This year, Team Gear Junkie/WEDALI became the first team in the history of adventure racing to win both U.S. National Championship races. In September, they nabbed the title in the Checkpoint Tracker National Championship by whitewater rafting, trail running, mountain biking, orienteering, and riverboarding through 110 miles of West Virginia's wilds for 29 hours—20 hours of which included rain. In October, they grabbed the United States Adventure Racing Association’s 2012 National Championship by canoeing, trail running, mountain biking, and oreinteering over 27 hours to beat 54 other teams in the Catskills of New York. The team raced in more than 20 events on the way to their two national championships, which meant enduring a lot of inconveniences. "[There were] lots of minor things—cuts, bruises, bee stings," says Team Gear Junkie founder Stephen Regenold. "Vomiting is always going to be a part of this sport, too, in some races."
There were also more serious illnesses and accidents, like heat stroke for one member, which led to a did not finish in a California race. Regenold got into adventure racing 10 years ago so he could use the events as the ultimate testing ground for gear. He has since used his experiences to write reviews for The Gear Junkie and Outside. Lately, though, racing has become a bit more of an obsession for him. We called him up to find out more about his favorite pastime, by the numbers.
21: Races competed in by Team Gear Junkie, which includes 10 members divided into two branches: Team Gear Junkie/WEDALI, which won both national championships, and Team Gear Junkie/Yoga Slackers.
10: Races of 24 hours or more.
17: Races won by Team Gear Junkie in 2012 as they racked up more than 1,000 miles of trail running, paddling, orienteering, and riverboarding.
356 + 481: One of the many math equations a teammate made Regenold do while paddling the final leg of the 30-hour Stubborn Mule adventure race in Wisconsin, his toughest challenge. "I was hallucinating and half-asleep as we pushed through the night," says Regenold. The mental exercise worked. Regenold didn't doze off during the eight-hour paddle and his team won the race.
1: Giant celebratory group bike ride the team did around Minneapolis after flying home following their second national championship. It was the first step toward next year's ultimate goal, winning the seven-day, 400-plus-mile Patagonian Expedition Race in Chile, where they took third place in 2012.