Location: Casper, WY
Time: 2 days, 23 hours
Team: Erik, Jen, Stephen, Daniel
Disciplines: Canoeing, Trekking, Mountain Biking
Hours slept: The boys slept 1.5hrs, Jen slept about 15 minutes (sorry!)
Favorite sections on the course:
The paddling on this course was spectacular – it’s not every day you get to see over 100mi of a river, and two reservoirs along the way! The water was swift, and in parts a bit rough in open-topped canoes. I would say we couldn’t get enough of it, but we were glad for every stop along the way where there were additional O-courses, challenges, and other diversions.
What we loved:
The terrain was jaw-dropping, and there was almost no pavement. In past years, we’ve spent a lot of time on long sections of highway. The only real highway riding was at the very beginning, just trying to get out of town to the start of the river section. From there, it was mostly dirt fire roads and challenging singletrack. There was such diversity in the landscapes and weather – it felt like riding in some epic time-lapse sequence.
Most talked about topic:
Honestly, I don’t remember talking about much! We were pretty much all business, the whole race.
Most breathtaking moment:
There was a storm during one a bike ride on the last evening – crazy tendrils of clouds and massive headwinds. We were certain we were going to watch a tornado form and sweep us off of our feet. The sun was setting, and we were lucky to have one of our favorite photographers there to document some of it.
Most exciting moment:
We flipped our canoe in a hard eddyline! A few other teams did the same and had to drag their sunken craft to the shore in order to get back on the paddle. I pulled an old trick out of my back pocket; I guided Erik through a T-rescue from the water – we had the boat empty and were back in it without ever exiting the water. It took only a few minutes – and we were on our way with a minimal loss of time and gear.
Key gear pieces:
Sunday Afternoons hats – we wore our sunhats continuously for the whole paddle, it kept us cool, comfortable, and protected our faces and necks from many hours of sun.
Julbo Sunglasses – I wore my Zebra Light lenses day and night basically the whole race. I can’t go without eye protection in the night, and constantly switching back and forth is irritating and unnecessary – these transition lenses always seem to block just enough light that I don’t have to squint, but never so much that I have to take them off!
Moscow compass – AR legend Mark Lattanzi sold me on this amazing wrist compass a few months ago, and it allows you to keep a constant eye on your direction. It makes it much more easy to habitually check your compass to make sure things are going the way you expect.
Sour gummy worms, Ramen, instant mashed potatoes, and overnight oats. The overnight oats were a new one this race – I packed oats, milk powder, and whey protein in a ziploc, then just added water when I wanted breakfast. After a few minutes I can start eating them, and a quart bag has enough calories for several hours of noshing.
For a team to really succeed, you need a captain and a navigator to be separate people. I was the most experienced with both roles on this team, and so I tried to do both roles. This has a few drawbacks and wound up being exceedingly difficult. I don’t really think we could have done better, but I sure missed Jason!