HMARS Schedule Changes for 2016 & 2017
The Happy Mutants will be making some schedule changes to our event calendar in order to accommodate a couple of scheduling conflicts with other events and venues. We don’t want to conflict with USARA Nationals and the ARWS Championships. Additional
The updated calendar will be:
May 27-30, 2016 Olmitz Miner, Ottumwa, IA (will host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
July 1-4, 2016 Lazy Days, Amherst, VA (will host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
September 2-5, 2016 Taos, NM (will also host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
October 28-31, 2016 The JV Adventure Classic, Hot Springs, AR
January 13-16, 2017 Laughlin, NV (will also host an 18-24 hours race in conjunction)
May 26-27, 2017 The Shadow of Zion, St. George, UT (will also host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
June 30-July3, 2017 Lazy Days, Amherst, VA (will also host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
September 1-4, 2017 Taos, NM (will also host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
October 27-30, 2017 The JV Adventure Classic, TBA (will host an 18-24 hour race in conjunction)
NYARA, Desert Rats Win Inaugural Happy Mutant Series Race in Utah
ST. GEORGE, UTAH (Monday, Jan. 18) — Happy Mutant’s three-day non-stop adventure through the canyons, mesas and high desert of southern Utah concluded after dark on Monday evening as NYARA pedaled their dusty mountain bikes into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express in St. George. Their passport held the punches of 33 checkpoints (out of a possible 40), crowning them winners of the first edition of the Happy Mutant Adventure Race Series. NYARA team members Olof Hedberg, Whitney Hedberg, Scott Mead and J.D. Eskelson were all smiles upon their arrival.
“Overall it was a very tough race due to the muddy conditions and some cold nights, but we just reminded ourselves that everyone is having the same issues,” Olof Hedberg said. “We had the added difficulty of never having raced together as a team before with J.D. and Scott. But we worked together well throughout the whole race and the outcome was fantastic for us.”
Desert Rats, a team composed of Canadians Chad Spence and Vince Trudelle, led the race from the beginning but collected fewer CPs on the final, 26-mile land orienteering section to finish second overall.
Journey Racing, a co-ed foursome made up of racers Ian Hoag, Katie Ferrington, Fletcher Hamel and Jason Brown, took third overall and second in the co-ed elite category to finish in the money.
“Every time we’re in a race with them it’s always neck-and-neck, but it seems like they always squeak out a win somehow,” said Hoag after the race. “We’re so hungry to beat them but it will have to wait until next race.”
Unplugged Adventures finished third in the co-ed elite category and Off-Course Navigation finished fourth. Sasquatch and the Dude took home second place in the two-person male category, while 361 Adventures finished third and Epic Adventures was fourth.
“We didn’t have the result we were hoping for but at the end of the day we had a good time,” said Jon VanDis of Unplugged Adventures, who will be directing his own 72-hour Happy Mutant race in Iowa in May. “We were excited to be a part of the first race in the Happy Mutant series. It’s got a lot of energy with it and it’s a pretty promising vision for the future of adventure racing in the United States.”
On the third and final day of the race, teams left Little Creek TA in the early morning hours following a nighttime navigation on the mesa. At 5,000’ of elevation, temperatures on the mesa dropped into the teens and left teams struggling with the difficult decision of trying to sleep in the freezing cold or fighting off sleepmonsters through their second night of racing.
Teams then headed out on bikes to the Gould Rim area, where they covered another 15 miles of foot-o, collecting six points, including a few on prominent peaks with expansive, 360-degree vistas.
From Gould Rim, they returned through the town of Hurricane on bikes (some teams visited a drive-through burrito restaurant for lunch) then biked uphill to the Sand Hollow TA, where they once again headed out on foot for a cruxy 26-mile orienteering section. Most teams started in daylight but as night fell, weary navigators struggled to pick up CPs buried deep in ravines and hidden in plain sight out in the wide desert plain.
Throughout Sunday night and Monday morning and afternoon, teams straggled back into the TA, reporting varying degrees of success on the nav. Desert Rats and Journey Racing each picked up two of the six CPs, while NYARA collected four to seal the win. They arrived back to the TA after dark and then rode the remaining 10 miles of tarmac back to the finish. Not long after their arrival, they were awarded a sizeable prize purse for their first-place effort.
