A team of three men and a woman covered 500 miles of rugged Panhandle mountain terrain on their feet, bikes and rafts, spiced with rock climbing and other challenges, to win the 2014 Expedition Idaho adventure race last week.
Five teams started the event from the Silver Springs Resort on Aug. 10 and finished Saturday before the cheering Brewsfest crowd on Silver Mountain.
Bruises, stitches, a broken nose, heat exhaustion, navigation errors and sleep deprivation were endured during the event and water rescues were required to keep all the teams going during the race, officials said.
Winning the event was the YogaSlackers, a team of yoga instructors Jason Magness and Chelsey Gribbon-Magness, along with software engineer Dan Staudigel – all from Bend, Oregon – plus sea kayaking guide Paul Cassedy from San Diego.
While all five teams finished the event, only the top two teams completed the full course. YogaSlackers qualified for a similar event next year in Alaska.
Expedition Idaho was organized by Perpetual Motion Events from Coeur d’Alene, headed by David Adlard of Athol.
“We have had more rain this one week in August than in any month of August since I have lived in Idaho,” said Adlard. “And of course, there is no rain scheduled for the rest of the month. We brought it along just to give that little extra test to the racers, it seems.”
The second half of the course included a 100-mile mountain bike leg that had racers pedaling through Thursday night. Severe thunderstorms during the week washed out some routes and forced the teams onto alternate routes through the Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area. The route went over Lookout Mountain and Breezy Point, down Gold Creek Canyon.
On Friday they launched for 38 miles of whitewater rafting on the St. Joe River through sections including Tumble Down Falls.
Several of the ultralight one-person rafts punctured in the rapids, where occupants were beat up in the rocks.
The racers had to rope up and ascend 300 feet on a rock climbing route while carrying their rafts before rappelling back to the river to finish the float.
This final bike leg was a challenging 27 miles that took eight hours even for the winning team as they ascended Prospect Peak, Mastadon toward the Elsie Lake area.
The last leg was a trek to Silver Mountain, where they were rewarded with cheers from a Brewsfest crowd of 1,500, high fives and much free beer.
Expedition racing was born in the early 1970s when a group of friends in Alaska challenged each other to race 600 miles without using any mechanized transport or roadways.
The World Championships of expedition racing are held in a different country every year, including Costa Rica this year.