Meet the Staff: Journey Racing With GearJunkie’s ‘Staff Toyota Tundra’

For 2022, GearJunkie collaborated with Toyota to kind an journey racing workforce touring to compete in occasions round America.

The Sierra Nevada mountain vary in Jap California would be the last cease for Staff Toyota Tundra (TTT) this yr. There, on Sep. 16-17, the U.S. Journey Racing Affiliation (USARA) hosts its annual Nationwide Championship race, an occasion the place groups run, bike, and paddle for 30 hours nonstop.

For 2022, GearJunkie is the official media associate of the USARA, and Toyota Tundra serves because the title sponsor of the race season. Presently ranked third within the U.S. after 5 races this yr, we caught up with the TTT squad for a abstract of the season up to now in addition to some background on how (and why) they bought concerned with the game.

Mari Chandler (46, East Tawas, MI)

What’s your career?

I’m principally a full-time journey racer. However when not coaching or racing, I work on landscaping initiatives, contract pc work, restore, and normal upkeep work.

What was your first AR?

Massive Blue Journey Race, Half Moon Bay, Calif., in 2005.

marichandler
Mari Chandler throughout an orienteering part on a latest race; (photograph/Misplaced Arrow Sports activities)

What number of ARs have you ever participated in?

Effectively over 100 at this level! Something from 2 hours to eight days in size.

Why do you select to concentrate on AR?

There’s nothing else on the market that may problem your thoughts, physique and soul, all on the identical time and all whereas seeing a few of the most wonderful locations on this planet.

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What are your high achievements?

USARA Nationwide Champion (thrice); second place within the AR World Championships (2016); third-place World Championships (2017).

What’s a blunder or humorous second?

The most important blunder was when my workforce and I had a 24-hour lead on the subsequent workforce throughout a multiday expedition race, and we by some means, over the course of the times forward, fully blew it!

However, wanting again, each race normally has not less than one humorous second. If it doesn’t, you’re not doing it proper.

One in all my favorites was after we had been racing in Ecuador. We stopped to ask some locals for instructions. Their canine then escorted us all the way in which to the subsequent transition space. It ran forward and actually barked on the neighborhood canine to maintain them away from us the entire means. I’ve by no means seen something prefer it.

How do you prepare for AR?

I personally prefer to race rather a lot in order that I don’t have to coach a lot. However after I prepare, I combine it as much as hold it enjoyable and keep wholesome.

I additionally try to concentrate on what I have to do for the subsequent race. For instance, if I do know a race arising has a considerable amount of paddling, then I be sure I get my butt in a ship two to 3 instances every week.

Any suggestions for folks trying to get into the game?

Select enjoyable folks to race with who’ve comparable objectives. Don’t fear about the entire race; take it one piece at a time. Study out of your errors — don’t dwell on them. Maintain your toes. Carry a wide range of meals!

What are your objectives for this yr on TTT?

Race exhausting, win the whole lot we will, race in new locations, and have a blast with my workforce!

Justin Bakken (42, Minnetonka, MN)

What’s your career?

I’m a GIS environmental marketing consultant.

What was your first AR?

I can’t keep in mind the identify, however I raced close to Inexperienced Bay, Wisc., within the spring of 2003 with buddy of mine. It was the primary AR for each of us, and we made so many errors. Embrace them as studying alternatives and check out to not repeat them.

What number of ARs have you ever participated in?

I raced about 100 occasions from 2003 to 2011 after which stopped retaining observe. I had just a few years the place I raced much less when our children had been younger, after which the pandemic hit. Most likely pushing about 150 at this level.

Why do you select to concentrate on AR?

I’m a team-oriented individual; I performed aggressive soccer in faculty and have at all times appreciated a goal-oriented atmosphere pushed by supportive teammates. I like the number of the disciplines in AR, with completely different lengths and altering orders. And I like the technique and navigation required within the sport. Lastly, getting out into nature and seeing cool locations most individuals wouldn’t go.

