U.S. Adventure Race Championship: WEDALI Wins!

Drawing more than 40 of the nation’s best adventure-racing teams, the 2010 USARA Adventure Race National Championship, October 14 – 16, in Hidden Valley, Penn., has come to a close. Pulling into the finish line in first place — a scant six minutes ahead after nearly 23 hours on the go — was Minnesota-based Team WEDALI, now officially the 2010 USARA Adventure Race National Champs!

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Team WEDALI — Scott Erlandson, Molly Moilanen, and Justin Bakken

This is a huge victory for Team WEDALI, which is captained by Justin Bakken. His wife, Molly Moilanen, and longtime teammate Scott Erlandson rounded out the three-person WEDALI squad at this year’s event. All the teams faced a tough course with trekking, orienteering, biking, paddling, and navigation throughout.

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Molly Moilanen during the 2010 USARA Adventure Race National Championship

WEDALI’s final time of 22 hours and 41 minutes gave them the slight edge to win over second-place Team Tecnu Extreme/Staphaseptic (Kyle Peter, Mari Chandler, Sean Clancy), who finished six minutes behind. My unconfirmed report — via a text message to my cell phone this morning — was that WEDALI entered a final long orienteering segment 42 minutes behind the race leaders and emerged as the victors after navigating through the night.

Congrats to WEDALI — to Justin Bakken, Molly Moilanen, and Scott Erlandson — they are longtime friends, great people, and very deserving champs!

Rounding out the top five finishing slots, Team ATP (Scott Pleban, Brian Reiss, Michelle Weibler) finished in 23 hours, 26 minutes; Team SOG (Brian Mayer, Toby Angove, Julia Pollock), 24 hours and 24 minutes; and Team iMOAT (Nathan Winkelmann, Shaun Bain, Leslie Reuter), 25 hours and 33 minutes. Full race results are here: http://usaranationals.com/results.aspx

Update: This is the scoop from WEDALI Team captain Justin Bakken, who filled GearJunkie.com in with some details today. . . “The race was pretty fun — cool terrain and lots of elevation. Tight pack of fast teams for most of the race. We kept at it and tried to limit mistakes as much as possible. On the last bike ride home when we got to CP12, roughly 16 hours into the race, we knew we were in 4th place and only 16 minutes behind the leaders. We also knew there were 3 or 4 other teams within 15 minutes of us chomping at our heels — good competition! Got to CP13 with the team ahead of us (ATP), so moved into 3rd then. Finally made it to the start/finish area for the last TA and found out that we were in 2nd place. Tecnu was the only team in front of us, but they were ~20 minutes ahead when we arrived at the last TA. What I found out right before we left to head out on the rogaine was that not only were they 20 minutes ahead of us, but that didn’t include our TA time — yikes! The last section had lots of nasty, brambly veg, so off-trail travel was limited to situations where a shortcut could cut off considerable distance. We got into a good rhythm and nailed the CPs, but we knew a mistake by Tecnu was likely the only way that we could catch them. Team ATP got to the TA right before we left, so we had that pushing us from behind as well. We ran a clean course and tried to push the entire time. I think the last section took us a little over 5 hours we did it ~51 minutes faster than Tecnu to finish a mere 6 minutes ahead after almost 23 hours of racing.”

—Stephen Regenold

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