The coolest kids adventure race on the planet: in pictures

On Saturday, Hadley competed in the KEEN Vail Kids Adventure Race. I was devastated to miss it due to my hospital stay but had a blast “training” her and our neighbors (who also competed). Over the last few weeks, we hiked, biked and zip-lined all over Denver.

But nothing could have prepared them for the adventure race, which was so much more challenging and exhilarating than they could have imagined. Since I wasn’t there, I was grateful to my friend Jennefer who let Haddie stay with her overnight and took pictures of their great adventures.


The Race

Introducing: Team Adventure Girls with Sydney and Hadley.

Off the starting block. Girls vs. boys, neck and neck (Haddie and Syd are on the left).

At one point partway through the race, Hadley and Sydney started to pass a boy’s team, which prompted the chauvinistic father to shout at his son, “If you let that happen, I will never enter you in another race again!”

I will include Boy Domination in next year’s training.

There was a tunnel through the river that later included a huge obstacle the girls needed to haul their bikes over.

There were plenty of volunteers to assist in the transition areas. The girls were in charge of keeping track of their map and getting a stamp at each station in order to move onto each new challenge.

Sydney was a fantastic teammate, frequently helping and encouraging Hadley throughout the race like this ropes course.

Slip slidin’ away! (Haddie’s favorite part).

Official hiking trails?

Adventure racers don’t need no stinkin’ hiking trails. They go straight up the mountain.

But they do need a zip-line to race back down.

The tubing portion was a nice reprieve from Vail’s toasty temperatures.

I know it’s not kosher to pinch hardcore adventure racer’s cheeks but that’s what I want to do when I see this cute picture.

Haddie also told me about the “little waterfalls” they went down.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her they’re called rapids.

Of course, what would an adventure race be without a climbing wall….

…and a mud pit to finish things off right?!

Or just really, really dirty.

Haddie had a blast competing in the KEEN Vail Kids Adventure Race. Was it a cakewalk? Definitely not. In fact, some sections of the course (particularly the mountain biking) would have been a challenge for adults. Despite being an adventurous kid, a couple of times she was freaked out to the point of tears.

But the greatness of a race like this is it yanked her out of her comfort zone where, in a controlled environment with capable volunteers, she challenged herself. I realized as parents, we shelter out kids too much and often don’t let them realize their true potential because of our own insecurities.

Hadley overcame her fears and has not stopped talking about the race. In a word, she triumphed.

And you’d better believe come hell or high water (or hospitals) I’ll be there to watch her do it again next summer.

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