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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Our Rates are Going Up

There was recently an article in Runners’ World about the cost to put on the NYC Marathon. We think it ran with the intent to make racers’ jaws drop. We kind of went, “meh.”

After ten years of events, when we really buckled down and looked at why we were still avoiding turning on the heat in the house and putting off that much needed car repair, we realized we were doing something wrong: putting on top tier events but charging bottom tier prices.

As any business major will tell you, if something you’re selling costs you more than you make, you’re in trouble. Well, folks, that’s where we’re at.

Why are races so darn expensive?

Let’s break down a simple one, like the now-defunct SLO Mountain Run. We decided to drop the event this year when we found that a field of 100 people only netted us $600, and that’s not including overhead (insurance, office expenses, etc). At $35/person, you would think we’d be doing okay. After all, it’s our simplest race and doing the math, that’s $3500.

But here’s what our expenses were:

  • T-shirts ($6 x 200) = $1200. We had to order more than this because we expected more people. We do all our design in-house. It would be so much more otherwise. We could get cheaper shirts, but you wouldn’t love them – we’re not going to give away crap.
  • Advertising = $300. We did posters and rack cards, along with some Facebook ads. The budget was pretty low as we realized that people aren’t generally going to want to travel for a 10k and focused locally. Again, in-house design and hitting the streets to distribute the wares.
  • Permits = $500. To rent the facility for the day. Some people poach for smaller events, but relationships with the governing agency are important to us. We won’t scrimp here.
  • Insurance = $200. Not too bad, considering we’re sending you up some treacherous terrain for a 10k. That’s a lot of alliteration.
  • Non-employee compensation = $700. We’re too small to have a full time staff, so we get contractors to come in day-of. This was for our timer and one other operations staff other than ourselves. This event was so small that we didn’t look for volunteers, but we did need aid station set up, course marking, and venue setup and maintenance.
  • Supplies = $200. Stuff like bibs, waivers, and sundry items.

Grand total = $3100.

Cool, so we “made” $400! Take out 12% for our donation to Special O, and they got a whopping $48. Thank goodness they know we try.

Things that didn’t get included in this:

  • Our “salary” for putting it on. The people we hired got paid, but we didn’t.
  • Our time for design work and putting up posters.
  • Our time for securing permits and contracts.
  • Our time for dealing with inquiries and preparing websites.
  • Our overhead expenses for just having the business.
  • The money we saved in having all the stuff (tables, chairs, water jugs, finish arch, marking materials, radios, vehicles and trailers) that normal event directors would have to rent.
  • Emergency medical staff (we’re trained and certified to do our own emergency response, so for a small field, we don’t hire).

So you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, a field of 100 people is pretty sad, so of course you lost money – small events always take a while to ramp up.” Only, we’ve been trying to grow that event for four years. Adding a 5k did nothing. And we love the event. The people that come to it are awesome. The course is awesome. It’s a beautiful tour of one of the best runs in SLO. But it didn’t pay.

So let’s take any other event we put on.

Consider this:

  • Multiple governing agencies requiring permit money and processing.
  • Road closures.
  • More staff.
  • Supplies for construction of course obstacles and improvements
  • Time and rentals for creation of courses
  • Cost spent fixing the venue after damage or repairs are needed.
  • Prize money
  • Rental of equipment/transportation means
  • Prizes for multiple age, gender, and team categories
  • Time spent seeking for sponsorship/partnership/swag donation.

Ten years ago, when we started this, the economy was strong and companies’ event marketing money was easy to come by. A contract for $10,000 an event was pretty common. But that’s dried up. Our events are self-produced, largely unsponsored, and paid for entirely by your entry fees.

In 2011, we took $5000 in total for a salary for two owners of the business and donated the same to our charities. While some events do awesome by being put on by volunteers – they have enormous teams, a budget being funded by the organization it benefits, and only one event a year.

This is a business and to keep making our events spectacular, we needed to look at how we did things. We vow not to cut costs to the detriment of racer experience, and that’s why All Out Events needs to charge more going forward. We are so lucky to have talented and dedicated volunteers who believe strongly in what we are doing and what we do for the community, but to grow and not kill ourselves in the meantime, we have to start charging like the professionals that we are.

And once we do, the charities and communities we benefit can also benefit. And we’ll be able to hire people to keep growing – and that creates jobs and stimulates the economy!

We hope you understand.

Friday, December 2, 2011

All Out Events is looking for a marketing manager!

All Out Events is hiring!

We are looking for an outgoing, enthusiastic individual to help develop our new zipline business.

Marketing manager – You will be in charge of doing the leg work to promote Margarita Adventures, the only zipline tour on the central coast. You will meet with business people and visitors’ bureau contacts throughout SLO County, setting up promotional deals and zipline tours, work trade show booths, and drop off promotional materials when appropriate. Work with the owners of the Santa Margarita Ranch and Ancient Peaks vineyards as well as your favorite crew at All Out Events.

Requirements:

- Should have reliable transportation and be able to speedily cover the entire San Luis Obispo county as needed

- Should have internet access and be familiar with Twitter and Facebook

- Should be eloquent both in person and in writing

- Able to spend between 10-20 hours a week during working hours (9-5) and/or weekends in meetings and developing marketing plan

- Demonstrated ability to work well with a team

- Deadline oriented

- Innovative – always looking for a new approach to the system or opportunities

Pay is hourly with incentive bonuses for successful performance. Please submit a cover letter and resume that speaks to our requirements.

Deadline for job application is 12/12/2011. We will follow up with applicants in the following week and be hiring immediately.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The New Santa Margarita Zipline: “Extreme Pleasure”

We’re so proud of our newest venture and how happy people are with their experiences!

From recent rider:

Hi Margarita Adventures.

I am emailed this in case my post does not come through. I had the extreme pleasure to take the zip line tour with you and promised I would write up something. I have also used this for the Adelaide Inn website blog. Thank you to all your staff for the fun my friends and I had today. Please feel free to post this to your web site as a positive review.

Best wishes

Charlie

Wonderful Time Zipping through the Countryside

I thought I would share my experience with Margarita Adventures. I and a group of my fellow employees were granted the pleasure and thrill to participate with this event on a  Sunday afternoon. The weather really cooperated with us, being sunny, warm, and just enough breeze to stir the air amongst the oaks of Santa Margarita Ranch. The staff of Mike, Matt, and Patrick were friendly, informative, helpful, and overall, just plain fun.


You start off at Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita where you can get free wine tasting either at the start if you need some liquid courage, and after where you can relax and talk over all the fun and thrills you have just come from.


The Zip Lines are all placed on Santa Margarita Ranch, which is one of the argest Mexican Land Grant Ranchos still in operation.On the drive up you will be given a nice background on the Ranch, how the strive to use sustainable growth in their agricultural as well as cattle raising. You slowly drive up the dirt track and go between various ecosystems. From grazing to wine fields of various types and varietals, on through oak trees, until you get among the chaparral. The views when you are at the start is just breathtaking. It adds that almost all you see in encased by the Ranch's 14000 acres itself. With hawks, crows, turkey buzzards in the skies above to the deer, bears, bobcats and the ever present cattle that stride on the ground. Rabbits, gophers, and other rodents dart in and out of the bushes
and trees.The smells of nature add to the ambiance may give you the added treat that will await you.

