Primal Quest Underdog Champions

Team OrionHealth.com dominated this year’s Primal Quest Badlands race to take first place in just under seven straight days of racing. Three highly-experienced and sponsored teams — Team Salomon/Crested Butte, Bones, and Merrell/Zanfel Adventure — followed for second through fourth place. But among the biggest news to come from this year’s race was the amazing late-race surge by Minnesota-based Team WEDALI, which completed the 600-mile course just minutes ago to take 5th Place Overall!


Team WEDALI crosses the Finish Line in Rapid City. Photo: Kraig Becker
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)

Now, I may have some home town bias. Two of WEDALI’s members are Minnesota friends. But the crew — Scott Erlandson, Justin Bakken, Andrea Nielsen, and Jason Nielsen — were probably the biggest upset victors on the course this year. They raced steady and strong. They were almost dead-on with navigation. Their spirits were up — at least from what I could glean from race reports — for the whole seven days it took them to complete the challenge.


Justin Bakken assembling a bike on the course. Photo: Jason Perreira
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)

The race started with a marathon run (26.2 miles). WEDALI smoked it at just over four hours. Then it was on to days of steady motion on feet, mountain bike, kayak, and climbing rope. There was a spelunking section. All throughout, the team — and every team in the race — navigated and orienteered from checkpoint to checkpoint, day and night, unstopping at times for 48 hours or longer.


Ropes section in the Needles. Photo: Jason Perreira
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)

As I wrote in a blog post last week, the WEDALI guys are people who I have competed against and trained with for years. Justin and Scott are friends of mine, great guys who represent the core of Primal Quest’s race pack. That core being the (fairly) normal men and women who have worked hard, trained, planned, and made their way to South Dakota to step outside the bounds of normal living for a few days and do some pretty extraordinary things.

Congrats to WEDALI! Congrats to any team who can finish this feat!


Scott Erlandson downing “energy food.” Photo: Jason Perreira
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)


The team at a transition area. Photo: Jason Perreira
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)


Scott Erlandson fixing his feet. Photo: Jason Perreira
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)


Team WEDALI in the Badlands before race start
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)


Finish Line. Photo: Kraig Becker
(Click for PRIMAL QUEST PHOTO GALLERY)

Posted by Veltri's - 08/21/2009 03:11 PM

Way to go Wedali! What a blast to watch your progress online and follow your supporters emails. A lot of hard work went into your success! You rocked it!

Posted by Larry Bakken - 08/21/2009 03:24 PM

Words cannot express satisfactorily how proud I am of you! What an accomplishment! WELL DONE!
Dad B.

Posted by ThomG - 08/21/2009 04:24 PM

Those guys rocked the house. It was fun to get to talk to them a little bit during Thursday’s skills check. My buddies from Redding lost a teammate on a medical, but they joined up with another team and are still racing.

Posted by Julie Henning - 08/21/2009 08:46 PM

Woot woot! This is so cool.

Posted by T-roy - 08/21/2009 09:52 PM

Go WEDALI!

Posted by Allie and Bob Cronk - 08/22/2009 07:02 AM

What’s the song…“You are the Champions of the World”? That’s how proud we are of you kids. Way to show your Minnesota spirit, strength and endurance!!!

Posted by Blue Bayou - 08/22/2009 09:10 AM

Congratulations WEDALI!
Great to see a local midwest team compete so well and achieve a top 5 finish at PQ!

Posted by Fredrickson of Bushwhacker - 08/22/2009 11:23 AM

Way to go WEDALI! Your performance at PQ just accentuates why your team is so dominating at “local” races. It is an honor to be able to race with a team of your caliber on a regular basis. Congratulations!

Posted by Rhino - The Beautiful People - 08/23/2009 05:59 AM

What a RACE! I’ve been telling everyone I know to check this out. “Hey this is the team that hands us our keesters at each race!” Can’t wait to see Biz & Earl at the wild 24! http://www.wildadventurerrace.com

Rhino

Posted by Stephen - 08/25/2009 09:34 AM

Amazing result by a team that gets the most from their abilities. No team is better late in the race than WEDALI as Justin out paced and navigated more talented teams

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