Team Veteran Leader culminated their 2003 racing season by placing
second in the USA Supreme Adventure Race.
The Four Winds USA Supreme Adventure
Race, presented by The North Face®, (the largest event of its kind in
the US) ran 400 miles through Wasatch County, Summit County, Utah County
and Duchesne County.
was a classic expedition-level adventure competition with national and
international competitors in which participants navigated, orienteered
hiked, trail-ran, paddled swam, kayaked, climbed mountain-biked,
power-parachuted and horseback rode through stunning visual backdrops of
wild natural beauty in and around the mountainous regions surrounding
Park City and beyond.
The team dedicated
the race to SSGT James Cawley, a reserve Marine from Lincoln, UT who was
killed in action on 29 March 03 near Nasiriyah, Iraq. SSGT Cawley
was a Salt Lake City Police Officer, SWAT team member, and consummate
citizen and the team felt privileged to represent him. This was
further reinforced when two of Cawley's fellow officers, Mark Schuman
and Andrew Jacson, met up with the team before the race.
The event sponsor,
the North Face, provided excellent race coverage throughout the event.
Video and pictures of the race can be found at
Check back later for
more pictures and a full race summary by the team.
Here is some local media coverage
of the team in action:
Foursome of U.S
Soldiers Race to Honor America's Heroes
Aug. 14, 2003
Sammy Linebaugh Reporting
It's like summer camp on steroids,
a 400-mile contest of skill, will and stamina designed to push the
boundaries of human endurance and exploit man's natural instinct to
compete and conquer.
For a foursome of U.S soldiers
adventure racing is also a way to honor America's heroes.
Sgt. Bob Haines, Colorado Springs,
Colo. Resident: “Every race that we do, we dedicate to a fallen
comrade from the state we race in.”
This race, they say, this
soldier's story, is different. His name is Staff Sgt. James Cawley, a
Utah husband and father of two killed in Iraq last March during
Operation Enduring Freedom.
Gayle Hoffmeister, Littleton,
Colo. Resident: "My husband leaves a week after this race to go to
Kuwait, and that's hard for me, reading his story, and knowing he left
a wife and two children."
Maj. Marc Hoffmeister, Littleton,
Colo. Resident: "Racing for a soldier who died a few months ago in an
operation I'm deploying to in a few weeks, it's definitely a very
An emblem was presented to the
Colorado team last night by Sgt. Cawley's former partner on the Salt
Lake City police force. With the patch to remind them of their
purpose, they join nearly 100 adventurers who this morning set out to
tame Utah's backcountry -- trekking, climbing, even power parachuting
across the state's rugged terrain.
For the next five to seven days
they'll be on the move all but a few hours a night. They pack enough
food and water to last them about 12 hours at a time, about
four-thousand calories. Not a lot when you consider they're burning 10
to 12-thousand calories a day.
Capt. Michael Tschanz, Lakewood,
Colo. Resident: "When we're really sucking things really hard we're
gonna think about why we're doing this, and if for some reason we
didn't finish the race and we're racing in his honor, it would almost
feel like we had let him down."
And so, they push on mindful of
the man they hope we'll all remember and the mission that lay ahead
August 12, 2003
Park City, UT
Updated: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - 5:37:44 PM MST
race comes to Park City
Nearly 100 people surrounding Park City will be wandering around
suffering from sleep deprivation, starvation and dehydration.
No, it is not a weather phenomenon, a mass prison breakout, or a
Boy Scout Jamboree gone mad. It is the North Fac /Four Winds
Adventure Race and the best part is that it isn't cheap to
suffer this badly, most of the participants will have paid
thousands of dollars for the privilege.
The North Face/Four Winds event will have two separate
'adventure' races going concurrently this week. One will be a
400-mile monster, an 'expedition' style race that will have the
competitors suffering to an extent that only going off to war
could emulate. The other, is a slightly more sedate 150-mile
'outdoor industry challenge' that should 'only' involve three
days of no sleep and exhaustion.
