Team Goonies

An Eco-Challenge Novice Finds Victory In Failure

A year before the starting gun of Eco-Challenge 2000, Alex Basile, Alyson Denk, Chet Williams and Ruben Perez had never even heard of adventure racing.

But after seeing a video of a past Eco-Challenge, the four Southern California 30-somethings quit their jobs, maxed out their credit cards and headed to Borneo to compete in one of the most grueling contests of strength and endurance in the world.

Calling themselves Team Goonies, the foursome found themselves in the middle of the pack after the first leg of the race.

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Basile and Perez, who came to the race as best friends, were chosen for the second leg, a 10-mile jungle trek. After spending 24 hours lost in the rainforest, they emerged to meet their teammates.

After 45 miles of canoeing and 60 miles of mountain biking, teammate Alex Basile was struck with severe stomach cramps. With a 13-mile hike ahead of him, Basile chose to drop out of the race, disqualifying his team.

While Alyson Denk and Chet Williams biked on to the next checkpoint, Perez consoled his friend while they waited for a medical helicopter. "When I envisioned the Eco-Challenge, it was all of us as friends coming together and doing this race," said Prerez. "However far we got, we got. And I realized that ended today. This is how far we got."

Despite failing to finish, Basile said competing in Eco-Challenge was "one of the best things I've ever done."

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