time.

We almost won the damn thing.

Since then our racing team "The Hard Corps" has evolved quite a bit.  We now travel to cities around the country doing what we've come to love, we've competed at the National Championship level, and we've ditched the bargain bin outfits for some new digs sponsored by Xperience Adventures.  

In all of our travels both competing in races and putting on the Xplore Racing Series there's one thing that every racer seems to have in common. The desire to be better

The desire to be in better shape, to have a better strategy, to know public transit better, or to find gear that works better.  

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Whether you want to just improve from a previous race, or you want to out-perform everyone around you, and be remembered in urban racing lure for years to come.  

Everyone wants to become an Urban Racing BEAST!

Knowing that, we're starting a blog series that will help you get there! Stay tuned to our site and make sure to follow our social networks and subscribe to our email list to get the most information and get it as soon as it's released.    

How to win the first-ever X-Prize, and have a hell of a time along the way!

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Shortly after the inaugural season of the Xplore Urban Adventure Race ended, our team traveled to Philadelphia to meet up with the first-ever X-Prize Champions, Team Clubedventures, on their home turf (a quaint bar in downtown Philly).  

Team Captain Ed Wagner competed with 3 different teammates, and did some solo racing, to take on 6 of the 9 total Xplore races nationwide.

The team that started at the top of the leaderboard after our first race in Philly, ended at the top, but what happened in between was an epic battle of grit and wit.  The teams at the top of the leaderboard were shifting after almost every race, and just like that, urban racing strategy shifted from a one-day event, to a season-long competition.  

While hanging with the champs, we talked about strategy, their most memorable races, and what it takes to stand atop the leaderboard at the end of the season.  The video below provides some insight into how they finished with 4475 points on the leaderboard, a Domination Factor of negative 24 minutes and 45 seconds (the average time they finished compared to the average team), and over $1,500 in prize money!            

Learn more about what Team Clubedventures is up to at their website:

 www.Clubedventures.com

Or Follow them on Twitter at:

www.Twitter.com/clubedventures

 
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