The past few days provided some major ups and downs for Team GearJunkie racers, including a first-place finish for one squad and a DNF (did not finish) for the other.
Let’s start with the good news. . . This past Saturday, Team GJ’s Stephen Regenold and Andrei Karpov competed in the MNOC Rogaine Orienteering race—a challenging annual event that includes miles of off-trail travel and bushwhacking in search of hidden flags.
The race was held this year in northern Minnesota in the Pillsbury State Forest, a classic boreal setting with hardwoods, pines, swamps, and rolling glacial terrain. Using a map and a compass as their sole guides, Regenold and Karpov started off at 9am and ran full through until about 3pm, covering 22.5 miles in the woods.
The goal was to “clear the course,” or find all the flags marked on the map. After two hours of navigation and hard running, Regenold and Karpov separated themselves from the other dozen competing teams in the pack. The duo was eventually victorious, clearing the course in about 5 hours, 30 minutes.
Across the country, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, another GearJunkie squad had a rough go of it. Our GearJunkie/YogaSlackers team was doing battle in the 4-day Gold Rush Adventure Race, a qualifier for the AR World Series.
“It was like hell,” said Jason Magness, of the long and steep course. Blistering heat added to the challenge “Daniel was crawling on his hands and knees after the first day, vomiting every 100 feet from heat stroke.”
Most teams in the race, which included some of the world’s top squads, suffered from the intense heat. There were day-long trekking sections and paddles that took 10+ hours.
At one point, a forest fire engulfed a ravine on the course, cancelling that section. But one team still “snuck” in, heading into the smoke and eventually getting very lost in a remote canyon deep in the course.
In the end, the physical toll proved too much for the Team GearJunkie squad. In addition to Daniel Staudigel’s struggle, racer Paul Cassedy suffered greatly from heat exhaustion and foot issues after days on the move. The team, after racing for almost four days, made the decision to quit. “We could not go on,” Magness said. “This is the first time in 100+ races that I have DNF’d,” he said. “I guess it had to happen at some time.”
—Watch for a full report and a video from the Gold Rush race coming soon. Monitor Team GearJunkie’s micro-site for updates on races throughout the season.