After a long season of races stretching from South America to British Columbia, as well as a dozen domestic events in between, Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers this week heads to the Land Between the Lakes region of Kentucky and the season-ending grand finale of Checkpoint Tracker’s 2011 Adventure Racing Championship! The start gun blasts at 7a.m. local time tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 21, and alongside our team the nation’s other top squads will battle it out in the woods, trails, and on water for 24 hours straight in an effort to be crowned national champs.
Team founder and editor of GearJunkie.com, Stephen Regenold, is sitting the championship race out due to a scheduling conflict. (He is emceeing at our company’s “Treasure Hunt: Roanoke” event in Virginia this weekend.) In Kentucky, GearJunkie/YogaSlackers — team #23 in this event — will be led by Jason Magness. His wife Chelsey and brother Andy will round out the “Magness contingent,” while Daniel Staudigel, the bull of our team, serves as the fourth man on the coed squad.
In addition to the title of “national champions” and places on a podium, teams at the Checkpoint Tracker event will be in pursuit of a $5,000 cash first-place purse along with a pile of gear. Before going to bed, Jason Magness checked in to give a status report. See below for Jason’s note, and be sure to follow the team beginning early tomorrow morning live via GPS tracking and race updates on the Adventure Racing Championship’s main site. Good luck to our team and the 180+ additional racers in Kentucky this week battling for the title!
Thursday, October 20, 7:17p.m. — Team GJ/YS spent the morning waiting nervously when we heard that Andy’s plane was delayed and he’d likely be stuck in Fargo until midnight. Some frantic phone calls ensued trying to find a replacement, but in the end, Andy was able to sprint through the airport (remember the old O.J. Simpson commercials?) and make a connection with seconds to spare. Whew! Meantime, in Kentucky, Chelsey, Daniel and I spent the afternoon distracting ourselves at Hill Billy ToyLand, a unique local store where Chelsey made friends with the residents (goats) and Daniel spent some time checking out a prototype bike. As yet unnamed, the new bike hybrid promises to let the rider “cut their own trail.” (While the store owners offered to let Daniel use it in the champs race, we finally decided that it was better not to risk using untested gear in such a high-stakes event.)
Now, the evening before the race start, our team is together in a little hotel room in Barkley Lodge, the race HQ. This hotel room is woefully under prepared to handle the task of staging for an adventure race. Packed with four bikes, food, paddles, clothing, helmets, gear, and bags, there is little room left even for thinking.
In a couple hours, we’ll be using the tiny in-room table to try and map out our racecourse, do final bike tune-ups, and organize transition bags. The cramped space makes organization challenging, but it is only temporary. Once the race starts tomorrow, the team will enjoy just the opposite — lots of space and a well defined simple purpose: To go fast and stay on the map. GearJunkie/YogaSlackers is team #23 in this event. Signing off for now. Sleep time. See you on the other side. —Jason Magness
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