Event Review: Checkpoint Challenge


If you’re looking for a great race I would highly recommend this event. It has a combination of so many different challenges it will push you in ways you didn’t know you could go. This event took place in Santa Margarita, CA.


I could not have thought of a better place to hold this challenge. It has Lake Margarita, a bunch of rocky hills and steep climbs. The event itself combines multiple challenges. You have to kayak, mountain bike, and trek all while stopping at checkpoints to collect punches on a passport that is provided for you. They also provide a map with the paths you are supposed to take. This is all a team challenge as well, so it is you and your teammate doing all the challenges together. You have to stay within a 100 feet of each other. At certain places in the trek you will need some help climbing up dried up waterfalls and bouldering along the way.


We started around 9 am with the kayaking portion of the event. It had us paddle to the other end of the lake where we had to collect 3 checkpoints before we could paddle back in to start the mountain bike portion of the challenge. They do throw in a few mystery challenges in the mix before you can go onto the next portion of the event. It really keeps you on your toes not knowing what might be around the next corner. After completing your mystery challenge you get a signature on your passport and start biking.


The biking portion of the challenge is the longest portion of the whole event. You have to ride your bike to the top of one of the peaks to collect the next checkpoint. It was one of my favorite parts of the challenge. The views were breath taking and the ride down was challenging. After collecting your checkpoint you have a great and challenging ride back down the mountain. It is a single track technical ride with lots of poison oak on both sides – so make sure to keep your balance. Once you get down your exciting ride to the bottom you literally have another obstacle in your way. You and your partner need to go over two 6 foot walls with your bikes. When everyone first hears of this they laughed but then they realized they were not joking. There is a little trick to get over the wall with your bike but I think everyone should try and figure it out on their own.


After going over the walls you start the final leg of the challenge: the trekking portion. This takes you a couple of miles into the hills and has you climb up a dry waterfall. You have to collect 2 checkpoints while trekking in the hills. I will give you a hint: make sure someone knows how to swim because you may have to take a little dip to get 1 of the 2 checkpoints. After collecting both checkpoints you make your way down the hills and mountains back to the festival area but you have 2 obstacles in your way to the finish line. One was a spider wall you had to climb up and make your way over and the other was a free flowing cargo net. Then you can make your way through the finish line.


I like this event because it’s not just another medal. They give you a pint glass. It’s something different and something you can use right away. If you’re over 21, you can head right over to the keg and grab your free beer right away. If you’re worried about the poison oak, no need to worry. Checkpoint Challenge is sponsored by a company called Tecnu to help with poison oak. They have showers right there so you can clean up and just relax and watch the other competitors cross the finish line and root for everyone. I give this event a 2 thumbs way up. I would say if you are looking for a challenge that will give you an adventure and make you try different things this is the event for you.


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Alexander McKeown
Age: 24, Hometown: Oxford, MI, Current Residence: Ojai, CA , Height: 5’10, Weight: 165 I have been playing sports my entire life and recently took the leap into obstacle course racing. My first obstacle course race was April 2012 with Tough Mudder. I have currently ran 6 Tough Mudders, 1 hurricane heat in Spartan, and 5 Spartan races 4 of them in elite heat. I have also ran Worlds Toughest Mudder finishing 5 laps equaling 50+ miles, 160 obstacles in 24 hours and finishing overall 86th and 11th in my age group. I look forward to continuing these incredible races and pushing myself further and farther as I gain more experience. I enjoy meeting more people and motivating others with the same incredible passion for the sport as I do and can’t wait to see what the future holds. You can find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.


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