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Discussion: Itera

in: Adventure Racing; News

Aug 3, 2016 1:58 PM # 
For those interested, here's a rough schematic of the course, sent to racers yesterday:

From August 3, 2016
Aug 3, 2016 2:42 PM # 
Want to post it up in the race thread where the dot watching will be? :-)
Aug 3, 2016 3:13 PM # 
It's easier to find a race thread here in Adventure Topics than in the thread under the race IMO.
Aug 3, 2016 3:14 PM # 
@Shotgunmcos, this is where I tend to look for "live" race commentary as well.
Aug 3, 2016 3:15 PM # 
Ah ok. Still new to these parts
Aug 3, 2016 3:15 PM # 
Is that a postage stamp you posted Abby?? ;-)
Aug 3, 2016 3:16 PM # 
1st impressions on the schematic?
Aug 3, 2016 3:20 PM # 
@JayXC, still trying to figure out how to post images :) Can you click on the picture to make it bigger? If not, tell me know and I'll try to figure it out!
Aug 3, 2016 3:22 PM # 
@Shotgunmcos --

1. Love that we only have to build and break down our bikes once!

2. Happy that the bulk of the elevation is on foot, rather than bike.

3. That middle stretch is a long way to go without access to bags/boxes/resupply!

What do you think?
Aug 3, 2016 4:00 PM # 
It pops out to a full image for me!
Aug 3, 2016 4:16 PM # 
If I click on it the image it takes me to Picassa where I can then expand it. I think there is an option to increase the size of the embedded image S, M, L within Picassa prior to copying the link.
Relative to the course, that first trek is going to be tough given the elevation, 5000m over 50k!
Aug 3, 2016 4:19 PM # 
Both big treks at night
Paddle 2 may also be tricky at night.
Need to watch race rules on that long bike
Some of that bike ascent may be push bike
If weather anything like today the Coast will be 'Fun'
Aug 3, 2016 4:20 PM # 
Yep stage 2 50k on night 1 and 5000m ascent will make this race very interesting early!
Aug 4, 2016 5:52 PM # 
5,000 meters of ascent over 50K in one stage...can anyone think of other ARWS races that had a stage like that? I would love to get people's thoughts on estimates of how long that will take.
Aug 4, 2016 7:11 PM # 
add 5 hours on trails or 10 hours off trails to your reg 50 km TREK pace... approx.

That is based on a std 5 km per hour pace (so 10 + 5 = 15 hrs if mostly trail)... if you are a much faster or slower trekking team adjust accordingly

Further example based on extra info below

2.5 kmph pace = 20 hours + 10 for elevation (5K M) = 30 hrs :-)
Aug 5, 2016 8:40 AM # 
Since the schematic came out there is a move* to have "epic" in the Oxford English dictionary changed to "ITERA"


(*may or may not be factually correct)
Aug 5, 2016 9:24 AM # 
If the 50k trek is where I think it is, not a hope in hell will it be done in 15 hours. The top teams would do well to clear it in 20. Avg probably closer to 30hrs

5,000m ascent is a yoyo when you consider the highest peak in Ireland is 1039m
Aug 5, 2016 1:40 PM # 
GODZOne 2016 Stage 3 (Red Hills) was a similar distance at 52km and had 3250m ascent.

ITERA Wales 2014 Stage 3 (Snowdonia) was 40km with 3,500m ascent and that was a beast too!

So I suspect that the 5000m ascent is on the high side. Can't wait to find out though! [From an armchair. :-( ]
Aug 5, 2016 6:31 PM # 
@FB cheers for the simple formula. So is that an add 10% or 20% trail/off trail to your estimate regardless of ascent?

In terms of knowing your pace. 5,000m over 50k would suggest some fairly steep/thus less runable terrain. It's not like hiking 2k ascent up to a ridge and trotting along it :-)

@GD44 how long did those stages take for top and avg teams?
Aug 6, 2016 5:47 AM # 
@shotgunmcos: are you thinking this for the 50km trek?

