Fall 2002 Forward to a Friend


AS PART of its continuing commitment to the outdoors and support of active-lifestyle enthusiasts, Subaru of America, Inc. proudly sponsored the first expedition-length adventure race in the United States, Subaru Primal Quest. Developed by and for adventure racers, the event took place July 7-16 in Telluride, Colorado in conjunction with the Telluride 360° Adventure Festival, which was also sponsored by the company.

Coed, four-person teams of endurance athletes from eight different countries covered more than 250 miles of the brutal backcountry of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. The racers competed 24 hours a day in a variety of disciplines, including mountain biking, kayaking, rappelling, trekking and mountaineering. The purse for the event was $250,000 – twice the amount of any other adventure race.

Four-person, coed teams from eight different countries participated in Subaru Primal Quest.
During the race, spectators were able to track the teams’ progress through Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. Competitors carried GPS units as they battled through the course, and when they reached race checkpoints, officials downloaded the GPS data and returned the units to the racers. The up-to-the-minute race data was available to spectators on the Subaru Primal Quest Web site.

Mother Nature certainly made her presence known to the participants. Less than an hour’s drive from the race site, a forest fire engulfed thousands of acres of forest. The fire did not pose a threat to the teams, but the dry air and smoke did make it more difficult for them to breathe throughout the course.

In the end, New Zealand’s SoBe/Smartwool team took the top honors, claiming the top prize of $100,000 by finishing in 74 hours and 12 minutes. Second place went to Team Montrail with a time of 79:41 and third went to Team GoLite who finished in 83:17. In an extraordinary achievement, Team Subaru finished in eighth place overall.

Of the event’s original 62 teams, 48 completed the adventure. The race officially ended when Team El Dorado crossed the finish line on July 16. In the end, 36 ranked teams finished the race’s full course, 23 teams dropped out or continued unranked, and three teams finished the short course.

Subaru Primal Quest was televised on Outdoor Life Network, which broadcasted three hours of coverage to more than 45 million homes across the United States.

Winning essay writer
William Burton

Subaru of America, Inc.sponsored an essay-writing contest in conjunction with the Subaru Primal Quest adventure race and Telluride 360° Adventure Festival. The contest was held through the www.outdoorlife.Subaru.com Web site and was open to all Subaru owners. Each entrant was required to submit a photograph and essay describing an adventure they had with their Subaru. William Burton submitted the grand-prize winning essay.

Bring your sense of adventure and lots of bug spray – we’re off to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for my Subaru Primal Quest. The quest involves visiting five lighthouses from Currituck to Cape Lookout down this narrow ribbon of sand. Along the way we kayak, mountain bike, windsurf, kite board, hang glide and drive my trusty Subaru WRX Wagon through one of America’s most scenic areas.

Starting at Currituck Lighthouse, we climb to the top for a breathtaking view. Mountain bikes take us south through a wildlife refuge, to Kitty Hawk Woods. Here, a kayak trip through one of the world’s best maritime forests will yield encounters with river otters, egrets, water moccasins, and possibly bald eagles and bears. Emerging from the forest, we paddle south toward the Wright Brothers Memorial perched high atop one of the area’s dunes. We continue kayaking to Jockey’s Ridge, the east coast’s tallest sand dune, for hang gliding and stunt kite flying. As the day closes, the sun sets across Roanoke Sound, where the first English colony vanished in 1590.

The next morning we further test the steady winds, kite boarding in Croatan Sound, The kite propels us across the water toward Bodie Island Lighthouse.

We load the Subaru and continue south, stopping within sight of Hatteras Lighthouse for some afternoon windsurfing. Biking to the lighthouse, we join surfers in the Atlantic breakers.

With three lighthouses achieved, we take the ferry to Ocracoke Island, for our fourth lighthouse, and an evening of biking and relaxing in the village of Ocracoke.

The next morning, we cross Pamlico Sound by ferry, then drive to Harker’s Island to embark by kayak for our final destination, Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Crossing Core Sound, dolphins join us for this final leg of my Quest.

– William Burton