is proud to join the world of adventure racing by supporting a race team for the 2005 season. The team is anchored by two long time Trail Talk supporters, birch (Joe) and dhutch (Diane). If you can make it out to a race, be sure to cheer them on. Good luck Joe, Diane, Jeff and Jake.
Meet the Team
- Team Captain and Medic
Joeís passion for adventure has deep roots. At age 12, he road his 10 speed bike over 200 miles across the state of Michigan in the annual Pedal Across Lower Michigan. The physical and mental challenge led Joe to seek out similar experiences that tested his abilities. Summers quickly filled with 8 day backpacking trips on remote islands in Lake Superior and week long canoe trips in Michiganís Upper Peninsula.
At 18, Joe joined the U.S. Army and after basic and advanced training he earned his Airborne wings and went on to become an Airborne Ranger. In the military, Joe learned about the rewards of disciplined training and discovered his love of running. He has since continued to run completing 2 marathons (both road and trail), many half-marathons and numerous lesser distance races.
After seeing one of the early Eco-Challenge Adventure Races on T.V., Joe decided to give adventure racing a try. 3 years later he is hooked. The competitive drive, team work, camaraderie, skill and training have provided me with some of the most rewarding experiences of his life. Joe spends his free time kayaking, canoeing, biking (road and trails) and hiking for both recreation and training.
Diane Hutchinson - Assistant Navigator
Diane got involved in Adventure Racing through her love of backpacking, running, and the outdoors in general. This combined with her competitive personality made it the natural next personal challenge. What Diane enjoys most about racing is the combination of athletic challenge, team camaraderie and the expeditionary adventure of longer races. She enjoys running and biking (both road and trails), kayaking and horseback riding.
With her 24 and 30 hour race experiences, she will bring preparation and organizational contributions to the team in addition to helping the team working as a cohesive group.
Jeff Okray - Lead Navigator
Jeff began Adventure Racing in 2002 by competing in the Desert Dash Race near Las Vegas Nevada. Since then, Jeff has competed in over 14 adventure races and many running events and charity races. He is also an avid Martial Artist. Jeff has been practicing Martial Arts for 25 years and has owned and operated two schools. He has competed nationally and in Canada and has taken 5 Grand Champion titles and is still currently instructing at 2 local churches and a fitness center. Jeff has 3 black belts and has trained in over 5 types of martial arts. He is an active member in the Southern Michigan Adventure Club, Southern Michigan Orienteering Club and participate in competitions put on by these organizations to hone his racing and navigational skills. In 2004, Jeff had the opportunity to climb 3 African mountains, each over 12,000 ft in elevation.
Jake Rabatin - Pacesetter and Motivator
Jake has been doing various running races for the past 30 years. But the birth of his racing probably came on the birthday which I received a windsurfer. He can still recall the first race he placed in. The guy Jake beat for 3rd place got caught in a crab trap. He continued windsurfer training with members of the US Olympic team as well as other National Champions in his area. Jake won the southeast Masters category and placed 3rd in the Nationals for the next two years.
Jake then decided to try something different and discovered the triathlon, competing in 20 or so. His love of sailing called him back and 5 years ago he started to race again, Lasers, Sunfish and JY15ís. In addition, Jake bought a kayak and began racing with it.
He always thought that a race involving cycling, kayaking and running would be up his alley and sure enough some one invented the event he believed was just for him.
Jakeís first adventure race was 3 years ago. Not knowing what he was doing, he lost maps and checkpoint hints. He didnít even know you had to have a passport punched. Jake remembers that after finishing the race, it was the toughest thing he had ever done. He then continued to race and went on to win the menís 45 and over sprint series for the next two years. He must have learned something.
That summer Jake decided he needed more races and started competing in duathalons. He was nominated this year for Grandmaster Duathlete of the Year for Ohio. Jake didnít win but was honored to have received the nomination. He has discovered that he prefers the longer races. There is more time to appreciate the surroundings and challenges. The more challenging the better. Jake believes that he can bring experience, motivation and leadership to this team.