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Recently, I took part in the 2021 Land Rover Trophy, a day-long off-roading driving competition, and I’ve never been more relieved to see a finish line.

Car: 2021 Land Rover Defender 110
Location: Asheville, N.C.
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
Camera: Canon 6D + EF 35-85mm AF Zoom

Count on a more lengthy story on the whole experience in the near future, but let me tell you, it was a serious test of endurance. My teammate and I had been driving all over the course, all day long, and taking part in various skills tests, some of which required a level of fitness that I wasn’t quite up to. Well actually, the fitness testing took place during just one activity: Manually winching our Land Rover Defender 110 up a hill with a Hi-Lift jack.

If you’re unfamiliar, a Hi-Lift is a long, can-opener-looking thing that often weighs at least thirty pounds and is one of the most rudimentary ways to lift an off-road vehicle on the trail. It can also double as a manual winch with some chains and a tow strap. Normally it’s used to just barely get a stuck wheel out of the mud or solve some other mild inconvenience that can’t be fixed with traction control, a center-locking differential, etc.

We were tasked with moving the car a full car’s length. Measuring 118.9 inches, the wheelbase of the new Defender 110 (I know, false advertising) is an awful long way to winch a 4,700-plus-pound truck up a godforsaken hill, and we got it done. This really knocked me out, and I’ was still sore from it days later. But I was glad to do it, because for the epic amount of a pain in the ass it was, it gave me an equal amount of earned accomplishment. It was also the last activity my teammate and I did before high-tailing to the finish line, which we barely got to before taking a time penalty.

At the finish line, after I gathered my belongings and exited our faithful 110, I was happy to just relax and snap a few photos of my beautiful surroundings, while my adrenaline was still keeping me upright.

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