Would you run for 25 miles? Paddle for 12 miles? Maybe mountain bike for 50 miles? Would you do all three back to back to back for a beer growler?
Custom labeled growlers were the prize for teams successfully finishing the Trioba 24 Hour Adventure Race this past September 19th. I was there as a volunteer and witnessed the agony and the ecstasy of 17 teams giving the race their all. The event was held in the Entiat Mountains north of Leavenworth, WA. The start was Friday at midnight. The night sky was clear and the air was crisp. The teams waited at the start line with their mountain bikes, gear, lights, compasses and the USGS topo map marked with the locations of all 30 checkpoints (CPs). The challenge was to find all the CPs in order, to always stay together, and to finish the course before 9 a.m. on Sunday.
At the sound of ‘go’ the teams biked to Lake Wenatchee where they paddled for hours bagging CPs scattered around the lake. Picking up their bikes again the teams rode forest service roads and hiking trails up, up, up, gaining thousands of feet of elevation collecting CPs along the way. High in the Entiats the teams dropped their bikes and trekked on foot for 25 miles to locate even more CPs. Reunited with their bikes, the teams headed to the last few CPs and the finish line. The teams enjoyed a 20+ mile ride back down on some of the best singletrack in the state. At the end the teams were exhausted, filthy, stinky, hungry, and filled with various emotions.
In adventure racing not every team is expected to finish. This was true for the Trioba event. Every team that did finish was recognized for their perseverance. And what better prize than a beer growler emblazoned with their triumph? I can only think of one — a growler filled with WA beer!
The racer will have a great story to tell at the brewery or brewpub. Someone eyeing the growler will ask, “What is Trioba Finisher? Is that an new beer?”
Perhaps the answer will be, “No, no, it’s not a beer. It’s a reason to drink beer.”