Can you find us?
Team Beast Shad probably wrote it best as we all sat back on our couches this week, so we’ll leave it at this until we can get a longer race recap up:
“Thanks to all our that supported us for the REV Cowboy tough. Special thanks to Wind River Visitors Council, Gannett Peak Sports, NOLS and Chuck. I’m still dazed and amazed and the strength and perseverance of our team members. Captain Casey Adams lived up to the title, making key decisions when needed. Marina Fleming is a horse and has the shoes to prove it now. Karla Wagner is a living definition of “Cowboy Tough”. It was an honor to ride, paddle, swim, trek, run, repel and generally suffer with these women. From the bottom of my heart– thank you all!!”
It takes a certain type to sign up for a three-and-a-half-day adventure race through the wilds of Wyoming. We’ve heard that, and we’ve certainly come to appreciate that.
But it takes something truly special to sign up three days before the race starts because a team needs a new fourth team member. NOLS Marketing Representative Marina Fleming is that kind of person. Up for anything, adventurous, and, to the Wind River Country Team, a hero.
When an injury benched Chuck a little over a week before the the starting gun was going to go off in South Pass City, a frantic search began for anyone who could fill in. Hopeful breath-holding was followed by heavy recruiting, which led to a tentative yes, then a no and subsequent brainstorming sessions. Then came a simple Google chat to Casey:
“okay, I want to do it,” Marina typed, and with that, the team would be able to race, as only four-person and two-person teams are permitted.
The Wind River Country Team couldn’t be more grateful to Marina for rising to this challenge just three days before the starting gun goes off in South Pass City. She’s made Lander her home recently, and we’re excited to show her so much of what Fremont County has to offer in these four days and 400 miles.
A special thanks goes out today to NOLS, who helped Marina secure the perfect shoes, piles of food, and some locking carabiners at the last minute.
We embarked on another training adventure this weekend, this time to get miles on our feet and navigational practice. We would like to thank our sponsors this week. This adventure race would not have been possible for us were it not for the Wind River Visitors Council. Our feet, faces, and calves wouldn’t be so happy if Brooks hadn’t come through with a pile of gear including shoes, compression socks, and caps. We carried all our gear in backpacks donated by Deuter. Both of the previous relationships were facilitated by NOLS, who has also contributed a great deal to the race and to our team. Continued support in our training and preparation from the Lander Cycling Club and Central Wyoming College have all helped us sleep better at night going into this endeavor.
Enjoy this video from our latest adventure and browse the photos below, all courtesy of team member Shad Hamilton:
With these words Karla emailed echoing in our heads Thursday afternoon, the team scattered to squeeze in quick workouts before converging at the sandstone buttress in Sinks Canyon State Park. Chuck and I (Casey), on foot and bike respectively, exchanged a quick wave at a stoplight in town. Upon our arrival at the buttress later that evening, we met Shad, whose bike was leaning against a sign while he changed from his cycling helmet to his climbing helmet. Karla joined shortly thereafter with a car full of climbing gear and some fresh shoes for Chuck.
Meanwhile, NOLS instructor and experienced adventure racer Darran Wells set up some fixed lines so we could practice ascending and rappelling. Though we all have past experience climbing and rappelling, we thought it best to get some guided refresher sessions before we found ourselves racing up and down cliff sides.
We’ve all (with the possible exception of Shad) discussed moments of anxiety surrounding this race, whether it be keeping up with Shad when he bikes up hills, keeping up with Chuck and Karla when they bike down hills on the tandem, or keeping up with any of them on the flats (just a hypothetical example), or being able to make quick work of skills we all use less frequently like ascending fixed lines. We’re all aware of the challenge we face in the Cowboy Tough Adventure Race in July. Consequently, the intensity and focus in each team member’s eyes almost burned as we watched Darran demonstrate knots both familiar and new and offered insight into techniques with prussics and ascending.
However, after a few hours of tying, untying, going up, going down, and checking and backing up systems, the mood shifted.
Smiles were easier. Shoulders dropped a little. The blend of the peaceful setting of the canyon with the river rushing by in the distance while cicadas cheered us on and the confidence-boosting practice round worked wonders for our stress level. However, I can’t speak for my confidence the next time I’m sucking wheel behind Shad on the bikes …