MU1 Travis Siehndel's Epic Adventure

The US Navy is currently working hard to promote a “lifestyle of fitness” and members of the Naval Academy Band are taking this initiative to heart. In addition to regular individual participation in workouts around the Yard that include noon-hour basketball games, weight-lifting, and cardio sessions, many band members are pushing the limits of their fitness by entering all types of athletic endurance events.

Recently, Musician First Class Travis Siehndel completed his first 24-hour event at the Rev3 Epic Adventure race in Luray, VA. This grueling event included nearly 20 miles of paddling a canoe in the beautiful Shenandoah River, 50 miles of mountain biking, and 20 miles of running/trekking through the back-country of the Appalachian Mountains with only the help of a map and compass.  MU1 Siehndel teamed up with longtime friend and member of the US Army Band, Staff Sergeant Jesse Tubb, to form team Lost in the Woods and tackle this challenging event.
Siehndel and Tubb, preparing for their Epic Adventure
The race started at 9:30 am when racers climbed into their canoes to begin the 19-mile paddle. Through dumb luck, cunning strategy or physical endurance, Team Lost in the Woods exited the water leading the race in first place. Being experienced cyclists, they cruised through the next mountain biking segment before grabbing their map, compass, and running shoes and heading out to navigate their way through a series of check points. The team finished the trekking portion of the race leading their division, having lost ground only to a few 4-person elite teams that were competing to win points towards a national championship.
Team Lost in the Woods
At this point, the racers packed up provisions for the next 12 hours of the event that would take place at night, deep in the backcountry of Massanutten Mountain. This leg of the race included mountain biking, trail running, and bushwhacking to a series of check points. To make the race more interesting, as the sun was setting, the temperature dropped quickly from a daytime high of 85 to the low 50s. It also started raining. They don’t call this an “Epic Adventure” for nothing!

The race continued through the night with a few rookie missteps and mistakes in navigation, but spirits remained high throughout the event, and the team kept moving forward without any significant rest.  Around 3 am, as they were running out of food, dry clothing, and caffeinated beverages, and having cleared all of the course's mandatory checkpoints and most of the optional points, Lost in the Woods decided to head to the finish line. No easy task considering the trip back to the finish included mountain biking over a major climb with difficult terrain that would take nearly two hours. 

Team Lost in the Woods crossed the finish line after nearly 20 consecutive hours of racing and were surprised to learn that they had finished on the podium in third place.  The race field also included two teams of Naval Academy Midshipmen who also finished quite respectably in their divisions.

Stay tuned as the summer progresses for more updates on the athletic accomplishments of more members of the band. Upcoming events include an Ironman Triathlon, the JFK 50-Mile trail run, Ragnar Relay, Marine Corps Marathon and the Shenandoah Mountain 100-mile mountain bike race. A lifestyle of fitness indeed!

Submitted by MU1 Travis Siehndel

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