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Through the courtesy
Four Winds race organization and the
Chicago Area Adventure Racing Association, I found
myself with an entry to one of the USA’s premier adventure
races. All I needed
was to find three other teammates, coordinate
flights, transportation, gear shipment, hotel, find
a crew, buy tons of new gear (that's the fun part),
and prepare myself for the
I had planned my team’s participation in many
races in the past four years, none would be close to
The team was finalized
only days before the race and included Tom Solie, Danny
Bobrow, Colleen Kristofor, and myself.
Tom was the first to respond in our search for
teammates from the Chicago Area Adventure Racing Association.
He was new to the sport, having done his first race
in June. Everyone told me to not try a race of
this length with someone who has little race experience,
but I had a good feeling that Tom would be a great teammate
and I liked his enthusiasm for the sport.
Danny was a veteran of mountaineering expeditions
to some of the highest peaks in the world and an Ironman
triathlon finisher, but he also brought limited adventure
Colleen was a true newcomer to the sport with
no race experience, purchasing her gear just days before
the race, and having no opportunity to train with it.
She would even be renting a bicycle in Salt Lake
brought the most race experience, with over 15 races
over the past four years, but still no experience in
a race longer than two days.
In my four years of adventure racing I’ve been
preparing myself for an expedition-style race.
I just hadn’t expected it to come together like
this. We were heading to Salt Lake City for an eight-day race.
We wouldn't even meet Colleen until we got to the airport.
Friends and family are questioning my sanity, but my
past experience has taught me that personal goals and
compatibility were significantly more important than
time on the course and I had good feelings that we had
put together a solid group.
We arrive at
the mandatory gear check area and are instantly told
by “Gear Master Jerry” that we have too much stuff.
We’re all too aware of that fact, but it’s all
required gear list.
Three grueling hours later we’re through the
equipment and skills check.
Now, how are we going to haul all of this stuff?