Tahoe will provide challenging terrain to Primal Quest athletes | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe will provide challenging terrain to Primal Quest athletes

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

Athletes preparing for the second annual Subaru Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race have been arriving in the South Shore this week, checking out the terrain and resting up for the 400-plus miles of rugged mountains they will cover around Lake Tahoe when the race begins Friday.

One hundred teams will compete for a prize purse of $250,000 and extreme bragging rights. The coed teams of four will navigate a 400-mile course which is kept secret until race day. Elevation ranges go from 11,000 feet to nearly sea level and the competition can last up to 10 days. The disciplines involved are caving, mountain biking, hiking, rappelling, white-water paddling, flat-water paddling, night navigation, road biking and orienteering.

Over the summer, event organizers were frantically searching for a four-person “Team Tahoe”‘ and they found it, sort of. Scott Bower of Truckee will join Matt Anderson of Reno and Jessica and Tim Farrar of Washoe Valley to serve as the local team, giving them an immediate edge in competition.

Last year’s event in Telluride, Colo., featured a local Team Telluride that crossed the finish line in seventh place. The standing was unofficial since one team member dropped out due to illness.

“Team Telluride was awesome last year, super fit and really dialed into the local terrain,” said race director Dan Barger in a prepared statement.

Gordon Wright, Primal Quest public relations director, said the criteria for selecting a “Team Tahoe” was interesting.

“They had to apply and list not just their athletic background but also their environmental background,” Wright said. “We have high hopes for this team. They have to represent.

“We feel welcomed and the athletes are starting to pour into town,” he added. “Some have been here for some time acclimating to the altitude and getting to know the local people and trails. Everybody seems very excited.”

Marcella Mills of South Lake Tahoe will serve as support crew for Team Solomon North America. She said support for the athletes will consist of making food, getting their gear in order and even repairing bicycles.

“Basically, you do everything as far as facilitating them to continue the race,” Mills said, explaining her interest in adventure racing. “Two of the main (team) members held an adventure racing camp in Estes Park, Colo., last year. My friend and I attended that camp and when we heard it was coming to Tahoe we offered up our services.

“It’s going to be a great event for Tahoe,” she added. “There are world-class athletes around here from places like New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden and Australia. It’s a really cool thing that Tahoe needs to jump on the bandwagon about because it’s great publicity for outdoor recreation. Some of the best adventure racing teams in the world are here.”

Wright said that with approximately 350 athletes and another 350 making up the support crew, putting on the event requires a high degree of logistics.

“It’s like staging a college football bowl game or a major political convention or something like that,” he said. “It’s just that complicated. We have 180 volunteers and staff and approximately 40 members of the media from as far away as Poland and Sweden and Costa Rica. Plus we have a whole television crew from CBS Sports and Winnercomm out of Oklahoma. We also have a 50-person medical staff.”

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