Recently back from Peru and in no shape to race I offered my self confessed facebook creeper, twitterer and new blogger (http://walkingwandar.posterous.com) expertise to volunteer at the inaugural 24 hour adventure race Wilderness Traverse.
The information provided to racers before the race went a long way to having everything run smoothly and provide a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere on registration day. According to the racers, the course was challenging and fun. Since I didn’t do the course I can’t really write about those details with any authority. However, Harper Forbes from second place team Running Free wrote a fabulous article where all these details can be found, http://www.adventureworldmagazineonline.com/ar_updates/running-free-2nd-at-wilderness-traverse/.
Personally I had a great time sitting at headquarters warm and dry with my head in three computers and a walkie talkie at times surrounded by other enthusiastic volunteers, organizers, family members that came to support, in the comfy and truly hospitable venue of Sir Sam’s Ski and Summer Resort. The organizers were super keen on having live updates. With spot tracker, live leader board, photo albums and news feeds all on the website Wilderness Traverse Live Coverage. As well as twitter updates on the untamed from a transition point by Leanne Mueller (Twitter Untamed_ADV) and even on facebook (Facebook Wilderness Traverse). It was loads of fun and hopefully it made those of you not there feel like you were, and those of you that were you can re-live it by going to the links above and reading all the updates.
So you may wonder, why am I even writing this blog post if all I am doing is giving you links to other sites to find more information or information that you already know, Well the stuff you may not know is coming up. It seems to be an ongoing theme of mine since I started this blog and a big reason why I love AR (Heck! It’s even part of my blog name), and that’s the people. Moreover, the generosity and for lack of a better word, (although it’s a pretty good word) the love of people. As I write this wonder, why am I continuously overwhelmed by the generosity and selflessness of others. I don’t know. I’d love to give the Phil or Oprah answer and say I wasn’t loved or shown any generosity as a child, but that’s not it. The best I can do is say that maybe I was taught and believed for a long time that to be competitive you also had to be self centered and cold. In AR that’s not the case. It is about team work. Whether that is with in your own team or what I learned from this race the entire race is one big team.
Obviously organizers and volunteers all came together when racers were in trouble after a very cold and wet night and began calling in to be rescued. The medics were phenomenal. Those volunteers at TAs that had been out all night in the mosquito infested, cold and wet wilderness hung out well past the time the expected to be out there to boil water, make snacks, gather warm cloths and in some cases boats for rescues. Other volunteers at head quarters head out to pick-up stranded racers. All with little or no sleep. Not to discount that at all, they were all super. However, it was the racers that had dropped out early from dislocated shoulders and severely cut legs and those still on the course that did wonderfully unexpected things.
Nick Russon (team NaturalSelectionAR.com), with his arm in a sling followed the spot tracker keeping us as at head quarters updated with the progress. Of course, he was there to track his team but it was a huge help. Not to mention, when he went to greet his team at TA3 he brought the lost spot tracker of team to GDB to the TA, so they could start tracking again.
Bill Trayling (team The Shed Coffee Bar), who earlier in the race tripped at the paddle put in cutting his leg to the bone on a piece of glass (silly, campers), took his truck and drove around picking up Popsicle like racers from the side of the rode.
Joe Gabor (team RunningFree/BreatheMagazine), who even after a 2 hour wait at CP7 watching one team mate get progressively and the rest including himself nearing minor hypothermia still had the presence of mind to call the race director and ask if he should take the CP down. Wonderful, really.
Maybe these examples seem like little things to some of you reading this, including those that have raced, but for me these races are though, and I must say if I had dislocated my shoulder, stitches in my leg or been sitting in the cold rain for the last 3 hours I don’t think I would think to offer anything. I believe I would just get to the nearest bed and sleep and maybe cry from pain and exhaustion. I hope to one day have the chance to prove myself wrong. As for now, I am happy to have witnessed it and can’t wait to race it next year.