What It Takes This elite competitor has won adventure, skyrunning and even snowshoeing races

June 27, 2004

Danelle (Nellie) Ballengee is best known as a member of the Nike
ACG/Balance Bar adventure racing team, but she also excels at
skyrunning (high-altitude cross-country), snowshoeing and
mountain climbing. On July 17 the 33-year-old from Dillon, Colo.,
and her three teammates will defend their title at the Balance
Bar 24-hour event in Beaver Creek, Colo. Here's what Ballengee
will pack.

BACKPACK
Nike ACG Adventure Racing Pack ($100) nikeacg.com
This pack is almost like an extension of my body. Our team helped
develop it. It has lots of accessible mesh pockets--including a
little zippered one on the chest strap--so you can grab things
while you're trekking, biking, running or kayaking. It has good
padding on the back, and the fabric breathes so your back doesn't
sweat too much.

CRAMPONS
Kahtoola KTS ($129) kahtoola.com
The nice thing about these versus other mountaineering crampons
is that the middle band is flexible for strapping them onto a
running shoe. The claws face down instead of forward like an
ice-climbing crampon, which allows our team to run without
snagging the toepiece. With these on we can really fly across
glaciers and snowfields.

KAYAK BOOTIES
Nike Toketee Low ($45) nikeacg.com
We used these neoprene booties at the Balance Bar race in Beaver
Creek last year, and they worked great when we had to portage out
of the Class V sections. They have a sticky rubber sole, so you
can jump from boulder to boulder without worrying about slipping.
They fit like a slipper and provide warmth for your feet in the
cold water.

BIKE LIGHT
Jet Lites Starfire Single Beam ($285) jetlites.com
This has three settings: bright, brighter and brightest. It's
like having a car headlight on my handle bars. When we're racing
at night, I can put this on the lowest setting and be able to fly
down a technical single-track trail without worrying. We also
carry it for night orienteering. It's heavier than a Petzl or
Black Diamond headlamp, but its beam reaches farther and helps us
save time and go faster.

GPS
Garmin Foretrex 101 ($139) garmin.com
Most races don't allow a GPS, but the Raid Gauloise and a few
others do. All you do is plot your coordinates and an arrow
points you to the checkpoint. We lost our GPS during the
mountain-biking section of the Raid U.S. qualifier in Bend, Ore.
[on June 12], so we had to navigate the last two sections without
it. That's why it's good to have this GPS with a wrist strap.

ENERGY SUPPLEMENTS
Hammer Gel ($18), Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes ($18) e-caps.com
I lose a lot of salt and minerals during a race, and Endurolytes
balance my energy level and help keep me from cramping. I like
Hammer Gel because it provides immediate and long-term
energy--not a sugar spike where you're high one minute and
bonking the next. I like the raspberry gel, but for longer races,
in which I start losing my appetite, I prefer plain.

COLOR PHOTO: TONY DIZINNO (BALLENGEE) WHOA, NELLIE Ballengee gutted it out at the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest in Borneo last December. TWO COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF NIKEACG.COM (BACKPACK, SHOES) COLOR PHOTO: RAYMOND GALANG (BIKE LIGHT) FOUR COLOR PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)