The alarm clock droned at 4:20a.m., marking an early start to what would turn out to be a perfect sunny day for a race. It was Saturday, May 12, and Team GearJunkie/WEDALI was set to roll out for its fourth major adventure race of the year. The event, Wild Adventure’s Spring Thaw 12Hr., promised 70+ miles of trekking, mountain biking, orienteering, paddling, and other challenges. Time limit to clear the course was 12 hours max.
The venue for this semi-annual event, the Chippewa River Valley in western Wisconsin, held deep woods, rolling rocky terrain, and fast rivers as the region’s spring waters rushed out of the hills. The race would put the team against some smart and fast competition, including teams Gnome Hunters/MandatoryGear, Blind Squirrels, and The Beautiful People.
Despite a tire blow-out that required an emergency repair and a checkpoint on the course that was missing (causing almost a half-hour of wasted time searching the woods), our squad pulled through for a victory. GearJunkie/WEDALI finished the course in about 10 hours, more than an hour ahead of the second-place team. Here are a few pics from the action. —Tom Puzak