2006 Primal Quest Utah|
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
With just under four days to go until the gun goes off on Sunday at 6:00 a.m., full-speed commotion has commenced here at Primal Quest headquarters at the Red Cliffs Lodge, located in the Colorado River valley fifteen miles northeast of Moab, Utah. Gear check, which includes registration of the extensive equipment required for 500 miles of non-stop trekking, canyoneering, mountain biking, paddling, riverboarding, and horse-back riding begins tomorrow for some teams, and others will check-in on Friday and Saturday. Racers will come together for the first time for a pre-race dinner at Red Cliffs on Saturday afternoon, and the pre-race meeting and map distribution will take place shortly thereafter. Competitors will then have a few hours to finalize gear choices and organization while simultaneously tackling map and navigation preparations before loading a bus late Saturday night and heading to the start of the race Sunday morning. In the spirit of expedition adventure racing, the start location, like the remainder of the course, has not been disclosed by the Primal Quest organization.
Most teams are in and around Moab now, and competitors can be found camping on the lawn at Red Cliffs, organizing gear, shopping at Moab's only grocery store (which I predict may run out of energy bars very shortly), attempting acclimatize to the heat and altitude that will be experienced on the course, and scouting possible routes in the area. While trekking in the LaSalle Mountains this morning, I encountered Team Deliverance from the UK and Missouri's Team Dynamic Earth. Both squads were in good spirits as they climbed towards the 12,791-foot Mount Beale as preparation for the toils ahead.
Particularly attractive about adventure racing are the sport's international nature and community-oriented attitude. Primal Quest features teams from twenty countries, and most of the top professional teams in the world are present. Deliverance's Lesley Taylor commented on the atmosphere: "The international community is great. Although we're a mid-pack team, we look forward to watching the top Brits in the field go for the win." Mikael Nordstrom, Captain of the Swedish Team Halti and race director for the 2006 Adventure Racing World Championship in Sweden, added, "It's going to be hot and hard, and we don't expect many teams to finish."
Follow Dirtworld.com for daily Primal Quest Race reports beginning June 25.
Travis Macy is a member of Team Spyder Adventure Racing (www.spyder.com/adventurerace) and is sponsored by GoFAR World Class Adventure Podcasts (www.gofarpodcast.com)