Andy Bacon, Arlington, VA
Why do you race? Challenge, awesome teammates, beautiful places…you see things in adventure racing that most people never experience…
How did you come to AR and THT? I was introduced to adventure racing back in 2006 when a friend asked me to do the Odyssey One Day Adventure Race near Front Royal, VA. I had been competing in Xterra off-road triathlons and lots of running races for several years and was really excited for a new challenge. I remember being so intrigued by the thought of racing at night. I was familiar with Odyssey from completing in their dreaded Xterra triathlon at Sherando Lake and the 1/2 iron off-road triathlon at Douthat State Park, but adventure racing was completely new.
After surviving my first AR experience (and not doing too bad actually), I was hooked. It must have been the pond swim at 3am that made it so memorable. In 2007, I hooked up with team stray dogs and we ended up winning the Odyssey National College Sprint AR Series. That was the same year I started orienteering at the local QOC meets. I’ll never forget my first meet – I got terribly lost and it took me over 97 minutes to complete a yellow course…oh, I missed a point so I DNFd anyway. Boy did I have some work to do! But I stuck with it, and learned a lot very quickly.
Around the holidays in 2007, I got a call from a friend Miguel who asked if I was interested in doing a little race called Primal Quest. I knew I didn’t have a ton of experience and probably had no right to try a race that long, but I was confident I could pull it off physically and mentally so I signed up. I couldn’t pass up the adventure. So, team Pura Vida was born, and Victor, Michelle, Miguel, and I trained and raced all year to prepare for PQ Montana. Along with way we completed the 3-day Endorphin Fix, a bunch of 24-hour races, and an awesome skills certifications weekend. Competing and finishing Primal Quest Montana was definitely a highlight in my life without a doubt. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
After PQ, I continued to race and on some random Tuesday at Wakefield Park, my teammate Michelle introduced me to Shane who had recently started an AR team called Teamhalfwaythere.com. Over the next several months, I got to know many members of the team and throughout 2009 I raced as a part of the Teamhalfwaythere team. We had a great year and our “rotten cheeseburgers” team finished ranked in the top 10 in the USARA standings. The highlight for me was Untamed New England – what a great race!
In 2010, I continued to race with Teamhalfwaythere.com and also had the opportunity to race with the Odyssey-ImONPoint.org. Since 2011 I’ve been racing primarily with the Odyssey team, but do race with halfwaythere a few times during the year.
What do you like about THT? Why do you stay? My best friends are on the team…and so is my wife. I’m blessed to have so many amazing people in my life that share my passion for the outdoors.
Something you’ve learned through AR that you take with you beyond the race course? Just when things are going really crappy…things change…always keep moving forward! And little things make all the difference.
What does the future hold for you and AR? I want to be the best adventure racer I can be and help grow the sport. I want to be the old guy kicking the younger teams asses in 20 years.
Specialty? I’m a well-rounded racer. I can bike, run, paddle, and navigate. I may not be the best at any of them, but I can hold my ownwith the best in all of them.
Favorite pieces of gear? My new Lupine Piko X Headlamp; my Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper hardtail; my Swiftwich Aspire socks; and my fleece mountain hardware hat.
Favorite race/event? Untamed New England 2008 and 2012; PQ 2008; the Calleva races with my beautiful wife Kelly.
Favorite Movie? Bond… James Bond (and Beaches)