Local racers prepare for Adventurestream in Breck
BRECKENRIDGE – Danelle Ballengee is glad Saturday’s Adventurestream race in Breckenridge won’t involve tightrope walking.
Ballengee, who is $20,000 richer now that her team, Nike ACG-Balance Bar, won last weekend’s Ford Adventure Sports Challenge adventure race in Beaver Creek, will compete individually in the shorter and less death-defying Adventurestream that begins at Beaver Run Resort at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Although Ballengee’s team won the Beaver Creek race soundly in 17 hours and 40 minutes, there were areas of the course that posed more than just the typical challenge of an adventure race. A section following a swim through the Colorado River at Gore Canyon included a tightrope walk 50 feet across the canyon with just one rope to stand on and one to hold on to. Competitors, who were not required to be clipped to either rope, made their way across wearing wet suits and carrying boogie boards.
“It was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done,” Ballengee said. “It was about a 30 foot drop to a foot of water. One guy fell and would have been dead if his foot hadn’t gotten caught in the rope to break his fall a little bit. I was so terrified.”
The course for Saturday’s race, although it won’t be disclosed until just before the race begins, will not involve any such dangers.
The race will consist of 50 combined miles of mountain biking, trail running, paddling and inline skating. Although the race will draw elite adventure racers, it will also draw weekend warriors dabbling in adventure racing for the first time. The mountain biking portion of the course will be roughly 22 miles, the paddling about nine miles, running about 10 and inline skating eight.
“These are good races for beginners,” said Breckenridge elite athlete Monique Merrill, whose team has won the first two 2003 Adventurestream races in the event’s four-part series. “This will be a smaller race (than the Ford race in Beaver Creek) and I always encourage beginners to start with the smaller ones. There’s always something to think about in adventure racing, that’s why it’s so great and less stressful for people, because you don’t have to be super fit. You learn so much about trails and orienteering and meet great people. There’s so many benefits.”
The Adventurestream series is in its third season and is organized by Gravity Play, a sports promotions company based in Durango. The first two races in the series took place in Moab, Utah, and Durango and the fourth and final is set for Sept. 6 in Vail.
In the adventure racing genre, the Adventurestreams are considered sprint races, and Saturday will be the first time the event has appeared in Summit County. Organizers expect the top team or individual to complete the race in about six hours.
“We have a lot of elite adventure racers coming, but the average (finish) time will be about eight to 10 hours and 10 to 14 for the stragglers,” said Gravity Play president Will Newcomer. “We try to design each course to be similar in distance and difficulty, but each venue will have its unique characteristics. The Breckenridge race probably has a good combination highlighting all the events. There’s good singletrack and good navigation skills required. The people that are familiar with the area will have an advantage for sure, but we try to make the navigation not too hard for out-of-town participants.”
Ballengee predicts the course will include a trail run from Breckenridge to Copper Mountain on the Wheeler Trail, an inline skate from Copper to the Frisco Marina, a paddle in Lake Dillon and a bike section up the Peaks trail from Frisco back to Breck and up Peak 8. Racers won’t know the course for sure until minutes before the race begins.
“This one’s going to be fun,” Ballengee said. “The race last week was a lot of focusing and a lot of effort – it was the face of Lance (Armstrong in his stage 15 Pyrenees win). This is going to be more of a smile on the face event. I’ve really enjoyed the courses in (previous Adventurestream races). There’s a lot of elevation gain and loss, and they’re pretty challenging. The navigation has been pretty straight forward. This is a new venue, but people that live in Breckenridge will know the short cuts.”
For more information on the Adventurestream series, visit
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