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Primal Quest success

Provided to the SunTeam Aquan with Castleton Rock Towers in the background (site of ropes section). Team Aquan, from left to right, is Jim Easterbrook, Jackie Wollman, Thomas Bastis and Peter Pensotti. Team Aquan finished 23rd in the race.
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In all, 28 of 90 teams completed Primal Quest 2006 in its entirety. Team Aquan can pride itself on being one of them.One of our first goals was to finish, and the other was to do well in finishing, said Peter Pensotti, a Truckee resident who serves as navigator and captain of Team Aquan. We were pretty stoked on our results. Team Aquan made up of Pensotti and Jim Easterbrook, also of Truckee, as well as Jackie Wollman, of San Jose, and Thomas Bastis, of San Carlos crossed the finish line near Moab, Utah, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on July 3, some nine days and 16 hours, and between 400 and 500 miles, after the start of the adventure race. The effort was good enough for 23rd place.It was very difficult, Wollman said of the competition, which in the adventure racing community is widely considered one of the most, if not the most, arduous of its kind. It was very hot, very sandy and there was a lot of mountain climbs.Thus the exhausted members of Team Aquan were elated to be done.It was great. It was a huge accomplishment, Wollman said. Everyone was happy we finished.Easterbrook surely wont forget the experience anytime soon.Im still having nightmares, he said. I feel like I just got back from Vietnam.

This years Primal Quest adventure race marked the fourth running of the event. In 2002, its inaugural year, Primal Quest was held in Telluride, Colo. Lake Tahoe was the site of the race the following year, and in 2004 Primal Quest took place on Washingtons San Juan Islands. The race was not held last year.Primal Quest returned in 2006 to the inhospitable deserts and mountains of Utah, where racers were faced with trekking, mountaineering, horseback riding, canyoneering, mountain biking, whitewater swimming, paddling and day and night navigation. With the race taking place in the heart of summer, heat was among the biggest concerns for organizers and racers alike.It was tough. The heat was more than I think anyone expected, Pensotti said, adding that the temperature reached 113 degrees at the top of one of the canyons the teams had to trek through. Deep in the confines of the canyon, he estimates the temperature reached 120. It felt like an oven in there. A lot of teams had a lot of issues with the heat.According to the Primal Quest Web site, 15,000 gallons of water and more than 1,800 cases of Gatorade were placed at strategic water stations throughout the course. Pensotti said each member of Team Aquan carried about 200 ounces of water on average just in case they made a wrong turn and couldnt reach the next checkpoint in a timely manner.Many teams dropped out of the adventure race on the third and fourth days when the canyoneering began, Pensotti said, coining that portion as the days of carnage. Aside from the heat, sand was a major issue, the teammates agreed.Wollman said that may have been her least favorite part of Primal Quest 2006, as hot sand constantly found its way into her shoes, causing her feet to swell and blister more easily.Pensotti said the sand contributed to what he thought was the toughest portion of the race: An 8- to 10-mile stretch of biking through a sweltering, sandy-surfaced canyon. With the loose surface created by the sand, Pensotti and team were forced into a hike-a-bike method of travel, where they had to switch off between riding and hike-a-biking.The best part of Primal Quest 2006, both Pensotti and Wollman agreed, was the ropes sections, which included a ride on a 200-foot zip line near the end of the race.By that time, all were sleep deprived due to the measly 20 hours of sleep each received over the course of nine days, Pensotti said. Looking at the map, it took five minutes to realize I was holding upside down. Brain function wasnt all there, he said. I think everyones motor functions were pretty reduced (by the end of the race). But Team Aquan finished as a unit in spite of the treachery, something 62 other teams were unable to accomplish.I was kind of surprised that my muscles werent real sore, Pensotti said. My feet ached, but physically I didnt feel too bad I was just real tired.When done, Pensotti said Team Aquan had a celebratory beer, then slept.


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