The big whadoo that is the United States Adventure Racing Association’s National Championships kicks off this Friday, Nov. 3, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (www.usaranationals.com). The Gear Junkie will personally be cheering for Team WEDALI, a Minnesota squad that has provided him much competition over the last couple of years.
Here’s the full dope. . .
Minnesota’s Team WEDALI (We Eat Dust…And Like It) will compete in the 2006 United States Adventure Racing Association’s National Championships. The race, in Santa Barbara, Calif., will push the boundaries of human endurance, including 30 hours of constant, sleepless motion through a 100-mile course.
Team WEDALI is one of only 50 teams nationwide to qualify and race in this championship event.
Co-ed teams of three will navigate to a series of checkpoints using only a map and compass to guide them. Race disciplines include mountain biking, ocean kayaking, orienteering, “coasteering” and trekking.
WEDALI first competed in the USARA National Championships in 2004 in French Lick, Ind., and surprised many by placing sixth out of more than 30 teams. Last year, WEDALI sent two teams to the National Championships in Tampa, Fla. The teams worked together surviving the swamps, sand and alligators to place eighth out of 60 teams.
According to WEDALI veteran Scott Erlandson, “This year’s race is going to test us. Racing mostly in the Midwest, we don’t have the opportunity to paddle ocean waves or climb mountains every weekend. The key for us is going to be our solid navigation and our ‘never quit’ attitude.”
WEDALI formed in 2003 and has competed in more than 40 races in the past four years. This spring WEDALI completed its longest race to date, the Michigan Coast to Coast Adventure Race. WEDALI raced for 86 hours straight stopping only for a few hours of sleep and to replenish food and supplies.
“Over the past few years, we have grown as a team,” said Ellen Farseth. “Our shared goals, commitment and genuine love for the sport and for one another has kept us together racing and winning.”
WEDALI has a number of sponsors whose products and services help them race faster and smarter: Aqua-Bound, Fox River, Genuine Innovations, GU Sports, Hollywood Cycles, Jolt Gum, Kenda Tires and MandatoryGear.com.
You can follow WEDALI on the internet. The 2006 GoLite USARA Adventure Race National Championships will use an electronic timing system which will allow race officials to collect exact times and post them to the website for fans at home. To learn more about WEDALI and for live coverage of the race, go to www.wedali.com
The team members competing in this year’s national race are: Justin Bakken, Scott Erlandson, Ellen Farseth, Scott Lund, Molly Moilanen and Darrin Soukup.