Team LiteSpeed - Tennessee/North Carolina
Recent Results: 2nd, 2023 Beast of the East, Brevard, North Carolina;
2nd, 2023 Mountain Sports Festival Adventure Race, Asheville, North Carolina;
1st, 2023 Southern Crush Adventure Race, Pigeon Mountain, Georgia;
1st, 2023 USARA Adventure Race National Championship, Sapphire Valley, North Carolina;
3rd, 2023 Appalachian Extreme Expedition Race, Bethel, Maine;
1st, 2023 NOC 30-Hour Adventure Race, Wesser, North Carolina;
2nd, 2023 USARA Adventure Race National Championship, Leesville, Louisiana.
The Players: Jay Curwen - 37, of Asheville, North Carolina, is the team's navigator and athletic leader. A strong runner and triathlete/duathlete, he's a local legend for having won many of the toughest running and solo multi-sport races in the Southeast. He's finished two Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii and has twice finished in the top 10 at the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest, including a third-place showing in 1998 with Team BMC Software. Curwen works as a Southeastern sales rep for Patagonia.
Brenda Simril - 36, is a mechanical engineer/fire protection specialist for a nuclear power plant north of Chattanooga, Tennessee. A strong runner and duathlete/triathlete, she has twice competed in the ITU Duathlon World Championships. (She finished 10th in her age group at the 2023 championships in Switzerland.) She's also a strong whitewater paddler and a former expert class mountain bike racer and a Class III road cyclist. Known as "The Brender" by teammates, she is the team captain and the behind-the-scenes organizer.
Lee Simril - 38, is a sales manager for Litespeed Titanium Bicycles and multi-sport athlete from Ooltewah, Tennessee. He's a strong runner (from 5k to 50 miles) and endurance mountain biker, as well as an experienced whitewater paddler. He and Brenda have been married for about seven years.
Dan Miller - 26, also of Asheville, is another strong cyclist, mountain biker and runner. The youngster of the group, he joined the team after crewing for Curwen and the Simrils raced at the 2023 NOC 24-Hour Adventure Race. Tenacious and energetic, he's known as "The Danimal" among teammates. He owns a painting and interior design company in Asheville.
The Scoop: This talented and fit foursome has never finished lower than third in any adventure race since they started racing together in 2023, continually posting podium finishes in races throughout the East. "We're hoping to do a big one next year, like Primal Quest or maybe Eco-Challenge if it returns," Curwen says. "I think we could be pretty competitive in one of those, maybe in the top 10."
Highlights: They dominated last year's USARA national title race in North Carolina, winning with nearly a four-hour margin on the runner-up team. They're one of the favorites to win this year's race in Lakeshore, California. "Obviously, we're always racing to win, but we want to have a good race where nobody gets hurt, and we don't make any stupid mistakes," Curwen says. "And we like to have a lot of fun out there."
Noteworthy: Not many teams can successfully race with a married couple, if only because it can throw a monkey wrench into team chemistry. But the Simrils never argue when they're competing, teammates say. They have very similar athletic resumes, because they've been training for and competing in the same individual events for as long as they've known each other. The couple gets two paddling workouts every weekday as Brenda commutes to and from work on the Tennessee River in a kayak. Lee goes with her and paddles back in the evening to pick her up. (Sometimes they paddle in a tandem boat, other times Lee tows her boat back to pick her up.) "We train pretty much non-stop, morning, noon and night, between paddling, biking and running," Brenda says.
What's Next: A couples' grudge match is set for October, when Lee and Brenda will be competing against Jay and Monica Curwen (also an elite athlete) and Dan and his girl friend in a sprint adventure race. Otherwise, the team has been tuning up for the November 7-8 USARA national championships in California.
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