Frequently Asked Questions

Top Adventure Racing – What is it?  See Wikipedia definition

Adventure Racing is at its core a multi-day, non-stop, multi-sport, mixed gender event that’s fun, challenging and most definitely not for the faint at heart. The aim for those that participate seriously is to be the first team to finish. For those who participate more for fun – just crossing the line is the challenge. The beauty of adventure racing is that people of all ages, types and sizes with varying degrees of fitness can take part.  Races usually take place in remote areas where teams may not see other competitors or officials for hours at a time. All decisions relating to navigation are the sole responsibility of the team. You are literally just given a map and instructions on where the next checkpoint is – then off you go . . .

Pace, choice of direction, trust in your team mates, your equipment, supplies and the weather all play critical roles in reaching the end.  No information pertaining to the race is given ahead of time – all is revealed at the race briefing just before the race - and sometimes you do not even know where the actual start will be until the day before the race! 

Adventure racing provides the bold and the daring with a chance to challenge themselves on every dimension. Participants learn very early on that the competition is less with the other teams and more with the course, less about beating the competition and more about achieving your own goals.

TopHow do I get involved in Adventure Racing?

Here are some ways to learn more about competing in adventure races and generally getting involved. Taking any of these actions will greatly increase your enjoyment of and chances of completing your first Adventure Race.

  • Join an Adventure Racing Club – the best way to learn what the sport involves is to mingle with other adventure racers and to train with them. Most clubs host regular events (e.g., rides, trail runs, paddles, orienteering courses and so forth) where you can learn new skills, improve your technique, train with others and meet new and like-minded people.  Chatting with those who have experienced adventure racing is the single most valuable step a potential participant can take in becoming more knowledgeable and improving their chances of success.
  • Research – there is a great deal of information on the web relating to adventure racing, as well as several excellent books, blogs, videos and websites. Check out Assitport Adventure Racing’s website for more information.
  • Volunteer at an Adventure Race – watching a race live is a great way to see what happens during an event, to pick up tips, view what actually happens during a race and feel the vibe.  It is also a good way to get to know other adventure racers making the search for potential teammates that bit easier.

TopCan anyone take part in Adventure Racing?

YES! We believe that Adventure Racing is a must for anyone that wants that little bit more from life, for people who crave new and unique experiences, who love the outdoors and find the need to be challenged mentally, physically and spiritually. ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ is a mantra that certainly bears relevance here. A strong mind and will to succeed is paramount as well as a ‘never say die’ attitude.

TopWhat are the costs?

Like most things the equipment is the main expense. If you have already joined Assitport Adventure Racing Club, you’ll be able to make use of the club equipment at a small cost (to cover maintenance).

Equipment costs vary depending on quality but to get started here’s a good indication.

  • Mountain bike – R 5 000 to R10 000. You’ll need a helmet at R600 to R1 500.
  • Canoe – Second hand K1’s go for R700 to R1 500 and K2’s between R1000 to R2 500.
  • Trail Shoes – R700 to R1 300

Race Entries are the next expense. Shorter races vary from R200 to R250 per person. A 250km race will cost round R1 000 per person and expedition races from R3 000 per person upwards depending on where in the world the race is being held.

TopIs Adventure Racing enjoyed internationally?

Yes – there are many well know races that take place all over the world. Below are only a few examples of races that might whet your appetite. Let them inspire you.

TopWhat are the benefits of Adventure Racing?

  • Discipline
  • Learning your limits not your perceived ones.
  • Teamwork
  • Health and Fitness
  • Meeting like-minded people
  • Making new friends
  • Travel to destinations otherwise not thought of.
  • Learning new skills
  • Having amazing experiences.

TopCan I adventure race by myself?

Adventure Racing is a team sport ideally mixed gendered. You can however use your skills to enjoy its component sports individually – mountain biking, kayaking, trail running, climbing etc

There are races like the Xterra  that are essentially off road triathlons which would be the closest thing to and individual Adventure Race.

TopHow long is a typical race?

