Athletic RC Adventure Mashup – Inside the Axialfest Altra Ultra 5K Enduro

By Greg Vogel on Aug 03, 2017

adventures_inside_the_ultra_5k_500px

Words and photos by: Greg Vogel

Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra 5K

A lineup of radio control rock rigs sit behind a start/finish line. Batteries are charged, hardware has been checked, the rigs have been built to withstand a true torture test and the radios are on ready race. Where are the drivers? They’re stretching their muscles, tightening their Altra running shoes, making certain their backpacks are prepped with spare parts and of course water for hydration. Ah… What?! This is what the start of the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro looks like during Axialfest where drivers are put through the ultimate RC integrated sporting test. Not only preparing their bodies and mind for a 5K adventure run through some gnarly terrain, but also preparing their mind and RC machines to run to the grueling gauntlet as well.

Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra 5K
The Altra Ultra 5K is the brainchild of Rodney Wills of Axial Racing who is constantly searching for new and exciting ways for Axial owners to enjoy their vehicles in their intended habitat and beyond. Rodney who is well known among Axialfest attendees has a broad range of interests and uses them to his advantage to create new experiences and the 5K may be one of the greatest RC event innovations in the history of the sport. Rodney was able to meld the sport of adventure running with adventure rock racing and based on the growth of attendees at the 2017 event over its inception a year prior, this has all the makings of being something big and here to stay.

 

THE COURSE
Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra 5K
Everything that happens at Axialfest is a team effort made up of Axial employees and enthusiastic volunteers. The Altra Ultra course at Axialfest is carefully scoped out weeks in advance and is set up before participants arrive.

Obstacles- If you enter the Altra Ultra, you’re in for a lot more than just the asphalt starting grid. Throughout the course, you’ll encounter terrain that will test your abilities both mentally and physically. On the trail you may navigate man-made jumps, rocks, logs, dirt, uphill terrain, water hazards, drainage piping to drive or crawl through. Yes, both you and your Axial rig will go through these tests. Not just once, but a number of times such as the six laps to complete the 5K run in the 2017 event.

Markers- To determine the course boundaries, red and green streamer tape is used to define the course for the runners. Volunteers or marshals are positioned at strategic points to help assist participants in running the proper direction, to make sure that vehicle rollover/ recovery rules are followed and to make race directors aware of those who drop out or stop for repair.

RC Needs- A wide variety of Axial based vehicles hit the trail from stock out of the box Axial SCX10 II XJ’s to original SCX10’s, Wraiths and Bombers. Many drivers obviously spent hours prepping their rigs to withstand abuse with parts from Axial supporting aftermarket companies. Some participants however were in it for the fun and are there challenging themselves to simply finish with the vehicle they have. This is what is so exciting to see. Although some are in the race for its competitive aspects, many are there to enjoy this event and race toward their own goals to establish their personal best time. But if you are the type itching to compete among the top runners, the Axial Bomber seemed to be the machine of choice to start with.

Athlete Needs- Proper equipment is a must for the runner/ driver too. Be prepared to work on your machine if necessary. Have a small tool kit and a small box of essential parts. A backpack is of course in order too, to carry these items and a means of hydration. Axial was kind enough to provide water at certain points on the trail, but a leisurely stop to grab water adds seconds to your time. Many runners used Camelbak packs for hydration and those backpacks were also used to secure equipment. The equipment needs don’t end there, proper clothing is a must. Sure, it was a bit chilly in the early morning at Cisco Grove, but the day comes in quickly with the heat and as you run, you’ll heat up too. Wear shorts, and an athletic sweat wicking shirt so your body doesn’t overtemp like a nitro engine leaned out. Perhaps the most important item for preparedness is having the right footwear and the main sponsor of the event is a favorite among the participants. Ten of the top eleven finishers were sporting Altra Running footwear designed specifically for adventure running.