The first zip line is  Renegade, which stretches for over 1300 feet. This is not only the longest of the four stretches of cable where you will zoom along yelling and screaming in delight, but also one of the most breath taking for its view. Here you will gear up in your harness, gloves and safety helmet. The staff are here to assist you if needed as you start to psych yourself for your beginning run, but also will allow to get some last minute water and leave behind any excess clothing and bags you may have. I was the first of my group to go, and as the guinea pig for them to see if I fouled up somehow. The first step is a doozy, but if you just let yourself go and step off, you will get a wondrous rush as you fly down the cable and allow the harness and lines to guide you down. The sights as you glance about are a treat and when you get to the end, you almost want to go
again. I helped to cheer on my other mates as they one by one came down the line. One of my friends was deeply afraid of heights, but then she allowed herself to take a leap of faith. Though her eyes were closed for the first run, at the end she was also browsing nature and having good times.

The next stretch was the 800 foot long Woodlander. This was one of my favorites, after the Renegade. You seem to go faster because of the perspective, as you will go between some huge oaks as you fly around their branches and turning leaves. I was later told that if you stretched out your arms and hands, you could actually touch them as you zoomed to your finish.

Third was the Hilltopper a short jaunt between two hills. Here you  need to get a running start to get your speed. I tried to be a little more daring and go freestyle. I ended up tripping over my own big feet. I still had a blast and laughed off by bungling of the start. My friends all joined in with the laughter and we continued to just have take in the zips, each others company, and the banter of the staff. Even as a couple of us did not quite make it to the end, the guides quickly stepped off with a secondary rope that you could grab and they pulled you on to the landing stage.


The last line you zip the finish line is the Archway. There is an actual
arch that you will sway back and forth as you start to straighten out for the finale of your flying through the air. The wooden ramp is angled to allow you to lift up your legs and allow your body's adrenaline to subside.


Once your group has wrapped up their own fun you will remove our gear and the guides will drive you through more of the ranch and tell you more on how they grow some of the wine grapes. I had the pleasure to see a herd of does who were grazing along the cattle. They did not get spooked as we drove along. Just slowly worked their way up a hill side as the cattle ignored us. At most the various mothers would stare us down as we tried to drive past them, only to stride away as we got close enough.


The overall experience for my group and I was just fantastic. I will highly recommend then to any who want to have fun, try something different, and still have a nice glass of wine to relax to. For a cost of $99 and 2-3 hours of your time, I think this is a great treat. No matter if it is a guy with his buds, a bachelorette party wanting a unique experience, or a family wanting some bonding time, this tour may well be for you.

Want to try for yourself? http://www.margarita-adventures.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Internship Offered for All Out Events


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All Out Events was established in August of 2010 as a two-member LLC. Prior to that, it was a sole proprietorship. Its focus is on human-powered outdoor events. Its 2012 lineup will likely include an adventure race series, triathlon, mountain bike race, gran fondo, climbing festival and competition, and mud run. All Out is committed to community service and gives a percent of its proceeds to a non-profit. It self-produces and also is available for hire if the right fit is met.

All Out Events has internship opportunities in the following areas:

Marketing
· Assisting in devising an ongoing marketing campaign for all events
· Creating content for its blog and ebooks for download
· Creating promotional videos
· Designing and updating the websites
· Contacting various media and developing/sustaining relationships with them
· Promotion of non-profit that benefits from the events

Sponsorship
· Developing relationships with larger companies for event sponsorship
· Contacting local companies for sponsorship and vendor opportunities
· Assisting in development of sponsorship packet and opportunities

Day of Event Management
· Operations – setup/takedown and management of event
· Volunteer recruitment and management
· Festival development

All Out Events is looking for energetic interns who are self-motivated and self-starting. They should be enthusiastic about not only the sports involved but the products and non-profits they come in contact with. They must be committed to 10-15 hours a week and be available at least one day during business hours for the work for a quarter’s length of time, with opportunity for extension and paid positions.

We are willing to work with any level college student and majors that best fit can include: business administration or marketing, communications, English, recreation administration, speech, journalism, etc. We are open to anyone who has a sincere interest in gaining experience in any aspect of this industry.

The internship is paid by day of event and not hourly, however the opportunity exists for it to become a longterm paid position in the future.

If you are interested in an internship with All Out Events, please contact Kristin McNamara at Kristin@all-outevents.com. Provide a resume, and cover letter stating which positions would best fit and why you feel your internship will benefit both of us.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adventure Racing is Dead.

Got ya with the headline, didn’t I. But the thing is, am I so wrong? It seems like everyone is saying it behind closed doors and no one’s being public about it. But you have to. If you love it, this conversation needs to be had.

This last year, our sprint races had half the participants as last year. It was the first year in the nine years of our May race that we lost significant money on it. The 12-hour race had a big field, and we’re grateful for that, but more and more race directors are reporting dwindling numbers.

Things people are trying to do: teach people how to adventure race by holding clinics and forming clubs; creating points series to encourage participation at more events; simply having more races on a smaller budget to make up for the lack of participation (but this also limits the possibilities of the experience). But none of it is really working.

The Outdoor Retailer market report said that AR had grown by 20% in the last year, but you know what AR they’re talking about? Mud runs.

To Adventure Race purists, this is nothing. In fact, while we have the highest attended race series on the west coast, it’s our Mud Run that we had last year that paid the bills and enabled us to sustain another event season. We put it together in two months and it was the highest attended event we’ve ever had.

People like mud. And they like running. But we just can’t seem to get them to love real AR.

Why do you suppose? I have my theories:

1. Multisport is scary. There are some multisport athletes, but not like there are single-sport ones. When people write in for advice on how to train, we’re speechless. Just be able to ride a bike, hike, and the paddling, well, no one is good at that anyway.

But having put on enough races and been on course, I am coming to the conclusion that most people really can’t ride a bike. And if you can’t ride and we put you on amazing singletrack, you aren’t having fun.

2. People that are attracted to AR don’t race. As someone who does multisport (climbing, biking, hiking, running, kayaking, etc), I’m also not the type to race. I just do stuff because it sounds good. If I’m on vacation and I have my bike, I’ll use it to get to cool stuff. There’s no motivation to beat someone else at something I know I can do and not pay for.

3. Too much commitment. Tough Mudder – it’s running, in a small area, no navigation, nothing awful. You get tired, you give up. No one has to rescue you. Mud Runs – cool obstacles, short time period.

4. Lack of festival atmosphere. We tried, but when you’ve spent the morning running around in the fog, you kind of just want to go home, not party with a beer.

Am I wrong? Is AR dead because we’re not easy enough? If you were us, what would you do? Change up the traditional approach to go with the trends, or hold on to the purity and just suck it up and wait for people to get tired of mud runs? What do you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Epic Rescue–What We Did On Our Summer Break

So, it’s a few weeks out from the events for the spring, and Yishai and I decided to go on a mini vacation by driving all around Northern California: Arcata to Whiskeytown Lake to Lassen National Park to Downieville with some stops in between. If you haven’t been to this area, you should make sure you do. We were so inspired by the trees, the jagged mountains, the pot-smoking hippies, and the awesome ability for RVs to get just about everywhere.

We ended up going to Downieville kind of on a lark. We were driving out of Lassen and the truck is feeling . . . wobbly. We pull over and Yishai looks and sees nothing is wrong, so we keep going. And now we have a choice – we can go to Downieville, or we can go to the Bay Area for the weekend. After hemming and hawing, we decide that we should go to Downieville and then – BLAM: 285125_10100107334432795_6408172_46099011_7074733_n

The tire peels apart and literally attacks the entire back of the truck. Very, very sad pandas for us. In case you were wondering, event production, at our size and scope, doesn’t pay too much. This hurts. A lot.

