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Apr 4

The Endeavor Experience – Matt Wheeler

A mentor of mine once told me, “our bodies are a vehicle not a prison.” I try to live with this in mind and am always looking for ways to test what my vehicle is capable of. I was immediately drawn to the Endeavor Team Challenge.

I was a first-time competitor at the 2017 event. A lot of people remember me because I’m 6’9” and wore tights & Air Jordans for the entirety of the race. My partner, Phil Pierce, is a similar-minded gentleman. We bonded over our shared interest of walking uphill and looking good while doing so. “Look good, play good,” we’d repeat to each other.

In all seriousness, having fun was a crucial piece of our strategy. We finished 13th out of 51 or so entered teams. We were happy with our finish, but would we do things differently next time? Definitely.

Here are the top 5 things I’m doing differently to prep for 2018:

  1. Read every word in the prep pamphlet – we crafted an “unconventional” raft out of our tarp. My stuff got wet when we forded the pond. Mile 1. So brutal…
  2. Learn how to use a compass – we got pretty lucky to get through the night oreinteering stage. I’m going to know how to deliniate magnetic north next time.
  3. Do more pullups – obstacle course is no joke
  4. Pack more food – worth the weight. I was ravenous by the end.
  5. Pack a sleeping bag – I love my pink parka, but it gets cold up there. I remember seeing snow on the ground and being like, “daaaaang.”

Here are the top 5 things I plan on doing the same next time:

  1. I’ll be fresh off of Burning Man, again
  2. I’ll watch the Revenant to get hyped the night before, again. If Leo can make it through that movie, you can make it a few more miles.
  3. Wear Air Jordans. Look good play good.
  4. I’ll savor pushing myself
  5. I’ll have fun

The Endeavor Team Challenge was an amazing experience and as rewarding as anything I’ve done and I’m looking forward to getting back out there in 2018.

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