BY RICHARD RHINEHART
Rancho del Rio, June 25, 2011: Hot summer weather with a high in the upper 80s and a relative humidity of less then 10 percent led to a sweltering prologue to the 2011 Adventure TEAM Challenge, World TEAM Sports’ annual inclusive team competition in the mountains of Colorado.
Held at the quiet Rancho del Rio resort along the Colorado River west of Kremmling, the Adventure TEAM Challenge features five athletes working together to successfully negotiate a series of athletic challenges. For participants of the 2011 edition, the prologue on Saturday afternoon, June 25, included three distinct but short stages.
From the campsite at the secluded resort, teams rode together on mountain bikes past the densely-packed tents and scattered resort cabins, ascending above the pines, sagebrush and cactus of the river valley in a wide loop. Reaching the high point of the loop several hundred feet above the camp, the teams then descended a short but fast section of double track trail, leading back to the starting line.
Leaving their bikes, the teams climbed to a point directly above the river, where they descended a short pitch by rope to waiting rafts. This proved to be challenging for the disabled athletes, who depended on the assistance and guidance of their able team mates to safely help them down the slope and into the rafts.
Fighting the strong current of the Colorado, the teams rowed across to the north bank of the river, then back across to the south bank. This ended the prologue.
Teams were timed during the prologue, providing an opportunity for the stronger teams to take an early lead prior to Sunday’s official first stage. For many teams, however, simply participating together and successfully finishing will be sufficient victory.
With the Colorado River at its highest level since at least 1916, the rafting for Sunday should prove to be thrilling. For competitors from lower altitudes, the thin Colorado air will be noticeable on the longer stages, particularly uphill sections of the mountain biking. Weather for Sunday’s competition is expected to be sunny and hot, encouraging participants to sufficiently hydrate.
The Adventure TEAM Challenge includes 13 teams with 65 athletes from 12 states and Canada, working together in teams of five. Each team includes two athletes with disabilities, including one wheelchair user. Teamwork and coordination will help teams successfully complete each challenge in the three day event. Alteryx, Inc., with five competing teams, serves as the 2011 title sponsor.