The 4th Rev3Adventure Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race starts Thursday and this year's edition is sure to provide the highest level of competition previously seen at any Cowboy Tough or any Rev3 adventure race for that matter. It could also be the most competitive ARWS race this year.
After having won the first 3 editions, you can bet your bottom dollar we won't be going down without a fight. The team will be comprised of Mari Chandler (2 time winner of CT), Garret Bean (1 time winner of CT), guest racer James Galipeau (more on him below) and me (undefeated at CT / 3 time winner). This roster is by far the strongest team I have been on for a Cowboy Tough race. Don't get me wrong I had strong teammates for each of the past events (Bob Miller (3rd place at ARWC), Karen Lundgren (3rd place at ARWC), Abby Broughton, Jason Popilky (4th place at ARWC)) but this team has some increased horsepower and personally I have never come into Cowboy Tough as fit as I will be next week. I have typically had a short build going into this race (ie 2 weeks post 8 day Expedition Alaska last year), but I have had injury free and focused training the past 14 weeks.
For those keeping score at home. That is $15,000 collected from Cameco (huge thanks!), and essentially a lifetime supply of PowerBars that may or may not be past their 'best by' date. (Yuck!). That is big money in terms of USA adventure racing paychecks!
2016 is here and we want to make it $20,000, Cameco! How are we going to do that? 3 ways...
Garret Bean is competing in his first AR of the year. He is itching to get back out on the race course since winning USARA Nationals in October. It's been 13 months since he raced in an expedition race (1st place at ARWS Expedition Alaska). But that doesn't mean 'Bean' is not ready to go. He has been enjoying the hot dry trails of Southern California and raced a number of MTB events. Not only does Garret add horsepower to our roster, he adds a strong mental game in both his ability to drive a team and keep teammates awake with his non-stop hilarity! Garret has been purposely keeping a few stories from me in order to have a full arsenal of humor for night 3 of Cowboy Tough!
Mari (pronounced MARY) has been training full time this year. Since GodZone, Mari has been attacking the National Ultra Endurance Series which is comprised of 100 mile MTB races across the country. With top results at both the Cohutta 100 and the Lumberjack 100 she is currently leading the series in the open (PRO) woman's category, and she is using the Tatanka 100 as a little warm up tomorrow! We love Mari. She also has been getting out for some long hikes in the mountains, but Mari doesn't broadcast her accomplishments, and it is this non-nonchalant attitude that keeps our team grounded and focused on what is really important to all of us...pushing ourselves to achieve the best possible team result we can achieve while keeping a smile on our face. I don't think it's a secret anymore, but Mari has been for years (in my opinion) the best (YES, #1) female expedition racer in the world series. Bones and DART-NUUN had been doing a pretty good job of keeping it a secret. ;). I personally love racing with Mari. She is the yin to my yang, and has the best snacks. A little know fact is that Mari eats 1/4 of the food she packs for a race with the race going to her teammates.
We are really excited to race with James. We have raced against him for years and have been attracted to his non-stop positivity and knack for always wearing 2 (sometimes 3) backpacks. We had a simple theory that if we didn't have to carry our backpacks, we could go much faster. So we figured we would ask James to join us with the clear task of carrying our backpacks! Seems logical, right? In all seriousness we know James is ready to fit into the program and has experience racing at the Cowboy Tough.
So who is this guy that is on loan to us from Team Canada AR (thanks, guys!)?
James didn’t start his outdoor adventure pursuits until 2000 when he moved to Ottawa. Since then, he’s spent most of his time and energy honing his AR skills in the hills of nearby Gatineau Park in Quebec, where he runs, paddles, and mountain bikes in the summertime, and cross-country skis and snowshoes in the winter.
In addition to adventure racing, James has also completed the Trans Rockies 7-day mountain bike race (twice), the K2O 125-mile paddling race, and the 2-day, 100-mile Canadian Ski Marathon (5 times), in which participants camp out overnight in bivvys in the frigid mid-February Canadian weather.
James not only competes in AR, he also studies it. He has a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology and a Ph.D. in Education and has conducted research on the dynamics of small groups, as well as the psychological skills used by experienced expedition-length adventure racers.
Competed in over 20 expedition-length races (3+days)
Competed in 9 ARWS races since 2009, including 3 AR World Championships
2nd – 2016 Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge (ARWS)
3rd – 2012 Sting in Stirling (ARWS)
4th – 2011 Raid the North Extreme
1st – 2015 UltimateXC 60km Ultra, Quebec, Canada
1st – 2012 & 2013 E2C 24-hour Orienteering Race, Halifax, Canada
1st – 2012 Hot Summer Nights 24-hour MTB – Duo Male. Ontario, Canada
3rd – 2014 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50km Ultra, Bear Mountain, NY
The hay is in the barn, my bike and gear is already in Casper, I've memorized every trail w/i a 300 mile radius of the start line and Mari's RV is moving west. We will receive our maps on Wednesday, race starts Thursday and race finishes before midday next Sunday. Aaron Johnson will be out on the course with us reporting back via our Facebook page all next week. Let's have some fun! In the words of Kathy Lynch what we have done so far at past Cowboy Tough races is "donkey speed."