Team Vidaraid Storm To USA A1 World Cup Win

The first-ever World Cup held in the United States on December 10, 2022 was a huge success, with teams battling it out at Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama. The field was fast and strong with top teams from all over the US descending on a unique course with 50 miles of excellent single track and new untouched wilderness. The weather for December could be anything, and for this event, it was perfect with highs in the 70s and lows at only 55, with light rain coming in for only about 2 hours during the race.

The A1 World Cup started with an opening half marathon trek up to the famous Peavine Falls which is not easy to get to with the very steep cliffs surrounding the checkpoint. This trek had a good mix of foot trails to start, however the last two checkpoints were in a new area of the park which is undeveloped, meaning teams would need to bushwhack through thick woods, steep hills, and deep ravines. Heading into TA1, five teams were head-to-head at this point, with Team Vidaraid in front going into the first paddle section. Oak Mountain State Park has four small lakes, which became a challenge to get some good distance during this section, so the race director Jeff Leininger created a reveal format. Teams only receive one map with the first checkpoint pre-plotted on it and in order to find out where the next CP is located, teams must find the first which has a map indicating the location of the next check point. This format continued for the entire stage which took teams on the longest possible paddle on a small lake to find all six checkpoints. 

This course also had two permanent orienteering courses used for other orienteering events at the park. Once teams arrived at the O-Courses they were handed a detailed orienteering map to complete this section. Team Mountain Grit Adventures crushed the first mountain bike section to close the gap on Team Vidaraid heading into the first O-Course, however the flawless navigation of Urtzi Iglesias from Team Vidaraid put them back in the lead heading out on the second bike leg. Teams NYARA, Checkpoint Zero/MRC and MRC Checkpoint Zero had some early navigation errors that just put them out of reach of the two top teams, however they continued to move through the course with good spirits and speed. 

In the end, Team Mountain Grit Adventures was crushing each section and running as fast as possible in an attempt to catch Team Vidaraid. However, in the end crossing the finish line in 17 Hours and 15 minutes was the overall championships Team Vidaraid with Urtzi Iglesias, Mari Chandler, and Stefanie Bishop. A little over an hour later, Team Mountain Grit Adventures with Jess Spangler, Lisa Randall, and Jesse Tubb finished in second place, followed by Team NYARA in third. Only five teams cleared the course, and all teams arrived safely at the finish and completed the 2022 A1 World Cup USA.