By Emily Caseria
It is easy to get bogged down by details that don’t have to have a major impact on your race. This raced reminded me of how nice it is to get back to the basics and just race with the gear you have on your back (or your bike). We didn’t get much info prior to the race start which was a little stressful, but also refreshing. We knew we had to always keep bike shoes and trekking shoes with us and that we’d only see the paddle bag before and after the paddle and the bag was limited to 40lbs.
Common Goal Focus
Dusty, Max, and I all came to this race to fight for the #1 spot on the podium. No matter what happened, we knew that we were all in it reaching for the same finish line. We kept saying after the race how easy it was to race together. I think that this piece had a major impact on that aspect of our team dynamic. I also think that Max and Dusty are super strong, chill, focused dudes which made it easy for me to race with them!
There are many other lessons learned every race, some smaller, some bigger. These are the two that stand out the most for me.
Gear that was dandy to have:
Leki poles- These were helpful for the steep treks. Max carried his set and he and I used them off and on. These came in super handy on the really steep ascents!
USWE Ultra 30L Pack- I gave up my pack on the first trekking stage and it was really easy for Max to stuff his whole pack into mine then dump it out on the bike that followed. The easy access bladder pouch is sweet for quick access at refill stations. My only notes for this piece of gear is that the mesh got pretty shredded with all of the really dense bushwhacking. I recommend this pack for sure, but keep an eye out for future models with improved outer mesh durability! Or, just don’t go schwacking through a bunch of shoulder width spaced trees with dead branches for hours on end (haha!). Use ULTRA for a % at checkout!
Hydrapak inline filter- Easy to use, especially in tandem with the easy access pouch in the USWE pack. Just take the bladder out, dunk it, and go! It can be a toss up to choose to carry a little more weight, but stop less to fill on water. This system can be a great option, especially when water is scarcer. Use "Chelsey" at check out for a %!
Fenix HM61R headlamp and the lightweight Lazer bike helmet- A great headlamp/helmet combo. We attached a mount on our bike helmets so I pretty much wore my helmet for the whole race. If an AR gives the option to use a bike helmet for all helmet required disciplines, the Lazer is a great option. Use BendRacing for a % on Fenix Lights!
This was a great race with challenging terrain. We especially enjoyed the technical biking! Not many Adventure Races include technical biking, so it was fun and engaging to have some in the middle of the night. The whole course presented engaging and unique challenges. The elevation that was constantly gained and lost; the multiple portages during the canoe paddle that took a solid effort by the whole team to get the boats up the river bank; the night time O relay that allowed us to all split up and nav separate courses on our own; the final leg that took us over 7hrs to complete! Thanks to Green Mountain Adventure Racing Association for putting on a National Championship worthy race. If Vermont wasn’t so far away we would definitely do more of their races! A final shoutout to our teammates who came and cheered us on and cooked us food after we finished! AR community, I thank you for your uniqueness and awesomeness. Next up is the Adventure Race World Championships in South Africa!! On this team will be myself (Emily, Dusty Caseria, Daniel Staudigel and Jean Yves Dionne.