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The 2022 Vision Quest and Counting Coup

Steve Fenn Stan and Steven Troy Lee Designs helmet Daniel Dorantes

We want to thank Troy Lee Designs for donating product to be given out to those who had unique experiences. Troy Lee Designs will continue to be a Major Sponsor in 2023. We also thank our Major Sponsor El Pollo Loco and Hammer Nutrition for their continued support of our events and trail work.

And thanks to all our club members and their friends who spent many hours preparing for this event - and are up earlier than any participant - preparing for their arrival. The events success is the result of all of their efforts in keeping track of you and keeping you safe. And a special thanks to Event Co-Director Keith Parsons who help plan and execute this event.

And thanks to OC Parks and John Gump for allowing us use of the Black Star Staging area and Jacob Rodriguez of the U.S. Forest Service for always being a friend to our organization.

Here are a few notable participants. Steven, 13 years old, who rode with his dad Stan, was the youngest participant to finish the Counting Coup. The oldest participant was 73 year old Steve Fenn who finished the Vision Quest. Steve is a great guy and he is an amazing athlete. Steven, Stan and Steve will all be given comps in 2023.

Jimmy Tsai won the "Wrong Way Corrigan" award for dropping into Corona and not coming down Black Star. I think he thought he was doing the Riverside Vision Quest, not the Orange County Vision Quest. For being the first, and last to finish the Riverside Vision Quest - he will be given a comp in 2023.

Aid Station #1 Lead had this to say about Daniel Dorantes

"This was Daniel's first time experiencing the Pow Wow. Unfortunately he crashed and fractured a bone in his forearm, received cuts and abrasions all over and tried to continue on Motorway only to crash more. Hard to believe he was riding down Motorway with a fractured arm! His hand was pretty swollen and cut up too. Erik cleaned him up with the first aid kit provided by the Warriors and applied iodine to his cuts.

Daniel got some gnarly dents in his old Trek Helmet. He is very grateful to Event Director Keith Parsons and the Warrior's Society for gifting him this beautiful new Troy Lee Designs helmet.

Daniel shared he's a bit embarrassed and feels like a failure. I told him this event has taken out some of the strongest, most experienced riders. I did not finish my first VQ and felt the same as him. I was devastated, only to come back and finish VQ three years in a row. Daniel said that inspired him. He wants to do VQ next year and I have no doubt he will.

Daniel was reflecting on why he crashed. He had too much air in his tires, the tread was pretty worn out, plus he was trying to go too fast for a better time. He realized it's not about the time, it's about finishing!

The Pow Wow was made for people like Daniel. I'm so glad Erik and I had the opportunity to meet and help him; he's such a nice, like-minded young man. We had a kind of bonding experience through this event and I can't wait to cheer Daniel on next year!"

Daniel will be receiving a comp next year.

Brian "Feeds The Warriors" Ephraim captured the true spirit of the Vision Quest in an email to the club (FYI, we may be serving buffalo burgers in 2023):

"The Vision Quest to me has always been about a personal journey. I completed the old course twice many years back and have subsequently volunteered.

I think the important podium here is internal. This event is hard and a significant challenge for most. A feather is a huge accomplishment, not a mere participation award."

There is one change to our last update (#5 regarding starting at 5:00 am). We will allow you to start anytime you want from 5:00 am to 6:30 am - but if you start between 5:00 am and 5:45 am you must pick up your packet and wrist band before Saturday so we just have to check you in. Those starting between 5:45 am and 6:30 am (you must leave by 6:30 am) can pick up their packet Saturday morning (or at pre-Saturday packet pickup). Those starting during this time must still make the Aid Station cut-off time of 10:00 am Please see all the changes listed below following the links to the final results.

Thank you all for participating and we hope to see you back on Saturday, April 15th 2023.

Registration for the 2023 Pow Wow will open on Oct 1st 2022 at 8:00 p.m. The date of the Pow Wow will be Saturday, April 15th 2023.

The results of the 2022 Vision Quest and Counting have been posted on our web site:
Vision Quest
Counting Coup

A gallery of finisher photos and other event photos can be found here.

A gallery of photos from the main divide can be found here.

These are the important changes coming to the 2023 Vision Quest and Counting Coup. The course will remain the same:

  1. All those (even those who did not show) will have first chance to register for the 2023 Vision Quest, which will be limited to 130 participants (with an additional 20 comped 10 year finishers, club members and individuals comped after the 2022 event) and the Counting Coup limited to 150.
  2. An additional cutoff time of 3:00 p.m. will be added to the event. These will be the cutoff times:
    • Aid Staton #1 at 10:00 am
    • Aid Station #2 at the Main Divide and Maple Springs Road (4 Corners) - 12:00 pm
    • At the Main Divide Road and the Silverado Motorway - 3:00 p.m. - those not making this cutoff time will be shuttled back to the staging area.
  3. Comps will only be given out to 10 year finishers, club members in good standing, notable event participants and sponsors who donate $1,500 in swag or more
  4. We will no longer keep time - this only encourages participants, especially those concerned about their times, to go too fast at unsafe speeds putting others on the trails at risk
  5. You will have the option to start anytime between 5:00 am and 6:30 am. If you wish to start between 5:00 am and 5:45 am, you must pick up your packet before Saturday morning and have your wrist bands on ready to check in and start. We will allow you to start anytime you want from 5:00 am to 6:30 am - but as previously stated, if you start between 5:00 am and 5:45 am you must pick up your packet and wrist band before Saturday so we just have to check you in. Those starting between 5:45 am and 6:30 am (you must leave by 6:30 am) can pick up their packet Saturday morning (or at a pre-Saturday packet pickup). No matter what time you start, you must still make the Aid Station #1 cut-off time of 10:00 am
  6. You are responsible if you collide with any trail user (as stated in the event release) and you will be DQ'ed. We had one participant collide with a Warrior's Society club member on Black Star, resulting in the club member suffering a compound fracture of the wrist. You are not covered by our liability policy if this occurs. This participant faces a possible lawsuit for damages.
  7. If the public reports to us that you are riding at an unsafe speed, you will be disqualified. Remember, this applies to both roads and trails.

Co-Event Director Keith Parsons and I (Chris Vargas Co-Event Director) believe that the whole purpose of the Vision Quest and the Counting Coup events are to finish. 23 years ago, when the Vision Quest was a Laguna Rads event, I (Chris Vargas, founder of the Warrior's Society) was warned by fellow RAD club member Dirk Maes, that if I grew the event too big it would turn from a Grass Roots event to a Pro event - where the everyday guy gets no recognition - and I fear Dirk's prediction has come true.

It is not about coming in at 1st place, it is about the everyday guy who struggles to get training in, while still working and putting his family 1st, not the pro rider whose main concern is not finishing, but finishing in the top 20. It is about the everyday guy whose finish of the Vision Quest, or Counting Coup, will be a memory (and the pain they experienced), something they will never forget.

In my book, if you finish, you are a winner - and I will do everything in my power to discourage pro level riders from entering our events. It will return to its Grass Roots.

Chris Vargas
Dances With Hornets