Of the almost 40 teams to take part in the Full Moon in June adventure race in Sundre, Alberta two weeks ago, only 18 managed to complete the race without losing a member along the way.
One of those groups was Team Go Big! which is comprised of three Vancouver athletes, Don Barthel, Rick St. Pierre and Toim Jarecki, and Whistlers own Jen Segger. Together they trekked, paddled and cycled 180 kilometres 27 hours to finish the race ranked third overall.
"Ive been training with this group for about the past six months and this was our first race together as a team," said Segger, who at 23 is one of the youngest women in the sport. "It was in the foothills of the Rockies, which we learned were actually huge, not hills at all really. It was up and down the whole time and a lot harder than we thought."
The race began at midnight under a full moon with a brisk 28 km trail run and trek.
Team Go Big was strong from the start, and were in first place by more than 10 minutes at the end of the first stage.
"We were there hours before our support crew expected us. They were still sleeping when we rolled in," recalled Segger.
The top-five teams then had to wait for the sun to come up before they could get into their boats and tackle a 33 km section of the Red Deer River with mixed class two class three rapids. Go Big was in second place after this section, but had the leaders in their sights at the transition.
Following the raft section the teams embarked on an 80 km mountain bike leg, which was extremely steep and technical. For several sections the riders had to put their bikes over their shoulders and haul themselves up cliff faces.
Thats when the team got into trouble, Segger says.
"One of our teammates got heatstroke out there, which slowed us down a little bit, and navigation was pretty tough," she said. "(Our teammate) was great about it and didnt want to give up, but we did have to take it easy for a while until he could recover enough to keep going. Thats where we lost most of our time and a lot of other groups caught up to us."
Go Big dropped from second into fifth place, and was more than three hours behind the lead team when they hit the zip line over the Red Deer River. The group had practiced its rope techniques, and actually made up two spots before losing them again as they biked to the next transition.
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