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Saturday, October 7, 2000 - Sunday, October 8, 2000 -- Lynchburg, VA
Odyssey One Day Adventure Race
Article by Dawn Taylor

[Details] [Coverage]

Shane Nachin
"Everyday race" for Shane Nachin
"The Longest Day in History"

With his coat literally in tatters and dirt covering his face, Shane Nachin looked more like he had a tussle with a mountain lion rather than a bike, trek, rappel, bushwhack and paddle through the Blue Ridge Mountains. "Just a normal, everyday race," he satirically commented as he stood at the finish line.

The Odyssey-One Day Adventure Race, which was held in Big Island, VA on October 7 - 8 during the peak of it's colorful change of season, has a reputation for conquering its competitors. Forty-nine teams began the race, with a course that is now longer and harder than ever before. At the end of what John Hyde from team UNC called the "longest day in history," 6 teams would have finished within the official time limit. Seven more teams would finish beyond the cutoff or after taking a modified course. Racers come expecting this. Tough as nails soloist Al Fuller, who was down-for-the-count after a bike crash, said in his thick New Jersey accent, "You come out to play, you play hard. You go down, you take your lumps and come back next time."

Zip Line
A chilly zip line across the James River
The race began with a surprise 1000' assault on Suck Mountain (no kidding) with teams gathering their passports at the summit. As they returned to the Promise Land camp less than an hour later to get on their bikes, they found the atmosphere had changed dramatically. They had left in the last rays of light to the tunes of Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The Sky is Crying" and returned to cold, total darkness with the eerie sound of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" filling the air. All to be seen were the 104 flashing red bike lights. OK, so Don Mann has a way setting the tone for his devilish races. This one was no different.

Through the night, racers biked, climbed, bushwhacked and hiked over miles of Blue Ridge horse trails and fire roads - Some getting lost, like Team Rehab is for Quitters who searched for over 8 hours "for any sign of civilization." The closest they found during that time was a not-so-civilized 1940-era Ford with trees growing through it. As the sun came up, teams started out on the James River for the canoe paddle, which ended with a chilly zip line traverse into the water. Given that the average air temperature was in the low 40s, with freshly fallen snow covering the ground in some areas, several racers chose to keep their clothes dry and warm in their dry bags. ALL their clothes, that is. What could be more inspiring than a frosty zip-n-dip in the BUFF before getting back on their bikes to finish the last of the 100 miles of this brutal course.

Winners
Jeff Brandner and Team Toy Soldiers (Bill Gockeler & Scott Daal)
Tying for first place across the finish line and setting a new record time for this lengthened and restructured course was soloist Jeff Brandner, and buddies Bill Gockeler and Scott Daal of Team Toy Soldiers, all from New Jersey. They rode in side-by-side at just 18 hours 54 minutes. The trio generously offered their prize winnings to the local youth group that runs the Promise Land camp. Next up was soloist Jon Stempa, who reported "whispering" all around him and "gold necklaces lying on the trail" as he hallucinated throughout the night. Jon came in at 21 hours 47 minutes, followed by UCAR (second place winners at the last Odyssey) at 22 hours 22 minutes. To see complete results Click here: The Odyssey One Day Adventure Race.

Odyssey Adventure Racing is planning three more One-Day races in spring, summer and fall of 2001, and will be introducing whitewater swimming as one of the disciplines. Check the www.beastoftheeast.com website later this month for a full listing of all of Odyssey 2001 events, including the return of the Beast of the East, the Mega Dose and the Endorphin FIX.