Kodiak Daily Mirror - Lund captures fifth Eco Challenge win
  
Lund captures fifth Eco Challenge win
by Derek Clarkston / sports@kodiakdailymirror.com
Aug 21, 2012 | 99 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An Eco Challenge team carries its raft at White Sands Beach during the 2012 race. (Derek Clarkston photo)
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The trick to winning the Eco Challenge is having Betsy Lund on your team.

Lund won an unprecedented fifth Eco Challenge title Saturday to easily make her the queen of Kodiak adventure racing.

Lund has been on the winning side of half of the 10 Eco Challenge events. This year she teamed with husband Andy Schroeder — owner of three Challenge wins — Nick Kesling and Jacob Privat.

“She is the most decorated athlete in the race,” Schroeder said.

The foursome that called themselves “No Mercy” showed no mercy on the course that took them from White Sands Beach to as far out as the Kodiak Island Fairgrounds.

The group finished in a tiring 5 hours, 42 minutes — 20 minutes ahead of the runner-up team and two hours in front of the third-place squad.

“I really just think it is a good pace — don’t burn out too early,” Lund said about her success in a race that is equal parts mental and physical.

Lund’s team was the last of 14 to hit the mystery course that started at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building on Monashka Bay.

After a raft ride to White Sands Beach, a bike trip back to the VFW and a hike up and down a foggy Pillar Mountain, No Mercy had passed nearly every team.

Taking a different route up Pillar than most teams proved to be the winning move.

“We didn’t actually see them all, but we passed them all,” Schroeder said. “I think we had local knowledge on our side a little bit.”

“Pretty much everyone that we could see went up Pillar a more challenging way,” Lund said.

After Pillar, competitors biked around Boy Scout Lake, scaled Old Women’s and bushwhacked down, rafted to Dimond’s Peninsula then donned a survival suit for a swim in a lake.

“We had to swim a 20-pound bag of sand around a buoy and back,” Kesling said. “It was miserable. It was a painful 20 minutes. Every muscle was cramping at that point.”

Privat, fresh from Louisiana, had done races like this before, but nothing to the extent of Saturday’s adventure.

“I like the different factors that were involved,” Privat said. “I got to see a lot of Kodiak that I haven’t been able to see yet.”

One of the harder challenges was navigating Pillar in the fog.

“I had just been up there a week before, so I felt pretty comfortable doing that route even though we couldn’t see where we were going,” Lund said.

One team wasn’t as fortunate with a wrong turn that sent them to the Bells Flats area instead of Boy Scout Lake.

The team was lost for 2 1/2 hours and arrived at the awards banquet nearly an hour late to a rousing applause.

“It was painful,” said James Arnold about getting lost.

Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiak

dailymirror.com.
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