A brand-new venue brought different obstacles for Team Lumber Liquidators, but they won the sixth-annual Adventure TEAM Challenge nonetheless. The competition - a multi-team, multi-disciplinary, adaptive adventure race - was held near Fruita for the first time ever last weekend.
With 14 teams vying for top placement, Challenge communications manager Richard Rhinehart said it wasn't an easy win for the Denver-based Liquidators. The three-day event held in Rabbit Valley necessitated both teamwork and determination. Challenge athletes also faced unpredictable obstacles, like a desert sandstorm.
According to Rhinehart, the winning team only had a 61-minute lead on their closest competitor - Team Fire Strategies, a group of firefighters from Colorado Springs. This year's competition was also the largest to date, and it featured athletes from all over the country.
"The second stage on Sunday was more difficult than Saturday's longer stage," Rhinehart said. "The teams were required to use orienteering to find checkpoints, which took some time and map-reading skills."
Rhinehart additionally said a rock climb was likely the most physically demanding aspect of the competition. One member from each team climbed a 5.7/5.8-rated sandstone climb and rung a bell at the top.
"Teams also reported the sand in the area was physically demanding, both for riding bikes and for walking," he said.
This year's event featured two military teams and its first ever all-woman team, Rhinehart said. Each five-person team had two disabled members with one being in a wheelchair. Throughout the competition, teammates were required to "pull, push, carry and assist" the wheelchair-bound athlete "through a rugged course featuring mountain biking, hiking, river rafting, orienteering, climbing and rappelling."
In previous years, this adaptive adventure race was put on near Vail. Event organizers liked this year's venue change, Rhinehart said.
"We are talking about returning to the area in 2013," he added.
The Challenge, an event featuring teamwork to overcome obstacles, was created and organized by World T.E.A.M. Sports. This national nonprofit uses athletics to break barriers for disabled and able-bodied athletes. Other events put on by World T.E.A.M. Sports includes the Face of America bicycle ride in Maryland and this summer's Sea to Shining Sea cross-country ride.
For more information, visit www.worldteamsports.org.