  • +/- 30kms OR 2hrs to 6hrs
  • 50kms–70kms OR 4hrs to 8 hrs
  • 120kms–150kms OR 10 to 24 hrs
  • 250kms OR 18hrs to 36hrs
  • +500kms ‘Expedition race’ – 3 to 11 days ( or longer )

The shorter races are designed to encourage new entrants to be exposed to the sport and gain experience before hooking them into competing in the longer races.

TopWhat are the component sports / disciplines of Adventure Racing?

Main disciplines

  • Mountain biking
  • Orienteering ( map reading )
  • Trail running
  • Paddling / kayaking / canoeing

Others  ( amongst others )

  • Climbing / Abseiling / Rappelling / Zip-lining
  • In-line skating
  • Tubing
  • Horse / Camel Riding
  • Paragliding / Hang-gliding
  • Archery

TopWhat is Assitport Adventure Racing (AAR) ?

Assitport Adventure Racing is a club whose mission is to expose every day, ordinary people to the wonders of outdoor activity and the experiences which are presented through its calendar of club activities and racing events. The club has been designed to vanquish the perceived barriers of entry by investing heavily in equipment, time and effort. Investments include trailers, club mountain bikes, kayaks, tents, headlamps, camping equipment amongst other things which allows new entrants to try their hand with little to no personal investment.

The question of ‘when, where and with whom do I go – mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, climbing, racing etc?’ is answered quite simply by the AAR community of likeminded members who arrange weekly activities and take part in the many races on offer around the country and in time internationally. All info regarding activities and races are posted on the website  along with report backs, galleries of photos taken during events and many other helpful snippets of related information. So it’s as easy as just expressing interest and pitching up to the given activity.

AAR’s members between them possess a wealth of experience which rubs off on new entrants as activities are enjoyed. Skills are honed and limits are pushed. It is wonderful to witness maturing confidence and greater abilities flourishing within the member community as time goes on.

TopI want to get involved – What are my next steps?

  1. Visit and REGISTER
  2. Pay the MEMBERSHIP FEE and START UP costs and then send proof of payment to
  3. Wait for an e-mail from Assitport Adventure Racing welcoming you to the team with a login and password ( which you can change ) allowing you access to the website.  This is your key to all the club activities, races etc

If you would like to sample some of the fun before committing, then join us on one of the many activities held weekly. Send an e-mail to or call 082 469 5586. Thereafter, if you like what you see then it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 !

TopWhat do I need to give it a go?

The whole point of AAR is to afford you an opportunity to give adventure racing a go without you having to dip into your pocket prematurely. There’s nothing worse than buying all the kit only to find you’re not so keen. So AAR has invested on your behalf in club bikes, headlamps, tents, canoes, map holders etc. We do however charge a small fee which goes towards maintenance of the equipment. Availability is dependent on demand so booking in advance is essential.

TopCan I bring friends along?

Yes of course you can. We are very much of the opinion ‘the more the merrier’. We’d love to expose the sport to as many willing individuals as possible.

TopHas Assitport Adventure Racing made the sport conducive to families?

Every effort has been made to include the entire family. Where possible we go camping the night before events allowing us to get to know one another, letting the families interact and giving  the younger members of the family a different experience which they really enjoy. We’ve found that these types of experiences are contagious and before long the whole family is hooked.

TopWhat do I need?

Having comfortable, well-fitting, built for purpose equipment is essential. Completing an Adventure Race is a challenge in itself without having to battle against your kit. It’s advisable to spend a little more for something that will work and last. Finding the right product for you may come with experience.

TopBelow is a list of Essential Clothing

  • Trail Shoes – it is paramount that you have a comfortable fit as your shoes could spell disaster for your Adventure Racing career if you start getting blisters and other ailments. There are some fantastic shoes out there. Water proof shoes that dry easily should be considered.
  • Socks – seamless are best. Keep away from Nylon and non-wicking materials.
  • Shorts - should be light, non-chaff and quick dry.
  • Cycle Shorts - with seamless inserts are most comfortable.
  • Leggings and arm extensions - can be added when it gets chilly and taken off easily when too hot.
  • Tops - Short sleeved / Long Sleeved. Quick wick and thermal are the ones to look out for.
  • Outer Shell - that’s wind and water proof – the lighter the better.
  • Buff, cap or wide brimmed hat and a beanie (winter) – keeping the sun off your head is essential. Also consider having a hat with neck protection. In winter a large percentage of your heat loss is from your head so every effort should be made to wear some sort of head gear.
  • Sun glasses - not only protect your eyes from the sun but also from branches, insects, dust and debris.

