Mel and I watched Eco-Challenge on USA Network every night this week. She’s into it, big time. This is the first year I’ve actually watched the whole thing. It’s pretty impressive and I quite enjoyed it. It takes some real courage, endurance and perseverance to get through a race like that, and of course, athleticism. Mel keeps telling me how much she’d love to do adventure racing, and I keep saying there isn’t a chance in hell that I could, or would, do anything like that. As far as I’m concerned, the only endurance required for the ‘fat-near-middle-aged-lesbian team’ is what’s required to get through a pitcher of margaritas.
Anyway, the series shown on TV was the highlights from the race in New Zealand which actually took place last October. The show focused on seven teams – the top three, the last place finisher and three in between – although there were actually 67 teams competing. The New Zealand team was expected to take first place but ended up in second because sleep deprivation finally caught up with them. It was quite scary to watch them rappeling down the side of a mountain slope in the middle of the night while guiding a sleeping – yes, asleep – teammate. The woman on that team, Kathy Lynch, is 44 years old and a serious hard ass.
The last place team was great because they really worked together to get through it, practically dragging one of their team members the entire way because he had terrible problems with his feet. This guy was probably about 50 lbs. overweight and totally not an athlete. The team really stuck by him though and had high spirits, using alot of humor to get through. They were very funny, blaming alot of the weather and course conditions on the race organizer. Stuff like “Oh damn, he’s turned on the rain now,” turning the whole experience into conspiracy theory perpetrated by the organizers.
We liked the Brazilian team, three
hot tamales women and their token male. Teams must have a least one member of the opposite sex. You definitely got the idea their male teammate was pretty much forced on them, they totally didn’t want him there. He was an idiot at times, and Mel and I thought he was incredibly chauvinistic. There was a whole lot of drama going on for that team. Of course, what’s TV without drama?
The team we hated was Team Moosejaw (US). Well, we didn’t actually hate the team, we hated the team captain. She was, without a doubt, the finest example of sniveling, whining, un-sportsman-like conduct I’ve ever seen in my life. In the previous year’s Eco-Challenge she managed to get her team disqualified within four hours of the start of the race. This year she fared a bit better but ended up quitting about halfway through, not too long after one of the other team members quit due to injury. At that point, even if they’d finished they wouldn’t have been ranked because the team was incomplete.
We were astonished as we watched the team captain harangue her teammates – being generally bitchy, unpleasant, complaining and disagreeable – as they carried her gear for her! This woman is not an athlete – she’s an interior designer from Chicago, a former self-confessed couch potato. She had absolutely no business being in a competition of that caliber. She should be ashamed of her behavior and incredibly embarassed about being shown on television acting that way. What I thought was funny was that she said she loved mountain biking in last year’s Eco-Challenge interview. In this year’s race she is seen crying, saying “I hate bikes” while kicking her mountain bike. She ultimately blamed the unfitness of the bike as the reason for quitting the race even though the bike mechanic very diplomatically said there was nothing wrong with it.
Even more amazing is that the corporate sponsor, Moosejaw, probably paid the $13,500 race entry fee and likely paid for a good bit of the gear and travel expenses. What an embarassment that woman must be to them. The news item about the race on the home page of their website cautions readers to “take it easy!” when sending their comments. Even the message board on the Eco-Challenge site to “encourage the team” was taken down late yesterday because of all the team-captain bashing going on by outraged viewers.
In the end, all she has to show for this experience is her television notoriety. Instead of doing the best she could, getting something from the experience and enjoying herself, she portrayed herself as the superior athlete, blaming the inexperience of her teammates for her failure. The fact that she would make herself out to be so experienced compared to her teammates was both laughable and mystifying because she herself had only four hours experience the previous year. One only has to look at the team bios to know her teammates had at least as much, if not more, athletic experience. At the end of the video this ego-challenged bitch is heard saying about her teammates, “f*ck ’em.” How pathetic.