Team 309 McGinley Orthopedics proved to be Cowboy Tough trekking through Central Wyoming

(Casper, Wyo.)- Three days, three hours and thirty-nine minutes of biking, hiking and paddling through Central Wyoming, do you think you could handle it?
Casper's local team, made up of four outdoor enthusiasts from McGinley Orthopedics, suited up and took on the Cameco Cowboy Tough Adventure Race.
The team consisted of: Joseph McGinley, Adam Johnson, Ryan Larsen and Amanda Dowler; they all shared their unique experiences.
Dr. Joseph McGinley, the team will tell you, was the ring leader and the one who was looking for friends to join him on his mind and body punishing adventure.
"I guess we all agreed it would be fun," said Adam Johnson, McGinley Director of Engineering, with a chuckle.
An optometrist in Casper and part of team McGinley, Ryan Larsen shared some of his favorite parts of the adventure.
"Seeing some new parts of the North Platte was one of my favorite parts of this adventure. The stretch between Douglas and Glendo was really scenic and winds far back away from the interstate and felt really remote. I also enjoyed grazing on wild raspberries while trekking through the backcountry around Laramie Peak."
​h/t Ryan McConnaughey/Pitchengine Communities
Teammate Amanda Dowler chimed in: "I really loved getting to see such beautiful places in Wyoming by boat, bike and foot. I loved working together as a team and crossing the finish line together as a team. We had some really wonderful moments during the race; eating raspberries on our hike, riding together to La Bonte Canyon when all of us were nearly asleep on our bicycles. We had some good laughs that night."
Larsen added: "The canoe ride into Glendo was absolutely beautiful! One of the most rewarding parts though, was crossing the finish line as a team after working together through some very challenging times and some great times. The biggest challenge for me was the final push on the third day. I had battled our Wyoming wind most of the day while the team drafted behind me on our bikes. When we got to the long climb up Circle Drive and then Muddy Mountain we should have finally had a bit of a tail wind, but the wind switched directions and was head on again. I didn’t have much left in the tank at that point, and that long climb on our bikes while fighting the wind was just grueling!"
​h/t Randy Ericksen/Pitchengine Communities
Team Captain McGinley led the adventure and reported that this was not his first 'rodeo' as he has been an adventure racer for the past 15 years.
"I plan on signing up for the World Championship race here in Wyoming next year, which may be one of the most challenging events in the world!"
​h/t Randy Ericksen/Pitchengine Communities
"This sport allows you to see incredible scenery while challenging your mental and physical fitness," McGinley said. "It is also a great chance to meet incredible people from around the world."
The World Championship race in 2017 will feature racers racing from Teton County to Casper and will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the athletes.
"This was a team effort," Director of Engineering at McGinley Adam Johnson said. "The most challenging part was getting all four of us across the finish line. Thinking back, there were many points during the race where each of us had had enough, we had to be there to encourage and inspire each other to keep going."
The best part of the Cameco Cowboy Tough race, according to McGinley was, "Probably the finish! All joking aside, I really enjoyed the challenge of the water sections. The North Platte river was incredibly scenic and the paddle across Glendo in the middle of the night, one word, challenging!"
"Challenging part? It was definitely being upside down and under water in the river after Amanda and I wrapped our canoe around a metal post," said Johnson. "There were a few moments there when I thought I was done for sure. The life vest worked and I suddenly came out of the water unscathed but it was not something I would recommend anyone trying."
Dowler, reliving her experience, said: "The most challenging part was continuing on in the race when I was mentally and physically exhausted and in mental and physical places I had never been before. It was a bit scary at times to keep pushing my body further and further when I had never been there before. That was when my team was the most supportive and especially Joe. His number one priority was our safety so I knew I could trust them and keep pushing myself."
The team began at Crossroads Park by bicycle, then paddled the Platte and eventually landed in Douglas for some Wyoming Whiskey shots.
McGinley shared and joked,"The shot of Wyoming Whiskey in Douglas was refreshing! Great to have a taste of a Wyoming Spirit as part of the race, even though the hardest part was leaving the bar and heading back out into the Summer heat!"
​h/t Chris/CamecoCowboyTough/Pitchengine Communities
Dowler was not so fond of the whiskey shot and elected to "play it safe."
"I was super lame and took the iced-tea instead," said Dowler with a smile.
The team had the chance to scramble up Laramie Peak, but after a discussion they elected to leave it for the others.
"I have climbed Laramie Peak before, and it was incredible to see how fast some of the Pro teams did it after already covering so many miles," said Larsen.
Following the Laramie Peak challenge, the riders turned north and headed back towards the Oil City.
Johnson shared what it was like riding down Casper Mountain towards the finish line. "I was more concerned about the descent down Casper Mountain than most of the race. I knew our equipment had been through a lot to get to that point, and I didn’t want to see any brake failures. Once we reached Wyoming Blvd. I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the ride in!"
​h/t Randy Ericksen/Pitchengine Communities
The team then finished, and Johnson considered future races. "That’s a decision I will have to make later, it’s a little to soon to decide. We know next year's race will be two days longer and many extra miles, so we will see no decision yet."
"I would definitely do it again," Dowler concluded. "It's almost like now I know my body's limits and now I know how to train. If I were to do the race again I would feel much more comfortable with pushing myself. Knowing what to expect I would feel more confident to push myself. I really played it safe this go around knowing that we just wanted to finish."
"I hope to do it again next year. I have really enjoyed racing with Joe, Adam, and Amanda. The race is grueling, but it is an opportunity to experience a months worth of Wyoming backcountry in a handful of days!" said Larsen.
You can learn more about Team McGinley and the other teams at www.cowboytoughwy.com and see more photos from the adventure!
Feature Photo: h/t Randy Ericksen/Pitchengine Communities
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