Gayle Hoffmeister of Team Veteran
Leader, from Denver, Colo., checks her climbing gear
Tuesday morning at Park City Moutain Resort. The
four-person team is competitng in memory of USMC Staff
Sergent James Cawley, who was killed on March 29, in
Both of these races are a part of a new phenomenon in the
extreme sports world. 'Adventure racing' has become the catch
phrase for this new sport, and Park City with its outdoor
diversity and beauty is quickly becoming one of the sport's
favorite destinations. In the last three years there have been
at least four of these races crossing the Wasatch, including the
recent MXTri held here in July.
And the sport's popularity is growing.
Adventure racing first gained notoriety in the U.S with the
very first Eco-Challenge here in Utah, a 400-mile epic that
included just about every adventure sports element Utah has to
offer. Organized by Mark Burnett of "Survivor fame, it was given
a less than lukewarm reception by the environmental watchdog
groups, but the sport has since grown up, and the understanding
and acceptance of it as a legitimate outdoor pursuit is growing.
In the process, adventure racing has is created an explosion
in demand for lightweight, competition-oriented outdoor gear,
and the outdoor industry is eagerly responding. Companies like
Golite, North Face and even Nike will spend a significant
portion, if not all of their marketing budgets trying to attract
the new 'multi-sport' customer. The sport has become a driving
force in how new outdoor products are designed, and has
re-invigorated an industry that has been lagging along with the
rest of the economy.
That is why for this edition of the race the organizers
decided to create the shorter "Industry Challenge. As part of
the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show taking place this week in Salt
Lake City, the 'industry-only' race will run for 150 miles
instead of the full 400, but it will still offer many of the
same challenges as its larger sibling. The only elements that
will be missing other than the extra distance, are piloting
motorized parachute and horseback riding sections. The industry
challenge will be broadcast daily to all the attendees of the
Outdoor Retailer show at the Salt Palace.
For the uninitiated, adventure racing can be a bit slow and
confusing, and to watch it in real time can be a bit like
watching something explode in slow motion. But in its distilled
televised version it brings in great ratings, and is credited
for starting the 'reality television' explosion. Reality shows
like CBS's Amazing Race are modeled after Mark Burnett's
Eco-Challenge, and the sport has grown from just three major
races around the world, to over 350 races just in the U.S this
The elements of an adventure race usually include most
non-motorized adventure sports indigenous to an area -- map and
compass navigation, trekking, mountain biking and paddling take
up the majority of the race's distance. In order to make things
a bit more exiting, most adventure races will also include other
'adventure' elements, such as scuba diving, skydiving, camel
riding, caving, white water rafting, competitors have even been
known to try their hand at fishing if they run out of food. For
this week's Four Winds event, participants will have to ride
horses, climb up and rapel down rock walls, and fly with
To be considered an official finisher the entirety of the
course must be completed by every team member, so the challenge
is not only just to get through 400 miles of torture, but also
to help and encourage up to three soon to be former friends to
do the same. In the larger races, a finishing rate of fewer than
20 percent of the entrants is not uncommon.
The risks of an adventure race are many, the likelihood of
finishing is remote, and for most the financial cost is high. So
why do so many people subject themselves to the expense and
torture of adventure racing? The most common answer given by the
participants is to surpass their own expectations, and to find
the limits of their endurance in a monitored and reasonably safe
environment. Like most adrenaline-driven sports, the sense of
accomplishment in just finishing can be addictive. But for most
of the competitors in this week's North Face/Four Winds
Adventure Race it will be the largest and most daunting
challenge they will ever face, and they will have to be content
© 1999-2003 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Adventure racing reaches bigger, better pinnacles
Supreme Adventure Challenge puts athletes in parachutes and skates
Thr, Aug 21, 2003
PARK CITY -- The North
Face United Kingdom team won the largest adventure race ever to hit the
Wasatch Front, finishing less than an hour before midnight Tuesday.
The second place team
is about 30 hours behind as Veteran Leader was expected to finish early
this morning. Teams will still be straggling in today as the most unusual
adventure race ever held in the Wasatch Front draws to a close.
The Four Winds Supreme
Adventure Challenge included flying in a powered parachute, in-line
skating through the town of Park City while looking for items described on
a clue sheet and building a raft from forest deadfall to use to float the
team"s gear across Shadow Lake.