We end up in Chico, getting a new spare tire, and then it’s a question of . . . the sun will be setting soon. What do we do? Stay in Chico? Give up on Downieville? No. We should go.

So we go. And we get lost. But then we get un-lost. And as the sun is beginning to set, we pull into the most idyllic town ever and the second hotel we stop at (enough of camping, we want comfort in this cute town) has one vacancy due to a car malfunction and we are saving that party from having to pay for the night anyway. Meant to be.

The hotel is cute, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the owner of the Riverside Inn – if you ever make it there, say hi. Smile 

Anyway, we decide that I will shuttle Yishai to the start of the dirt road so he can “cross country” the approach to the famous Downieville Downhill. The Downieville Outfitters told us it averages people four hours to do the downhill, and knowing Yishai’s fitness, I figure it will take him four hours to ride up to the start and do it.

But he is sore from running on the beach without shoes a few days before. And it’s hot. Very hot. And he has very little water and food.

But whatever, he’s good.

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So the dogs and I go down to the river for the day (thanks to the fact I’m still recovering from shoulder surgery), playing around, talking to locals and feeling the general Downieville good feeling.

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Dogs at the gallows – don’t worry, it was only used once.

So four hours later, I go to our rally point – the truck in the parking lot. And wait. And wait. And wait.

Two hours later, I am starting to worry so I truck on over to the Downieville Outfitters again and ask if there’s been any epic reports. To my surprise, they are really, really involved in trying to help me – she tells me she’ll have the number forward to her home if I need to call her and I find out where he comes out so I can hike up and find him as it gets dark. But, this is a well trafficked trail. Maybe he’s just walking down from too many flats? People would say something happened as they passed.

So, about two hours late, and six hours into this, here’s how he shows up:

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Stoked and covered in blood. So I am not too worried about him, but the story unfolds . . .

So he is riding up the dirt road, eight miles of slogging in full sun which he will never.do.again. and does not recommend – but it is pretty:

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There are lovely things to see along the way, he takes photos for me so I can see:

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After building bridges for the Ancient Peaks Classic, we approve of really nice mountain bike bridges.

And he’s not being passed by anyone, in fact, he passes people that were dropped off long ago by the bike outfitters. He tells me later that this was a trail that I could definitely do, and enjoy, and that all these people with armor and hardcore downhill bikes are definitely not in need of that for the ride.

So he’s thirteen miles into the ride, about to finish in only three and a half hours from drop off at the dirt road to the truck, when he comes across a guy lying on the side, moaning, unable to move.

Yishai no longer has his certifications, but he has Wilderness First Responder and EMT training, and he loves using it. So he casts his bike aside and checks on the guy. He’s helpless. Can’t move his leg. The pain is excruciating. He does the formal checks and determines he’s got a huge 4” laceration that’s very deep above his hip, and extreme pain on palpation. He’s also bleeding – a lot. Huge clumps of clotting blood plop out as he examines.

So Yishai cleans out the wound with his Lezyne water pack, packs the wound and puts pressure on it. And then, in time, they decide they can move him. There’s no cell phone reception, so it’s going to have to be a carry.

By now, more San Luis Obispo people show up (we find it funny that they have Wheelmen and Foothill jerseys – represent) to help. Yishai, along with two other guys, try a chair-carry, but it’s not working, so “Ox” – a huge guy, 6’3” and 220lb + suggests piggy backing, and Yishai holds him from behind because he can’t cling with his legs. They start down the trail.

And then a guy comes riding toward them, yelling, “YOU’RE IN THE WAY!” and rides up on the side . . . which is jerky in the first place. But more jerky is that as he rides on the side of the trail, he rams a wasp nest, unleashing thousands of angry stingers!

The guys are helpless, they have to set the injured guy down, fighting the bees, throwing water on them, wondering if they should drag him out of the way or what. The end up telling him to just lay there and not move so they will calm down.

And then, when that happens, they climb on down the hill.

His friend is there with his new pickup with leather seats – “I am going to ruin it with this guy’s blood!” Bah! Help your friend- you can wash your truck!

Anyway, he get loaded, they drive off, and Yishai shows up.

I tell him I need to go to the Outfitters to tell them we found him and they are so stoked at the heroics of the three guys that they hand out socks.

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Awww. The guy ended up with a broken pelvis, but is going to be okay. Three cheers for being there when he needed it! Smile

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That’s a wrap–the Ancient Peaks Classic

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First, I want to start this post with gratitude. Events don’t happen when it’s a two-person show without a lot of support. Huge thanks to SIDI for deciding to support us early on and defraying half the costs of developing the course and putting on the event. To Josh Cohen and Foothill Cyclery for the enthusiasm, the man power, driving shuttles, and being our other title sponsor.
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Photo by Chris Bersbach

Thanks to Karl Wittstrom, Doug Filliponi, and Ron Rossi for allowing us to take their beautiful ranch and show it to our event attendants. There is so much interesting stuff out there to find out about! And where elsewould you be able to take a ranch and turn it into an event mountain bike course?
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Huge thanks to the crew that not only pretty much devoted the last few months to helping us finish the trails, but run the event: Todd (of ToddBuilt construction – let us know if you have general contracting needs!), Mitch, Eddie, Ryan, and Mimo (Demitri). And for his toys, enthusiasm, and man power: Josh Machado at Mac2 Build. Huge thanks to Jim of Central Coast Brewing for beers and donating half the proceeds to our event to defray costs. Thanks to the rest of our friends for showing up and filling out the venue – Lezyne, Smartwash, Fluid, Elemental Herbs, Voler (supplier of the prize jerseys), SLO County Search and Rescue, CalStar, Ira’s Bike shop, and CBO.
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Thanks to all of you who came out to support us, take photos, race, ride, or spread the word. Thank you so much to the volunteers that came when they said they would, spread the stoke, and kept everyone safe!
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Out all day, home at dark, dinner at 11 pm – that was the last few months. If there wasn’t computer work to be done, there was driving. There was sunburns. There was soreness. There was so much poison oak that my car gives it to me when I drive it.
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But, honestly, while we were terrified we wouldn’t be able to break even this year, the amount of commitment to the dream from the people that were supporting us kept us going. I loved watching Nate talk about his work, hearing feedback from his friends who were testing the course, and the thrill of the community of Santa Margarita (which, if you haven’t spent time there, you should – the Range is the best restaurant in SLO County, and that’s saying a lot!).
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Photo by Lloyd Baggs
The weather was perfect, if a little windy, everyone was super cool, and we had no major injuries. Yishai kept reminding me that “WE COULD KILL SOMEONE.” Of course, I wasn’t too worried about the cross country course – you might fall into a pile of poison oak or into a creek, but mostly it was just rolling grassy hills. I had resigned myself to a couple helicopter rides after hearing about how Parkfield usually goes, and I was totally thrilled when the last Pro went down the hill and the med supplies went mostly unused. Huge props to Nate for creating a downhill course that was not only badass, but safe. 
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Photo by Scott McDowell – Sweet digger, but he/she survived!
There were only a few problems (most out of our control), and I ended the weekend a pretty solid almost-semi-truck driver – but overall, this may have been the best event we’ve ever done and it comes down to this: support of the community, of the racers, of the companies we’re promoting, and the huge payoff of seeing almost a year’s worth of work come to an end.
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Photo by Scott McDowell
Now, to continue lying on the couch in recovery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SmartWasher–For You Cyclists Out There!

