Over the course of three days in early October, Team Crested Butte (a C.A.M.P. sponsored elite adventure racing team from the Gunnison Valley) sealed the deal on two of their goals for the year. By winning the expedition length finale of the Adventure Xstream series (Goal #1), the team locked in the top spot as overall series winners as well (Goal #2) with first place finishes in four of the five races.
This kind of dominance usually leaves little left to tell. But for Team Crested Butte, this is not the case. The team was ecstatic after the first race where they beat Team Nike ACG, a feat they had never accomplished before. This victory would prove a stepping stone. The single day qualifying races were all extremely close, but the team pulled through victorious in every race except for the one they were forced to enter a replacement squad in while the core team navigated the mountains of Scotland at the AR World Championships.
It was unlikely going into the expedition race that the team would not finish as overall series winners. But in their ambitious fashion, the team of youngsters (perhaps the youngest ‘professional team’ on the planet) established an eight hour lead before the rest of the teams were forced to take a short course (due to a dark zone on the river) in order to cross the finish line before the deadline on Sunday. The short-coursed teams hit the river in the morning at the same time as Team Crested Butte, but they paddled a mere 16 miles to the finish. Team Crested Butte paddled 26 crossing the finish line last as the other teams cheered them on like they would an Olympic athlete taking a victory lap. As the only team fast enough to complete the course in its entirety, they clearly deserved the titles they were bestowed.
As the team now begins to turn its attention towards another strong season of randonee ski racing, they will be able to look back on their most successful adventure racing season to date. Onward we go!
Denver Post Coverage: http://www.denverpost.com/extremes/ci_7122119