It takes a lot of team work to get to the top of Xtreme sports. These team building articles show you what it takes to make a great team.

Mountain bike racing, adventure racing, rock climbing and mountaineering all take a terrific support crew.

Though one individual is competing for the prize, the support, mechanics and other teammates help make up a valuable team.

In adventure racing you compete as a team which is unique to most Xtreme sports. Although some people race solo, most teams consist of 4 people and are co-ed.

Whatever your sport you need a strong team, whether they be support or crossing the finish line with you.

As adventure racers we learn to take people through the experiences we have had in xtreme-sports. Teaching others to lean on one another, and to accomplish the extraordinary is what we love to do.

Below you can read about some extreme teams. If you'd like to experience some of this yourself check out our Team Building Program.


Pro race William Lovelace talks about the dynamics that ranked his team 3rd in the Olympics of adventure racing Eco-Challenge.

What common bond must a team have?

Teammates need to have the same goals if they are to be successful in their races. I have raced with teammates whose goal was to simply feel the experience of an expedition race and when they felt they had enough 'experience' they stopped. It is devastating to the others whose goal it was to place high in the standings.

Can you comment on the statement….The nervous part comes for me in disappointing my teammates?

At least for me and my teammates, this has been one of the greatest motivators to train hard and be race ready...none of us ever wanted to be the reason the team did not do well.

What about the roles of teammates?

Every team I have been on, and the championship teams I know all have teammates who are very strong overall, but each member has a particular strength (forgetting Ian Adamson for a moment). It is good to allow someone to take the lead with ropes, another to be the lead in the water and so on so, you don't have 4 or 5 Type A paddlers all trying to lead the way.

This is not to say each member shouldn't be as strong as they can possibly be, but it is not likely you will find teammates who all are equally strong in every event. Go for some diversity.

What if something bugs you about a teammate?

If there is something that bugs you about a person, you can't believe how it can get magnified after many days without rest or sleep. Be sure your love your teammates.


Team dynamics are so important in xtreme sports.

I have raced on many teams where we had "fast" athletes and could win, but broke down relationally. This is the number one reason teams do not finish Xtreme sports races, according to a survey done at Primal Quest Utah.

Team Merrell is a professional adventure racing team. Their teamwork is so good, they place in the top 3 of most events. They are a world class team built on relationships, determination and of course great skills.

I have found there are people I really like outside of racing. But we are not meant to race together.

I have finally come to understand this is OK. Not everyone can make a great team.

A heroic demonstration of teamwork was shown at Primal Quest Utah. I love watching the drama as Cliff of MP Gear, carries extra gallons of water on his back for his team. At one point his teammate has feet that are so bad, that Cliff carries him.

Cliff is an example to all of what a true teammate is willing to do and his teammate for being able to accept the help.


Many teams such as my team, live all over the country and come together for races. Merrell has one member here in the US and three in New Zealand.

Why? It is very hard to find people crazy enough to do this all in one area!

Not only does it take finding souls willing to suffer, and who get along, but the training is incredibly difficult. On top of that you need around $5,000 to race an expedition race.

Some racers have just simply bonded at races, finding they get along better than the team with whom they are currently racing. Then they hook up race together and have great success.


Teams typically have a team captain. Most teams are made up of very independent people, who could all race solo. Although one person usually takes care of the organization, the jobs are delegated among the team members. There are some teams, however where the captain is a captain just as in traditional sports. Nike is one such team, where the captain has a very distinct role as leader. It works for some teams, but our team shares the load.

For instance on our team, one member will do fitness assessments, another will be in charge of the gear list and logistics, another works on our sponsorship and the navigator will spend his time studying for the race.

When it comes race time, we all share the load. I am not that great at white-water kayaking, so another teammate leads that section. I have a good grasp of nutrition and transition times and I usually try to take that role. The navigator has to concentrate on the terrain, while the workhouse carries the gear and often sets the pace.


Another valuable member of a team is our transition area (TA) crew. Our crew will kick us out of the TA on time, help get us ready to go by filling bladders, feeding us, fixing our feet, waking us if we choose to sleep, and motivate us!

Many times coming off a 48 hours leg you will be exhausted. A TA person will lift you up.

At Montana, coming into the TA was a treat. We had Todd there to fix our feet, lift my spirits and encourage us. Joel and Autumn had food ready, fixed bikes, had good information and also encouraged us.

The support crew is integral to the xtreme sports teams success. Our crew was part of our team and accomplished the race just as we did.


Although xtreme sports teams are successful for various reason, not many teams are able to complete expedition length races with poor team dynamics.

You have to learn to "love" your teammates even when they are grouchy and not to mention stinky on day 6!

There is nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line, knowing you did your best as a TEAM. I hope these team building articles help get your xtreme team to the podium.

Check out these great adventure racing teams!

We'll start with my team!

Team Merrell

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