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

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

The Sierra Nevada mountain vary in Jap California would be the remaining cease for Crew 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. At the moment ranked third within the U.S. after 5 races this yr, we caught up with the TTT squad for a abstract of the season to this point in addition to some background on how (and why) they received concerned with the game.

Mari Chandler (46, East Tawas, MI)

What’s your occupation?

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

What was your first AR?

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

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

What number of ARs have you ever participated in?

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

Why do you select to deal with AR?

There’s nothing else on the market that may problem your thoughts, physique and soul, all on the similar time and all whereas seeing a number of the most wonderful locations on the earth.

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What are your high achievements?

USARA Nationwide Champion (3 times); second place within the AR World Championships (2016); third-place World Championships (2017).

What’s a blunder or humorous second?

The largest blunder was when my group and I had a 24-hour lead on the following group throughout a multiday expedition race, and we in some way, over the course of the times forward, fully blew it!

However, trying again, each race often has at the least one humorous second. If it doesn’t, you’re not doing it proper.

One among 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 best way to the following transition space. It ran forward and actually barked on the neighborhood canines to maintain them away from us the entire manner. I’ve by no means seen something prefer it.

How do you practice for AR?

I personally wish to race lots in order that I don’t have to coach a lot. However once I practice, I combine it as much as preserve it enjoyable and keep wholesome.

I additionally attempt to deal with what I must do for the following race. For instance, if I do know a race developing has a considerable amount of paddling, then I make sure that I get my butt in a ship two to a few instances per week.

Any suggestions for folks seeking to get into the game?

Select enjoyable folks to race with who’ve related objectives. Don’t fear about the entire race; take it one piece at a time. Be taught out of your errors — don’t dwell on them. Maintain your toes. Convey quite a lot of meals!

What are your objectives for this yr on TTT?

Race onerous, win all the pieces we are able to, race in new locations, and have a blast with my group!

Justin Bakken (42, Minnetonka, MN)

What’s your occupation?

I’m a GIS environmental advisor.

What was your first AR?

I can’t keep in mind the title, however I raced close to Inexperienced Bay, Wisc., within the spring of 2003 with good friend of mine. It was the primary AR for each of us, and we made so many errors. Embrace them as studying alternatives and take a look at 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 maintaining observe. I had a number of years the place I raced much less when our youngsters had been younger, after which the pandemic hit. Most likely pushing about 150 at this level.

Why do you select to deal with AR?

I’m a team-oriented particular person; I performed aggressive soccer in faculty and have all the time appreciated a goal-oriented surroundings pushed by supportive teammates. I really like the number of the disciplines in AR, with completely different lengths and altering orders. And I really 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 may occasionally get me in hassle, however my group has by no means DNF’d (didn’t end) a race. I’ve been racing for about 20 years, and my group has by no means give up a race. I really feel each fortunate and lucky.

I’ve additionally received a number of USARA Nationwide Championships below 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 through the 2021 USARA Nationwide Championship race; (picture/Ann Illagan)

What’s a blunder or humorous second?

Final summer season, for an area Minnesota race referred to 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 effectively.

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

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

How do you practice for AR?

Do no matter coaching you could have 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 group navigator, do it extra — your success is the group’s effectivity.

Any suggestions for folks seeking to get into the game?

Join your first race. Then do it as a lot as you possibly can 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 occupation?

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 a number of completely different locations, and I sit 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’re good 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 group to do the entire course, however as a result of we completed late, we had been DNF’d.

How do you practice for AR?

I journey my bike to and from work, run within the woods with my canines, run and carry my children across the woods in a backpack, and I simply get lost from my home with a map. I’m lucky to dwell in a nationwide forest and subsequent to 10,000-plus acres of public land.

teamwedali
Mayer, at proper, pauses after 24-plus hours of racing (and a giant win on the 2021 USARA Nationwide Championships!); (picture/Ann Ilagan)

Any suggestions for folks seeking to get into the game?

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

What are your objectives for this yr on TTT?

It might be nice to get first place within the USARA sequence and Nationwide Championship race. However largely I need 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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