We asked our newest Ancient Peaks sponsor to tell us about themselves, and here’s what they sent.

But to cut to the chase, come check him out – he says he can get a muddy bike that hasn’t been cleaned in a season dry in fifteen minutes. Who care’s about science!

SW423 SMARTWASHER INTRODUCED TO THE BIKE INDUSTRY

http://www.chemfree.com/

ChemFree Corporation’s bioremediating parts washing system, the SW-423, receives rave reviews from the bike community for its cleaning performance and  its commitment to a clean environment.

The SW-423 SmartWasher, a bioremediating parts washing system, can keep your bike looking and performing like new. Although the SmartWasher parts washing systems have a long track record in the automotive and industrial markets, it is brand new to the bicycle service industry and is already getting rave reviews. With special accessories for washing bicycles along with award winning SW4 OzzyJuice and a microbe impregnated filter, called an OzzyMat, the SmartWasher system will outperform any previously available bike wash product with zero impact to the
environment and no danger to users. Don’t let dirt and grime diminish your investment; a clean bike works better and lasts longer.

Founded in 1993, and located in Norcross, GA, ChemFree corporation is a subsidiary of Intelligent Systems Corporation, a publicly traded corporation (AMEX symbol: INS). Manufacturing the patented SmartWasher® Bioremediating Parts Washing System, ChemFree Corporation provides an alternative method to cleaning vehicle and maintenance parts without harming humans or the environment. The SmartWasher® system consists of the SmartWasher parts washer equipment, OzzyJuice® Degreasing Solutions and OzzyMats™which are microbe impregnated filters. The combination of these products, “the system”, allows the user to eliminate or dramatically reduce waste streams, the expense of hazardous waste removal, the associated liabilities of generating waste, and the hassles of regulatory compliance. Uniting superior performance and environmental responsibility, the ChemFree product line is sold in more than 40 countries worldwide. ChemFree holds 27 patents—11 in the United States and 16 in other countries.

“More than ever, organizations are looking for innovations that allow them to operate
more responsibly. But innovations are not practical if they are expensive or hard to
use. The products that we develop merge environmental responsibility with the things
that businesses have always sought like cost effectiveness, safety, durability and most
importantly, a product that works,” said Tom McNally, ChemFree’s Vice President.

ChemFree manufactures a wide range of SmartWashers that are used for degreasing parts. Bioremediation allows the user to eliminate or dramatically reduce waste streams, eliminating the expense of hazardous waste removal contracts and associated liabilities.

If you would like more information about this topic, the ChemFree product line, or to schedule an interviewplease contact Melissa Page-Hale at 770-564-5589 or mpage@chemfree.com (www.chemfree.com)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Letter to Bike Shop Owners

Maybe you’ll be getting one soon!

Dear awesome bike shop owner:

At the beginning of the year, we were given the opportunity have full access to a privately held ranch offering 14,000 acres of rolling hills, canopied forest, and rugged peaks. Though no mountain bike trails yet existed, its owners let us onto their property with the vision of developing world-class mountain bike trails that would put their ranch and winery on the map.

Six months later, we’re proud to announce the first Annual Ancient Peaks Classic, held just north of San Luis Obispo at the Santa Margarita Ranch. With the help of local pros and amateurs, we worked to create what our pre-riders are reporting as epic, world-class trails to be opened to riders on July 23 and 24th.

Our cross country trail features up to fifteen miles of single track and fire road riding, bridge crossing, epic burms, rolling hills, and sweeping vistas. The trail’s been hailed as possibly the best place to ride in all of Southern California, which is saying a lot, considering the quality of nearby trails in San Luis Obispo county.

The downhill portion is a 1,300 foot drop in three miles of super fast lines. A unique combination of natural and constructed track, it has been compared to some of the west coast’s best riding by competitors such as Ryan Tarver, Jeff Bowers, and course designer, Nate Lewis.

Videos and photos are viewable at our website: www.ancientpeaksclassic.com. Please take the time to check it out and help us generate buzz about the event. We hope to have the event follow the Sea Otter Classic next year, and give visiting riders a real show of what California riding and the central Coast has to offer.

Please consider posting the enclosed posters and setting out the brochures somewhere prominent. We are doing this for the love of the sport, but proceeds will also go to support WaterRun, a 501 c3 non-profit dedicated to helping build wells in African communities.

Thanks, and hope to see you out here!

Yishai Horowitz

Race Director and Course Developer

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Narrative of the Downhill Course for the Ancient Peaks Classic

Still working on actual video, sit down, relax, and enjoy as designer Nate Lewis describes the ride, blow by blow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Importance of Bike Fit!

By guest writer Josh Cohen of Foothill Cyclery

First off let me say congratulations to all of the Morro Bay Tri finshers. You all did a great job out there on a gloomy day that could have been a lot worse. One of the things I happened to observe on the road while driving support for the bike leg is that there are many of you guys and gals out there on poorly fit bikes. Granted this is just a casual observation but it seemed that the majority of the riders out there on the road could have had free speed and more comfort just by having their bikes fitted correctly. With that being said I know some of you are saying to yourselves, I got fitted when I bought my bike, I’m good. I say to you, ask yourself, did I really get fitted well? Do my shoulders feel sore after my ride? Do my knees track straight up and down or do they flail out sideways? Do my feet feel sore after I ride or even during? Do my hands or fingers go numb during my rides? Is my back sore? Do I have pressure on the front of my seat that makes me want to tilt the saddle way down? Is my bike really comfortable for 2 plus hours or does it make me want to get a massage the next day?

I’m sure most of you have asked your bike shop something along these lines and gotten the “You’ll get used to it” response. I can not stress enough that this is a horrible answer. Your bike shouldn’t hurt or make you sore except for your legs after a killer ride. I’m going to go out on a limb and outline the advanced fit we do at Foothill Cyclery so you can see what a fit should really consist of. Please note this is our advanced fit we offer in the aftermarket.

First step is to get to know you. We want to know if you have injuries or other factors which would change the way you fit on the bike. We also want to know what you want to do with the bike whether you are touring, racing, stunt riding, etc.

Second is to get you warmed up and look at your current set up and problems you are having with it. Even small things like sore shoulders hours after you ride. We are looking for all the things that contribute to your performance.

Third thing we do is get some basic measurements off of you. This includes inseam and shoulder width as well as foot varus and valgus (tilt). At this point we are also looking at your shoes and feet as well as how you walk and what your feet tend to do.

After that we make the first basic adjustments to the bike. Saddle height is based off the inseam measurement and set. With the seat height adjusted, we have the rider actually ride on the trainer, check saddle height and fore aft with a goniometer (measures body angles) and a laser. Then we look at the ride straight on with the laser and make adjustments to allow the knee to track as straight as possible. Once that is done, we go again to the saddle height and fore aft and readjust as needed.

The next steps involve rider flexibility. Post warm up we look at how flexible you are in the mid section primarily at your hips. This will determine how much drop and reach we can achieve from the saddle to the bars. The rest is in the details, fine tuning the shifter placement, looking at bar tape wrap options and so on.

These fits take roughly 1.5 – 3 hours and come with a 30 day comfort guarantee. We know that sometimes other little issues can come up post fit so within the first 30 days you can come back for a refit, and adjustments, including swapping out anything fit related that you bought during the bike fit.

