Qdoba’s John Dikos
Not many of us would sign up for a race that touts on its Web site: "The pain and suffering you will encounter will be made even more rewarding by the never-ending, 360-degree vistas of absolutely beautiful, rugged and remote terrain." Add to that 100,000-feet of elevation gain on the 450-mile course and the cost—$12,500 for a team of four. Then there's the real reason most of us will never participate in the Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race—"the World's Most Challenging Human Endurance Competition"—it would take all 10 days of our vacation. But John Dikos, manager of franchise development for Qdoba Restaurant
Corporation in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, is an adventure racer devotee, who is training for the race that takes place in Montana this June. Here's a quick
look at who Dikos is and how he's preparing for the race, which includes mountain biking, kayaking, climbing and walking very fast over rough ground
while carrying 25 pounds of gear. Then in the August issue, we'll follow up on how he and his team performed.
Family: Supportive wife, Tara, and Great Dane, Scarlett
What motivates you? Excellence
Philosophy: We don't have a lot of possessions. We spend on experiences rather than tangible.
Philanthropy? I'm an outdoor activist. One thing I'd like to accomplish is to protect wild places. My long-term plans, besides selfish things like climbing mountains, is to protect things that are wild.
What talent would you most like to have? The ability to be a great orator, to tell a great story.
Favorite sport: Surfing
Signature accessory: My Toyota LandCruiser. I've had it forever and it reeks of every sport I've played since 1998.
How do get it all done? I'm very disciplined at work. You have to be focused at whatever you're doing. I don't watch TV; I don't Web surf aimlessly. I don't spend a lot of time at the water cooler. You can be efficient at work, but you can't take that efficiency into your personal life. You have to spend time on relationships.
For instance? My wife and I ski, hike together. We go to art exhibits took a pottery class together. We dine out, but we love cooking at home and are connoisseurs of affordable wines.
How do you spend your lunch hour? Swimming a mile
Early mornings? Running
Weekends: I train for intensity during the week and distance on the weekends.
Why adventure sports? To see how far you can go, that fascinates me. You can always do more than you think you can! This (the race) is entertainment. Look at Lewis and Clark, they (trekked long distances) with no Gortex, no maps, no powdered food. Plus, we have rescuers at the ready (something the pioneering adventurers couldn't count on).
How do you pick teammates? On their personalities. As captain, I've told everyone to learn 50 jokes. We have to keep each other entertained.
Team makeup: Three men and one woman (On Dikos's team, the woman is the navigator, which we thought was smart since only the woman will ask for directions if they miss a checkpoint.) The navigator is important because the team doesn't know the course or checkpoints until you get there and get the topographical map.
How do you train? I hired an adventure race coach. There are smaller adventure races that are 12 hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you hope to finish by noon. The race is fitness, but it's also strategy. You never stop. You eat and change clothes as you move. Our strategy is to sleep for two hours a night.
Downside of the race: You start craving junk food like crazy. You bring food like Power Bars, trail mix, and you get sick of them. Every race causes you to eliminate another food from your life.
Most ominous item on your mandatory gear list: Bear spray