""Adventure racing has
found its niche, but we"re all about exploding that. We"re changing the
way people look at adventure racing," said Bill Lionberger, co-owner of
the organizing company, Four Winds Adventures.
Of the 28 teams in the
race, about half did the two-day Outdoor Industry Challenge (OIC), which
concluded on the final day of last weekend"s Outdoor Retailer show. All
teams competed together on the shorter course; the "Supreme" racers then
continued for three to four days more on the longer course. Teams could be
two or four people, single or mixed gender.
The OIC race concluded
in a deliberate tie between two elite, two-person teams that chose to come
in together. Park City adventure star Isaac Wilson and teammate Billy
Mattison joined up with the Outside Magazine team of Paul Romero and Karen
Lundgren; both teams were awarded first place.
"We did a lot of
battling back and forth for the first 24 hours. We had more horsepower,
but they were making very clever navigational choices, so we decided to
team up,"" Wilson said.
A team racing the
longer course has local ties. The Veteran Leader team is racing in honor
of Staff Sargent James Cawley. Cawley, who lived in Layton, was killed in
Iraq on March 29.
"We found it
appropriate to honor a soldier by racing in the state he grew up in. We
thought that by coming here and racing in honor of Sgt. Cawley, it would
let his friends and family know that there are other soldiers out there,
and that we don"t forget,"" said Marc Hoffmeister, of Littleton, Co.
The Veteran Leader
team is made up of four military veterans, including Hoffmeister"s wife,
The race had a mixture
of traditional adventure race wilderness events: kayaking, paddling across
a lake, orienteering, biking, running and climbing; but it also added
In the in-line skating
portion - where those who were not good skaters could choose to use a
scooter - competitors scrambled from point to point, having to find a
target landmark before being given their next clue. Those who wished could
walk, but since wheels are always faster than feet, walking was a time
The most unusual leg
was the powered parachute portion. A simple light aircraft with a throttle
and foot controls that turned the craft left or right, and a motor that
inflated a parachute, took one member of each team high enough to spot a
designated target. The airborne team member then guided the rest of the
team to the site.
By the second day, the
North Face team, all of whom are from England, had a comfortable 15-hour
Keith Byrne explained
that experience helps, but nothing is sure in adventure racing.
"That much time is a
lot for other teams to make up, but you"ll never hear us say we"ve won
until we are all across the finish line. There are so many things that can
go wrong, and potentially will,"" he said.
Byrne said that the
most important thing in adventure racing is that everyone on a team like
and respect each other. "Because when you"re out for the fourth night on a
run and you"ve had an hour and a half sleep a night, you see the ugly side
of everybody. It will come out, there"s no hiding it."" said Helen
Jackson, the only woman on the North Face team. "For most teams, each
person has a specialty, that"s the same for us. I"m the one that keeps
going, I carry on and never stop.""
Byrne is the
motivator, the one who keeps the positive attitude going. Ski Sharp (his
real name) is the technician; he makes sure the bikes are fine-tuned and
all the gear is ready to go. Chris McSweeny is the navigator; he
constantly checks the maps for reference points. Teams have to pass
specific designated reference points, or they will be disqualified.
Each team"s progress
is checked by personal global positioning systems issued by the
organizers. At each transition point, where teams finish one section and
get ready to begin another, the GPS is turned in, downloaded via computer
onto a map, and examined. The GPS, which makes location marks every
minute, literally marks each team"s path along the map.
Teams can take a short
cut, if they think it will work, as long as they pass each reference
"But sometimes a short
cut can add a lot of time, so you have to know what you"re doing,"" said
Karen Livesay, co-owner of Four Winds.
Gayle Hoffmeister of
Veteran Leader enjoys racing with her husband. ""It"s the next best thing
to any kind of marriage counseling that anyone could ever have,"" she
Husband Marc said this
particular race was an emotional one for both he and Gayle. He will deploy
to the Iraqi theater of operations one week after he finishes the race.
"So it"s like a
goodbye party for me,"" he said.
Ogden Publishing Corporation
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