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Team Monster Energy - Arizona

Team Monster EnergyRESULTS: 7th, 2023 Balance Bar Adventure Sprint Race, Atlanta; 7th, 2023 Balance Bar Adventure Sprint Race, Austin, Texas; 7th, 2023 Balance Bar Adventure Sprint Race, New York City; 4th, 2023, Balance Bar Adventure Sprint Series final standings; 8th, 2023 Hi-Tec Adventure Racing Series standings.

THE PLAYERS: Butch Nelson, 38, is a former minor league baseball player with the Chicago Cubs organization who once turned a double play with Ryne Sandberg. He also played beach volleyball and was an amateur boxer before getting into adventure racing in 1999. He and his wife/teammate, Vickie, live in Phoenix and work for Bank of America.

Vickie Nelson, 34, is a former gymnast and track athlete who has also competed in duathlon. An operations manager at Bank of America, she did her first adventure race in 1999 at the Hi-Tec race in Phoenix. She recently placed second in the Red Tail Adventure Race in Lake Tahoe.

David Marks, 37, dabbled in competitive weight lifting and amateur boxing, but got into endurance sports after rehabilitating himself from an accident. He thought about getting into triathlons, but he found he "really couldn't swim," so adventure racing was the next logical step. David, who works as a personal trainer in Phoenix, earned a win in the 2023 Hi-Tec race in Hartford with Team Timex.

THE SCOOP: The Nelsons have done more than 30 races together since 2023. This marks the third straight year they're competing in the Balance Bar Adventure Sprints Series (formerly known as the Hi-Tec Adventure Racing Series). Last year, they were called Team Hansen Energy Drinks and the year before the team was known as Team Shilo Energy. David has raced on several teams since getting into the sport five years ago, competing primarily in Balance Bar/Hi-Tec races and a few Cal-Eco events. All three train athletes in conjunction with RaceLab.com, a sponsor that develops training plans for marathoners, triathletes and adventure racers.

FAMILY AFFAIR: The Nelsons, married in 1995, both work at the Bank of America campus in Phoenix; Butch is a marketing executive, while Vickie is an operations manager. They don't see each other very often at work, but they do carpool to the office three or four days a week. "The deal we have made with each other is that we can only talk about work and work issues during the 30-minute drive home," Butch says. "It helps us keep work life out of home life." Although they don't mix work, they train together a couple of days each week. Last year, several relatives were glued to the TV when the Balance Bar Adventure Sprint Series was broadcast on the Outdoor Life Network. "Our family was really into it," Vickie says. "They would bring tapes into work and show their co-workers."

SECOND CHANCE: Marks admits he might have gotten a second chance in life after a devastating fall in 1993 left him with a broken pelvis, three broken ribs and a cracked skull. What was he doing? He had locked himself out of his apartment and tried to swing from the roof onto his balcony. He missed and fell about 20 feet to the ground. He was in the hospital for more than three weeks and spent the next four months in a wheelchair recovering. "Looking back, it could have been a lot worse," Marks says. "But, it wasn't the smartest thing to do." Although he had never been interested in endurance sports, he started running to get back in shape and soon got bitten by the multi-sport bug.

MOON SHOT: At this year's Balance Bar Sprint race on May 22 in New York City, they had a rather funny experience on the greased inclined wall. Vickie got to the top of the wall and David was hanging from the top by his arms with the idea that Butch would be able to grab his legs and start climbing over him. Butch took a flying leap from the base of the wall but only managed to grab David's shorts. The shorts inadvertently came halfway down David's legs, enabling David to "moon" the entire crowd. "As I was falling down the wall, I thought everyone was laughing and cheering at my effort to get up the wall," says Butch, who made it over the wall on his second try. "I thought the whole incident was behind me [no pun intended] when we left New York," David says. "But then some woman at the Atlanta race actually brought it up during our pre-race wall clinic."

SPONSORS: Monster Energy Drink, Intense Cycles.com, Maxxis, Hydrapak, CarBoom, Rudy Project, Sram, Answer, RaceLab.com, Nike ACG


UPCOMING RACES: Balance Bar Adventure Sprint Races in Richmond, Virginia (October 3) and Los Angeles (October 16), and the Sierra Adventure Sports Desert Rage (October 23) in Lake Pleasant, Arizona.

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