Victoria Evans solo rowed the Atlantic Ocean in a record-breaking 40 days 19 hours; (screenshot/SkyNews)
Victoria Evans solo rowed the Atlantic Ocean in a record-breaking 40 days, 19 hours; (screenshot/SkyNews)

Victoria Evans Sets Solo Rowing Record, the 2022 AAC Awards, and More Stories to Start Your Week

​From the inspiring to the tragic, this is GearJunkie’s wrap on exploration and adventure news of the week. Here’s what you missed and a few things to look forward to.

On March 24, a 35-year-old barrister from London broke the world record for the fastest female solo row across the Atlantic. Victoria Evans is one of 11 women to accomplish the feat, according to ExplorersWeb. Evans set sail from the Canary Islands on February 11 and arrived in Barbados after 40 days and 19 hours of rowing. Her time to cross the 2,559 nautical-mile distance outpaced the standing record by 9 days.

The young lawyer began training for the challenge 3 years ago and raised 24,000 GBP for Women in Sport through her self-started nonprofit, Sea Change Sport.

 

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The American Alpine Club (AAC) hosted its Annual Gathering and Benefit Gala in Denver on March 25-26. The summit welcomed mountain athletes and climbing activists from across the States to discuss current policies and culture, build initiatives, and celebrate the most significant accomplishments within the sport.

The gala, emceed by Cody Kaemmerlen and Meagan Martin, recognized outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community. Big wall buddies/legends Mark Hudon and Jordan Cannon acted as keynote speakers. A full replay of the benefit is available at americanalpineclub.org.

2022 AAC Climbing Award Recipients

  • Joe Terravecchia: Robert and Miriam Underhill Award for outstanding climbing achievement
  • Sean Bailey and Natalia Grossman: Robert Hicks Bates Award for outstanding accomplishment by a young climber
  • John Heilprin and John Kascenska: Angelo Heilprin Citation for exemplary service to the AAC
  • Rick Reese: David R. Brower Conservation Award for commitment to preserving mountain regions worldwide (posthumous)
  • Arlene Blum and Steve Roper: Honorary Membership for advancing climbing in lasting and significant ways
  • Pat Ament: H. Adams Carter Literary Award for excellence in climbing literature
  • David Nyman: David A. Sowles Memorial Award for going to the assistance of fellow climbers imperiled in the mountains

On Saturday, March 26, a fast-moving wildfire near Boulder, Colo., forced the evacuation of nearly 8,000 homes and 20,000 people. By 5 pm MST on March 27, firefighters had contained around 35% of the blaze, and officials had lifted all evacuation orders. There were no reports of structural damage or injuries related to the fire.

At the time of writing, all thoroughfares except for NCAR Road had reopened. Trails in the region remained closed, and information about those closures is available at OSMPTrails.org.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season launched off the start line this weekend with the downhill comp in Lourdes, France. Amaury Pierron (FRA) and Camille Balanche (SUI) took top posts in the men’s and women’s races, respectively. See highlights from the event here.

Petropolis, Brazil, is next up on the UCI MTB calendar, with XCO and XCC races from April 8 to 10.

Amaury Pierron (pictured) and Camille Balanche won the opening UCI MTB World Cup downhill race in Lourdes, France; (photo/Bartek Wolinski, Red Bull Content Pool) adventure news of the week
Amaury Pierron (pictured) and Camille Balanche won the opening UCI MTB World Cup downhill race in Lourdes, France; (photo/Bartek Wolinski, Red Bull Content Pool)

Scott Miller, Paul Cox, Joe Mann, and Wally Werderich are ultra-distance canoe racers, and next spring, they’ll attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest paddle down the Mississippi River. Miller and three other teammates attempted the 2,300-mile feat in the spring of 2021, but inclement weather stopped them just 130 miles shy of the mark.

The 2023 crew announced their goal early last week under the team moniker “Mississippi Speed Record” on Instagram. Training and fundraising are already underway. Learn more and pick up some supportive swag at mississippispeedrecord.com.

Mississippi River
Speed Record: Team Completes Fastest Paddling Effort Down Mississippi River; 2nd Team in Hot Pursuit
A team of four, led by a father-daughter duo, claims to have broken the 18-year-old speed record for paddling the entire length of the Mississippi River. Read more…

Saturday, March 26, saw the long-awaited return of the Valencia Trail Race in SoCal. Characterized by elevated single track, rolling hills, and panoramic views of the Santa Clarita Valley, the VTR offered up 50K, half marathon, and 10K competitions.

L.A. runner Chris Espino took this year’s 50K in a course-record-breaking 3:59:17, more than 30 minutes ahead of the silver medalist Jerry Garcia (GearJunkie can neither confirm nor deny the latter’s proclivity for The Grateful Dead).

 

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Up next week on the global adventure racing circuit:

Eco-Challenge Biking Gear
Who Owns a Sport? Debate Around Adventure Racing World Series Heats Up
The Adventure Racing World Series organization cites a 'deliberate copy' of its name and an attempt to 'rewrite history' as a new race series plans to host the 2022 adventure racing world championships. Read more…

Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.