Expedition Oregon 2022 Commentary
We learned in an earlier post that America’s Toughest Race is even tougher than RD, Jason Magness, meant for it to be. Incredible!
After the 6 pm start, teams trekked through deep snow on the overnight. Some were wearing snowshoes, some not. After a trek that took twice as long as predicted and a bitter cold transition, the bike leg treated the teams to some “more where that came from”. The snow continued and right off the bat, the first point on stage 2 was a pro point that proved to be the most challenging navigation thus far. Now, stage 3 is currently underway and punishing most of the teams with frigid, glacial run-off, class 4 rapids with an air temp of 40F. (I can’t wait to see some footage!)
With all of that in mind, you may wonder if they will they ever catch a break. I think not. Why? Well, not only because this is truly America’s Toughest Race, but because this a multi-day race on the ARWS circuit. An expedition race in this arena is guaranteed to be relentless, much more so than shorter races. New teams won’t have a reference to gauge what that means, but those that have done an ARWS race before, expect it. It’s what they signed up for.
In my first ARWS race in Belize, The Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge in 2018, I remember saying that it was the hardest thing I’d ever done followed by the hardest thing I had ever done and so on and so on… I kept wondering, “When is this going to ease up?” After the foggy, pitch-dark paddle through rapids with our bikes strapped in the canoe, I thought it couldn’t get more challenging, but it did… continually… until we found ourselves on the last leg of the race rock scrambling between rapids that had too much water to wade through, but too little water to make use of the inflated packraft that we’d been toting around. After that race, I had a new gauge for what HARD means to me and I discovered how much I can do… I discovered thisABILITY!
That was my introduction to ARWS races and EVERY one thereafter has been just as relentless. For ATR, the sun might have come out, but the race will continue to dish out what ARWS races are known for!