Primal Quest 2009

August 20th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – update on Team Cordura/Osprey

Hello Again,

I caught this from the PQ site and thought we should pass it along to everyone!  Great story and glad our guys could play ambassador for the great sport of Adventure Racing!!!

Late this afternoon Team Cordura/Osprey Packs withdrew from Primal Quest Badlands presented by SPOT. The team is in good health, and suffered no medical issues, but one of the team members elected to not continue, and they decided to exit the race as a team.

All was not lost however, as the team withdrew at the checkpoint near Redshirt, a Native American reservation which graciously allowed them to use the showers in the locker room of the nearby school. It also happened to be the first day of classes for the returning students, who had the opportunity to chat with team members Kiviok Hight, Tom Zidek, and Scott Swaney, who explained to them about Primal Quest and the sport of adventure racing. Principal Barbara Ice showed the team around and introduced them to the students, who were intrigued by their visitors and all of their strange gear.

After spending some time at the school, the three athletes then toured the community, and met many of the locals. In fact, at one point, there were more than fifty residents from the town who came out to shake hands with the racers and wish them well. They had all been following the race and were excited to get th opportunity to meet some of the competitors in person.

It was a bit of a bittersweet day for the team. While their dreams of finishing Primal Quest came to and end, they did get to meet some very friendly people and serve as ambassdors to the sport they enjoy so much.


Scott, Kiviok and Tom chatting up the students!

I had a chance to chat with Scott last night for a while and they are all disappointed that they could not continue but overall in good spirits and were looking forward to a real meal and a tasty malted beverage or three!  Scott wanted to express to everyone thanks for all the support and they are looking forward to checking out the blog and all the comments.  Second that!  Thanks to all our supporters and also our sponsors for all their support – financial, gear and moral!!

Scott also reports that the special Cordura Osprey Talon packs were Awesome!  He specifically said it was THE best fitting and performing pack he had ever used for a multi-day race.  Fine praise indeed from a veteran of many a race!!  Thanks for the “product testing” guys!!!

For the folks watching the overall standings, quite an interesting turn of events last night, as it appears OrionHealth got quite lost on the final bike leg, and made a navigational error that cost them somewhere near 8 hours, allowing Salomon/Crested Butte and Merrell/Zanfel each to close the gap significantly.  All three teams should finish sometime late this afteroon/evening, so the race is ON!!  Seems S/CB and M/Z are neck and neck for second on the course, however M/Z apparently has some significant penalties that will be imposed at the finish, but with all three teams so close together, the final penalty allotments might prove to alter the standings signigicantly.  Oh, can’t wait to see the final results!!!  Big callout to our fellow team from Colorado (S/CB) and best wishes for speeding into the finish.  Jon, Travis, Jari and Sully have rocked a great race all week!!

And special praise also to the folks on Team South Dakota!!  They are still running strong in their first adventure race.  They are racing in Osprey Exos 46 packs, which they were offering high praise to at the start line.  Hope they still feel as great about their pack selection.  Awesome pack for the race for sure, and saw quite a few at the starting line.  More Talon’s for sure, and even a few Atmos/Aura packs in the race.  Go Dave and crew for Team South Dakota. You folks are awesome!

Cheers to all and keep smiling!

August 19th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 = Withdrawn

Hello again,

It has been confirmed by PQ staff that Team Cordura/Osprey has indeed withdrawn from the race!  Apparently, Stacy’s feet were peeling off due to severe blisters!!   Too bad we could not make any cool Cordura footwear for the race!!

Here’s wishing Stacy all the best for recovery on her feet!

I have heard so many stories over the years from past Eco-Challenge and PQ participants about the worst part of the whole race is not the lack of sleep, poor eating habits, sunburn, whatever, but that far and away the worst part is the mass carnage that the feet suffer.  Hope everyone is OK!!

UPDATE – Just got off the phone with Stacy, who headed back into Rapid City to take care of her feet.  Apparently she has some nasty blisters that were bleeding into her shoes.  Bummer.  She was able to answer a bunch of our questions though, like why around the lake twice?  Apparently they started off on their first lap at night, and had some big problems finding the checkpoints (I have heard multiple reports that the checkpoints might have been off a bit too, so finding them in the dark could certainly prove problematic).  Anyway, they got quite frustrated and tired and decided to head back to the transition to sleep/rest and headed back out in the daylight, easily locating all the checkpoints and continuing on their merry way!!!  She stated that the river paddle was absolute hell and waaaayyyy longer than anticipated. Tom “injury” is just a really tight IT band that he has been nursing along for several days and certainly felt like he could have continued.

Speaking of Cordura, Stacy reports that the packs were totally awesome.  She said they dropped, dragged, stomped on and just generally completely abused them and the packs did great.  Heck of a testament to the durability of the fabrics and the packs.  Thanks Cordura and Osprey Packs for all the great support.

The guys stayed out on the course, so maybe they are contemplating whether to complete the race unranked………….????  Not sure!!

Keep smiling all and thanks for following along!

August 19th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – NEW DEVELOPMENT!


