Beerpong! Kamakaze Cycling! Waterslides! Running! Guacamole and Cupcakes!

Team BACKPACKER does it all on Merrell’s Oyster Racing Series in Denver
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Team BACKPACKER does it all on Merrell’s Oyster Racing Series in Denver

Dearest Merrell,

Thanks for the invitation to race in your Oyster Racing Series. We really had a blast. This urban adventure race of yours is like one part Primal Quest and three parts Amazing Race, but way shorter and, if i do say so, surely more fun. Our team of Jon Dorn, Katie Herrel, and myself had a Primal Quest, an Xterra, a couple 24 Hours of Moabs, a handful of Balance Bar 24 and Hi-Tec Adventure Races (remember those?), and dozens of running events and centuries between us, so we were extremely under-prepared for what a good time you had in store.

Here’s a peek at our conversation at our Monday morning meeting:

Katie: My favorite part was the challenge that lead us into Elitch Gardens amusement park to ride the water slides. I got a little glimpse at how the other half spends a 90-degree Saturday--and I liked it.

Jon: Being the odd man out on the water slide—I had to shoot a photo as part of our challenge—was tough. It must’ve felt so good to cool off in that 97-degree F heat.

Katie: But you got to eat the entire top off of a cupcake on the second-to-last challenge, horrifying and amazing the judge.

Shannon: Which preceded playing beer pong, which you totally hogged!

Jon: So true, but we had good teamwork on the guacamole making challenge at Chipotle. Smash that avocado!

At this point, our coworkers were scowling at us. It seemed that no one had as good a weekend as us, so we tried to start downplaying it.

Jon: Um, my mouth was really parched, so the cupcake was super hard to swallow.

Katie: And riding our bikes full-tilt down the bike path really horrified the locals heading out for their casual Saturday activities.

Shannon: The lines at the water park were somewhat long. And the seats in that basement cabaret where we played "Name That Tune" had crumbs on them. And we placed 6th, didn’t even medal, not that that it would have been easy to carry, what with my post-race glasses of Mirror Pond and delicious chicken burrito I had.

More scowls. A few people, like Anthony Cerretani, actually threatened me with violence. What can I say—this type of thing doesn’t usually happen when you gush about the details of your latest race. It’s usually hard just to get people to listen. I guess that’s what 34 miles of pure fun will do.

See photos, video, and a GPS-tracklog of our route at here.

Find out more about the Merrell's Oyster Racing Series here.

—Shannon Davis