Team Montrail has steadily climbed the ranks in adventure racing over the past three years. Two years ago, the team placed third in the World Championships and had a few other top five finishes. In 2002, they placed second in the Primal Quest (most competitive field of teams in a race ever) and first in the Raid the North Extreme (a major race). The team also traveled in the top four for most of the first six days of Eco-Challenge until an injury forced them to abandon.
One of only two American teams to consistently place in the top five in major races, they are known for an ability to blow away the competition in the paddling legs of the races and were once thought of as poor cyclists. However, after contacting Wobble-Naught, Thompson, and Moots last year, the combination of these three sponsors greatly improved this leg of their racing.
Currently in negotiations for a 2003 title sponsor, they are planning to race full time starting in February. Shane Sigle is available for radio interviews and may be contacted via e-mail or cell phone.
At first I was trying to see how adventure racing might fit
into the Daily Peloton's cycling coverage other than one leg always has
cycling. Now I see from your responses that the common thread is the
each of us does of ourselves whether that is in cycling, racing, or our
personal lives. As Lance Armstrong said on the title of his book
not about the bike," it’s about seeking your personal limits and
your life and surviving.
Vaughn, you too have pushed yourself to mental and physical
limits. I don't need to explain much to you why we do this type of racing.
If there is one thing I hope you can convey from talking to me, it is that
there are incredible personal gains to be had when challenging oneself.
Whether it is a walk around the park, a weekend bike ride, bike racing,
or a 1000 km adventure race, challenging ourselves physically brings a
I agree Shane. I got started mountain climbing when
I foolishly took the challenge to climb a 1200 ft cliff with a novice
climber. It could have come to a tragic end with us roped together
with 1200 foot fall below with no protection in the rock. You
heard that correct, no pitons, no chocks ,no carabiners, no protection to
secure the ropes in the event of a fall. Lord have mercy. We must have
stupid roped together with a clothes line. If one of us fell, it only would
have dragged the other to certain death. My climbing partner knew
nothing, and I knew less. I got the shit scared out of me that day.
I was hanging on to the granite, shaking so much with terror, I thought I
might vibrate off the wall, and as one of my instructors said later, "one
mistake and you whistle to the turf 4000 ft. below.
I had to continue climbing until I could climb without fear; which I
did for the next several years. I learned that fear is a valuable
companion and that panic can be avoided and controlled. Beyond
I think I explored the "terra incognito" of my own limits... which
in the end made me realize, as you have, that these were self imposed and
nothing more than barriers to cross on the way to new vistas.
Part of the challenge with a team must be keeping an
anchor or equilibrium as exhaustion and physical stress accumulate. Are
there tactics, tools, or nutrition (like vitamin B-1) the team uses to
this challenge? Have you seen others "crack" emotionally?
Shane: First, everyone cracks emotionally at some point. Even the
best will lose it. The thing that separates the best is that they recover
quickly, whether it be physically or mentally. If someone is not at the
edge of all their abilities, than they are not helping the team. I have
had teammates that are the last to crack, but they don't help anyone out,
they don't carry extra weight, and they don't give anything to the
racers seem strong to onlookers, but they are the weak ones.
The funny thing about holding it all together is that we use the same
that any person uses in their everyday life. We always stay positive and
we always support each other. We are always there to help a teammate when
they are down and we always look out for each other. We are a machine that
operates with four cogs. We all know what the strengths and weaknesses of
each team member are and we each look to the stronger one when we are not
doing well. A good racer is humble when they are strong. They pull
teammates with ropes, carry their bike through jungle
they take some of their weight. I have seen teammates simply hold the hand
of someone to provide emotional support. On the other hand, the best
know when they are hurting and they accept help without having an ego or
too much pride.
Adventure racing reduces each and every racer to nothing at some point
during the race. The race sucks all hope, energy, passion, desire and
out of each racer. It replaces them with anger, pain, and unending
and constantly nagging despair. On the other hand, the race gives a deep
of pride and confidence that is unmatched.
We are big proponents of nutrition. We use Emergen-c (vitamin C and
multi-vitamin energy supplement), Met-Rx products, and gels. But, when all
is said and done we live on four things: fat, caffeine, sugar, and salt.
That is what the human body needs for survival
Amazing, not so different than mates on a pro cycling
team in a stage race. I am wondering how you train for so many disciplines.
