When the race got underway last Sunday, there were 13 teams in the field, but as the week progressed, it became increasingly evident that this was a two team race. Teams Thule and Seagate jumped out to early leads, and never looked back as they pursued one another through the backcountry all week long. In the end, it was the international team of Thule that crossed the finish line first, with the Kiwi's of Seagate claiming second place. Team Bones, an all American squad, took third, rounding out the podium.
While the course was most certainly a challenging one, the race organizers were keen on making it fair as well. As a result, all the teams that entered the race also completed it, although some finished unranked due to dropping a teammate along the way. A few were short coursed as well, but it is rare in adventure racing to have all the teams cross the finish line, as inevitably it seems that some get caught in a time cut-off or physically can't continue. It's a testament to the race organizers that they put together a course that is, by all accounts beautiful and very tough, but was still fun and fair for the racers.
Speaking of the finish line, I teased a few times this week that the race had a unique finish in store for the racers and that turned out to be very accurate. The final leg of the race, as you'll see in the video below, was a steep trek up to Silver Mountain Resort, which just so happened to be holding its Silver Mountain Blues & Brews music festival at the same time that the teams were finishing. As a result, there were more than 2000 fans on hand to welcome them home, giving the finish line a feel that is very different from most expedition length races like this one. It seems the racers apprec
iated the reception, as I'm told many of them stayed around to enjoy the atmosphere, even after they had been racing all week long.
By all accounts, Expedition Idaho was a very successful race, especially considering this was its inaugural run. I'm told that logistics went very smoothly and teams arrived at Checkpoints and Transition Areas, to find their gear boxes waiting for them and often hot food available as well. There are already plans in place for the race to return in 2012, with some great ideas on how to enhance the event even further and provide new, unique experiences for racers and fans alike.
Congratulations to all the teams of course, but also the staff that put on the race. You should all be very proud of what you've accomplished. Now go get some rest. I'm sure you sill have a lot of sleep to catch up on!
Update: Here is the official rankings for all the teams in the race.
4) Light & Motion
4A) Team Gear Junkie/Yogaslackers
5) Team SOG
6) Team Gramicci
7) Team Florida Xtreme
9) Gung Ho
10) Topo Adventure Sports
11) Train Chicago Studios
12) Team Idaho