Team Traveler - Arkansas
Recent Results: 14th, Southern Traverse, New Zealand, 2003; 1st, Ozark Challenge, Arkansas, 2003; 6th, USARA National Championship, North Carolina; 1st, USARA National Championship, Louisiana, 2001; 1st, USARA National Championship, California, 2000.
The Players: Greg Eason, 33, is a physical therapist from Little Rock, Arkansas, and the team's captain. He's an expert mountain biker, strong runner and powerhouse of the team, often carrying teammates' packs and extra gear. Lately he's ventured into 50- and 100-mile ultrarunning races.
Nathan Siria, 34, is an environmental scientist from Little Rock who is strong in all disciplines, but especially navigation. "He reads and understands a map like few others," Greg says. Nate has also done a handful of ultrarunning races in recent years.
Roberta Orr, 37, is a registered nurse from Little Rock and a strong all-around athlete. She was recently engaged to Billy Simpson, an ultrarunner from Memphis, Tennessee.
Hap Seliga, 33, is a bike shop manager from Little Rock. Also a strong mountain biker, he's known as the team's sparkplug, always full of energy.
The Scoop: Although the composition of Traveler has changed since it was founded in1999, Greg and Nate have always been the core of the team. Best friends since the sixth grade, they were standout track runners for Conway High School in Little Rock and led the Wampus Cats to a state title in cross country during their senior year. Roberta and Hap joined the team in the fall of 2002. The teammates live within 10 minutes of each other, are close friends and spend a lot of time together.
"The philosophy of the team is to win and have fun doing it," Greg says. "Our approach is to always run our own race, make decisions and develop strategy independent of what the other teams are doing. Steady progress, good navigation, good decision-making and good problem-solving are what we try to do in a race."
Highlights: At the 2003 Ozark Challenge, Traveler pulled out a victory after trailing most of the race. After running close to last early in the event they ran down and passed the leading team coming into the last transition area with only a six-mile mountain bike to go. From there, Traveler kicked it into high gear and won the 100-mile race in 20 hours, 56 minutes, 18 minutes ahead of runner-up Team X-Ray.
Noteworthy: Team Traveler was the USARA National Champion in 2000 and 2001, the only team to win more than once since the series started in 2000. But Traveler isn't the only strong team in Arkansas. In fact, at the 2002 USARA nationals three of the top 10 teams were teams made up entirely of athletes from Arkansas. "Believe it or not adventure racing is pretty big in Arkansas," Greg says. "We have two good races (Ozark Challenge and Raid the Rock), and there are several good racers in the state."
Sponsors: After winning the second national championship, the team got some financial sponsorship from the Dr. Pepper distributor in Little Rock. The team's product sponsors include Red Bull, Bikeseller.com, Ozark Outdoor and Light & Motion. What's Next: Team Traveler is looking forward to defending its title at the local Ozark Challenge as well as doing a few other 24- to 36-hour races including the 2004 USARA National Championship in Indiana. They're also eyeing this summer's Adventure Racing World Championship in Canada.
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