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This is a Raid!
By Mark Morical
Published: June 11, 2004
Home-field advantage is home-field advantage, even if that "field" is 150 miles long.
Adventure racers from Bend will find out how much of an edge they really have when the second stage of the international X-adventure Raid series takes place in their back yards on Saturday and Sunday.
Teams are made up of four racers, usually three males and one female. (Rules dictate that each team include at least one female.)
Two athletes from Bend are on teams with legitimate chances of winning the 24- to 36-hour race, which starts Saturday at 6 a.m. at Mount Bachelor and ends at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Bend at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.
Bend's Chuck Thomas, 40, of Team TIMEX, and Justin Wadsworth, 34, of Team Montrail-Revo, will introduce their teams to the Deschutes National Forest during the Raid
event, which includes mountain biking, climbing, running, roller blading, paddling, rappelling and orienteering.
Both Thomas and Wadsworth believe their teams will have a navigational advantage, although this is the first adventure race in which they have competed in which global positioning system (GPS) units are allowed.
"I've been all over the woods," Thomas said. "I know where the trails go. I should have a good sense of direction even in the middle of the woods. A team from out of town won't have that."
Wadsworth hopes to lead Montrail-Revo back to the Raid World Championship, which it won last year in Kyrgyzstan, though it did so without Wadsworth.
This year the championship is in the Patagonia region of Argentina in late November and early December, and the Central Oregon race is one of four events in which teams earn points to qualify for the championship race.
"Having lived here for 16 years and spent almost every waking moment out here training, I'll have a pretty good idea," Wadsworth said. "I'll know where parts of the race go. I know what'll be the shortest route."
Race details and course routes will be released at 7 o'clock tonight at the pre-race meeting at Mount Bachelor Village. Teams already know that three racers will race at a time, with one competitor sitting out during each leg. By rule for this race, the female racer can sit out a maximum of two sections.
"It's kind of a chess game," Thomas explained. "If you have a strong biker, or a strong runner, you want to put people in where they're strong."
Teams will also be allowed to stop during "time windows" at checkpoints, in which their race clock will be stopped so they can rest. This also keeps the teams together to make for an exciting finish, but because of the time stoppage, a team could cross the finish line first and not necessarily win. If a team is behind and comes to a checkpoint where the time window is closed, its race clock will not stop.
"A team can come in with a two-hour window and sleep," Thomas said. "The top teams will get at least five hours of rest."
Thomas said he has heard rumors that the race will start with a climb to the summit of Mount Bachelor.
"It's all speculation," Thomas said.
Because GPS units are allowed, some of the navigational advantage that local teams have could be diminished. Few teams will get lost, which usually is not the case in other adventure races in which GPS units are outlawed.
"This race will come down to speed," Thomas said. "Transitioning from one point to the next is going to be key. Everyone will find the checkpoints."
Said Wadsworth: "If we're using a GPS unit, it means we're going pretty slow and we're not really sure where we are."
The event is bringing considerable media attention to Central Oregon, further establishing the area as a mecca for adventure sports. The race is scheduled to be televised by NBC in a 90-minute program to air on Aug. 7.
"It's neat to have the adventure racing family from around the world at your home," Wadsworth said.
Wadsworth and Thomas agree that the most challenging aspect of adventure racing is maintaining mental focus. The grueling sport wears the athletes down physically, making it difficult for them to maintain their composure.
"Sleep deprivation for 40 hours straight is a challenge," said Thomas, who's been an adventure racer for seven years. "You get tired, and you don't want to go on."
Said Wadsworth: "It pushes physical and mental limits. You wouldn't think that a race could do that. Things can get pretty ugly, pretty quick."
Both Team TIMEX and Team Montrail-Revo are hoping they will keep their wits about them and end up with a high placing. The two teams certainly have a solid history. Team TIMEX was ranked fifth nationally after the 2003 Balance Bar ARS Point Series. The team finished second at the Wild Onion 24-hour Urban Adventure Race in Chicago last year.
