In the first few episodes, viewers have gotten to know the cast and seen the struggles they face along the way. Working through physical challenges, hunger, differences of opinion and more, the Brigaders have been fighting to stay on track and meet the daily mileage requirements to make it to York Factory in time.
Dylan Applebaum is a contestant on The Brigade and he joins The Revolution this week to talk about the new challenges they face as they get further into the journey. Dylan is the youngest member of the Brigade but brings experience and skill to the team just as other members do. His familiarity with canoeing, whitewater paddling, navigation and bush craft are all valuable tools to have on a journey like this. Dylan says that the age gap between himself and other competitors has been interesting and, in some cases, challenging. Highlighting a difficult moment on the journey where the crew came upon a log jam in the water, Dylan says he drew on his personal experience and told the team they could paddle through and keep moving forward toward their next cache. However, his suggestions were brushed aside as the team began to worry about the safety of the situation, resulting in indecision and wasted time. Ultimately the team decided to paddle through as Dylan had initially suggested, something he found frustrating, wishing the team would have listened to him from the start.
Indecision and hesitation are things that the team contends with along the way. Parts of the journey can be dangerous, especially when you’re traversing the kind of land and water that “The Brigade” is working through. The team is full of highly capable and experienced people in various areas, and they can rely on each other for guidance and expertise in different situations. However, fear can get in the way and create an unnecessary stall. Dylan says that hesitation is tricky because in some instances it’s needed and in other situations it’s too much. It was a balancing act they had to work with to keep them safe, but also able to effectively move forward even in dangerous situations.
Moving in to a heavy hiking portion of the journey, injuries really begin to show themselves and challenge the contestants and team as a whole. Traci injured her knee early in the race and the team worked to offset the lost man power, plus shoulder the extra weight from her packs as they hiked so she could try to heal and get back to 100% and finish the journey. However, her injury, inability to carry her own weight and her slow pace caused some friction and contention within the crew. Dylan says that this moment in the race was tough because you want and need every member of the team to help split the work and weight, giving the whole team a better chance of making it to the end. Conversely, when a team member begins to hold the entire crew back, making mileage goals impossible, Dylan says tough decisions have to be made. Watching these events unfold, he discusses his takeaway from the situation explaining how he realized how important it was for himself, and the rest of the team individually, to self-regulate and preserve their own health. By taking on a heavier load, they would elevate their own chances of injury and make themselves a liability as well. While an injury may happen to one person individually, in a team setting like “The Brigade” one injury deeply impacts the entire team.
Finally, Dylan talks about the gear the team is hauling along with them and the weight it puts on them. Going in to the race initially, everyone was somewhat unprepared and didn’t know exactly how or what to pack. By now, many of them realize exactly what is important and what they can do without. Dylan says in one cache they were each afforded a dry suit. However, a team conversation began as they discussed whether or not they wanted to bring them along or leave them behind. After surviving cold, wet situations without the suits, Dylan says they weren’t sure it was worth the extra weight it would put on their back to carry them along. Deciding what to put on their backs and what to leave behind was at times tough. (All gear left behind was put into large barrels at the cache site that they could collect again at the end of the challenge.) Dylan says the reality is that if you leave an item behind, you can’t get it back, and if you bring something along it is your responsibility to carry it. Taking on a heavy load could also hinder a person’s ability to help carry extra weight for the team. As a result, Dylan says that packing was a very calculated process of weighing what they needed vs what they could handle.
“The Brigade: Race to the Hudson” is unlike other reality adventure shows. Make sure to watch on Outdoor Channel as they push themselves physically and mentally in this awesome journey.