Headed to Ireland for $60,000 cash prize
It was a tough start to the 2008 summer adventure racing season for Team Salomon/Crested Butte.
The team dominated the Adventure Xstream racing series last year closing with the overall points title, as well as winning the final three-day event in Moab last September.
The four-person team of Bryan Wickenhauser, Eric Sullivan, Jon Brown and Jari Kirkland opted out of competing in the entire race series this summer. Rather, they have an intense summer of traveling and competing abroad planned.
Still, with a big season on tap, the team decided to use the second race of the Xstream series in Buena Vista back in the beginning of May as a warm up.
“We were going in to use it as a tune-up race but we’re still going in to run a clean race and win the thing,” says Wickenhauser.
Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work out as well as hoped, as the team suffered its first ever “DNF”—that is, did not finish.
In a nutshell, the team got horribly lost early in the race and drastically missed a cutoff time.
“It wasn’t pleasant,” says Wickenhauser. “It was all mayhem out there and we were frazzled. We’ve never DNF’d in a race, but Kyle Petty doesn’t finish every NASCAR race.”
Despite the poor showing, Wickenhauser and the team maintained a positive attitude and are now heading into their first big challenge of the summer, The Turas in southwest Ireland.
“We DNF’d and we’re better for it,” says Wickenhauser. “Better to do it here than in Ireland.”
The Turas is a multi-day, non-supported adventure race June 14 to June 21. The course covers 650 kilometers in the southwest corner of Ireland and involves 10 different disciplines. Twenty-five percent of the course is on water, so the team has been spending some quality hours in boats in addition to their typical mix of trail running and mountain biking.
“We’ve been out paddling a ton on Blue Mesa,” says Wickenhauser. The last time Team Salomon/Crested Butte competed in a multi-day, unsupported race it was at a Primal Quest in Utah, where they finished fifth.
One huge motivation for winning the Turas is the prize money, with $60,000 cash going to the winning team.
According to Wickenhauser, the team’s confidence is at an all-time high coming into the race.
“We actually feel like we can win this one,” says Wickenhauser.
You can track the progress of Team Salomon/Crested Butte on the race website, www.theturas.com, starting June 14.