Dart Nuun takes on the 4 day Cowboy Tough expedition in Wyoming

Written by Ryan Van Gorder

The Dart–nuun adventure racing team, including Mari Chandler, Matt Hayes, Ryan Ognibene and Ryan VanGorder, recently tackled the Cowboy Tough Expedition race through Wyoming. “This was an epic journey from Laramie to Casper and a great way to experience the state, off of the beaten path,” stated Mari Chandler after the race. The race was produced by Revolution 3 Adventure Racing and supported by both the City of Casper and Cameco. The team enjoyed the format as it rewarded fast racing with ability to sleep off the clock and enabled not so fast teams to continue on the journey. We were a little of both, fast and not so fast, at different times.

The race started with a big bike and a side order of a small trek and rappel from a nice vantage point. Pre race we coupled ourTurner Fluxs with Schwalbe Racing Ralphs at high pressure for the big mix of road and trail riding. The team came out strong, finished first and got some good sleep off the clock in the first day. We were in good spirits and got to see team member Glenn Rogers and team nutritionist Erin Findlan in the TA...nice surprise. Turns out Glen and Erin went into the Bow (Medicine Bow) and got into a bar brawl later that evening trying to help an injured woman, now that’s a cowboy tough support crew.
Day 2 was a big day and comprised of a bike (20k), run (20k), paddle (30k) and run/trek (50k) to top it off. Bike, run and paddle were pretty smooth but someone turned the heat up. We got off the water just as the wind started and in time for a thunder shower that Matt had requested the prior evening. The heat took its toll shortly after the trek started and Ryan O. fell victim. Mari put a 2 liter estimate on the volume of vomitalia purged…solid effort. 

Ryan is tough as nails, we never heard anything negative from him and he focused on recovering and electrolyte replacement with lemon lime nuun. We bedded down for a couple of hours and hit the trail for some slow moving active recovery. Tecnu and Yoga Slackers pulled away and were getting sleep off the clock while we continued to clean the section. The downside of this format is that if you are recovering on course at a slow rate of travel you are exponentially losing ground on the front teams who get to sleep off the clock.

Day 3 started by us shuffling into the (end of day 2)TA as rested teams rolled out on their bikes. Karen on Tecnu told me they slept about 4 hours, we could have used some of that. We transitioned, took a quick 20 minute power nap and rolled out for a huge bike with 3-4 short treks in between and a 10 mile trek at the end. Still in recovery mode throughout the day we TA'd into the last trek as the lead teams were finishing at around 10pm ready for their sleep. We trekked, dry heaved and battled some sleep monsters all the way to the cut off on the section at 4:30am...

Given the gaps in the top team's time, the final day was a social race day for us with a bike, canoe and river board. As long as we finished we had 3rd locked in given the number of controls we had visited. This was a fun and anxiety free way to finish the race until Matt showcased his pack rafting surf skills in the big wave and Mari got hypothermic and demanded a sprint to the finish to warm up... good times and way to perservere team! Looking forward to more adventures on the trails.