That’s our overview of what we think a proper fit should be. I’m not saying that it’s the end all be all of bike fitting, but it’s a great place to start and more than enough for all but the most elite athletes. With that said we have worked on some of the fastest riders in the country, including Jr National Road Race Champion Evan Huffman, and Subaru Trek Pro mountain biker Sam Schultz.

If you haven’t been fitted at this level and would like to know how much more comfortable your bike can be, just call Foothill Cyclery at 805 541 4101 ask for Josh and schedule a fit appointment.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet the All Out Staff

In the spirit of all things love and community, I felt like I should post a little blog on the current All Out Events team, so that when you see them around, you can say hi.

The key to our staff is that we are looking for people like us – who think the vision and the job is super awesome, love the difficulty of the evens, love the people that attend, and never whine or complain about doing anything. We look for people who do the extra mile, and most of the staff come out of volunteering for us and being super stoked not for the dollars, but the experience. That’s why you’ll find our events are always filled with good vibe – it starts with the staff.

First off, there’s me and Yishai:

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Me: Kristin Tara McNamara and then there’s Yishai Horowitz. We make up the partnership that is All Out Events. I’ve been helping Yishai with his events since before there was All Out Events, but I officially got on the LLC paperwork last August as a full partner. And while we’ve been friends for years and years and years, we’ve been dating for two years and as of two weeks ago, he gave me a shiny rock for my left ring finger, so one of these days, it’s gonna be Mr and Mrs Horowitz. Or, McNawitz to our friends.

Yishai’s full time job is the events business, which is why he’s more recognizable, but we are also both Executive Directors and founders of SLO Op Climbing, the country’s first non-profit bouldering gym. That was our first business partnership and his ideas compared with my penchant for marketing and financial management worked there, which is why we are working on All Out together. In addition to that, I’m a part-time English professor at Allan Hancock College. Whew.

We also have two super cute dogs, Australian Shepherds. Because you needed to know that.

And then there’s Blake Rowan:

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I couldn’t find a good one of just him, so you get a photo of his lovely fiancĂ©e, Maren, also. Blake has been our number three in everything we do for a long time. He is also the volunteer manager at our climbing gym and we sometimes talk about getting a big homestead and having our houses and Aussies and such on it together. Blake is a tennis pro and finishing up a business degree at Cal Poly. He’s also a super road and mountain bike dude, along with being a climber.

Aarone (sounds like Erin) Livingston:

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Aaronne is an old friend of Yishai’s from their days working at a summer camp together. (In fact, that sweatshirt is for the camp: Gold Arrow Camp. She is about the most on it, sweet, and lovely person you’ll ever meet, though it makes it hard for me to describe myself with her around – I used to be the only girl, and then I was the only girl with red hair, but she wins on “redness.” She is married to a great guy and owns the heck out of the day of registration management. We would be lost without her.

And we have Rich Besco:

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Rich helps us out on the day of events – he usually does all the heavy lifting and such and he’s really great in a pinch at handling crap that's less than ideal. He’s a really great, stable guy  with a good heart and we’re so glad to have him. I don’t really know what Rich does for a day job, but he also has a fancy delivery job at night that gives us lots of awesome stories. Busy man!

New this year:

Nate Lewis -

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Here’s Nate at last year’s Mud Run, which until I saw this photo, I didn’t even know he was there. We tapped Nate, who used to be a pro downhiller but is now going to school, to help us build the downhill mountain bike course for our Ancient Peaks Mountain Bike Classic, but he was so enthusiastic and awesome about everything, we asked him to be a part of the team. He helped out immensely at the adventure race in May and he’s going to manage the run course for us at this weekend’s tri.

Ryan Tarver -

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Ryan is also a super athlete, having competed in our adventure races and blown the top competition away with his ability to keep up without knowing what he was doing. He works for Lezyne (hence the shirt) and is always around at our events and so he’s started to volunteer his time with whatever we need. And we are SO glad to have him.

And our satellite crew:

Owen Richardson -

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Owen has worked with Yishai longer than I have, for other people as well as Yishai’s event business. He was Y’s right hand man until he finished up at the community college here and headed to Chico to finish his degree. He comes down when he can to help with operations and he has served as race director for our sprint adventure races a few times.

Matt Pearce -

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Matt lives up in Chico and has worked with Yishai and Owen as a medic at a number of events. Here he is in his truck of stuff. He is a volunteer dispatcher and tech whiz.  He works for the Butte County probation offices and is a funny guy to spend time with.

And there you have it, the core workforce behind making All Out as awesome as it can be. Smile

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why we do this crazy event stuff.

Yesterday we had a major trail work day for the July 23-24 mountain bike race. Given that we’re five days from the Morro Bay Tri, I feel this is a sign that we have our crap together if we’re working on something more than a month out instead.

So, there we are, at ten in the morning at the gate to Santa Margarita ranch. Me, Yishai, and our friend Todd in the 4Runner, and suddenly the cavalry arrives: Josh and his girlfriend Karen from Foothill Cyclery, and Nate Lewis – designer of our downhill course – and five of his buddies, truck full of downhill bikes.

The buddies have already been up on the property pre-riding and they are blown. “World class,” “Amazing terrain,” “This is not something you find in San Luis” (in reference to the tree canopy riding) are things that are spilling out of their mouths. They’re back again to construct some berms and jumps for the downhill event.

Yishai and I do this for love, and we are super cognizant of not overusing our volunteers. But there Nate is, standing at the midpoint of our downhill section, looking up the hill with this ecstatic grin on his face: “This has been the realization of a dream since I was little. I have been making little jumps and stuff but this . . . this.” Yup, All Out Events – making dreams come true. We’ve fully given Nate control on the downhill and it’s fun watching his vision come together.

Today, we’re making his vision come together by building huge, huge berms:

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Here’s Yishai up on the berm (you should see it all packed down and the jump above it) with Nate talking to him and everyone else looking at work going on down the hill.

To be quite honest, we’re sad about the serious dirt roads we’re making. Yishai and I try not to impact a place this much, but . . . well, you want world class, we’ll give you world class, my friends.

And then while the work here went on, the guys are up higher building the berms until the join up later on and go out with Yishai to build more features and trail down lower.

By now, Yishai has gotten good with the chain saw, a newly acquired skill:

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Fallen logs begone!

Anyway, the entire day, all these people came together to build something wonderful. No one complained, everyone put in some shoulder grease, were all smiles, and stayed well into the sun fading into the horizon.

Cold, tired, and happy, the boys loaded their bikes and we shuttled them to the top and they rode down:

Events aren’t about money (but that would be nice one of these days), it’s about love, helping people achieve their dreams, have a good time, and make lasting relationships.

And I love it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barrie Adsett’s Trip Report for the 12 Hour Race

Dawn to Dusk Adventure Race.  May 14 2011
by Barrie

image001TTeam Equinox at the start (yes it was cold at 6:30 AM) – Steve, Barrie, Dave and Teri

It took us 12½ hours to go just 42 miles (67 Km).  The race started with an epic hike along the ridge that runs through the Sana Lucia Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest.  The cool part is we almost got to the big antenna that can be seen off to the right as you drive up the grade from San Luis Obispo to Atascadero.

We started the race at 7:30 am, east of where Pozo Road narrows and Santa Margarita Valley ends.  They loaded us on a bus a little after 6 AM, and the bus made a couple of trips to get everyone to the start line.

