Last week Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers competed in one of North America’s biggest and most premier races, Untamed New England, a 4-day wilderness event through remote northern Maine that drew 49 teams. Our squad set out to go hard and follow up on a string of podium finishes, most recently third-place in Chile’s Patagonian Expedition Race.
But in adventure racing nothing is guaranteed and plans can quickly come unhinged. Thus was our case, for better or worse, this year at Untamed. After a blistering start where we raced with eventual first-place Team Thule, we slowed to a crawl in places as the course took its toll.
The race boasted about the most competitive field we’ve ever seen, with squads from around the world gunning for entry into the AR World Championships in France.
Highlights included pack-rafting class III rapids, ropes, serious mountain biking, whitewater rafting down the Kennebec river, and bushwhacking through deepest Maine.
For the first 24 hours the race went well. But soon a string of little errors began to add up. Some of our squad bonked on a long trek. We ran out of water in the 90-degree heat. Finally, on an orienteering relay — a unique section where each team member had to navigate four checkpoints solo — one of our racers took about two hours longer than we’d hoped. A casualty of the course and sleep deprivation after days on the go.
In the end, GearJunkie/YogaSlackers completed the full course at Untamed New England in the allotted four days, one of only 10 teams (out of 49) to make it. But our bobbles had cost us in the rankings, and by the finish line eight teams proved faster in this event.
Congrats to Thule Adventure Team, first place, DART nuun SportMulti (second place), Salomon Trail Tour (third), and all the other squads who kicked butt on the tough “untamed” wilderness of this premier event.
—Chelsey Magness is a founding member of Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers. Follow the team this season via a blog, photos and video on the squad’s dedicated micro-site.