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Saturday, June 24, 2000 - Sunday, June 25, 2000 -- Lynchburg, VA
Odyssey One Day Adventure Race
Story and photos by Dawn Taylor

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results]

"Barger Grandly Slams Odyssey's One-Day Adventure Race"

Starting Line
Start of the Race
Dan Barger, race director of the Cal Eco Adventure Series and editor of Adventure World Magazine, smoked the June 24 - 25 Odyssey One-Day race, leaving the second and third-place winners hours behind. Racing as a solo competitor, Dan, who has the ultra-Grand Slam distinction of winning four 100-mile trail races in one year, finished the course in an amazing 18 hours, 16 minutes. The next competitors to very respectfully finish the 80+ miles of Blue Ridge Mountain madness were two-person team UCAR in 20:32, and the experienced 4-person team NOC an hour later.

Barger on the zip & dip
Just hanging out: race winner Dan Barger on the "zip & dip"
Dan was characteristically relaxed and low-key throughout the entire competition, which for Dan started with a 5-mile "warm up" run prior to the race. He casually chatted with race officials at CP 1, after a 12-mile mostly uphill trek. His 30-minute lead on then 2nd place NOC, would have been greater, he said, if he had not taken a wrong turn along the trail. When asked about how her team kept such a quick pace during the hike, Tracyn Thayer of NOC said, "We trotted, but Dan cantered! "At this checkpoint, racers transitioned to bikes, which Dan stated didn't bother him much even though he doesn't train on his bike. He humbly said, "My running takes care of my biking. I'm able to bike well without training." His point was proven as he increased his lead to 1 hour by the second checkpoint. The running that Dan referred to is the 60 - 150 miles he puts in each week (mileage dependent on his racing schedule).

heave ho
Heave ho!!
A 14-mile paddling section came after 35 miles of grueling mountain biking and "bike-whacking" -- a term coined by Odyssey folks to describe the onerous burden of bushwhacking with a bike. Although Dan believes paddling is his least developed skill, he kept his exceptional lead over other solos and teams that had two people to maneuver the 16-foot tandem canoes. When asked how he did through class III Balcony Falls, he replied, "I didn't even know I went through it. Somebody told me I did."

zip & dip
The dip of the "zip & dip": Dan Barger crosses the James River
After paddling, racers enjoyed the "zip and dip" -- a rope traverse across the James River followed by a zip-line ride back to shore. Next they were back on their bikes for another 20 miles to the finish at the Promise Land camp, where a blue grass band and a buffet waited. Dan's arrival came quickly, catching the Odyssey staff by surprise. Shortly after finishing, Dan, the consummate race director, stopped by the kitchen and asked if he could help serve the post race meal to other racers.

Although the 80+ mile Odyssey One-Day Race is short in comparison to other adventure races, it is by no means an easy competition. The race has a notoriously high dropout rate due to the difficulty. In this weekend's race, just 10 teams out of 69 finished before the official time of 8:00 PM Sunday -- including Odyssey stalwart, 56-year-old Joe Amato, who came in 3rd solo. Seven more teams finished the race later that evening. (See results for list of finishers.) "Mile for mile, this is the toughest course we have in any of our races," said race director and Odyssey Founder Don Mann. He advised competitors during the pre-race brief to, "Just get it in your mind that it's going to hurt, and you'll be all right." He added, "If you don't get too lost, or injured and you don't quit, you'll be able to finish."

This installment of the Odyssey was an East Regional Qualifier for the USARA National Adventure Racing Championship race. Four-person teams NOC and V-Factor qualified as contenders for the national competition on November 18, in San Diego, CA.

Because of the popularity of this sold-out event, Odyssey has added another One-Day Race to its schedule on October 7 - 8. For more information and registration, check the website, write, or call 757.425.2445.

Odyssey Racing Web Site
Click here to find out more
Odyssey Adventure Racing is a unique race promotion organization that specializes in premier ultra-distance & extreme sporting events. The mission is to create & produce competitive experiences that provide athletes with mental & physical challenges not found in more traditional sports. They strive to attract adventurous individuals, eager to escape their ordinary routines through bold and daring endurance competitions.

In addition to producing races, Odyssey offers an Adventure Racing Academy where a staff of professional athletes, experienced adventure racers and Navy SEALs train athletes from all backgrounds on how to successfully compete in this fastest-growing sport.