Chelsey from Bend Racing on Winning the Expedition Ozark Race – Camping Hiking Adventures
Chelsey from Bend Racing on Winning the Expedition Ozark Race

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Chelsey from Bend Racing on Winning the Expedition Ozark Race

We are so excited to share this interview with you from Chelsey Magess of Bend Racing whose team just won the gruelling Expedition Ozark Adventure Race! You are going to enjoy hearing her insider stories that carry a lot of wisdom for life.

 Winning team at Ozark Adventure Race

Congratulations Chelsey on your win! Can you introduce us to your team, who you are, where you are from and how long you have been racing together? 

Yes! We are a team of around 11 athletes. 5 of us are from Bend, Oregon, 3 of us are from Canada, 3 are from Washington, and one is from Denmark. The team that won Expedition Ozark was Chelsey Magess (me) from Bend Oregon, Dusty Caseria from Bellingham Washington and Karine Corbeil and Alex Provost from Montreal, Canada. 

The three original members - Jason and Chelsey Magenss and Daniel Staudigel have been racing together for over 15 years, while the rest of the crew have come on from anywhere from 8 years ago to just last year! Either way, we love to race with people that feel like family. We all like to race, but more importantly, we really enjoy one another's company.


How did you start adventure racing? 

I got into adventure racing because I really wanted to impress and date my now husband Jason Magness. A 6 hour race was our first date, we won it in 4 hours and afterwards I was both hooked on him and the sport. I grew up in Alaska biking, climbing and running up mountains though, so adventure racing was not entirely out of my comfort zone, I had just never put them all together in one day, and once I knew that could happen, then I wanted to do it all the time. 


Where have you raced? 

I have raced in Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Spain, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi, Alaska, Canada, Panama, Ecuador, and the United States. 


What have been your favourite moments? 

I love the sunrises and the sunsets. I love being in places that no other human has been before, I love the drunken stupor moments of laughter and euphoria you feel from being outside moving for so long without sleep. I love how this sport strips you down to your core and shows you sides of yourself that you never have seen before. I love how one race with someone means that you now know them for a decade or more. 

 Sunset with Barracuda R2 Pros

What were some of the highlights and challenges in the Expedition Ozark race? 

The biggest challenge for us was getting to the start line. 24 hours before Jason and I were leaving for Arkansa he woke up with debilitating pain in his abdomen. After going to urgent care and getting a CT scan, we found out he had a kidney stone. We asked Dusty if he could step in at the last minute, he didn't really want to as he was not prepared at all, but luckily he said yes and we all got to work to help him get to Arkansa ready and in time for the start as best we could. I was pretty worried about Jason and was really looking forward to racing with him (we only get one or two races a year together), but once I was there with my team and Dusty had made it with all his gear, we all were just so grateful to race and to not have to drop out. 

Once the race started, our goal was to race our own race and to not worry what other teams were doing and I feel like we kept each other in line with this task the whole time. Being able to do this for the majority of the race was the biggest overall highlight for me. Another one that jumps out is just how beautiful the course was, the rivers were so clear and there were so many turtles everywhere. The trekking sections had hidden little caves and waterfalls everywhere, it made me think of my kids because they love that kind of terrain. And the bike legs were really fast for us, I love going fast on my bike with my team so that was a huge personal highlight for me. 

A challenge was watching Alex crash his bike and being worried about him on the next trek as he couldn't move as fast as he wanted to. The heat the first and second day were also quite hard on two of my teammates, but we were able to take weight and keep the pace so that was good. Another challenge was getting poison ivy, I am very very allergic to it and broke out in a very itchy rash all over my body, so that was not pleasant. 

 Bend Racing Cycling

Was there a defining moment, or what was your secret to success? 

I don't think there was one moment per say, instead we all had a common goal and that was what carried us to the finish line in first place and in happy spirits. We raced our own race the entire time. Even when we came into a transition area in 8th place, we didn't let that rock us one bit. Instead, we kept our head down and smiles turned up. Again, we were just so grateful to even be racing as hours before we didn't know if we were going to be able to. 


Our readers are fans of MRS packrafts. You race with Barracuda R2 Pros, what made you choose this particular packraft?

We chose this raft because it is the fastest pack raft on the market, and it is extremely comfortable! 

 Barracuda R2 Pro - Expedition Ozark

What tips do you have for our readers who are just starting out?

If you are just starting out, go do a shorter race and develop questions! After you do your first race and get your feet wet, then come to us at We can train you, have you out for a training weekend and even come up with a program for you. 


What is next for you? 

For me, I am headed to Japan in July for the Niseko Expedition Race hosted by Team East Wind, but for me team- they are headed to Expedition Canada and will be starting on May 23! This time its Jason Magness (his kidney stone got removed!), Lebn LoveJoy, Dusty Caseria and Emily Caseria 


Where can people contact or follow you?

Follow us at @bendracing and @chelsey_magness on Instagram or @americastoughestraces 

I also have a blog: and we have one at

Thank you!



Thank you to Expedition Ozark, Guillermo Gutierrez and Wladimir Togumi for the photos.


Did you know that our blog was featured as one the 15 Best Packrafting Blogs & Websites? Check it out! 

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