FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- What do you do with collective experience as a U.S. Marine, entrepreneurs, a gym owner, a marketer and a mom?
If you're the owner of Westport's Sherpa Fit or an adventurous Redding man, you form a team to pursue "The World's Hardest Adventure Race," of course, which begins Tuesday.
USA Team Sherpa is one of only three teams from the United States taking part in this 10-day, self-supported race across Patagonia, Chile. After a three-year hiatus, the Patagonian Expedition Race is back, with 20 teams from across the world.
Contestants will cross glaciers and fjords via foot, climbing, mountain biking and kayaking -- and will likely cover 500 miles. They will carry their own food, source their own water and sleep no more than two hours a day.
With no electronics or GPS, participants use a map and compass to find their way. In some years, no teams have finished the course.
Team Sherpa has four members -- two from Fairfield County. Team captain and Fairfield resident Jean Paul Desrosiers owns Sherpa Fit in Westport. His personal training gym helps clients achieve personal goals, ranging from running a 5K to climbing a mountain.
He also was in the Marines and was a semi-pro cyclist. He's confident his team members have ample experience staying positive in the face of physical adversity.
Redding's Adam Pemberton, husband of Redding First Selectman Julia Pemberton, has participated in a four-man bicycle relay race across the country and has completed the storied Leadville 100 mountain-bike race.
Andrew Pemberton, from Colorado, has completed three Ironman triathlons and six half Ironman competitions. He also played college football for four years. Elizabeth Moore is from Montana. She's been adventure racing since 1999, tackling events like Lake Tahoe’s 450-plus mile Primal Quest.
Desrosiers said they will rely on their "ability to maintain high morale when forward progress is most difficult. When choosing our team for PER," Desrosiers said, "I knew every one of us could answer yes to this question: 'Can you remain happy while suffering for 10 days?' "
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