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The bounds of ‘human potential’ within the open air (be it bodily, psychological, or emotional) have all the time intrigued this Oregon-based adventurer.
It’s noon within the mountains of Central Oregon. Jason Magness is standing on snow, an ear pressed to a walkie-talkie barely discernible within the wind. “We have to ship some assist as much as the cross,” he shouts into the night time.
A voice crackles over the two-way radio. A group of racers is stranded; hypothermia is setting in. It’s day 4 of Expedition Oregon, a multiday wilderness occasion that has been dubbed “America’s hardest race.”
Magness, 47, is the creator of the course, which unwinds for lots of of miles throughout the mountainscape above his house. A freak blizzard has dumped toes of snow unexpectedly, and now 66 racers are bearing down within the storm.
Magness isn’t any stranger to what these athletes are enduring. As a 20-year veteran of journey racing, he’s succumbed to debilitating damage on a weeklong race by way of Patagonia. He as soon as bought misplaced within the volcanic mountains of Fiji.
In a sport the place sleepless nights and 100-mile legs are desk stakes, Magness has excelled. However he’s not a standard ultra-athlete. His background — together with yoga, slacklining, acrobatics, and climbing — forges a singular resume of pursuits Magness has discovered that push the bounds of what a human can do.
He now runs Bend Racing, an organization he operates along with his spouse, Chelsey, out of their eponymous Bend, Ore., house. They host races and have a pro-level journey racing group that’s one of many few U.S.-based squads competing on the worldwide circuit.
‘America’s Hardest Race’
Expedition Oregon, based in 2018, is Magness’ magnum opus. The 5-day occasion entails trekking, mountain biking, paddling, and wilderness navigation deep off path by way of nationwide forests, lava fields, and different wild lands.
Magness and his group spend months constructing an intricate course with checkpoints and a dozen topo maps to convey race groups from the beginning line to the tip, as much as 5 days (and nights) of racing in full.
In 2022, the blizzard situations upped the ante much more. Because the radio crackled within the night time, Magness realized it was a cry for assist. A group of 4 racers within the forest close to Windigo Move had given up. The winter gales and hip-deep snow have been an excessive amount of, and inside minutes of contact, Magness was coordinating a rescue along with his employees.
“America’s hardest race” did certainly stay as much as its moniker this 12 months. The rescue was a hit, and, ultimately, a couple of groups managed to finish the race in full. Workforce Vidaraid, a coed squad, took first place after 5 days and 57 minutes on the transfer.
Profile: Adventurer Jason Magness
GearJunkie linked with Magness to speak about his obsession with journey — and why a steady push to the sting has all the time been his objective.
A path into journey for Magness began along with his brother. As twins, Jason and Andy Magness have inherently all the time been shut. This included a childhood the place creativeness and play developed into out of doors pursuits and, finally, expeditions world wide.
“As twins, we have been going by way of all our life experiences collectively on the similar time,” Jason mentioned. “It constructed this sense of self-confidence as a result of I used to be by no means actually alone.”
The brothers grew up as army youngsters, shifting to bases across the globe. The household landed in Alaska because the boys entered their teenagers, which Jason described as getting into a “fantasy-like” place.
Presently, like many teenagers, they have been obsessive about Dungeons & Dragons and The Lord of the Rings. The medieval fantasy style, with characters crossing mountains and finishing quests, captured their creativeness so tightly that there was an try and manifest it into actuality.
“We’d go discover, however not as ‘athletes.’ We’d go as a result of on these big-mountain climbs, that’s what it seemed like in The Lord of the Rings,” Jason mentioned.
By their early 20s, the brothers’ athletic drive took over. They have been bagging first ascents, touring to climb mountains in Patagonia and different deep wildernesses on the ends of the Earth.
Slacklines to Snowkites
However Jason didn’t want the Himalayas to search out journey. Certainly, as he developed as an athlete and explorer again house within the U.S., Magness started a path into a number of the extra esoteric corners of the outside.
In 2005, he dropped at union the actions of slacklining and yoga, co-inventing a self-discipline of poses on a skinny webbing line. It’s known as yoga-slacking, and at the moment, untold 1000’s of members apply the self-discipline and comply with the worldwide YogaSlackers group.
Then there was Magness’ obsession with wind. One winter, with two mates, Magness set out on a snowkite with plans to cross 400 miles of open terrain. The route, from the border of Manitoba on southward, would transect the whole thing of North Dakota, a windy, barren Siberia of a spot below a dim January solar.
