The Red Dirt Adventure Challenge, organized by the ACU Outdoor Club, brought the outdoor enthusiasts of Abilene together for a biking and running duathlon Saturday.
“The event went really well. It was very chill,” said Jarrod Bray, junior outdoor studies major from Abilene and the ACU Outdoor Club’s event director.
Jonathan Martin, freshman biology major from San Antonio, finished first in the Hardcore division. Daniel Tomkins, senior physics, math and computer science major from College Station, took first place in the Just for Fun category. The winners received trophies and CamelBak hydration packs.
A trainer from Abilene-based fitness center, Everfit, began the festivities with a pre-race warm-up and yoga session at Abilene State Park. Along with biking and running, participants were faced with additional surprise challenges during the race courses.
“There is no way you can guess or prepare for them ahead of time,” said Jessica Floe, senior art major from Arlington, Wash. and president of the ACU Outdoor Club.Â Most of these challenges involved riders dismounting their bikes and competing in unusual and physically demanding activities.
“There was one challenge where they had to carry their bike up a really steep hill, and another one were they had to climb over hurdles with their bikes for 10 to 15 yards,” Bray said.
The event included lunch and entertainment from the band WaxWings following the challenge.
The Red Dirt Adventure Challenge was sponsored by the ACU Students’ Association, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Road iD, Biketown and STEMS.
The registration fees paid by the racers went towards the cost of the event, although the club anticipated losing money. Asa Kusama, junior computer science major from Annandale, Va., and this year’s Red Dirt Adventure Challenge Master, explained that the club planned on losing money due to the huge cost of insurance for this kind of event and the presence of an on-call ambulance during the challenge.
This year’s event did not involve any serious injuries, although some battle wounds were inevitable.
“There was some gnarly scraped knees, but we could deal with scrapped knees. So, fortunately, there wasn’t a need for the ambulance,” Bray said.
After five years, this could be the last year for the Red Dirt Adventure Challenge. The club is discussing replacing the challenge with a trail run.
“Running appeals better than biking. Abilene isn’t exactly the best place for cycling,” Bray said.
Whatever the decision, the ACU Outdoor Club will continue to offer the community a chance to experience the great outdoors.
“There is no such thing as taking the same trip or climbing the same rock twice. Every trip brings new memories, friends and experiences that are unique,” Floe said.
For more information about the ACU Outdoor Club, visit www.acuoutdoorclub.org.