Note: This blog is full of links. If you haven’t been following the team closely, go ahead and check them out. There’s been a lot of great Team YogaSlacker’s content this spring, all well worth the look.
After a rough and strange start to the year, the months of April and May have been successful on all fronts. Jason and Chelsey somehow rallied after the Patagonian Expedition Race to have a fun (despite Jason’s destroyed hip) time at the epic 7-day Godzone event in New Zealand. They made the national news, and were one of only two US teams to finish in the top 20. While there, Jason also discovered “extreme downriver swimming” courtesy of his twin brother.
Back in the states, Chelsey and Stephen raced the 8 hour Spring Sting (a USARA regional championship event) clearing the course in 4:30. It was an exciting finish with the pair ending up in 2nd place, just 40 seconds behind the winners of Team Castelli. Most remarkable was the duos ability to truly celebrate success – even when it was not theirs!
YogaSlacker Adam Carter opted not to race with the team, but instead raced with his 9-year old daughter. She’s the youngest person we’ve ever heard of racing a real endurance event like the Spring Sting. Racing as “Hannah and Dad” they finished in just over 7 hours. The accomplishment was so inspirational that it made some big impact on various media channels!
A day after that event (which Jason directed), Chelsey and Jason flew to India. Chelsey learned to make authentic Chai on the streets of Chennai, and Jason underwent a hip surgery (a birmingham hip resurfacing) that should allow him to return to physical activity with “no limitations”. Writings about his experiences have struck a chord with people in similar situations, and he has enjoyed connecting with a community of athletes and yogis struggling with injury and doubt. He is impatiently enjoying the process of relearning how to walk, knowing that this will eventually lead to yoga, climbing, running, slacklining, and acrobatics. But for now, walking without pain (or at least a different pain) is a blessing.
In the Rocky Mountain region, team member Erik Sanders (who also competed in Godzone with US based Team Monarx) was busy this May too. He won the burly Niwot Challenge (along with Ryan Ognibene), one of the hardest footraces in the Western USA. The duo also set the course record too. The feat was so impressive, that GearJunkie reported on it. Huge congrats to Erik for this accomplishment.
Back in Bend, Daniel’s been no slouch either, taking the time since Patagonia to bulk up and build speed. He is at the strongest and fastest he’s ever been, as was evident in the recent Pole Pedal Paddle multi-sport race, where he and Chelsey crushed the field in the competitive Tandem Pairs division. It was the first race in which the team has been able to use their new Stellar double surfski. Watching them paddle incredible sight, the duo literally overtaking the lead in the final river leg, making the other boats look like they were standing still.
Best of all, by winning Dan finally received his PPP prize mug which is only given to those that get on the podium. The handmade ceramic mugs serve as an “unofficial badge of honor” among locals in the athlete dense Bend, Oregon. And while Jason and Chelsey already have a collection – until last weekend – Dan was still drinking his morning coffee in a pedestrian mug.
As summer approaches, the schedule is in no way letting up – with big races, training camps and some exciting surprises on the horizon. But we are not quite ready to reveal everything just yet. So stay tuned. In the meantime, we’ll close by offering a final perspective on what it means to be an Athlete – in hopes that more of our friends and fans will take that leap. After nearly 20 years of excelling in a wide variety of sports while struggling with self-doubt, Jason’s recent emotional essay – “Athlete: A Mindset” sets a clear framework for unleashing your inner competitor.
Thanks to all our fans and sponsors and teammates. Looking forward to a great summer.