I have just received word that Team Cordura/Osprey has withdrawn from the race, which would certainly explain why they were stagnant for so long.  Bummer!  I will try to track down more information, but I am guessing it is because of the injury situation.

More later as we get more word!

August 19th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – Day 6 Update

Hello Again,

Well, we have a few answers, but some of those have begged additional questions.  Turns out our crew did the lake orienteerting section twice, completely paddling the circumference of the lake twice.  Just can’t imagine it was that much fun, but………….what the heck!!  On the YouTube link from yesterday, there is a quick blurb from Tom Z, however it is in Czech (his native language by the way, and his wife is Swedish, so their kid is going to be quite mul-lingual!!).  We had a friend pass it along for a translation – He said, “Hi, we just got through paddling.  It was super ‘interesting’.  In fact, we did it twice.  We went from third place to…I don’t know, whatever.”  Rest in English… Yes, actually, they went from 3rd place to 7th/8th place and took a long nap in there somewhere too, as Kiviok mentioned in his quick hit on YouTube.  Team Cordura/Osprey went from about 6 hours behind the leaders to well over a full day behind. :(

Now, our team has completed the looooong river paddle section and moved out on to the 64 mile trek.  All through the night of paddling and in to the start of the trek, we seemed to be making up ground on the leaders, however it appears now that we have not moved again for many hours.  Not sure if they are napping again, or trying to sort out Tom’s injury.  Here’s hoping it is not too serious!

OrionHealth continues to pull away from the field, and it looks now like Merrell/Zanfel may have caught up to Salomon/Crested Butte, however S/CB has continually had Spot issues, so these may be playing out again.   Bones and Nuun, whom we were very close to at the transition to the long trek have pulled away into solid 4th and 5th places.  Oh well. I hope all our folks are fine!!!

Here are a couple of great pictures from the long river section:

Scott and Kiviok on long kayak section

Scott and Kiviok on long kayak section

Stacy and Tom paddling down river

Stacy and Tom paddling down river

Scott on a portage

Scott on a portage

Well, that’s all for now.  Keep your fingers crossed that everyone is OK and they will start moving again!!

Thanks again to all our supporters and sponsors.  Everyone has been great!!

Keep smiling!

August 18th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009- Day 4, possible injury?

Hello once again,

Just got hold of a video with some quick snippets from Super Stud Scott Swaney and our master Navigator Tom Zidek.  Turn up the volume on your computer to listen. The first part of Tom’s little ditty is in Swedish as a message to his wife.  But he also mentions that he hopes his leg holds up…………….hmmmm, sure hope he is OK!!!!


After all the confusion of the past several hours and not knowing, it seems that Team Cordura/Osprey may have chosen to take a long break at the lake, to rest and maybe let Tom heal up a bit.  I saw a note that our team had only slept for 2.5 hours through the first four days of the race, so I am sure they were exhausted and took a long break.  Now that they are back under way, it appears they are making up time on the teams in front of them on the river and hopefully can regain some of their lost time as other teams need to rest also.  Keep your fingers crossed!!!!

Keep smiling all!!

August 18th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – Day 4, AM Update

Good morning again! Wow, Day 5 already!

Not being on scene anymore and having complete faith that at least several of the SPOT tracking devices are not working properly, I must admit to not really having an idea where we are in the standings right now.  The PQ folks are doing a horrible job of reporting from the course.  You would think they would have had someone monitoring the standings at the reservoir and providing some regular updates to keep us all in the loop, but……..Anyway, OrionHealth has certainly taken a firm grasp on the leadership of this race.  Safe to assume that Salomon/Crested Butte is still rocking along in 2nd place (although their SPOT still has them back at CP 27, and we know they have made it at least as far as the swimming leg and that was yesterday!).  The tracker currently shows us out in the middle of the lake, still.  It would appear we have been out on the lake since almost 3:00pm yesterday, which would not seem correct.  Hmmm, hopefully SPOT gets their trackers working correctly, or at least we could get some decent updates from the PQ staff, or the Spot really is correct and our team has cratered.  Unknown, but I certainly hope we are happily plugging along on the river stretch this morning, still chasing Salomon/CB.

OrionHealth has just started on the mega long trekking section through the heart of the Badlands.  It does appear from the maps that there are some decent routes through this 64 mile trek, but even the best case scenario I can come up with for OrionHealth to cross the finish line is somewhere about 24-30 hours from now, depending on their route finding and sleep needs.  These guys are the current AR world champs, so I would tend to guess towards the quicker side! The downriver paddle took them 14.5 hour to do the 38 miles, which quite frankly is flying given the slow pace of the water and all the fence lines that the teams have to dodge along the way.  Kudos to OrionHealth for blasting through that tough stretch through the night.  I would guess the teams on the river right now are enjoying the daylight and increased visibility.

Route finding in the Badlands will be key for all the teams that are clustered together as could be the difference between finishing in the top 5 and earning a free entry to future PQ’s!  Here’s hoping we are one of them!!!

That’s all for now!

August 17th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – Day 4, AM Update

Good Morning South Dakota!

