2018 Untamed New England Expedition Race Course

This 2018 Untamed New England Expedition Race course stretches 300 miles from towering mountain summits to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We call it the Abenaki Pursuit after the Abenaki people, the first inhabitants of these mysterious mountains, forests, and waters. The Abenaki didn’t have regional boundaries like Maine or New Hampshire; to them, this was simply home. For one week in July, our event will traverse this region as the Abenaki did – using teamwork and human powered means to explore and overcome.

Leg 1

“Kedakina” is the Abenaki word for the northern homeland. For Untamed New England 2018, The Kedakina sets up a truly staggering start to the expedition. Race teams will tackle numerous breathtaking summits around the Sunday River Ski Area and then plunge into several hours of technical map and compass work where they will bushwhack across mountains and old growth forests with no roads, trails, or signs of civilization.

Leg 2

For Leg 2, teams start with a 31 mile mountain bike section through a high mountain pass that traces the Cold River on it’s journey South. This is known as “Evan’s Notch” and is an impassible Winter route, but it’s July in New England, so this road is open.

The Cold River flows into the Saco River, which race teams will explore on the 2nd half of this section during a 31 mile down-river paddle.

These two rivers were considered some of the most important Abenaki waterways. The Saco River, in particular, will present challenges to race teams as the twists, turns, and expansive wetland systems may disorient teams in their canoes.

Leg 3

To the Abenaki people, the spirits of past tribal leaders would challenge new generations in tests of strength, bravery, or ingenuity. This mountain biking section, split 45 miles through with a mountain bike orienteering relay where each racer must complete a bike orienteering course on their own, will test Untamed New England racers in terms of their endurance and concentration. There are many strategic route choices to make on this journey from Maine into central New Hampshire.

It’s a 70 mile journey the Abenaki Ghost Chiefs would approve of!

Another highlight of this leg is the Pancake Paradise setup at the hub of the bike orienteering courses. Racers will have a chance to refuel with pancakes, rich New Hampshire maple syrup, and coffee.

Leg 4

In the Abenaki language, Na Wisoko translates to “Sky” or “Up High, In the Clouds” – no surprise, then, that this 17 mile trekking section features numerous panoramic summits and ridgelines to showcase this central New Hampshire wilderness. In between the stunning views of these peaks in the Belknap Range, race teams will have a labyrinth of trails to navigate as they progress generally from East to West.

Leg 5

This 54 miles of mountain biking will take teams on a tour of some renowned New Hampshire granite, appropriate as the the Abenaki word “Panaomeska” translates to “Rocky” or “Many Stones.”

30 miles into this section the teams will drop their bikes and complete a trekking circuit around the beautiful Stonehouse Pond conservation area. It’s an area famous for stunning granite cliffs and rock formations dotting the landscape.

Teams have a quick trail run into the historic town of Dover, NH where they’ll start the first sea kayaking section. Teams complete a 16 mile kayaking journey down the tidal Piscataqua river, named by the Abenaki as the waterway that divides into different parts . . . this is appropriate, as racers trace a couple splits and eventually paddle New Hampshire’s largest estuary known as “Great Bay” on this journey.

The water is a mix of fresh and salty, the tidal range is extreme, and the Piscataqua river is considered one of the fastest flowing navigable rivers in the world.

The kayaking concludes in the old mill town of Newmarket, New Hampshire. Teams will leave their kayaks by the shore and finish with a short 4 mile trek into a Transition Area deep in the woods.

Leg 7

Teams start this section with a 6 mile bike-and-tie, where they must share just one mountain bike for the entire team. The terrain is rooty, wet, and can be quite technical through here -- the name for this section, Manôgmas Wazesa, translates from the Abenaki to “lair of the swamp monster” and teams may find the combination of warmer temperatures and lots of water to be less favorable than the earlier sections of the race.

This section also includes another orienteering relay where each racer completes a set of map and compass challenges individually, on foot.

Leg 8

This eighth leg of the race is entitled Matakan which translates in Abenaki to finishing all there is. It’s the last leg of the race and completes the bigger journey of this race -- from the mountains to the sea . On paper it’s quite simple: kayak East until you hit the Atlantic Ocean. The devil is in the details, however, as this section of Bays and the Piscataqua river has extreme currents and tides – the race must enforce a dark zone (a period where teams may not move forward for safety reasons) from 3 PM to 3 AM at the transition area before this section, ensuring teams complete the sea kayaking section during daylight. Time credit will be given to any team waiting for the Dark Zone to lift at 3 AM, maintaining the advantage of any hard chargers who are prevented from continuing.
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