Keeping pace with Team Crested Butte in the French Alps

Women’s team looks to defend; men’s team seeks revenge

Last year Team Salomon/Crested Butte split into two teams to compete in the inaugural Salomon Mountain-X Race in the Haute Savoie region of the French Alps.

 

 

With options for an all men’s team and an all women’s team, Team Salomon/Crested Butte members Eric Sullivan, Bryan Wickenhauser and Jon Brown competed in the men’s division and Jari Kirkland represented the team in the women’s competition and called in Gretchen Reeves from Boulder, Colo. and Rebecca Rusch from Sun Valley, Idaho to join her.
The Salomon Mountain-X Race brought a unique twist to the typical adventure racing formats. While a majority of multi-day adventure races are self-supported and can involve days of sleepless racing, the Mountain-X race involved five different races in five different disciplines over five days with teams camping each night between events fully supported.
Kirkland’s team carried the Team Salomon/Crested Butte name to the top of the podium with a first-place finish, while the men’s team came home with a somewhat disappointing eighth-place finish.
This year, Team Salomon/Crested Butte will return with two separate teams to compete in the second running of the Saab Salomon Mountain-X race.
Wickenhauser and Jon Brown have called in Travis Macey to join them on the men’s side. Kirkland has brought in Lisa Lieb from Durango and Deanna Blegg of Australia to join her to defend the women’s title under the name Team Salomon/Crested Butties.
Kirkland knows Lieb from the Xterra racing circuit and met Blegg while racing in The Turas adventure race last month in Ireland.
While the three women have never raced together, Kirkland believes they all have the same goals going into the Mountain-X race.
“We’re there to win it and win some money,” says Kirkland.
The men’s team is determined to improve upon last year’s result, but realizes the format tends to favor the European teams.
“We’re coming in pissed from last year’s result,” says Wickenhauser. “The competition is going to be stiff. There are several European teams who train specifically for it.”
The race starts on Monday, July 21 with a mountaineering stage, followed by mountain biking the next day, ropes and rock climbing the third day, water sports the fourth day and adventure running and trekking the final day on Saturday, July 26.
In addition to the daily long stages, race organizers throw in a trail run every day, either before or after the main event.
“The race is definitely a lot faster-paced than most adventure races,” explains Wickenhauser. “It definitely has more of a speed element to it.”
You can track the progress of the two Team Salomon/Crested Butte squads online at www.mountainxrace.com.

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