The teams trekked through the night.  With the elimination of Checkpoints 23-25, all the teams choose a fairly straight line right through the heart of Custer State Park, passing near Sheep Draw, French Creek and eventually reconecting with the original course near Flynn Creek and buzzing down to Checkpoint 26 and then on to the TA at Elk Mountain for a bike leg down to Angustura Reservoir for the swim and swim orienteering legs before heading out on the long paddle down the Cheyenne River.  Team Cordura/Osprey arrived into the Elk Mountain TA at 8:15 this morning, with Salomon/Crested Butte out just in front of them at 6:40am.  The race leaders continue to be OrionHealth, as they arrived into the bike to swim transition at 7:10 this morning, which puts them a pretty solid 40 mile ahead of us, although we have closed up the 4.5 hour time difference a bit.  Let’s see if we can make up some time on this bike leg.

Here are a couple more pictures from the climbing leg, just to give our followers an idea of what the teams went through just to get to where they are now!!

Long rappel

Long rappel

Long tyrolean traverse during climbing/ropes section

Long tyrolean traverse during climbing/ropes section

More later as we approach the water sections.  For now, we continue to rock along in 3rd place, although have narrowed the gap on both OrionHealth and Salomon/Crested Butte a bit.  Keep your fingers crossed that we can keep chipping away at those leads.

Keep smiling all and relish the fact that the weather has turned for the better.

August 16th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – Day 3 photos

Here are a couple of pictures from Team Cordura/Osprey, having just finished up the climbing section, heading back out for the long trek to Checkpoint 27 and the TA for the next bike leg, and passing the Merrell/Haglofs team on their way in to the ropes section.

Crossing paths with Merrell/Haglofs

Crossing paths with Merrell/Haglofs

Tom Zidek leading Team Cordura/Osprey out from the climbing leg

Tom Zidek leading Team Cordura/Osprey out from the climbing leg

Stacy and Kiviok looking strong and confident!!!

Stacy and Kiviok looking strong and confident!!!

The team is looking great in these photos!!  Everyone looks strong and happy, with smiles on their

faces, despite being three days into the race.  Finishing up the ropes section would be reason

enough for some smiles!!!

Rock on Team Cordura/Osprey.  Way to be “Durable People”!!!

August 16th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – Day 3, PM Update

Hello Again!!!  Wahoooooooo – Team Cordura/Osprey continues to rock along in 3rd place, and at the last checkpoint, we were exactly 2 hours behind 2nd place – Salomon/Crested Butte, and still 4.5 hours behind the leaders.  It seems we have been the same 4.5 hours behind OrionHealth for weeks now, but only been three days!!!  Looks like Merrell/Zanfel is making a bit of a move to try to bridge up to the three leading teams as they have separated themselves from the cluster of 5 teams that have been together for the past two days.  Hopefully our crew can hold them off.  As folks may have seen on the PQ website, three checkpoints on the trekking section were eliminated, so now the teams are free to get from Checkpoint 22 all the way to Checkpoint 27 any way they wish, which is about 45 miles, so this should make for some interesting navigational choices and the possibilities for some changes in the standings as teams try to find the best way through Wind Cave National Park and down to the Checkpoint at Elk Mountain, where teams will transition to their bikes once again for a 37 mile dash out of the Black Hills and onwards to the Badlands and Angustora Reservoir for the swimming leg, a lake orienteering section and then the long paddle down the Cheyenne River to the dreaded 64 mile trek through the heart of the Badlands.  Gulp!!!

The top eight teams are through the glorious climbing leg and on the long trek to Elk Mountain, with the top three still out front and making their way through Custer State Park this evening and on into Wind Cave NP.  Just watch out for the bison!

Stacy Moller and Super Stud Scott Swaney enjoying a rest break at a TA

Stacy Moller and Super Stud Scott Swaney enjoying a rest break at a TA

August 16th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Primal Quest 2009 – Day 3, AM Update

Hello again!!

Team Cordura/Osprey is still rocking along, currently in 3rd place.  It seems that Salomon/Crested Butte is having some issues with their Spot tracking device, as they have reappeared in 2nd place after over 12 hours being out of touch, which has us now in 3rd place, probably the place we have been all along!!  As of 10:30 this morning, Team OrionHealth (from NZ) continues with healthy lead and have just completed the ropes section.  Salomon/CB is on the ropes and Cordura/Osprey has just arrived at the ropes section.  These three teams appear to have distanced them selves from a cluster of 4 chasing teams at this point.  We went back and forth with Team Bones all night, but it appears they have chosen to take a short break, or………..maybe their GPS is not working right either!!  The top eight teams though have really distanced themselves from the rest of the race, as the 8th place team (Team iMoat) has a 30 mile lead on 9th place.  Sure looks like the winner will come from this cluster of 8, and actually the top three right now have a healthy lead on the other 5 teams in this lead bunch.  Following the ropes section, the teams will continue on a long trekking leg down to the swim and paddle sections, which will take them well towards the east, out in the heart of the Badlands.

We all hope the ropes section is going well.  Should be a blast!

Keep smiling!!!


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