Welcome to our series of interviews with American adventure racing teams who participated in the World's Toughest Race Eco-Challenge: Fiji! This 11-day adventure race took place in September 2019 and will premiere on Amazon Prime on August 14th, 2020. Check out USARA's dedicated Eco-Challenge: Fiji page for interviews from other teams and additional material concerning the race!
Please introduce yourself!
I’m Shane Sigle with Team Endure (#52). Our team is from Evergreen, Colorado. I build whitewater parks.
What was your adventure racing experience prior to Eco-Challenge: Fiji? Have you participated in previous Eco-Challenges or other adventure races?
I raced professionally for Teams Pearlizumi, Montrail, Merrell, Buff, and Eastern Mountain Sports in 1-10 day adventure races across the planet from about 2000 until present, with most of the racing occurring 2001-2010. I participated in Eco-Challenge: Fiji in 2002 with Team Montrail (Rebecca Rusch, Patrick Harper, Tony Molina, and I).
How did your team come together, and how did you train for Eco-Challenge: Fiji?
I have raced with Travis in some regional races and he has been a training partner for many years. I was lucky enough to pace him during his Leadman win a few years back. Danelle is an icon of the sport and I have spent a lot of time chasing her on courses around the planet. Mark Macy is a legend of ultra endurance events and I have taken every chance I can to soak up his stories and his “stoke”. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
What were you most looking forward to at Eco-Challenge: Fiji, and what scared you the most?
I was most excited for the camakau boats [traditional Fijian boats] and the ropes. The boats were incredibly challenging and diverse. A good sailor can use the boats to make up a lot of time and an inexperienced crew would find themselves getting “hoolied” (flipped) out in the big blue ocean. The ropes courses at Eco-Challenge are at least two steps above any race I have experienced including World Championship courses, Primal Quest, etc. The first time I did the ropes in Fiji, I finished completely shattered but so high on endorphins, I carried on for hours in a state of euphoria.
What was your favorite piece of gear and/or clothing and/or food?
We commandeered a garden wheelbarrow from some locals for a small fee and carried some mandatory gear in it for a few hours to save time. Travis put the wheelbarrow on tow and I steered. On the downhills, I ran down and let’er roll while Travis followed, giggling in excitement. It won’t make the show, but what a blast and a great improvisation.
Describe a favorite moment of Eco-Challenge: Fiji, or one where you suffered the most.
We spent a lot of time paddling between islands and at times we hit currents and winds that seemed to stop us in our tracks. We were rewarded with a perfect wind at one point. The team literally put our feet up, snacked, and we flew across the water while I sat in the back and steered us home. The boat moved like a Porsche.
After Eco-Challenge: Fiji, would you do another adventure race? Would you do the Eco-Challenge again?
Team Endure will be back for the next Eco-Challenge!
What internal struggles did you experience during Eco-Challenge: Fiji? Did you experience any moments of self-reflection and/or growth?
I didn’t experience many internal struggles. Our team had a clear goal and everyone was very experienced. We were always on the same page and moving as efficiently as possible. We all took up roles at different times and filled in gaps that other teammates left. I had a lot of moments deep in the Jungle or out in the oceans where life moved very slowly and I could reflect on the Team Endure mission, the futility of our lives, and the zest for life that our team brought to the course. We were knee deep in mud, sweat, and blood with nothing but smiles on our faces.
What was re-entry into civilization like, both after the finish line in Fiji and back in your home country?
Team Endure embraces the family spirit. Our families attended and we finished with them waiting and ready to embrace us. Nothing is sweeter than that for any of us. Having families to enjoy after the race and in the Eco-Challenge bubble helped the re-entry.
How would you like fans to interpret your participation in Eco-Challenge: Fiji? Did you set out to inspire another group of people and do you think you accomplished that?
We hope that Team Endure was the most inspiring team out there for a few reasons but we can’t give any spoilers on that subject. Tune in to see what happens with Team Endure!
Stay tuned for more from USARA! Visit www.usara.com for more information on adventure racing in the United States.
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