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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 24 - 30, 2002


Tobin on winning Eco-Challenge team

Wood River athlete

The original "Survivor" series on television was Mark Burnettís Eco-Challenge Expedition Race, which debuted in 1995 and has since visited seven countries.

This week, USA Network (channel 23) is screening four days of Eco-Challenge 2001 in New Zealand. Starting Oct. 21 and continuing for 10 arduous days last year, 67 four-member teams tackled a 370-kilometer course for a purse of $100,000.

Viewers discover in tonightís final two-hour episode that the winners of the $50,000 first prize were the Team Salomon/Eco-Internet athletes featuring Community School graduate Michael Tobin.

The show begins at 6 p.m.

Tobin, 38, who grew up in Ketchum, was the rookie member of the winning team that included captain Ian Adamson, Sara Ballantyne and Mike Kloser. They paid a $13,500 entry fee and made their investment pay off.

Battling sleep deprivation and extreme fatigue, they paddled to the finish 21 minutes ahead of their primary Kiwi rivals from New Zealand. The course include mountain biking, river rafting, horseback riding and mountaineering with fixed ropes.

The only non-Colorado athlete on the winning team, Tobin was an important member of a veteran group that averaged 39.5 years of age.

Adamson, 37, a corporate financier from Boulder, had won two previous Eco-Challenges and was appearing in his seventh race.

Kloser, 42, an activities director from Vail, is a 12-year professional mountain biker who had won two Eco-Challenges, including the 2000 event in Sabah with Adamson. It was his fifth Eco-Challenge.

Ballantyne, 41, a massage therapist from Durango, won the Eco-Challenge in Morocco in 1998. A pioneer in womenís mountain biking, Ballantyne was in her third Eco-Challenge.

Although Tobinís previous expedition race experience was limited to a Discovery Channel adventure race in Switzerland last year, his athletic background is broad. Tobin is in his 12th year of professional multi-sport racing.

Tobin, a San Francisco native and former world duathlon king, won the Baldy Hill Climb six times and remains the course record holder (35:11 in 1989). He is the son of another hill climbing enthusiast, the late Jim Tobin, at one time owner of Scott USA.

Michael also holds the 16.5-mile Backcountry Run old course record of 1.35:13 set in 1990. He is a six-time Wild Rockies mountain bike winner.

Tobin was the top American in the 1997 Ironman Canada on a 128-mile course. His first major result on the national stage came in Aug. 1987 when he placed second in the 13.4-mile Pikeís Peak Ascent.

In 2000, Tobin was the world champion of the Nissan Xterra off-road triathlon series. Xterra seemed to be his ideal athletic challenge. He amassed 16 career Xterra victories encompassing swimming, biking and running.

Narrated by actress Holly Hunter, the USA Network premiere show of Eco-Challenge New Zealand 2001 will be screened tonight, Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. on cable channel 23 and will be repeated from 8-10 p.m.

The final two hours will be repeated Thursday, April 25 from 6-8 a.m., then all six hours will be shown Sunday, April 28 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tobinís Web site is mtobin.com.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.