In addition to winning the Raid Gauloises last year, Team Montrail-Revo was named by Sports Illustrated as the adventure racing team of the year for 2003.
Wadsworth said that Team Nike ACG/Balance Bar is probably the favorite to win this weekend, but he likes his team's chances.
"We have a very experienced team," said Wadsworth, who joined the team before the 2003 season. "I'm the green one on the team. Our goal is to win. That's a realistic goal, it being on my home turf. We're definitely going for the win."
An adventure story unfolds
By Mark Morical
Published: June 13, 2004
Justin Wadsworth knew what to expect during the
first day of the X-adventure Raid Series event in Central Oregon on Saturday.
But sometimes in adventure racing, just knowing is not enough.
The 150-mile, multi-sport race began with an ascent and descent of Mount Bachelor on foot, and shortly before the 6 a.m. start near the Pine-Marten chairlift, Wadsworth said the descent would be "a wicked-fast downhill."
He also predicted that the mountain bike from Edison Sno-Park to Crane Prairie Reservoir would be where "some mistakes and wrong turns would be made."
He just didn't know how the "wicked-fast downhill" would affect his Montrail-Revo team, and that it would be one of the teams to take a wrong turn during the first bike leg of 22.5 miles.
"We had a lot of dramas," said Wadsworth's Australian teammate John Jacoby.
Perhaps the biggest drama befell Jacoby himself. As the team began its descent down the backside of Bachelor, Jacoby dropped his pack and dove for it, sliding 800 feet down the icy surface. He suffered numerous ice burns on his hands and legs from the rough terrain, but, like a true adventure racer, he didn't miss a beat.
"There's no stopping there," said Jacoby, lying down with his legs bandaged during a break after the first canoe leg of the day. "There's no one there to help you."
As for the bike leg, Wadsworth said they took a trail that was overgrown with plants and brush and obstructed by logs.
"We were carrying our bikes and pushing them through manzanita," Wadsworth said. "We lost maybe 20 minutes."
Many other teams suffered the same setback.
But they all forged ahead, making a 4.4-mile canoe trip across Crane Prairie Reservoir, a 10.6-mile in-line skate along Cascade Lakes Highway, followed by another canoe segment of 12.2 miles into Wickiup Reservoir.
The stage race continued with a 19.4-mile mountain bike around Wickiup Reservoir from North Davis Creek to North Twin Lake Road. From there, the teams made a trek on foot to Fall River Airstrip, where they are camped for the night.
Most teams are made up of three males and one female, with three athletes competing at a time and one competitor sitting out of each stage.
As of 7 p.m. Saturday (with a mountain bike stage and a running stage remaining) Team Salomon Suisse of Switzerland held the lead, followed by Nike ACG/Balance Bar of the United States, Ertips Salomon of France, Les Arcs-Quechua of France and Spie-The North Face of France. Team Montrail-Revo was sixth, and FootZone Bend was 22nd.
"Wadsworth is one to watch," said Michael Tobin of Team Nike ACG/Balance Bar. "Knowing the area is a big help. Physically, our teams are pretty close. So much could happen."
Pete Swenson of Team Go Lite/Timberland, was just happy to be competing in Bend. Swenson, who lives in Boulder, Colo., was raised in Corvallis, but moved away when he was 12.
"I'd come here every weekend when I was growing up, so for me, it's kind of like coming home," Swenson said. "We're definitely lucky to be here. I've got to hand it to the organizers. They could have picked anywhere in the U.S. and they picked Bend. This is a world-class venue."
Angelina Salerno of Team Go Heavily was also thrilled to compete in her home town of Bend, although she did suffer a mishap while trekking down Kwolh Butte during the second stage of the race.
"We were going down the butte on our butts and I couldn't stop," Salerno said. "I eventually did stop with the help of a tree. My teammates said they were laughing at me. I was really glad when that section was over with.
