Hello all – quick report as I get ready to check out of Rapid City. Almost Noon on day 1, so folks have already been racing for over 6 hours. Looks like we were about 8th place into the first Checkpoint, at about 10:00am this morning. The first leg was a 26 mile run, and now the teams are out on a 17 point orienteering course, that when I spoke with the course director this morning, thought it would take most of the teams about 5+ hours to complete, with maybe one or two possibly approaching 4 hours, if they did it at a dead run. That must put it somewhere in the 10-15 mile range too. At that point they will transition to a LONG mountain bike leg and start the long haul up into the Black Hills. At the 35 mile point on this first bike leg, the teams will encounter a 2 mile long cave system, that according to the street gossip yesterday should take teams 6-8 hours to complete, so Team Cordura/Osprey should emerge from the cave sometime in the middle of the first night, mount the trusty steeds again and continue on the bike leg. This leg will take them on the outskirts of the famous old west gambling town of Deadwood and point south for a total leg somewhere close to 100 miles, by the time they transition into a trekking section and the climbing section, which is reportedly AMAZING!! Long tyrolean traverses across the rock towers of the Needles. They will continue to trek down on through Wind Cave NP (Stacy and I unknowingly passed right next to a checkpoint on the drive up here on Wednesday) and eventually turn east. Somewhere about day 3 or 4, the teams will encounter a 7 mile lake swim and then eventually on to a 38 mile river kayak out towards the Badlands. The later stages of the race will find the teams trekking well out into the Badlands National Park, trying to avoid any direct interfaces with Bison for sure!! The final transition will be to the bikes again, for a 100+ mile dash back to the finish right here in Rapid City. Top teams should complete the course in 6-7 days, so hopefully our crew is amongst them finishing up next Thursday or Friday.
Just wanted to say a special thanks to our sponsors for all the support, some financial, most gear and more importantly, psychologically!!! This is a tough event and the durability of the people and products will be severely tested!! Special thanks to Cordura brand for their kind financial support and for supplying some great fabrics for our race packs, which are of course Osprey’s!! The team will be using a combination of Talon 22’s and 33’s. And thanks to MSR for our water filter and E-wing (manditory sunshade to escape the blazing sun out here). That water filter will get a real test out in the silty waters of the Badlands. Thanks and cheers to all.