Do you cross train daily or spend days where you mountain bike, then days you
run or hike?
I mean what does the teams training look like? I imagine most of the
is done separately and then some together as a team?
We train together as a team during the season and go our
separate ways during the winters. We all have specialties. Patrick is
a cross country skier, Rebecca is a rock climber, Novak is a triathlete,
and I am a paddler. We all try to work on our weaknesses while not losing
our strengths. Personally, I try to follow a regimented training schedule
while Rebecca tries not to train. We don't train a whole lot together and
team training usually involves going out for dinner or a drink. We spend
enough time together at such a high intensity that it is nice to sit and
have a beer together.
Ok, now I imagine on a trek like this you carry your food and
all supplies, or are there food drops or some basic support? What is the
nutrition like during a race? Supplementation? The calories per day must
Shane: There are transition areas where you will change from
to hiking or hiking to paddling. At these transition areas, you have
to a box with all of your gear and food. The legs of the race (a leg is
a length of the race without access to our boxes) can range from a few
to 30-40 hours. If it happens to be a hiking or biking leg, you must
a lot of food. It is also legal to find local help along the way. If you
know you will pass through a town and it is not the middle of the night,
you bring money because it is a lot lighter than food. Most of the time we
are in the middle of the jungle in Fiji or the forest in the Yukon
so local help is not an option.
There is also mandatory gear that each team is required to carry. The
gear rarely is less than about 5-10 pounds per person and
as high as 40 pounds. One sign of a good team is their ability to
the weight between racers so everyone is traveling at the same
The nutrition is basic: sugar, fat, caffeine, and salt. Some
racers live on "powerbars" and "powergels" while some racers throw a slab of salami and some cheese in their packs. Everyone is different, but the common
theme is an intense connection with the body and knowledge of what it takes
to keep it alive and moving. Later in the races, the body is not able to
handle a lot of whole foods and racers resort to liquid foods such as Ensure
and Met-Rx protein shakes.
I eat the most on team and I guess that I can put away about 6000-7000
calories a day when we are racing. As you know, the average person eats
about 1500 calories in a day.
DP: Shane it looks like you had a great 2002, quite a change
from 2001. What made the difference and will there be any changes this
Shane: Team Montrail is known for it's ability to blow
away the competition in the paddling legs of the races and were once
thought of as poor bikers. Last year we made contact with Wobble-Naught,
Thompson, and Moots. The combination of these three sponsors has greatly
improved our biking and struck fear into our competition once we get in the
We are currently in the process of negotiations for a title sponsor for
2003 and plan to race full time starting in February, also the Team
site will be up in the next few days.
DP: So you and the team are riding the Moots titanium
Shane: Yes, a Moots titanium YBD Softail.
DP: I interviewed Tom Coleman and wrote an article on the
fitting system. Did that system help you? What did the other members have
to say about the Wobble-naught fit.
Shane: Well, you quoted me in the earlier
article. Most of the team made a quick transition with the system to
a better fit. My position before the fit was completely wrong as I
really a mountain biker, so it took me about a month of riding to make the
Before the fit I had groin and hamstring cramping on most every ride over
three hours. After the fit, the cramping stopped and I felt the
being transferred to the larger muscle groups. By the end of a month, I felt
my cycling had improved and now I regularly do 5 to 6 hour rides with no
The difference is huge, I am climbing stronger and I can train longer
the pain and the cramps.
This was true for all of us after Tom Coleman fit us. Rebecca Rusch,
the team captain said, " The comfort that comes from the Wobble-naught custom
bike fitting is the kicker. We’re able to ride longer and without any
We all found ourselves riding much better, more efficiently... we had our
bikes set up for better climbing and with no change in our descents. We were
moving much better individually, as well as a team."
DP: So where can we expect to see you in the next few months
February when you and the team start racing?
Shane: I can be found somewhere between Atlanta and DC riding
a trail or paddling a river. I'm finishing my masters degree in Water
as we speak but plan to move back west as soon as I am finished out here
in the east.
DP: Thanks Shane, let's keep in touch, eh. Maybe let
us know how you and the team are doing this coming season.
Shane: Thanks Vaughn, will do.
The Holy Grail of Bike Fit
Quest adventure group: firstname.lastname@example.org