Teams to Watch at the 2023 Endless Mountains Adventure Race

June 23, 2023

Thirty-three teams will line up at the start of the second edition of Endless Mountains Adventure Race.

/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Thirty-three teams will line up at the start of the second edition of Endless Mountains Adventure Race next week, the only US qualifier for the 2023 Adventure Racing World Championship.

Seventy percent of the field is returning from the 2022 Endless Mountains, including reigning champions Bend Racing and runners up Rib Mountain Racing. Those squads, along with Bones Adventure Racing, who had to drop out last year due to injury, will all be vying for the podium. The Bend squad is entirely different from 2022, but certainly no less capable. Alex Provost, Karine Corbeil, and Jean-Yves Dionne hail from Quebec and will be comfortable on the east coast terrain. They are joined by one of the elder statesmen of the Bend squad, Dan Staudigal of Oregon.

On Rib Mountain Racing, Tim Buchholz and Anna Nummelin return for a second year, joined by Jarrod Shoemaker, 2009 ITU Duathlon World Champion, and Joel Ford, who won the 2018 USARA Championship as part of the Rootstock Racing team. For Bones, Roy Malone and Mari Chandler are likewise returning; they welcome longtime teammate James Galipeau and Jesse Tubb, who was also part of the 2018 USARA nationals-winning team, to their Endless Mountains squads. Both Tubb and Ford are local to the Mid-Atlantic race scene, bringing valuable experience and muscle memory for this navigation-heavy event.

Pushing them will be two Canadian teams, Visit Penticton – BC Wild and Salomon Canada, both new to the Endless Mountains. Visit Penticton – BC Wild, hailing from British Columbia, includes Nathalie Long, race director of ARWS qualifier Expedition Canada; navigators Loic Letailleur and Peter Watson; and Jeff Sherstobitoff, who is lining up for his first expedition race. Coming from Canada’s other coast, Salomon Canada includes three veteran expedition racers in Scott Ford, who raced on the second-place team at 2019’s Eco-Challenge Fiji, and Pete Cameron and Leanne Mueller, both now living in the foothills of the French Alps. They are joined by ace paddler Angus Doughty.

There are several more US teams who will no doubt have their eyes on mixing it up in the top five. Keep an eye on No Complaints, featuring Doug Ritzert, Brandon Hopkins, Jennifer Debruyn, and rising star Amanda Bohley, as well as Chris Von Ins, Michele Hobson, Earl Blanchard, and Susan Alderman of Team Checkpoint Zero, racing in memory of their longtime teammate and expert navigator, Peter Jolles. Jolles passed away in a packrafting accident last summer, the same week that the inaugural Endless Mountains Adventure Race took place. Noticeably absent from this list is Team Untamed New England/VERT, who recently had to withdraw from the event due to injury.

Rootstock Racing events are known for technical navigation, and Endless Mountains is no exception. Unlike many traditional multi-day adventure races that use checkpoints to curate an expansive journey, Endless Mountains offers racers the chance to test the limits of their map skills, requiring near constant route choice and precision navigation. Paraphrasing Lars Bukkehave, part of the 2022 winning Bend Racing squad, there are no ‘gimme checkpoints.’ The focus and attention to detail is unrelenting. I loved it.

This unique style will certainly privilege racers with experience in the dense forests and more subtle terrain of the northeastern United States, and there are a number of such teams that will no doubt be ready to capitalize on any mistakes at the top of the field to climb in the standings. In this group, teams to watch include Adventure Addicts Racing, Only Mostly Lost, and Wildlings, all seasoned teams who are known for executing smart and strategic race plans. Adventure Enablers, with three racers returning from 2022, has had a breakout 2023 season so far, and they likely also come into this event with high ambitions. Finally, Team ThisAbility is no doubt looking to play spoiler, particularly against the likes of Adventure Addicts Racing, whose roster for this event includes Chip Dodd, co-captain of the ThisAbility squad.

In the all-male division, expect to see Adventure Enablers/Enabled Tracking, Trust the Compass, and Chaos Required pushing the field early. All three include racers who completed the 2022 edition of Endless Mountains. In Trust the Compass, Jason Glenn and Jason Madey are joined by Jared Krefski and Kristian Randt, both longtime participants in shorter events whose performance has elevated considerably in recent years. Other returning teams in this division include Skills Optional Racing and Edge of the Wild, both of whom successfully completed the 2022 course. This division is rounded out with Blazing Paddles, traveling to Pennsylvania from the southeast, and Up Hill Both Ways, crossing the border from the Ontario area.

There are two all-female teams lining up at the start: BiPolar, named for their cross-hemispheric origins, and Ubuntu, a word and African philosophy that translates both as “humanity” and “I am because we are.” In addition to demonstrating creativity in their team names, the women that comprise these rosters bring deep experience in endurance pursuits and strong team dynamics, creating for prognosticators an exciting degree of uncertainty in predicting a winner.

The Endless Mountains also includes a mixed-open division, for mixed-gender teams made up of two or three members. Here, Team Nerdquist returns to try to defend their 2022 title. Cousins Val and Russ Nordquist have spent more time than almost anyone in the field bushwhacking through Pennsylvania’s remote forests, perhaps rivaled only by Team Gung Ho, also in this division. Jay and Penny Zech, owners of Gung Ho Bikes in York, PA, along with longtime teammate Kevin Lint, collectively bring decades of racing to the course, and a well-honed sense of humor to accompany that experience. They are looking to improve upon their performance in 2022 and should definitely be taken seriously.

This year’s team list also includes a mashup of several rosters from the 2022 edition – including The NorthStar, GOALS ARA Masters, and 5060 Adventure, all with plenty of experience to successfully negotiate this course – and a number of racers stepping up to the multiday distance for the first time. Watch 3ROC AR, Bluebolt/Rockhop Racing, Epic Nav, Moonhowlers, Texas Pride, Two Thorns and Tenderfoot, and Who Dis tackle the challenges of expedition racing with the grit and grace emblematic of so many adventure racers.

The 2023 Endless Mountains Adventure Race begins Monday, June 26 at 10:00am EST. For more information, visit the Endless Mountains website. During race week, you can find expansive coverage here. Live tracking, presented by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is available here.