“One thing that stands out about Happy Mutant Adventure Race Series is the financial support they give teams. It’s a throwback to the golden days of how the sport used to be, with high-level competitions with financial backing drawing the best athletes in the sport,” Olof Hedberg said. “I think this series has a tremendously bright future. Given its passionate people, staff of dedicated volunteers and financial backing like this, it’s bound to be a success.”
NYARA, Journey, Desert Rats Lead Happy Mutant St. George
HURRICANE, UTAH (Saturday, Jan. 16) — Three teams are jockeying for the lead of the Happy Mutant St. George 72-Hour Adventure Race in southern Utah.
NYARA and Journey, both four-person co-ed teams, and Desert Rats, a two-person male team, entered TA2 together after an 18-mile hiking section that took teams to six CPs on the high desert plain and then up a ravine to a tabletop mesa. The section took them about six hours as they started around 11 p.m. and finished around 4:45 a.m.
Next in were Unplugged Adventures, followed by Off-Course Navigation, Sasquatch and the Dude, 361° Adventures and Epic Adventures, who all finished the leg after day broke at around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Back on their bikes, racers headed north for 10 miles to the town of Hurricane, Utah. All teams are now at or past CP9, the Over the Edge Sports Shop in Hurricane, where teams found shelter, water and a few teams stopped for a quick breakfast at Main St. Cafe.
After a colder-than-expected night of hiking due to blustery winds, Off-Course Navigation is taking a two-hour rest in the warmth of the shop and plans to get going again by 2:30 p.m. Huge thanks go out to Over the Edge for accommodating all the Happy Mutant racers and crew!
Following their stop in Hurricane, teams are making their way through an 82-mile bike section, the first half of which is composed of paved and improved dirt roads. Then teams will hit about 40 miles of epic singletrack, including the incomparable Guacamole Trail, rated by some to be the best riding in all of Utah.
As of 1p.m., the Desert Rats held a small lead over NYARA and Journey. Those three teams are still close together and all have at least three hours until they climb up to TA3 at Little Creek Mesa. There, they’ll have access to their gear boxes and will transition to a 24-mile hiking leg on top of the mesa.
Happy Mutant St. George Adventure Race Begins Friday in Utah
ST. GEORGE, UTAH (Friday, Jan. 15) — The first round of the Happy Mutant Adventure Race Series kicks off Friday, Jan. 15 with a 72-hour event that will take participating teams across the high desert plains and red mesas of southern Utah.
Starting Friday evening at 7 p.m. (Mountain Time) and continuing through the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 18, teams will travel non-stop more than 260 miles on foot and bike, exploring unique terrain found at the convergence of the Mojave Desert, Colorado Plateau and Great Basin. Racers who complete the full course will traverse the a section of the southern route of the Old Spanish Trail, pass by several battlefields from the Black Hawk War of the 1860s, walk by fossilized dinosaur footprints and ancient petroglyphs, navigate through the stunning mountains and valleys surrounding Zion National Park and ride the world-class singletrack of Gooseberry Mesa.
Happy Mutant Race Series Director Toby Evans said he was excited to bring adventure racing back to Utah, host of legendary races in the sport’s history, including the Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest.
“The vistas the racers will see throughout the race are mind-blowing and the course will demonstrate to our racers just how perfect this area is for adventure racing,” Evans said. “After seven years of planning this race series and getting it off the ground, we can’t wait to get it started here in beautiful southern Utah. To have this series actually live and breathe is a dream come true.”
While a flurry of snow greeted the racers as they completed race check-in Friday morning, forecasts call for sunny skies and temperatures between 50-60°F during the day and dipping into the high-30°F range at night.
Eight teams entered this year’s St. George race: NYARA, Journey, Unplugged Adventures, Off-Course Navigation, Desert Rats, Epic Adventure, 361° Adventure and Sasquatch and the Dude. Co-ed four-person teams will compete for $6,000.00 in cash, all other divisions will be eligible for product-based awards. All competing teams will be eligible to compete in the $10,000.00 HMARS Final in November 2016.
Happy Mutant St. George Participating Teams (will be updated as teams check in):