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Challenging the unknown

Courtesy Nevada PassageSierra Sun photographer Emma Garrard is competing this week in the five-day Nevada Passage Land Rover G4 Challenge. The race features off-road driving, navigating, orienteering, rock climbing, open-water kayaking, mountain biking and running.
Nils Nilsen/TEAM Unlimited |

For the last month I have been trying to explain to people what I will be doing this week. It’s been difficult, and part of the reason is because I don’t really know myself.

As of Monday I’ve been on a five-day adventure competition starting in Las Vegas known as the Land Rover G4 Challenge ” Nevada Passage.

It’s the first time I’ve done any sort of adventure race, so it should be interesting and challenging. I know more or less what activities we will be doing, but for how long and where is unknown. All I know is we will go to some pretty remote and interesting areas in Nevada.



The event involves off-road driving, navigating, orienteering, rock climbing, open-water kayaking, mountain biking and running ” a little bit of everything, to say the least.

Although the event has gone on the last three years, this year’s competition will be a lot different as it is the first year it has been sponsored by Land Rover and involves much more driving.



I have been paired up with Dean Kruuse of Encinitas, Calif., by way of South Africa. Should be a great partner as he has experience doing triathlons, driving off road and knows a lot about Land Rovers.

We will be provided with brand new Land Rovers and specialized bikes for the competition ” unfortunately not to keep. But we will get a ton of swag to take home.

How prepared am I? We will see. I have been focusing on training for off-road triathlons along with working a 40-hour-or-so work week, so I have had little time to do any kayaking, GPS navigating, off-road driving or rock climbing.

Luckily in the last week I have had a few opportunities to take kayaks out on Lake Tahoe thanks to Harry King at Envirosports in Kings Beach. Every time I take a kayak out I wonder why I don’t go more often. It’s so beautiful and peaceful to kayak on the lake, especially at this time of year before all the motorized boats get out there.

I have also had a few opportunities to go rock climbing ” once outside thanks to my old UNR ski coach Jeff Schloss, who took me up to Donner Summit on a very windy day last week. Jeff gave me a crash course in rock climbing and even trusted me to belay him! Brave man.

Did I mention this is a made-for-TV event? We will be followed by a camera crew the whole time, which should be interesting; it’s always funny being on the other side of the camera. Every time I see the Gauntlet on MTV I kind of cringe and have to change the channel so hopefully I won’t look like any of the former Real World members.

I’m guessing this event will be totally different due to the fact the people competing are actually pretty experienced athletes, a lot of whom I know from racing triathlons. Most of the women are the top amateur racers from last year, so I know my competition will be tough.

If we win this contest we will go on to compete in Europe next year against teams from all over the world. Pressure’s on!

I will try to post my progress in the competition on the Sierra Sun Web site, depending on how much free time I have at the end of the day and where we can get reception.

To learn more about the Land Rover G4 Challenge, visit http://www.nevadapassage.com.


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