Once you’re hooked you can look at purchasing the following:

TopGeneral Equipment

  • Mountain Bikes vary in price from R3 500 to over R100 000. A budget between R5 000 and R10 000 should be more than adequate for a first time bike. Do your research and get some advice on the right bike for you. There is quite a science behind making a match between you and a suitable bike and having it set it up correctly. Assitport Adventure Racing can steer you in the right direction if you need any help.
  • Bike Spares can be kept in a under saddle bag or in your backpack / hydration pack. Components should include - compact screwdrivers to fit your bike, allen keys, tyre levers, spoke wrench, spare tube, valve spanner, tube patch kit, chain breaker tool and a spare chain link.
  • Cycle Helmets are essential and for your safety. It’s not a fashion show out there so get a well-fitting, comfortable approved helmet. All race organizers and cycle venues have a strict ‘NO Helmet - NO Ride’ policy. You can pick one up for between R600 and R1 500.
  • Cycle Gloves aren’t essential but well worth the relatively small expense. They are very versatile protecting your hands during other disciplines like paddling and abseiling.
  • Bicycle lamps are essential for longer races that continue through the night. The bigger and brighter the lamp the more confidence you’ll have making it easier to make headway. Strobe red lights placed at the back of your bike are for safety. Expect to pay between R500 and R2 000.
  • Headlamps are a must and very useful. The brighter the better! Get one that is comfortable to wear and as robust as your budget allows (we are adventure racers after all).
  • Hydration Systems are essentially small backpacks that hold bladders of between 1 and 3 litres connected to a straw that makes keeping hydrated so much easier. Most have additional pockets to carry food, spares and other essentials. Expect to pay between R500 to R1 500.
  • Back pack – You’ll be needing one of these for the longer races where is forms part of the obligatory kit list. This will carry your medical supplies, shelter, spares for your bike, food and extra clothing. The size can be anything between 20 and 30 litres – it should have a waterproof cover, a spot to place your hydration bladder and a series of pockets to get at things you need on a constant basis. It is important that you are comfortable so pick wisely as this piece of equipment will be your partner for many hours of racing to come.
  • Gaitors – these are handy when trekking through particularly overgrown terrain. They give your shins and ankles protection from branches, thorns and other such nuisances. They also help keeping sand, stones and other debris out of your shoes and boots. There are two options – full shin or anklet. Not an absolute essential but you’ll certainly be happy to have them in many instances.

TopSafety Equipment

  • Whistle – this piece of equipment is essential and may very well save your life one day. It could potentially be your lifeline and access to help. It’s loud and can be heard over great distances with less effort than shouting. Make sure it’s close to hand and on your person for easy access and use.
  • Glow–Stick – not only can this assist with general visibility but more importantly it’ll help rescue crews find you at night.
  • Safety Blanket – it’s small, light, inexpensive and easy to pack. It’ll keep you or a team mate warm when you need it most.
  • Knife – is very handy and can be used in many ways – hunting, cutting materials to build a shelter, produce a spark to light a fire amongst others. Keep it sharp at all times. Choose a knife that’s big enough to use easily but not too big that it’ll weigh you down.
  • First Aid Kit – you’ll be happy you have one of these when you need one. First Aid Kits are not for ‘sissies’! They are Essential. In the First Aid Kit you may include - Antibiotics, Antiseptics, Pain killers, Dettol/ Mercurochrome, Sterile gauze pads, Non adherent dressings, One-inch adhesive tape, Steri strips, Second Skin, Tweezers, Bandage scissors, anti-cramp pills, anti-chaff cream, sun cream, insect repellent etc
  • Bivvy Bag – are light, cheap and great at keeping you dry when you need to rest and have a lay down. 
  • Sleeping Bag – in the longer formats of the sport the race directors will stipulate how many sleeping bags per team are required. This equipment will allow you to rest and keep warm whilst you wait for help, recover from the elements or just recharge your batteries.