The initial hike was from a trail-head parking area up to the ridge line.  This was slow as there were 100 or more racers of all abilities on the narrow trail.  But by the first checkpoint (2 Km into the race and on the ridge) we had gotten on a jeep trail and everyone was running/hiking at their own pace.  The route appeared easy, but a couple of Km later the ridge split 3 ways and racers went in all 3 directions.  Fortunately we chose the correct route and got to the second checkpoint ahead of lots of good teams.

We ran the downhill’s (something we normally do not do) and got ahead of our usual pace so made a mistake an hour later when we thought we were further up the ridge than we were.  The uphill’s had slowed us down, but we were still calculating distance at the run pace.  The “detour” took us about 3 Km out of our way.  Fortunately the roads and terrain did not match the trails we were expecting and while other teams were running past us (so they were off-course also) we read the map more thoroughly and turned around after about 1500m.  It was a climb back up to the ridge, but on a good jeep trail.  We continued for about another hour on the ridge trail which was sometimes there, but more often we had to bushwhack through Pine trees, Manzanita bushes and other scrub plants then get to a clearing then bushwhack again.  We overshot the turnoff to CP3 (which was just a water chute down the side of the hill) as we were trying too hard to get ahead of a group of about 15-18 racers.  We climbed the hill in the center photo below and came up behind the antennas.  It was seeing the antennas, looking at the different ridges and taking bearings that convinced us we had gone too far (but only by about 500m – though that was 20-25 minutes of bushwhack).

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(1)Dave and Teri at an easy section.  (2)We never did find the trail, but we did climb the hill.  (3)This is how thick it was.

When we got back on track the trail went through what I would describe as a poison oak forest.  It was everywhere and you just had to get through it.  We crawled under foliage, climbed over vines and attempted to follow a trail others had blazed before us.  One minute you were in thick brush, and then you were on what appeared to be a well-worn trail, to have it disappear 50 meters later.  When we eventually got to CP3 we were team 38 of 58 to check in.  While this was far back in the pack we preferred to think of ourselves as having 20 teams still behind us.  Then it was an easy 45 minute walk to CP4 where our bikes were.

Only the first 4 checkpoints were mandatory, the trek was the emphasis of this race.  We figured that including our mistakes we hiked about 15 miles (25 Km) and it took us almost 6½ hours to get that far.  But it was one of the greatest treks we have had in a long while and except for the unfortunate poison oak it was a really great trail, with plenty of side tracks to make the navigation challenging.

At the bike transition we plotted the 7 bike checkpoints and from the master map plotted the kayak checkpoints to come up with a plan for the remainder of the race.  Because of how we felt (tired), how long the race had taken so far (longer than we anticipated), and how we were not strong bikers compared to kayakers (plus the fact we wanted to do the Zipline which was on the kayak section), we elected to do just 3 easy bike checkpoints and skip the remaining ones.  So our bike section was just 13 miles (23 Km) and took a little over 70 minutes.  We were lucky to ride some fun new single track trails but nothing too difficult.  This was all inside a private ranch and vineyard area of Miller Flat.

At the kayak we had to paddle about 2 Km to the Zipline which was a 300ft (92m) line across an arm of Santa Margarita Lake.  It was awesome.  I went across hanging upside down with no arms on the brake line.  Steve and Dave dunked in the lake as they went across and Teri was laughing all the time.  When leaving the Zipline we saw our friends Jake and Dave and they told us their team had pulled out of the race (but they wanted to do the Zipline), because one of the bike legs we skipped was so hard it forced one of their teammates to drop from the race.  That got us to be very happy about our short bike section, but also got us to wondering if other teams were having as much trouble on the bike and maybe we should race harder and get all the kayak checkpoints then go back and get one of the bike checkpoints that we skipped.  So we set some time limits to gage our progress and did just that.  We finished the 12 mile (20 Km) kayak section in a little over 4 hours and instead of crossing the finish line we got some food from the finish BBQ and hiked up a ridge in the park to get one of the bike checkpoints.  Even though it was a bike CP, there was no rule to say how you went to it and since it was an optional checkpoint you could get it in any sequence.

All through the race we were wondering where our old teammate Kristine and her team were.  They were 50 minutes ahead of us at CP3 and we saw them at one point on the bike.  But they were stronger bikers and had rented sit-on-top kayaks so we knew they would do more bike than kayak checkpoints.  As we came down the hill from the last checkpoint (the extra bike one we got) they were going up to get it so we raced to the line to beat them – but we were unsure how many checkpoints they had to know if we beat them overall or not.

We finished in 12 hours 21 minutes and were all happy in how much of the course we did. We only skipped 3 optional checkpoints in the end and most importantly we had lots of fun.  This is the same race that last year we went off-course by more than 41 miles (66 Km) and barely finished.  This year we were over the finish line an hour before the cut-off time, and we were drinking beer and eating BBQ as other teams finished, so it was a good race for us.

When they announced awards about 9 PM we were surprised when they announced us as second place, and even more surprised when the first place team had to decline the award as they changed from a 4-person mixed team to a 4-person all male team, so we got promoted to FIRST place 4-person mixed.  A nice way to finish the day and beat some very, very, good teams that did not quite have the luck we did on skipping difficult checkpoints.  Dave and Jake’s team (Albion Brewing) was second place and Kristine’s team (Captain K and the Pretty Boys) was third place.  First place overall was a 3-person team - Team Tecnu, getting all checkpoints in a mere 9½ hours.  We will have to wait for published results to see how we fared overall compared to the 2 person and 3 person teams or the other category teams.  But we had the ultimate fun we could pack into a 12 hour day, which was our goal, and the fact we got trophies was a nice bonus.

A big thank you to All Out Adventures who put this race on.  This was the 6th version of Dawn to Dusk and I have run 4 of the 6.  Each time is different, each time is a challenge and each time I say it is probably the most fun race I participate in that year.  Definitely the most fun 8-12 hour race each year.

Thank you also to the sponsors, especially Tecnu who provided cleansing at CP4 (after the PO forest), Tecnu showers at the finish line and product for any racers who suffer from Poison Oak.

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(1)Fun on the bike.  (2)Teri wants wine.  (3)Small river crossings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How the Race Went for an Actual Racer!

From competitor Doug Thaxon (with kind permission):

My bro and I just wanted to say thanks for an awesome experience with our First Adventure Race.  Your race was insane, and the All Out staff was so accommodating.  We also wanted to ask you to pass on a special thanks to the family that shared their private land with us.  It was pure joy riding/ trekking through that beautiful property.  I especially enjoyed seeing them hanging out and having family time at the pond area near the CP.  We felt so fortunate that they were willing to share with us, the MTB trails were just plain incredible.  Below is a recap I sent to our family and friends that supported us as we trained and prepared for the race…thought you might enjoy reading it too.    Best regards- Doug & Greg

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Hey Friends- thought I would give you a condensed version of the race…It was unbelievable, literally.  I could probably give you a better description in person, but here goes.

