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One tough race

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | November 22, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Dave Adlard is at it again.

The man who brought the Great West Gymfest to Coeur d'Alene, the mastermind behind Adventure Sports Week at Farragut State Park, has another grand idea.

This one is called "Expedition Idaho," and it may be the granddaddy of them all.

"It's going to be a big event," Adlard said. "It could end up being one of the premier events in the world this year."

Some 30 teams, including international ones, will be competing Aug. 27 to Sept. 3 for first-place prize money of up to $15,000. The four-person teams will kayak, canoe, raft, run, mountain bike, bush whack, inline skate and crawl if necessary to survive, but better yet, win.

To do so, they'll have to cover the 350-mile course over six nonstop days that will take them around North Idaho, from Post Falls to Sandpoint to the Montana border in the Silver Valley.

"It's basically a big loop," Adlard said.

Rest is for the weak. Teams will sleep, on average, two hours a day. Key is, don't quit. Keep moving - forward, hopefully, day and night. You can cry, complain and anguish, just as long as your feet are churning toward an unseen finish line.

"It's perpetual forward motion. You've just got to keep moving," Adlard said. "It's perseverance. It's all about perseverance."

Adlard knows of what he speaks.

The Athol man has organized hundreds of races, and competed, too, in a handful of crazy contests that demand iron will and determination. He refers to Expedition Idaho as a "wild, unsanitized challenge" that will be something special.

"We really want this to be the best racing experience we can for the racers," he said.

The course is so difficult, so ridiculously demanding, that most won't finish it. Of the 30 expected to start, less than 10 will complete the whole thing, he said.

Navigation skills, as much as physical prowess, come into play. Teams will get the course map just hours before the starting gun.

"Everybody's going to make mistakes," he said. "The teams that deal with it the best win."

For those daring or foolish enough to try - and Adlard would love to see a team from Coeur d'Alene involved - know this: It ain't cheap.

It costs $4,000 for a team, which includes two hotel room nights per team, transportation from the Spokane airport, gear, and pre and post-race parties. The more teams that are registered, the more prize money will be offered. If there are 40 teams, total prize money would reach $50,000.

Expedition Idaho will be one of the largest, longest, toughest adventure races in the country.

Adlard guarantees it.

"The racers are going to have a blast. It's a great course," Adlard said, then adding with a smile, "They're going to suffer their way through it."

He's expecting a large media contingent in town to cover the race, with as many as five film crews on hand and up to 30 national media publications. He's is negotiating to have the race aired live or delayed.

"We're talking about national exposure," he said.

Not surprisingly, challenges await.

"We're starting 11 months in advance and I'm already working 30 hours a week," he said.

Adlard hasn't finalized where Expedition Idaho will start and finish. Coeur d'Alene can't accommodate the event, he said, due to conflicts with other activities in town on the same dates as the race.

He'll need a crew of about 70 people.

"We're looking for volunteers to spend 6 sleepless nights and get a T-shirt, great meals and cool swag," he said, laughing.

The course is still being finalized, along with checkpoints and transition areas. Mike Kloser of Colorado, considered one of the greatest adventure racers in the world, will be vetting the course.

There's still supplies, gear, and satellite monitoring that must be detailed carefully.

Permits - about 15 - are needed at city, county, state and federal levels.

"There's so many government bodies you're dealing with. So many different facets," he said. "Logistically, it's pretty demanding. It's an interesting challenge to be able to pull it off."

Can Dave Adlard do it?

No doubts in his mind.

"This has been a dream we've actually played with more over three years," he said.

Come Aug. 27, play time is over. Ladies and gentlemen, let Expedition Idaho begin.

Information: 664-0135

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