Magness and the group would sleep open air every night time in subzero temps. They melted snow for water. The expedition, dubbed “To Cross the Moon,” was a quest in a wierd place and in addition a name to motion for public deal with renewable assets like wind.
The expedition set south from Canada with snowboards and skis, every individual towed by their polyester canopies. In howling wind, they hauled at speeds as much as 30 mph throughout snow-blanketed fields.
Fostering an Adventurous Life
From snowkites to slacklines, mountaineering, triathlon, and extra, Magness’ early maturity was a kaleidoscope of journey. He labored as a trainer and a yoga teacher, and for years he lived out of a automobile touring nonstop.
It took Oregon and a life companion, his spouse Chelsey, to maintain Magness in a single place. After years of in search of experiences to push limits across the globe, the couple has made their house within the city of Bend. They’re elevating two youngsters now with a parenting template that leans into journey each day.
“Bend permits me to be a guardian, to stay a ‘regular’ life, however I can nonetheless stroll out my door to coach, mountain bike, climb, and get into the wilderness close by,” he mentioned.
Bend Racing Coaching Classes
Magness and Workforce Bend haven’t slowed down. And Magness’ deal with journey — be it as a race director or along with his youngsters on a backcountry hike close to Bend — stays consider to this present day.
Along with nonetheless competing across the globe, Magness additionally leans into his expertise to supply coaching clinics for aspiring journey athletes. Bend Racing’s applications are Oregon-based lessons targeted on constructing adventure-racing expertise. Backcountry navigation and methods for environment friendly wilderness journey are core focus areas.
Gear is a giant a part of this system; choosing the right equipment is essential for journey sports activities. Along with bikes and backpacks, Magness outlines the significance of attire for top output within the mountains. We requested him to share a couple of insights on layering for chilly climate.
Columbia Sportswear: Jason Magness’ Necessary Gear
Columbia Sportswear has supported Workforce Bend as a supplier of attire and equipment up to now, thus Magness is aware of his Columbia gear nicely. Under are a couple of ideas he supplied for layering within the chilly.
Discover Columbia Omni-Warmth Helix
- Base layer: Columbia Omni-Warmth Helix Bliss Ascent Lengthy Sleeve
“For a base layer, we’re merino wool or synthetics,” Magness mentioned. “You want a heat-retaining base layer that breathes.” Workforce Bend has been sporting Columbia’s new Omni-Warmth base layers for coaching and racing.
- Midlayer: Out of doors Tracks Fleece Pullover & Out of doors Tracks Full Zip Jacket
“A midlayer is probably probably the most essential a part of a equipment” for insulation, he mentioned. The Columbia Out of doors Tracks Fleece Pullover and Out of doors Tracks Full Zip Jacket are 100% polyester and use Columbia’s Omni-Warmth Helix know-how, a patchwork of closed-cell foam woven into the material, meant to extend insulation worth whereas remaining breathable.
- Legwear: Bliss Ascent Hybrid Pants
For pants, Magness mentioned his group prefers “one thing that stretches and strikes with you.” They’ve a bias towards softshell pants over waterproof pants for many races. “I’d slightly have a stretchy, artificial, sturdy pair of pants that cuts the wind, dries quick, and isn’t susceptible to shredding [if there are off-trail bushwhacking sections].” The Bliss Ascent Hybrid Pants use Columbia’s Omni-Warmth Helix material for breathability and heat.
- Shell: Columbia OutDry Nanolite Shell Jacket
On this jacket, Magness notes that “it’s minimalistic, light-weight, and a terrific shell.” The waterproof shell, which makes use of the corporate’s OutDry EXTREME material, is the ultimate protection from the climate. The group pulls on the Nanolite to protect in opposition to rain, snow, and wind. Magness mentioned the jacket has confirmed to be windproof and waterproof in excessive situations encountered in Oregon and much past.
As for the way forward for America’s Hardest Race, this race is in a 2-years-on, one-year-off sample — and 2023 is an off 12 months. However don’t be discouraged; there are many different intense journey races occurring throughout the nation for 2023, and also you’ll undoubtedly see Bend Racing and the Magness group.
They’ve bought their eyes set on a podium end on the Journey Racing World Championship race in 2023. They usually plan to host the World Championship race in 2025 when it comes again to North America.
Comply with Jason on Instagram and Fb:
Fb: Bend Racing
GearJunkie’s “Chillest People” sequence, sponsored by Columbia, highlights athletes and adventurers who thrive in chilly and excessive situations open air. Discover out extra about Columbia’s Omni-Warmth Helix attire on-line.