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We started at 6am Saturday with getting our maps, race rules and coordinates.  We were bused to an unknown location and dropped off to start the race around 7:30am.  We finished in 11:33 at roughly 6:45pm after covering around 60 miles on land and water.  We are really happy with our time considering that we were lost between checkpoint 3 & 4 for over an hour.  Timing wise, we were in the top end of our category and finished near some of the pro teams.  We did not get our race map, or know the race course until 6am race day.  We plotted our own race course to the Mandatory Checkpoints using UTM (a mapping/ coordinate method developed by the Army in the 1950’s) coordinates.  There were 4 mandatory checkpoints that had to be completed in order, then 8 checkpoints which were optional for more points.  We completed 8 total checkpoints including the ZIP LINE!  We felt it was mandatory to zip across the lake on a cable line; we were not disappointed.  The race began with a 13 mile trek which combined running, hiking, crawling and serious bushwhacking in areas where the trial was not maintained.  Because we go lost, the trekking took us longer than we had hoped, and did zap our energy and morale a bit.  However, we pulled together and backtracked a bit and found a game trail which showed signs of racer foot traffic.  We were able to blaze that trail off the mountain peak to our referenced trail on another mountain about a mile away.  We got back on track and progressed quickly to the final trekking check point and also picked up an adjacent mountain bike checkpoint after veering a slight loop in our path to pick it up on the way to CP4.  CP 4 was where they staged out bikes.  We had dropped them off at the main staging area (on Friday) at the Lake and they loaded them onto a trailer and dropped them off at CP4 which was out in the middle of nowhere.  We took some time to recuperate at checkpoint 4 where we were transitioning from Trekking to Mountain  Biking.  There we powered down Gatorades, PBJ sandwiches and my mom’s homemade cookies!  Most importantly we took Tecnu Baths, Tecnu is a soap that breaks down the oil from poison oak/ ivy…this was helpful as the trails were covered in poison oak.  At some points we were on hands and knees crawling down a mountain face and through groves of it.  Not for the faint at heart or those that are highly allergic to the oil.  At CP4 we also plotted the coordinates for the remaining checkpoints.  The mountain biking was fantastic and it was so nice to get off our tired dogs.  We put focused effort into foot care- changing socks frequently and ductaping the hot spots.  A large part of the MTB was on a private 14,000 acre cattle ranch/ winery.  We started the biking about 7 hours into the race and were feeling good about our energy and timing so elected to cut off about 6 miles of riding (and 2 checkpoints) to get a good start on the kayaking.  At Kayak transition we once again plotted our course and resupplied ourselves with hydration and nourishment.  They checkpoints for Kayak were spread out so we essentially paddled the entire lake twice by the time we went down and back.  We were able to stage hydration at two points, MTB and Kayak transitions.  Other than that, there were only two locations where the race had staged water for us…being responsible and largely on our own really raised the adventure element of this race.

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The scenery was epic, some wildlife too.  We narrowly missed crossing paths with a bear at CP 3 and then we re-adjusted our course at one mountain ridge as a large cat was growling at us from a bushy area.  Something else we are taking away is a reconnection with our primal instincts, it was a very grounding experience.  My Bro and I had entered the race as a two person team and were planning to make a friendly rivalry with our buddies that came out from Utah.  In the beginning, Greg and I thought we wanted to move through the trekking a bit faster than Mark and Brian, and at that point we were ‘competing’.  Mark had a pre-race injury that slowed his normal game.  Greg and I knew our weakness was the orienteering and so we were intent on updating our map with where we were, and where we were headed.  Mark and Brian are far more experienced in navigation, and so they caught up with us several times.  The pacing of our two teams lined up about 3 hours into the race and at that point we decided as a group to continue together.  Getting lost at that final ridge top was a result of us herding and “following the pack” rather than making our own path.  We laughed later on about that particular experience because we learned at one of the pre-race clinics that following others is the most common mistake newbies make as you sort of put your head down and climb the mountain one foot after another.  In the end though, I am so glad we decided to band together… let me tell you, 4 minds were better than two when we needed to hunker down and blaze our own trail.  It was an awesome experience with my bro and buddies, and an incredible personal challenge.  I would do it again!

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How the 12-hour Dawn To Dusk Went (In My Head)

So, hi there. In case you didn’t know, all of the writing on this blog is done by me, Kristin McNamara, event producer of All Out Events.

While Yishai (who most of you know and love) is doing his thing on the mic or at the briefings, I am usually in the background monitoring volunteers or calculating results, etc. I’m the business end of All Out, and Yishai is the dream end, if that makes sense.

So when we have our Dawn to Dusk race, Yishai is usually always where the action is. I’m sitting in the trailer working on stuff and making sure the staff is fed.

I thought you guys  might be interested to know what goes into putting on a 12-hour race, so here I am to tell you.

Ingredient 1: The Dream

Without Yishai, there’d be no course. He loves maps. It will be 2 am and he will want to show me some map. Now, I love hiking, climbing, riding, etc, but I am not a map person. In the Sierra, I go off general locations based on peaks or whatnot. I can read a map, but I do not get excited about it.

So Y will pour over the maps, and then it’s time to scout. And he will go, “Hey, Kristin, let’s do this nice, easy trail. It will only be an hour or two.” Yeah, not ever. Just when I have bought my first mountain bike, he put me on the 12-hour mountain bike course. It took me eight hours to do it. I was dying. This last race, I was super sick, and he thought we would go on a minor scouting adventure on a “road” that he said was “flat.” Folks who raced – he means the brush slog on the ridgeline. To be fair, he didn’t know, but that’s how it is with him.

Ingredient 2: Hustle

So then you have to sell the race. You need to make friends with the people who write the permits and let you use their land. That’s easy. We’re nice and we don’t mess stuff up because we’re also super-considerate. By this, I mean, if you accuse either of us of wrongdoing, we’ll immediately take it, even if we were in Timbuktu at the time. There are a lot of long days going into longer nights. A lot of worry and stress and analysis and surveys. We talk to people and hope they’ll give us some money to promote their product – these days they don’t, so this becomes not much of a lucrative thing. You have to have heart to do it.

Oh yeah, then there’s the hours we spend making the path passable – happily this year we have a dermatologist friend with the magic serum – we always have poison oak for a few months a year, but it’s way more manageable now than it has been. I haven’t had to take a poison oak sick day, and hey, Y didn’t end up in the hospital this year! Red letter day!

And then you show up:

Or, if you’re us, you decide last minute to weld bike racks even though you don’t know how to weld. And then you realize the trailer you have can’t hold the racks, so you gotta recruit friends to donate such things.

Our staff shows up, and like a well-oiled machine, they know their jobs and they handle it. Then you show up.

And it’s 11 pm the night before, we’re all in the ranger office where I draw my customary random drawing (this year it was a pink rattlesnake in a tutu) on their white board and we eat burritos. That’s also where we came up with our “start dance.”

Our what?

Yeah, if you were there, you saw it. Aaronne (registration queen), Yishai, myself, and Blake (operations man) did a little jig for the start line, only after Yishai went the extra mile by picking some poison oak to hold up for the crowd. My theory is that if it’s green, don’t touch it, and you’ll be safe. PO looks like a zillion different things. I happen to know. I am a professional poison oak murderer.

So we give our briefing and then they’re off. We get back to the venue and . . .

Have I mentioned that the 12-hour races are super epicly boring while you’re out doing the race? The entire crew goes off to Santa Margarita Ranch to handle the action there, leaving me, Aaronne (hiding from the cold in her car, monitoring radio traffic), and the CARA festival to our own devices.

I do incredibly important things like help the caterer back his trailer into the right spot and helping the cooks find wood and supplies to feed our racers sausages.

At the same time this is going on, we have search and rescue conducting random training missions over the same radio frequency so it sounds exciting, all that “Arrow One is orbiting and in search of target.” ORBITING? LIKE IN SPACE?