 

STRATEGY
Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra 5K
If you want to go for the cash and prizes… ok, maybe just prizes, you’re going to have to start preparing months in advance. In a discussion with this year’s winner Jake Wright, he discussed spending lots of time training by running everyday and eating healthy. He also spent time practicing with his rig and making sure he knew its handling traits. At the event, you will want to pace yourself, know your limits and the limits of your machine. Going full wick from the start might result in tiring yourself out too soon. You’ll need to consider conserving your rigs energy too, as battery change stops take time. Ripping on your rig at full throttle isn’t considered the best strategy. Full throttle bursts will use up more power than a consistent speed. Those full throttle runs where your machine becomes a spec in your sight might not be the best strategy either. By the time you catch up you may have realized your machine is not in the best position to tackle an obstacle, resulting in time lost for you to stop, back up and attack the course line from a new angle.

 

TIMING
Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra 5K
The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is not a free-for-all such as the exciting adventure trails at Axialfest. Each participant checks in at the Altra timing station and receives a number badge to wear. At the start of the event, runners will pair up to run on their own clock. Runners will start the race in increments ten seconds apart to give proper spacing rather than risking a massive pile up of bodies and machines in the first turn or obstacle. Each lap, a staff member positioned at the start finish line will call out the participants number as does the participant to insure their lap has been recorded by an official. Timing and laps are monitored by staff and they will let you know when the 5K has been completed. The looks on the faces of participants who were told they had one lap to go when they thought they had finished was pretty entertaining for spectators.

THE PUSH
Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra
The start of the Enduro is pure excitement, pure adrenaline, hooting and hollering, laughs and friendly bets being passed among those ramping up for the event. Through lap one those same enthusiastic people trek their way through the trail generally with a look of excitement on their faces, some with concentration as they try to memorize mistakes and map out perfect lines so they know what to do next lap. But as they hit that second lap, it’s evident that a wave of seriousness is setting in. No longer is this a fun jaunt, this is a mission. The terrain is changing and breathing is a bit heavier. On lap three, beads of sweat trickling down runners faces is evident and layers of clothes worn in the chilly early morning have been tossed to a friend encouraging their favorite driver alongside the road. Lap four brings on concern. “Is the rig going to hold up? Did I use enough locktite on the screws crosses the mind of many. Am I going to have to change the battery soon. I think I need some water.” These questions repeat over and over in the drivers minds. Then it’s on to lap five and as runners pass the line, their faces drop as the timer tells them there’s one lap to go. This is it, time to push your body, time to drive smart. The course has dramatically changed, your mind is racing. This is “The Push!” Time to make it happen, gather up every last ounce of energy, put your trust in your machine and finish the race strong to reach your goal; which for some is pure bragging rights that they conquered the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro.

THE FINISH
Axialfest 2017 Altra Ultra
For each and every person that starts the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, there is a deserved sense of pride, especially for this year’s first female competitor, Katie Murphy. And for those that finish, there is a real sense of accomplishment. For those who treated this race as a professional event, there is even more at the finish line. The top three finishers at this years Axialfest went home with a big bounty that is rather impressive in terms of event prizes. The top three each received an Axialfest 2017 themed Prospector Pan labeled with their finishing order and a gift certificate towards a new pair of Altra Running shoes. And each received a unique prize such as full-scale BFGoodrich tires, Method Race Wheels and a Magnaflow exhaust. Where else do you find prizes like this in the RC world? Congratulations to the 2017 top three: 1st Jake Wright, 2nd Mike Thompson, 3rd Kyle Listul!

ARE YOU IN?
Axialfest Enduro Finish
The Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is not for everyone. Or is it? In true Axial fashion, everyone is encouraged to participate and there are some competitive adventurous types who give it a try and leave the race when they reach their limit. At Axialfest 2017 rumblings of modifying the program was overheard to accommodate those who want to push the limits more. Perhaps the program can be modified too to accommodate different age brackets with varying distances? One wild rumor circulated John Schultz would head to Cisco Grove even earlier to build several Ultra courses (Rodney said it was okay.) Keep in mind, anything can happen at Axialfest, a new twist, a new challenge, the unknown is why so many are drawn here. What is known is that the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro is an amazing event that delivers participants more than just a chance to drive an RC car, you get a memorable experience. So are you in? Follow Axial on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the Axial-blog as well as ScaleUltra.com for upcoming Altra Ultra 5K Enduro event announcements.

 

 


0 Comments:

Leave a Comment:

Name
Email
URL (optional)
Content