Disabled and Able-Bodied Team Together in Rescheduled Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina

By Richard Rhinehart

Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28, 2015 – National nonprofit World T.E.A.M. SportsAdventure Team Challenge North Carolina this November 13-15 at the U.S. National Whitewater Center will feature eight teams of disabled and able-bodied civilian and military veterans. For each competing team of five athletes – two athletes being disabled, one being a wheelchair user – teamwork, close cooperation and strategic thinking will be necessary for successfully completing the challenging course.

Official Logo Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina

Presented by MetLife, white water rafting, off-road bicycling, rock climbing and orienteering will be among the featured sports in the inaugural Challenge. Held within the scenic 700-acre U.S. National Whitewater Center, this North Carolina edition is based on the organization’s popular Adventure Team Challenge Colorado, held annually in that state’s high mountains and plateaus.

From the first Challenge in 2007, more than 400 athletes with and without disabilities have successfully completed the multistage event. Participants have included injured military veterans, as well as civilians who sustained injuries in accidents or through illness. In addition, the Challenge has welcomed amputees, persons with paralysis, persons who are blind or deaf, persons with post-traumatic stress and persons with traumatic brain injuries.

Rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center will challenge participants at the inaugural Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina. Photograph courtesy U.S. National Whitewater Center.

The Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina was rescheduled from its original early October date by the race directors, following the heavy rains and winds associated in part with Hurricane Joaquin, which passed just east of the Carolina coast. Historic flooding in the Carolinas in early October resulted in a state of emergency, with 17 killed.

The Adventure Team Challenge was created to bring together athletes from varying backgrounds in an outdoor environment to work together to solve technical and logistical challenges. Team members are encouraged to think strategically in their competition, since each team member completes each stage.

“The Adventure Team Challenge always seems to amaze me,” said Gina Utegg, a past participant of the Colorado Challenge who is competing in Charlotte in November.” It’s a physical, mental and strategic competition that brings out strengths and weaknesses of each team member at one point or another during the race.”

Off-road cycling with hand cycles.

Rare in the eastern United States, hand cycles like this one at the Adventure Team Challenge Colorado will provide off-road access for wheelchair athletes. Photograph by Brian Gliba.

World T.E.A.M. Sports, chartered in Charlotte in 1993, is returning to North Carolina for the first time since 2004 to direct the Challenge. Currently headquartered in Holbrook, New York, the organization creates inclusive events that change lives of disabled and able-bodied athletes through sports. Past events include a world bicycle ride, several cross-country bicycle rides, climbs of high peaks in Asia and Africa and competitive events like the Adventure Team Challenge.

The Challenge begins at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on the afternoon of November 13 and continues through the early afternoon of November 15. Athletes from North Carolina and across the United States will be traveling to Charlotte to compete.

The 2015 Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina from World T.E.A.M. Sports is supported through sponsors and partners including presenting sponsor MetLife, American Portfolios Financial Services, American Airlines, Penske Truck Rentals and TimeCapital. Additional financial support is provided by George Puskar.