Racing smart, racing steady
anyone who participates in sports can learn a lesson from the members of
the Twin Cities adventure racing team known as We Eat Dust … And Like It.
These folks race hard but make sure the prime memory they come away with is
captain Ellen Farseth of Woodbury explained it this way: "You use a
map and find your way. You're kind of like a kid again, running around in
team spent 20 hours and 15 minutes last weekend "running around in the
forest" along with plenty of biking and paddling to finish sixth in
the U.S. Adventure Racing National Championship event in French Lick, Ind.
The first-place team from Georgia took 17:05, and 40 teams finished in an
event with a time limit of 30 hours.
Moilanen of Minneapolis, a friend and occasional support crew member for
the WEDALIs, went along on the trip and volunteered at the race. Moilanen
seems to have gotten the message, reporting that "it was tons of
racing involves such disciplines as canoeing, orienteering, trekking, trail
running, biking on roads and/or trails, climbing and whatever else race
organizers choose. Teams must stay together, thus they can go no faster
than the slowest person. They navigate between checkpoints on a map, and
the best directions aren't always obvious, according to Scott
"Scooter" Lund of Savage, WEDALI navigator.
you've got is a map and compass," he said. "The route you take
between checkpoints is all up to you."
find the same routes, but that doesn't eliminate wrong turns, especially as
participants grow tired and the day runs out of sunlight.
turn, team member Justin Bakken of Lakeville said, is "a real
bummer," because the team must retrace its route to where it went off
course and go a different direction. The WEDALIs stayed on course in
Indiana, which allowed them to pass a few groups that went awry.
some daylong events, however, it never got lonely.
was really competitive; we saw other teams the whole time," said
Bakken, the youngster on the team at 24.
key is we try to race smart, race steady," Lund said, who added the
WEDALIs do "whatever it takes to grind through."
crew, usually four but limited to three in the nationals, never argues or
encounters a dispute, Lund said. "We have good team dynamics."
Lund, a 37-year-old patent attorney, also races with a different team in
Arizona during the winter.
they're cycling, they have bungee-cord devices hooked up to their bike
frames so they can help pull anyone struggling.
was me," said Farseth, 30. "I was tired going up the hills. On
the mountain biking, there were some challenging parts to it. It was half
on roads and half on trails, and it had rained the week before, so the
trails were really muddy. I crashed and fell a couple of times."
the toughest experience at the nationals was at the beginning, when teams
jumped into three-person canoes and paddled down a bitter-cold river with
early morning temperatures in the high 30s and half a dozen log jams to scramble
over or portage around.
think overall, for our team, paddling is our weakest section," Lund
WEDALIs got a little cold and wet when the kayak paddles splashed frigid
water into the canoe, but at least they didn't capsize, Lund said.
several teams that tipped their canoes when they reached log jams," he
said. "It's not like running or biking where you generate heat; it
would be a long race if you got wet."
which includes Scott Erlandson of Albert Lea, Minn., in four-person races,
eats and drinks during transition phases but has to carry its own supplies
along the course. Sport drinks and energy bars are staples, "but a
team favorite is cold pizza," Lund said.
their good finish, the race is all about the adventure and the camaraderie,
were just honored to be at this race; we had to qualify," she said.
"At the starting line, we had a big group hug and said, 'Let's have a
positive experience.' "
hours after starting, Farseth was dragging as they raced through the woods
in search of an orienteering checkpoint, and she reached out to her
teammates for support.
had a group hug right there in the forest," she said. "I needed a
little bit of encouragement."
paused and said it was never an option to stop.
was a great race," she added. "A lot of fun."
Bruce Brothers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.