Snowmelt and seasonal rains swell the New River to a pulse-pounding deluge in April, when commercial rafting companies begin guiding clients through the 20-plus Class II-IV+ rapids of the “Grand Canyon of the East.” For a truly wild ride (maybe swim is more apt), opt for a four-person extreme raft.
The world’s largest “celebration of cycling” attracts 10,000 amateur and pro athletes (and more than 65,000 fans) to Laguna Seca to compete in nearly every cycling discipline, including road criterium, cyclocross, mountain XC, and even high-flying jump contests. Entry fee is typically less than $100 per event.
Moutain Creek Resort, NJ
The most difficult of the Spartan Races, featuring more than 25 obstacles (including atlas stone carries) over a grueling half-marathon distance, comes to the New York City area. While basically climbing a mountain, test your spear-throwing skills against Wall Street’s weekend warriors.
Competing against those who are better than you improves your performance, so Boston, with its strict qualifying standards, is your best chance for a marathon PR. As a bonus, the fastest marathon in America is a net downhill race, losing 450-plus feet from its start in Hopkinton to the Boylston Street finish. The most iconic marathon in America is back.
A year after an avalanche killed 16 sherpas, ending the 2014 Everest season, intrepid teams are again poised for bids on the world’s highest peak. Get a taste for mountaineering’s extremes—crevasses to falling rocks and wild weather—on beginner-friendly Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest summit.