Bend Racing and iconic outdoor clothing brand, prAna, are pleased to award our second Expedition Oregon scholarship, the International Masters to team Zona 3.
The team hails from Uruguay and Argentina and are no strangers to long endurance events. Comprised of Andres Bonelli, Fernando Rivera, Ignacio Garrone, and Carolina Solera, the team’s collective list of athletic achievements span the last decade and covers nearly all of South America. With countless big races under their belts, “lack of experience” will certainly not be one of this teams available excuses if they have a less than stellar showing.
Racing in the US and Canada far more than the rest of the team, Andres has completed the competitive Raid International Gaspesie in Canada and the Tour Divide MTB race in the USA. He is also a veteran of two AR World Series races in Paraguay.
Ignacio “Nacho” Garrone started out as a serious rugby player before falling in love with endurance sports in his late twenties. And while rugby might not seem like the best crossover sport into expedition AR, we’d beg to differ-- with two world famous rugby players recently making it onto the world stage in the recent GodZone race. Was Nacho as prolific in rugby as New Zealand’s All Black Richie McCaw, or South Africa’s Springbok Stefan Terblanche? It's tough to say, but we are now convinced that rugby players turned expedition racers are not to be trifled with.
Carolina began her legacy as a field hockey player in her university days but has been snagging podium spots on long course multisport races all around South America since 2012. And she seems to be getting stronger each year. With a 2nd place finish at this year’s Trans Andes Challenge, we know that she’ll be strong on the bike!
Fernando rounds out this veteran squad with an endurance resume that dates all the way back to 2001 when he ran his first Ironman.
If past experience alone were enough for us to rank teams, Zona 3 would be at the at or near the top of the list. But they are wildcards for sure. Andres speaks and reads fluent English so this will certainly help the team during the pre-race checks, mapping, and reading course book. We know they can all handle races this long. They aim to be competitive and are all excited to have the chance to toe the line with some of the best on the ARWS circuit. Looking at their previous races, they certainly could be one of the strongest biking teams out there.
EO Speculation Stats
They are all veterans, but many of their top finishes have been on stage races or less than 4 person teams. Since they have not all raced together before, we will see if they can keep that drive alive on day 3.
Local Edge: 30%
With one member that has raced in the US, and the fact that all members that are used to the mountains, we think they will manage. They will love the singletrack, but we unsure about their experience with packrafts.
Winning Likelihood: 20%
Meet the Sponsor
With a mission to inspire healthy, active, and free-spirited living, prAna creates versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day. More than makers, they're doers—yogis, climbers, and world travelers—who use their knowledge to make clothes that look good and play hard.
prAna was started in a garage in Carlsbad, California back in 1992. At that time yoga and climbing gear left a lot to be desired, so Beaver and Pam Theodosakis decided to create their own stylish and sustainably made clothes. They sewed the first pieces themselves, labeled them with tags made from homemade recycled paper, and shipped their orders in fruit boxes from local grocery stores.
Today, prAna is still based in Carlsbad. A lot bigger than they used to be, they continue to follow their core belief that companies should give much more than they take from the world. Their commitment to sustainability, community, and doing right still inspires and pushes them to find innovative ways to do good things in a good way.