"But after the first two sections I kind of got in a rhythm. You just have to keep going, and keep thinking, 'I gotta get through this, and then I'll get to rest.'"
With that same attitude, Team Montrail-Revo was able to forget about its shaky start and come through with a solid performance in the in-line skating stage.
Wadsworth — connected by a line to his teammates — literally pulled his team members to a higher spot in the standings during the stage.
"We got on a good pace right from the get-go," Wadsworth said. "I don't think a word was said the whole 40 minutes between any of us."
In-line skating is a strong event for Wadsworth, a former Olympian in cross-country skiing.
"Justin was a stud on the skating," Jacoby said. "He just pulled us all along. I was doing about half the amount of work."
Team Montrail-Revo hopes to continue on a fast pace as the Raid event gets back underway today at 5 a.m. Teams will start with a 17.5-mile mountain bike north from Fall River Airstrip to Wanoga Car Park, where they will strap on their in-line skates and head to Mount Bachelor.
From there, teams will head out on foot to Skyliners Sno-Park. Along this stage, teams will stop at Tumalo Falls (around 10 or 11 a.m.) for some rope rappelling down cliffs. From Skyliners Sno-Park, teams will mountain bike on single track trails and down to to the finish line at Bend's Les Schwab Amphitheater. The first teams are expected to finish around 3 p.m.
The Raid event here in Central Oregon — which features 45 teams from 14 countries — is the North American qualifier for the X-adventure Raid Series World Championship, scheduled for November and December in Argentina.
Adventure racing venue a hit
By Mark Morical
Published: June 17, 2004
The way Pam Stevenson sees it, the X-adventure
Raid Series race in Central Oregon last weekend was just the beginning.
Adventure races could soon become a regularity in the area. Such races already are on the schedules of a number of local athletes, including members of Bend Adventure Racing Klub (BARK), which Stevenson started about 1.5 years ago.
But Stevenson and BARK envision a larger regional race held annually in Central Oregon, perhaps starting as soon as next summer.
"I'm hoping that the Raid organization greased the way for working with the forest service and various agencies to get permits to put on a race," Stevenson said, "so when we come to them for our own race, they'll use that successful event as an indicator of what it can be."
Because the Raid Series likes to vary its race locations from year to year, that particular event is not likely to return to Central Oregon in the next few years.
But Raid Series race director Sylvain Thuault did say that the Raid would like to return to Central Oregon if it could get a permit to canoe on the Deschutes River. He said that the sites used for canoeing last weekend (Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs) were too flat for optimum adventure racing. But he added that the community of Bend had "the best people in the U.S. we ever worked with."
Most competitors and other Raid organizers agreed that Central Oregon was a perfect place for an adventure race, with varied terrain including volcanoes, ponderosa pine forests, desertlike conditions, and many lakes and rivers.
The area is ideal for the running, mountain biking, kayaking/canoeing, navigating and other disciplines that make up an adventure race.
"Central Oregon was already established as a great location for an adventure race, evidenced by the number of adventure racers who live in the area," said Doug Fish, spokesman for Salomon, which was the main sponsor of the Raid and helped bring the race to Bend.
"The biggest (adventure race series) in the world chose to come there," Fish added. "This event certainly has enhanced Central Oregon's appeal and status as an adventure racing venue.
Fish noted that the Raid will generate worldwide exposure for Central Oregon when the event is televised by NBC via tape delay on Aug. 7.
"We have great natural resources for having adventure races," Stevenson said. "The vast natural forest we have with all the confusing fire roads makes it great for adventure racing. I can definitely see more adventure races happening here in Bend in the future."
Stevenson and her Bend Research/BARK team used some home-field advantage to finish as the top all-Bend team in the Raid event last weekend. Stevenson, Maxwell King, Kevin Grove and T.J. Brodeur finished the 144-mile race in 26 hours, 47 minutes and 59 seconds, good for 23rd place out of 45 teams from 14 countries.
