Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Happy Ending for Team YogaSlackers!

Chelsey here:
As many of you know, Team YogaSlackers had a rough ending at this years Check Point Tracker National Championships. And for those of you that don't know... there are many stories and debates online about it (including the post on our blog below)- in short it was a very shocking and sad time for the team.

However, in most unhappy situations in life, there is always a lesson to be learned and something positive that can be gotten out of it.  
In this situation- 
1. We as a team became closer than ever and it was great training for Abu Dhabi (where we will be going up against some of the best teams in the world!).  With two Magness twins and Daniel, the power house- we were faster than ever! 
2. We got to race against Team Osprey, a group of amazing people and athletes.
3. Instead of venting online ;0, I am learning how to use my recent feelings of frustration to fuel my training rides and runs ( it feels like that same boost of energy you get when someone breaks up with you).  I am hoping to channel these same feelings in the middle of the 120 km desert trek in Abu Dhabi!

Luckily, for us and everyone involved- the CPT debate is dwindling down with hopes that changes will be made in the coming year for the good of the Adventure Racing community.  

Our season of racing thankfully ends on a positive note-  We successfully won the 2010 California ARA Championships!  We are very excited to support the California Adventure Racing Association- a  non profit organization founded by Hani Juha and John Turner.  Their mission is right in line with ours when it comes to Adventure Racing: 

"To advance and grow the sport of adventure racing -- by building a strong community of passionate people, teams, skills, and foster communication." 

Below is our Q & A  that tells a little about our team, our favorite moments from the California Race Series and much more... read on to find out!

What was your favorite moment during the racing season?
We had a great racing season this year with a lot of memories,  but I'll put this out to the team to get snippets from each one of us.

Jason:  In the Big Blue Tahoe, at a transition area from trek/bike, I folded the map and stuffed it into the leg of my bike shorts - just for a moment while I changed my shoes.  Well I forgot.  We took off on the bike, and 45 minutes later came to the first junction.  I couldn't find the map.  I thought Daniel had it, he remembered me saying something about it being in Chelsey's pack...we had a huge yard sale there in the middle of the trail and still no map.  At this point our communication broke down, everyone got mad at everyone else.  We ended up navigating the next few points via memory and the large scale overview map.  Eventually, at another transition, I was pulling of my bike shorts, and the map flew out.  We were all dumfounded.

Daniel:  The paddling this season was great for us.  All of it. I got a new boat - a Seaward Passat G3 - which feels is probably what it would look like if Ferrari built kayaks.  At first it felt like our team paddling skills were far below the level of the boat, but after some time with a former Olympic paddling coach in San Diego, it now feels like we can get that engine really purring...

Sam: Racing as a stand in with Glenn Millar (Desert Dash RD) and his teammate Phil.  Great guys, and I got to try my hand at night navigation too.  Not quite as easy as I expected.  The race also corresponded with the Wanderlust Festival (see Chels's comment) so I was up till 3:30 AM the night before the race performing acrobatics and stunts in a gypsy tent.  Thankfully Glenn and Phil let me catch a quick nap in the middle of the night.
Chelsey:  I think the best was combining all things YogaSlackers in one weekend - the weekend of the Tahoe Big Blue.  We taught and played at the WanderLust Festival on Thursday and Friday.  Friday night, some of our fellow YogaSlackers held down the fort so to speak (we had a contractual obligation to teach yoga, slackline, and acrobatics the whole weekend!).  We switched from yoga clothes to racing kit, and ran through the night.  At the finish line, when most teams were looking forward to sleep, we threw our stuff in the car and blazed back to the festival - teaching all day, and helping our sponsor pack up their booth that night (until 1 AM!).  That night, Sam flew in private plane to Salt Lake City to start helping with booth set up for the OutDoor Retailer Trade Show.  Jason and I got a few hours of sleep (not enough) then left early the next morning to drive the Prana truck to Salt Lake.  We worked the trade show for the next 5 days.  It was a wonderful and tiring collision of yoga and racing, and felt like one of the most bizarre expedition races I've ever done.
What was your favorite event - and why? 
Wow - all the events we did in the Cal-ARA were great.  Maybe the two most unique were the two races we did this year that did not include biking.  Desert Dash's sprint (packrafting below Hoover dam, checkpoints in steamvents, awesome slot canyon), and Desert Winds 24 (epic paddle legs, knife edge ridge trekking, slot canyons, midnight swim/packraft).  Both these races made a bold decision to not use mountain bikes - because the terrain did not suit itself to them.  I have to applaud this.  I am sure they could have added biking somewhere, but it would have been on a road, and instead they decided to keep the race rugged and full of adventure.  I've heard the Desert Dash folks are going to put on a similar race this next season, and I gotta say - DO IT.  It is the best sprint race we've ever done!  And I can only hope that Desert Winds will be back too.  The Finlay's 24 always feels more like an expedition.  Long live race directors that actually actively RACE! I can almost always tell when I am on a course if the designer is a racer....
What are your racing projects for next year? 

  • We are competing again this December in Abu Dhabi (www.abudhabiadventurechallenge.com) so would love people to watch and cheer us on. I'll be bold and say that our goal is top 5.  We'll see - it is the most competetive field of racers ever from across the globe.  We've enlisted my (Jason's) twin brother this year as our 4th.  He is pretty new to racing, but shares DNA and knows how to suffer.  He has two kids, and only 3 hours per week to train.  His blog is fascinating - www.threehoursaweek.blogspot.com
  • We are racing again in Patagonia - www.Patagonianexpeditionrace.com - the race that launched us to the cover and feature stories of two magazines last year (Wend Mag and Breathe Mag).  Same team.  Certainly the most Adventure of any race we've ever done - and we've done a lot.
  • We are putting on 3 races this year.  A 6/24 hr in Bend Oregon (hopefully part of the Cal-Ara series), a 6 hour in spring and a 24 hour in fall in North Dakota (part of the END racing series - www.endracing.com).  
  • We'll be racing a lot too in the spring/summer - with plans to race the GoldRush motherlode, and Raid the North Extreme, as well as a host of shorter races.  We are probably going to opt out of trying to compete in the CP tracker series, but hope to be a part of the California-ara as much as possible through racing, clinics, etc.
  • Oh, and we'll be teaching lots of yoga, acrobatics, slacklining and climbing...as well as a teacher training - who wants to be a YogaSlacker?!?
People you would like to thank
We'd love to thank California-ara  for creating this west coast community.  Beautiful thing that has been absent for too long.  Also team DART-Nuun (or Sport-Multi?).  They have been a driving inspiration to us, and me (Jason) since I got into this sport 7 years ago.  It is pretty surreal to actually be racing against them this year, instead of far behind them.  Also to Mark Richardson and Adrian Crane for always being supportive, inspiring, and creating races that are so bad-ass.  

Of course our sponsors.  Prana (www.prana.com) has been the company that has made it possible for our little group to even exist.  They aren't much into the AR scene, but like our vision of exploring our potential as humans - on the yoga mat, the rock faces, and crazy expeditions.  Without them, YogaSlackers would not exist.  

Also, Ergon Grips, Ibex, Inov-8, Ellsworth Bikes, and Numa - gear that we race with, train with, and rely on during all the crazy expeditions that we hatch up in our heads.  We also have great support from Alpine Aire (keeping us fed!), Eastern Essence, Teko Socks, Leki, KTtape (can you save over-use injury relief!!!), Nuun and U-hydration, RawRev, Yakima (how else could we lug all this stuff around), and I am sure I forgot some!  SORRY!

Final thanks to our parents, friends (especially for all the couches we've crashed on), training partners, yogis, etc.  See you at the edge.

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