About the Team
Outdoor Idaho followed one team throughout the entire stage race.
The Funtastics Adventure Racing Team was founded by Dave Adlard in 2008. Based in Coeur d'Alene, the squad consists of members from all over the country.
Jeni McNeal is a founding member of the group. The Spokane resident and college professor says it's hard to believe she "overcame her genetics" to compete in the first place.
"I've never been an endurance athlete ever. I'm almost all fast twitch muscle fiber. So I'm really good for about 45 seconds. So when the subject of adventure racing came up, you know for me it was about the competition. And the endurance I figured I'd just figure it out."
As soon as she started, Jeni says she got hooked. So did fellow founding member Andy Tucker of Farmington Hills, Michigan.
"My gut feeling is (The Crux and The Crucible) is going to be a very difficult race. Probably the most difficult race I've done. My friends are out here and this whole adventure racing concept is about friendship for me."
One of Tucker's best friends is Funtastics founder and race director Dave Adlard. Since Adlard had to sit out the first day of the race, he asked rookie adventure racer Chris Baker of Coeur d'Alene to take his place.
"I'm not nervous. I'm not anxious. I'm just excited to be here. I want to push myself physically and mentally and see if there's a breaking point."
Rounding out the team is Danelle Ballengee of Moab, Utah. Ballengee is an endurance sports legend who has competed in marathons and adventure races all over the world. A three-time Primal Qwest champion, it's not a stretch to say she brings enormous depth and experience to the Funtastics Adventure Racing Team. In many respects, though, it's a miracle she's able to compete in the race at all.
"In December 2006, I had an accident. I was out on a training run. I fell, slipped on some ice and fell 60 feet down a cliff. And I shattered my pelvis and got stuck in the bottom of a canyon for three days, two nights."
Miraculously, she survived. This will be her longest race since the accident.
It's unclear how the Funtastics will do as a unit. They've never competed together before.