Despite making more than an hour's worth of mistakes, Team Honey Stinger, with Steamboat Springs resident Scott Murrell, recently won the fifth annual Durango AdventureXstream Adventure Race.
Murrell teamed with Paul Maniaci, Jerimiah Reiner and Carol Quinn, a 44-year-old grandmother, to win the four-person race in 18 hours, 54 minutes. The group covered a 100-mile course, testing themselves and each other in trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, navigating and completing a 250-foot Tyrolean traverse.
The victory qualifies the team for the national championships in November in Tampa, Fla.
"We were extremely far ahead," Murrell said. "This was one of the first times a four-person team had beaten the solo racers."
Without teammates, solo racers are able to move much quicker through the course, but Team Honey Stinger proved too tough to beat.
"We probably won because of our navigation," Murrell said. "It was a midnight start, and they gave us six checkpoints at the start. We ended up winning in the first 30 minutes."
The team, led by Maniaci, navigated the six points before taking off from the start. The night trek took teams high into the San Juan Mountains.
"A lot of teams dropped out because of the difficulty," Murrell said. "There were a lot of time penalties assessed."
The Durango Ad----ventureXstream Adventure Race offered competitors 60- or 100-mile courses designed to test team dynamics and individual mental and physical strength. The racers compete through the night and into the next day.
Team Honey Stinger was the first team through the navigation and trekking portion and held on for the remainder of the event. The second-place team, Team Boulder, was 59 minutes behind Team Honey Stinger. The third-place team, Team.Zorrel.com was more than three hours behind Team Honey Stinger. Team BagelWorks and Team Solomon/SmartWool also took part, and several other Steamboat residents were on adventure racing teams.
"We left before anyone else crossed the line," Murrell said.
And Team Honey Stinger didn't compete with its full team. Quinn replaced regular team member Keri Nelson, who was sick with walking pneumonia. Nelson, Murrell and Maniaci will be part of the national team, and Quinn will serve as an alternate.
"We will be one of the top teams because we won," Murrell said.
Murrell said he was unsure why the qualifiers involved four people -- three men and one woman -- while the national event allows just three people -- one woman and two men.
Quinn, Reiner, Nelson and Maniaci are from the Gunnison area.
"It's a young team," Murrell said. "And we ended up winning the whole thing."
Breckenridge is hosting another adventure racing national qualifier in several weeks. Between Utah and Colorado there are just three qualifiers, Murrell said, so placing high in Durango was important.
Big Agnes, Orange Peel Bicycle Shop, Princeton Tech Lights and Loki serve as product sponsors for the team, but its members are seeking financial help for the national competition. Races cost at least $1,000 to enter.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org