Stevenson and BARK have held several five- to six-hour adventure races in Central Oregon in the past, and much of the Raid course covered areas that BARK had explored for other races.
"We knew parts of the race like the back of our hand," Stevenson said. "We just had a really solid race. It was a challenge just to finish every leg (of the race). We have some total stud muffins on our team."
The athletes on the Bend Research/BARK team take part in BARK's local adventure races called the Wild Juniper Berries. The next Wild Juniper Berry will be held later this summer, at a date yet to be determined. The fee to become a member of BARK is $15. Once a member, participation in BARK's local races is free.
Four other teams with athletes from Bend competed in the Raid: Therapeutic Associates (Levi Hensel, Jan Spurkland, Colin Mahood and Abagail Larson) finished 27th with a time of 30:41:12; Team Timex (Chuck Thomas, Lucas Dean, Susan Falvey and Joe Brautigam) was 31st in 32:54:43; FootZone Bend (Joel McNamara, Cynthia Engel, Matt Millar and Janne Stevens) was 34th with a time of 36:02:39; and Rebound/Beyond Sport (Dave Cieslowski, Brad Bond, Amy Peterson and Jonas Tarlen) finished 37th in 37:44:14.
Many of these athletes compete in the Wild Juniper Berries, which are geared for all levels of adventure racers, including novices.
"A lot of great Bend athletes competed in the Raid," Stevenson said, "and a lot of other people are interested but don't want to compete in something that strenuous."
While BARK's local races cater to any type of athlete, if the club does host a regional race next summer, Stevenson hopes the event will include some of the top adventure racing teams in the United States. For that to happen, BARK must work with the forest service for land-use permits and with local businesses for sponsorships.
"Hopefully, the high-profile nature of the Raid has interested various companies in Bend to participate and sponsor a race," Stevenson said. "We figured the Raid as a big event to have this summer, and we'll start following in their footsteps next summer."
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Read more . . .
Photos of the X-Adventure Raid World qualifier in Bend, Oregon USA
Map of the Raid adventure race course for 2004 Broadband Only
Race events in Bend, OR
Photos of the 2004 Pole Pedal Paddle race transitions
Pole Pedal Paddle 2004 results by age group
Pole Pedal Paddle race changes in 2004
Pole Pedal Paddle 2003 race results
Pole Pedal Paddle 2002
Snowshoe Shuffle comes to Bend, Oregon
Atta Boy 300 dog sled race start and finish from Mt. Bachelor
Bend Adventure Racing Klub - The Wild Juniper Berry Race
Annual race to the top of Pilot Butte
Pilot Butte - hike and run to the summit
Cascade Cycling Classic 2002
Bouldering gets a handhold at Smith Rock
ABS Contest night at InClimb Gym
CORK, Central Oregon Running Klub plays in The Badlands
Traditional Mountaineering R & R in Central Oregon
Winterfest in Bend, Oregon
Bend's Tower Theater restored to 1940s elegance
A snowshoe adventure with Bend Parks and Recreation
Bend's Wednesday market near the Deschutes River in Drake Park
Central Oregon's High Desert Museum in Bend
Bend Log Jam celebrates the opening of the Deschutes southern crossing bridge
Bend's southern crossing bridge
The Beach Boys concert in Bend Oregon, Summer 2003
Pilot Butte - hike and run to the summit
Cascade Music Festival in Drake Park, Bend Oregon
Misty River Band plays a free concert next to the Deschutes River
Riverfest boat-demo in Bend Oregon
Earth Day in Bend, Oregon
Customer appreciation night at a local store
ABS Contest night at InClimb Gym
Nordic Club's fall ski swap
Sustainable living expo in Bend
Fall festival in Bend
Joan Baez concert at the Athletic Club of Bend
Sunriver Resort exotic car rally
Munch-n-Music R & R in Bend
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