Segger tackles Southern Traverse 

No sleep for six-day adventure race

Jen Segger is nervous. She is physically and mentally prepared, she’s peaking in her training cycle, and she’s excited to get going. But she’s also extremely nervous, and with good reason.

In November, Segger is heading to New Zealand to participate in the Southern Traverse, one of the longest and most spectacular adventure races in the world. The course, which is kept a secret until the day before the race gets underway, will be between 400 and 450 kilometres in length, and take anywhere from five to six days, going non-stop, to complete.

She will run along beaches, paddle kayaks on the ocean and on rivers, trek and mountain bike through forests and mountains, use rope skills to navigate cliffs and canyons, and more, accompanied by a group of three other Canadians.

The one thing she won’t be doing is sleeping. The group is planning to limit sleep to less than an hour a day, with the odd 15 minute catnap when an opportunity presents itself.

"Once a week I’ve been training through the night in Vancouver to learn to deal with the sleep monsters when they come," said Segger. "I don’t know how well that’s going to play into a six-day race, but I’m going to find out."

This is only Segger’s second year in competitive adventure racing, and her longest race was about 36 hours. The Southern Traverse is almost four times longer than that.

Still, she feels prepared. She has been training three to four hours a day all summer, has participated in several adventure races, and is used to being active at night.

"The appeal is just to see what your body can do. You want to see mentally and physically how far you can be pushed," she said.

Segger has done most of her shorter adventure races with a group from Vancouver, although she has recently branched out with other teams. She did the qualifier for the U.S. championships in Michigan this year with a group of racers she hadn’t met until she got there.

Her bio is posted on a few adventure racing sites, and because women are always in demand by teams, her teammates for the Southern Traverse sought her out. Segger said she had to think about the offer for about two weeks before accepting – flying yourself and three crates of gear half-way around the world is an expensive proposition.

She has only met one of the members of her team who lives in Vancouver, and has spoken on the phone with the other two members in Kamloops and Ontario. Two members of the team are experienced navigators, one is an experienced mountain bike racer and mechanic, and one has already done the Southern Traverse.

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