By: T.C. Worley
The race and all scheduled events are now over. This morning a large chunk of the teams are already on their long journey home. The rest of us are in town for 24 hours or less. It is hard to believe that the whole thing is finished. Last night we met at a restaurant and conducted the closing ceremonies. It was a memorable time of camaraderie between the teams, the press, and the race staff. We dined on a Chilean feast of lamb and potatoes, fresh salad and drank delicious Chilean red wine. There were awards, a short film, a slideshow and then an invitation to go dancing at a nearby club. It was a delight to share one last night with all the people that have shared in this adventure.
As they called all of the teams up to receive awards, they would present them with a medallion and pose for a photo. When it was Team Gear Junkie’s turn, they cheerfully accepted the awards and the clapping. Before they left the stage though, Jason Magness—part of the Yogaslackers contingent, asked for the attention of the room. Everyone got quiet as Jason spoke of the long treks and the difficulties of the race. He then segued into how Chelsey had done so well in the mountain treks, and how if she could survive that then, maybe she could survive life with him. He dropped to his knee, and in front of the entire race, he proposed to her. With a hand over her mouth and tears welling in here eyes, she shook her head that YES, she would marry Jason. The room was roaring with noise! People clapped, whistled and hooted louder than they had all night. There was amazing energy in the room. I had to focus on shooting so that I did not become emotional myself! So even with a 4th place finish, Team Gear Junkie was still able to steal the show.
There is no way to really capture in words what has gone on here in Patagonia. Of course, it sounds cliche, but it is true. So many things to overcome, so many triumphs and so many moments of knowing that you were 100 percent alive and blessed to be here with your eyes wide open. Traveling home will take a few days, but when I return, I will be faced with trying to fit this experience into summary. You can also look forward to Stephen, the Gear Junkie, to give a racers prospective at some point. We sincerely thank all of you who have followed along with us and look forward to seeing and communicating with you once again.
PS- most of the images you have been seeing were not actually mine, but taken from the collective team of photographers here. All of the above images are mine and I hope to have a gallery or slideshow up soon after arriving back in the US. Thanks for all the kind comments so far.
For more images and race details visit:
Wenger Patagonian Expediton Race