Team members: Justin Iwasaki, Chris Hawk
Hometown: Bellingham, Washington, USA
Race vessel: Farrier Eagle
Human propulsion: Oars and pedal prop
According to our Harley riding alter ego: It’s over, R2AK is dead, and Team Hard Lee apparently the last nail in the coffin. His proof: Sturgis.
Sturgis used to be a lawless, violent bacchanal of legit bad dudes fighting, stealing bikes, swapping old ladies, living free, and kicking ass with a bottle of jack and a bucket of stubbed-out cigarettes. The bikes were loud, leaked oil with authority, and tore ass all over South Dakota’s black hills; tens of thousands of tailpipes roaring forth American two-wheeled thunder. It was all outlaw, all the time, and the cops just stayed away out of self-preservation. Then came the part-time riders, mostly weekenders and wannabes who wore actual helmets. Everyone just glared. Then came the lawyers who bought their Harleys new and Amazoned their cuts from the Sons of Anarchy fan store. Everyone just glared some more. Then came the doctors. They rode Hondas, and it was too late. Even Kid Rock couldn’t save it, Sturgis was dead despite the 500,000 riders who descend on the town of 6,000 every first week of August.
Doctors. Our problem is apparently doctors.
Like the gentrification death march that takes neighborhoods from chalk outlines to Starbucks after quick stops for artists, same sex couples, and independent bakeries—doctors are the Whole Foods point of no return on an event’s journey from thug to minivan.
Call Kid Rock, we need help.
Then we read past the, “They are doctors,” part of Team Hard Lee’s application and stopped the presses on printing our funeral announcement (But in lieu of flowers, you can still send gifts in our name to the Northwest Maritime Center). Yes, they are doctors, but not in the two-Porsche-in-the-driveway way and a-set-of-golf-clubs-in-each-trunk sort of way. The way they tell it, these guys seem more like back-country adventurers who happened to end up as doctors after a lifetime of shooting rivers, sailing throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the west coast, packing out 1,100 pounds of moose meat from bear-infested wilderness—they even combined their vocation and avocation and went to Africa 10 times to work in hospitals in the middle of the continent that still seems to embody adventure. Back in the States, they’ve sailed a bit, triathloned a bit, mountain biked, hiked, climbed, and sailed some more.
With all the good deeds and healthy choices, you might be able to still smell the MD at the end of their adventure resume; their choice of vessel is all outlaw: Farrier Eagle that is the ’84 Softail of trimarans. Ian Farrier, rest in peace, hit the big boards with this open cockpit design, nabbing boat of the year in 1980, and never looked back. Their three-hulled wonder is nearing 40 years old, and Team Hard Lee replaced everything that might break, packed their saddlebags and their bedrolls, and took some hotlaps around their local waters to get ready for their ride to Alaska.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Hard Lee. In case it needs clarifying, this aint Sturgis; pants, not chaps.