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What are your high achievements?

This will get me in hassle, however my workforce has by no means DNF’d (didn’t end) a race. I’ve been racing for about 20 years, and my workforce has by no means stop a race. I really feel each fortunate and lucky.

I’ve additionally bought just a few USARA Nationwide Championships beneath my belt, and people are accomplishments I maintain in excessive regard, together with the teamwork it took to get there.

Team WEDALI paddles 25+ miles of open water during an early section in the USARA National Championship race
Bakken, Chandler, and Mayer (left to proper) paddle throughout the 2021 USARA Nationwide Championship race; (photograph/Ann Illagan)

What’s a blunder or humorous second?

Final summer season, for an area Minnesota race known as the Pocket Gopher Problem, I borrowed a mountain bike from my brother for a taller teammate I used to be racing with. One of many pedals fell off after about 5 miles, and whereas I used to be pushing my teammate up a hill about 2 miles later, the opposite pedal fell off as properly.

My brother and/or I had managed to cross-thread each pedals on the bike. Ugh! So I pushed my teammate absolutely the subsequent mile or two till we handed by a neighborhood. A storage door was open, and I noticed a motorcycle inside. We knocked on the door and satisfied the proprietor that it might be a good suggestion for him to lend us the bike and we’d depart the opposite for collateral till that afternoon.

The bike was a lot too small, however we bought by the course and labored our means again into second place. We arrived on the end about 40 minutes early, however the lead workforce got here in a number of minutes late, in order that they misplaced extra checkpoints and we ended up successful. By no means hand over!

How do you prepare for AR?

Do no matter coaching you’ve got time for. Extra is healthier, however some is healthier than none. Attempt to make it depend and work in your weaknesses. If you’re the workforce navigator, do it extra — your success is the workforce’s effectivity.

Any suggestions for folks trying to get into the game?

Join your first race. Then do it as a lot as you may after that. Discover similar-minded teammates which might be supportive, even when they’re uncomfortable.

What are your objectives for this yr on TTT?

I’m each grateful and lucky to be sponsored by Toyota Tundra this yr. We clearly have excessive expectations for ourselves in native races and regional occasions. Repeating our nationwide championship win from final yr could be fairly particular.

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Brian Mayer (37, Blacksburg, VA)

What’s your career?

I’m a researcher.

What was your first AR?

The Blacksburg October Shock race in 2004, a 12-hour occasion.

What number of ARs whole?

I’ve raced in 73 whole journey races with 45 completely different teammates.

What are your high achievements?

I’ve raced with so many alternative folks and in plenty of completely different locations, and I stay up for extra of each. I’ve additionally gained a number of Nationwide Championship races.

What’s a blunder or humorous second?

No race is ideal, and each time I race we make errors. Hopefully, you might be sensible sufficient to restrict them and never make too many. For instance, one time we underestimated how lengthy a course would take and completed late. We had been the one workforce to do the entire course, however as a result of we completed late, we had been DNF’d.

How do you prepare for AR?

I experience my bike to and from work, run within the woods with my canine, run and carry my youngsters across the woods in a backpack, and I simply wander off from my home with a map. I’m lucky to reside in a nationwide forest and subsequent to 10,000-plus acres of public land.

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Mayer, at proper, pauses after 24-plus hours of racing (and an enormous win on the 2021 USARA Nationwide Championships!); (photograph/Ann Ilagan)

Any suggestions for folks trying to get into the game?

One of the simplest ways to study is to do it as a lot as you may. Study from successes and errors. Attempt to race with individuals who have extra expertise or completely different experiences. You possibly can study new issues from everybody, even the folks you don’t race properly with.

What are your objectives for this yr on TTT?

It will be nice to get first place within the USARA sequence and Nationwide Championship race. However principally I wish to have enjoyable and snigger on the market on the course!


This text is sponsored by Toyota. Discover out extra concerning the 2022 Toyota Tundra on-line.

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