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.
America’s Toughest Race really lived up to its name in 2022. Mountain passes and unseasonably deep snow resulted in a tough go for the 22 teams competing in America’s Toughest Race this past week in central Oregon. The event, which is a part of the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS), was held May 9-15 on a multisport course more than 300 miles in length.
Mountain biking, trekking, and navigation to dozens of checkpoints were requisite for teams hoping to complete the race. Full-on winter weather slowed forward motion, as teams pushed bikes through the snow in mountain terrain. Below, in deep valleys, rushing rivers required advanced whitewater paddling in pack-rafts that were carried onto the course
The race included more than 35,000 feet of elevation gain and was broken into eight stages with multiple maps. Teams were on the clock from the start, making a strategy around when and where to sleep key to making cutoffs and staying competitive as the days wore on.
Team Vidaraid, with racers Mari Chandler, Marco Amselem, Urtzi Iglesias, and Jon Ander Arambalza, won the event in 2021. This year, the squad pulled it off again, coming across the 2022 finish line in first place after 5 days, 57 minutes on the clock.
Congrats to all the athletes who competed in this notoriously difficult event, which takes its name — America’s Toughest Race — as no joke. From whitewater to technical ropework on a Tyrolean traverse, to orienteering lava fields at night, this adventure race is a challenge unlike any other, in America or beyond.
Accomplished gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson perished last week in a tragic shooting in Austin, Texas. Wilson, of Vermont, was visiting the city for a race. Police have identified a person of interest and are actively investigating the homicide. She was just 25 years old.
Anyone with information or video of the incident should call APD Homicide at 512-974-TIPS, the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 512-472-8477 (TIPS), the new Crime Stoppers app, and or email APD Homicide at email@example.com.
The GearJunkie staff extends its deepest condolences to those affected by her loss.
On the regional adventure race circuit, Team Vert has finally broken through and claimed a U.S. Adventure Racing Association National Points Series Regional Championship race. The team won in meticulous fashion surviving an epic overnight trek and capturing more checkpoints than any other team.
“The overnight trek is pretty committing,” said Aaron Courain, NYARA Race Director. “It is 12 miles and 5,000 feet of vert. There is no way out other than through — I was a little worried. The 3-mile bushwhack is very committing.”
Team Vert has raced strong at the other Regional Championship races including the Shenandoah Epic in April and the Hard Fall last October. They join Strong Machine AR, Team Kuat, Rootstock Racing, Dead Reckoning, and Team Toyota Tundra as Regional Champions who have earned free entry into the USARA National Championship in September.
A new, 330-mile route that links the Appalachian Trail, Black Mountain Crest Trail, and Mountains-to-Sea Trail is now available to hikers. Famed through-hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis announced the establishment of the Appalachian High Trail (AHT) last week.
In addition to linking some of the U.S.’s best trails, the AHT provides access to 50 of the Appalachian Mountains’ 54 6,000-plus-foot peaks and travels through a litany of eastern points of interest.
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