It was a big weekend for our sponsored adventure racing teams. Team GearJunkie/WEDALI and Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers each took home a first-place win in Midwest races, including the END–SPAR in North Dakota and the inaugural Boonecrusher Adventure Race in Iowa. Below are the quick reports from our racers on both squads. Go Team!
Boonecrusher Adventure Race, Iowa — This past Saturday, Molly, Biz, Tom, Kelly, Erl and Andrei headed down to Boone, Iowa, along with 175 other endurance athletes to “go for broke or be broken” at the inaugural 12-hour Boonecrusher Adventure Race. The team traveled as a posse of six, with a squad entered in both the four-person and two-person divisions. In adventure racing, they say that a team is only as fast as its weakest link, but even with six athletes competing as one mega-team, our crew opened up an early lead that grew throughout the day and ultimately landed us the top spot.
We used our numbers and each members’ individual strengths to our advantage and enjoyed the camaraderie of the XL team. Going into the race, we didn’t know what to expect from the Boone area but we were impressed with all aspects of the event. We were challenged by the hilly and scenic course that defied all stereotypes of Iowa topography. We appreciated the effort and energy the first-time race directors put into making their event a high-quality experience complete with hot showers and New Belgium brew at the finish line. Nice touch! —Molly Moilanen
END–SPAR, North Dakota — I was lucky that I knew the race director for this weekend’s END–SPAR because the event was totally sold out by the time Daniel, Chelsey, and I decided to sign up. According to the race staff, it was the most competitive field they’d ever had, with over 20 teams entering the “co-ed elite” category. True to form of the END race series (which stands for “Extreme North Dakota”) the event was tough, with difficult navigation, lots of mud, and plenty of harsh weather.
Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers charged hard right from the start, opening up a small lead during the first orienteering section. The team never looked back, and we were the only team to find every checkpoint on the course. Finishing with only a few minutes to spare before the cut-off, I know I looked like a strange creature completely covered in spiny burrs that are everywhere in the region.
Highlights this year on the END–SPAR included a bike-whack section (bushwhack while carrying a bike), plotting mystery points via triangulation and field scales, a brutal, seven-mile ride into a fierce great plains headwind, pack-rafting for sunken checkpoints, and a “Hunger Games” sections with a few of the checkpoints hung high in trees. Great race all around. —Jason Magness
—Follow Team GearJunkie all year on the squad’s micro-site.