And then we’re all sitting around and, WHAT’S THAT? A TEAM! HOLY MOLY! It’s Team TecnuExtreme/StaphAceptic coming in way earlier than we expected. My volunteers scramble to get them the goods, and they’re off. It’s a full hour before we see another team.

But now the jig is up. We’ve been running along for about six hours and two teams haven’t shown. Hmm. We start trying to locate vehicles, names, phone numbers (for some reason they gave dummy phone numbers). Given that Y and I have personally vetted the course, barring a rabid mountain lion, they are most definitely lost in the wild backcountry peaks that the race started in. But how to find them? The brush is impassable by quad, so this is an on-foot job. And this is . . . a LOT of space.

But no fear, search and rescue has . . . a HELICOPTER. And after much debate, it is determined that Yishai, our hero, will go up in the HELICOPTER to find them by sight. I told you I get the dirty jobs.

So there they are, flying around, I can hear the chopper talking to the ground and I know when the two parties have been found (and unhurt, I might add, just lost and a bit embarrassed).

And here’s where we enter the world in my head.

Picture Yishai: black cap, black sunglasses, earpiece, radio, black coat, khaki shorts, trail running shoes.

“Oh, Race Director,” teems the search and rescue, “We are trying our best but we can’t locate those poor, lost souls. Only you can save us!”

Puffing up his chest, “Don’t you worry, *I’ll* save them! Get me the chopper!”

The air suddenly fills with the buzzing of a thousand angry bees, escorting Airwolf, suspended from the ground with only one of those slick, black cords and a single, silver ascender. Yishai grabs it, and begins to ascend effortlessly as James Bond would. He swings into the cabin. “That way, Captain, we have people to save!”

It rises and banks left, firing the turbo jet engines (come on, it’s Airwolf) as it sweeps over a rugged vista of peaks and narrow canyons. And there, sure as day, their day-glo yellow coats shining from the black and blah colors of the drying chapparal. They wave the the helicopter. The pilot waves back. Yishai, “We have no time for that, land this thing!”

And, conveniently, there’s a landing spot (this part is true). As soon as it touches down, Yishai leaps from the chopper, its blades inches from his head as he runs to the people and escorts them out of the brush to safety and their loving friends and family.

Yeah. So I was sitting in the trailer calculating points at this point. I am pretty sure there was a zipline, but I can’t confirm that. I heard there was . . . mountain biking, too? And I saw some kayaks on the staging area. But I am pretty sure all I saw was venue and the inside of a trailer. And that’s pretty much what I did until it was time for awards, when I got the prizes out and handed them to the winners. And then we cleaned up, got ready for that night’s rain storm, and went to bed.

That, my friends, is the 2011 All Out Adventure race from Kristin’s perspective.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The May Adventure Sprint Is On!

We've been talking a lot about how awesome our 12-hour course is this year, and you've been listening! We have a record number of participants this year, but we also want to remind you of the awesomeness that is the Sprint Race.

As mentioned in National Geographic Adventure magazine as *the* recommended sprint race, we have a great, adventurous course waiting for you. Grab a buddy and paddle the fingers of Santa Margarita Lake in our brand-new fleet of tandem kayaks, ride the wicked fun that is the hills of the lake recreation area and Shangri-La ranch, and trek through some of the most beautiful and accessibly hidden trails the lake can offer - you'll scramble up the side of a creek, over flat sandstone slopes, get great views, and have an amazing morning adventure.

So . . . tell your friends and we'll see you soon!

7th Annual Santa Margarita Adventure Race Boasts Top Pros and Big Fun

May 7, 2011 – San Luis Obispo - Racers and adventurers from across the country will be convening on Santa Margarita for the first weekend of the All Out Adventure Race series on May 13-15.

The race series features a long-form adventure race on Saturday and a short-form race on Sunday, paired with California Adventure Racing Association’s festival and free clinics all weekend long.

Athletes in tip-top shape are coming from all over the country and internationally to compete in the highest attended race in the west. Racers in teams of four, three, two, or going solo will paddle along the lake in kayaks, crash through brush and poison oak, zip merrily through the trees on wires, and ride high quality single track mountain bike trails – all while navigating with compasses and maps to gain check points. The top teams will finish in about 12 hours. The race starts in Santa Margarita Lake but expands out to other areas from there.

On Sunday, more mild racers will do all the same thing, but in a more controlled setting: teams of two have about four hours to complete a kayak, mountain bike, and trekking course while navigating “special challenges.” Hailed as one of the top 5 races in the country for its short form and quality experience by National Geographic Adventure magazine, this is a great event for a morning adventure for both the super fit and the moderate weekend warrior – with wonderful views and an insider’s look at some of Santa Margarita Lake’s most beautiful terrain. The course is marked with arrows, taking away the most challenging part of Saturday’s race – map navigation.

Some racers from Saturday will stay to do Sunday . . . it’s simply that fun! But whether you’re in it to push yourself to the limit or grab a buddy and have a good time, one thing’s for sure: you’ll never feel the same way about yourself again!

Please see our website at http://www.ccadventure.com and watch the preview video at: http://bit.ly/l2LTD3

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If you’d like more information, or to schedule an interview, contact Kristin Tara McNamara at 805 748 1478 or email Kristin@All-OutEvents.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The ECOSLO Morro Bay Tri: What to Expect?

The time’s coming – the annual ECOSLO Morro Bay Tri. In addition to last year’s Olympic length, we’ve added a sprint course as well.
In case this is Greek to you:
Olympic Distance : 1.5K Swim | 40K Bike | 10K Run
Sprint Distance : 750M Swim | 20.5K Bike | 5.4K Run
These lengths make up the majority of tri competitions, and for good reason – they’re accessible, and any level of fitness can shine here.
The order is usually the same: swim, bike, and run. And for good reason, you don’t want to do a swim when you’re dirt tired – it’s ordered for safety!

Swimming?
I hate swimming! Well, cool. We’ve got a kayak option. And, believe you me, I am not a big swimmer myself. Enjoy the same water views as the swimmers, but without the wet and saltiness.
Our swim is in Morro Bay, a protected cove and home to fishermen and hobby boaters, along with adorable sea otters and sea lions.
But what about tides? We carefully select our dates and times to allow for a “slack tide.” This means the tide is moving neither in nor out. It should feel very much like a lake swim. But be careful: if you practice in these waters, be sure you also select a slack tide – we don’t want you getting sucked out to hostile, shark-infested waters! (Just kidding, though at last year’s adventure race, we did see some blue whales.)

As for bikes, both courses will head north on highway 1 on an out-and-back this year, the difference is when you’ll turn back around out. You’ll enjoy a mostly flat ride along the ocean. We’ve got a road closure and great coning, and we promise the course will be super well-marked! You’ll be safe, sound, and confident so you can give the course your all.

And then let’s finish it out with a race on the sand. Last year it was an out-and-back, but this year we’re pleased to give you a different view: you’ll start out on dirt and boardwalk, go through a cute neighborhood, turn left and come back on the sand. Watch out for snowy plovers – be kind to our beach birdies!
Yup, pretty straight forward. We keep you safe, make your life happy, and it’s all to benefit a great cause: ECOSLO.
But, you know, this is an All Out event, and we expect you to not just be hard core, but have fun!

This dude knows what I’m talking about – he’s rolling through the finish line! Huzzah!