The Mighty MO Expedition Adventure Race isn’t the longest or the toughest on the circuit, but coming just six weeks before Primal Quest, the Superbowl of adventure racing, it always attracts the top teams in North America. The fact that the first prize is a free entry to Primal Quest, worth more than U.S. $8,000, also adds to the intensity.
Two Whistler-based adventure racers will be taking part this year. Jen Segger, racing with Team Dart-Nuun, was recently second at the Cal-Eco Adventure Race in Auburn, California. Her team is among the favourites to win or place at The Mighty MO this year.
Duncan Munro, who is new to adventure racing this year, will race with Team Gerber Gear, alongside two Navy Seals from San Diego and Michelle Lin, an experienced long distance athlete and adventure racer from Colorado.
With most of the top North American teams heading to Missouri for the race, May 4-7, Munro remains optimistic that they can still place in the top-five.
"The course is still a secret but the rumour is that it’s going to be about 200 miles, which is a fair chunk to cover in three days," he said.
"There’s a lot of teams vying for number one because the free entry into Primal Quest is a huge incentive, but we’re looking forward to see how we’re doing against the other teams. We’re going to try our best.
"Basically it’s a warm up for us for Primal Quest, to see if we need to adjust training, make adjustments in how we do the transitions, and to see what we still need to work on, whether it’s nutrition or navigation, or whatever. We have another adventure race in Florida for the end of the month, so by the time we hit Primal Quest (July 20-27) we’ll be focused and hopefully can finish high in the standings."
Munro has been training since the fall for the upcoming season, where he is signed on to do 11 races with Team Gerber Gear. Nobody knows exactly what the challenges will be but it’s a safe bet that there will be lots of running and mountain biking, some orienteering, as well as kayaking and cliff sections. There will also be a few surprise challenges for teams.
"Basically I’ve been getting lots of mileage, waking up in the middle of the night, three or four in the morning, and running and biking, with weighted backpacks," said Munro. "I went down to California to meet the team and do some training down there on my bike and on the water.
"You also have to try to mix things up, like running for about four and a half hours then going on a two-hour bike ride."
Fitness is only part of the puzzle. Another huge part is nutrition and ensuring that you eat and drink enough to keep up with the energy you exert.
"After three days of races in the end it doesn’t matter what speed you’re going at, as long as you’re just getting food into you. That’s what’s going to get you to the finish line."
To date Munro’s longest race was the three-day La Ruda de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica last fall, a multi-stage mountain bike race where almost half the field was forced to drop out do to exhaustion, injuries and mechanical failures. Finishing that event, as well as placing in the top-10 in the 50-km Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run, "just gave me a huge boost of confidence," said Munro. "I wasn’t the fastest guy in either race but I finished feeling pretty strong in both races. In the end it’s going to come down to pacing and endurance."
For more on the Mighty MO and updates during the race, visit www.mightymoexpedition.com.