And yes, I find it kinda crazy that stages 4, 5, and 6 will all be done with no access to our gear! Looks really like a 275km mtb stage with a 30km trek in the middle...
Aug 6, 2016 8:11 AM # 
I'd be suprised if the Reeks didn't feature although they are closer to Killarney ;-)
Aug 6, 2016 3:32 PM # 
@Slice that or something very similar has to feature in the final 70k trek. Gut feeling has the 50k further North.

Such a wide and varied playground it's a minefield trying to guess where all the pieces of the jigsaw are going to fit.
Aug 8, 2016 1:49 PM # 
When we get the maps you might want this bookmark to set another couple of point of interest for yourself

Aparently deep fried Mars bars are the bomb!! ??
Aug 8, 2016 1:54 PM # 
@ shotgun
It's actually based on net elevation. Very first race I ever did, our lead Nav was from the North Shore (Vancouver) SAR and spent a lot of time in the mountains. She told me 'rule of thumb' take whatever your time would be for 'regular' (non-Mountain) trekking over that distance and add 1 hr per 1,000 m elevation gain if on trails and 2 hrs/1,000 off trail.
It's always worked very well for me in projecting times with big net gains. If you have a lot of elevation gain but not a lot of net gain from start to finish it becomes a little trickier. Teams I've raced with tend to have similar ascent speeds but significantly different descent speeds.
Aug 8, 2016 9:00 PM # 
Thanks for all the help on estimating the first trek leg! For your reward, you can watch us try to tackle it live next week at the following link:
Aug 11, 2016 10:57 PM # 

Nice Tuesday for registration then cool and cloudy for first 2 days of the race. As if the stage 2 trek was not already challenging!

Cloudy on west coast = grey
Misty on west coast = can see SFA!
Aug 12, 2016 4:30 AM # 
Good thing I packed my see-in-the-fog glasses.
Aug 12, 2016 8:42 AM # 
A weather guru I track

A cool WNW wind for Wednesday & Thursday might just be the ticket ;-)

Really looking forward to meeting all you APers. Be sure to say hi to #TriHarderAR. You won't be able to miss us :-)
Aug 12, 2016 4:25 PM # 
Significant changes in Team Endurancelife!

- Clare Dallimore out due to chip in shoulder bone - replaced by Jacqui Scarf
- Gary Davies out due to fractured scaphoid - replaced by Daniel Carrivick
- Kevin Stephens has had a call up from GODZone team and replaced with Ant Emmett
- Phil Scarf is still there though!
Aug 12, 2016 5:58 PM # 
Aw, so sorry. :(
Aug 12, 2016 9:18 PM # 
Sorry to hear that GD44.

Tough on those not racing but lucky to have depth in a squad or people you could pull into the team.
Aug 13, 2016 11:12 AM # 
SW coast getting more interesting
Aug 16, 2016 12:10 PM # 
Route's been revealed:

Start: Westport
Aug 16, 2016 11:14 PM # 
Looks interesting on the tracker page - there are a couple of sections where the route appears to cross open water on the long bike leg (cp9 - 10) and on the trek leg between cp19-20.

Anyone got any insight as to how this might happen? Looks like a long swim...

Is there a copy of the route book online anywhere?
Aug 16, 2016 11:55 PM # 
Sleepmonsters have answered my question - the first crossing is a fast boat ferry, and the second one is a 1.5km tidal sea swim. No word as to whether this is dark zoned, but sea swimming in the Atlantic at night wouldn't be high on my list of priorities!

Let the dot watching commence - I'm based in Australia for a few months at the moment, so I guess I'll be covering the night shift!
Aug 17, 2016 2:40 AM # 
Looks like an interesting course...but a 1.5 km swim with pack?? No thank you!
Aug 17, 2016 3:58 AM # 
Collecting some useful info in one place - I'll update this post as I find more.

Live Tracking Site

Route Overview

Race Course Chart sent to racers ahead of time (May differ from the real thing)

Race website
I see there is a video on the home page showing a racer swimming in the ocean. Apparently, they really meant it!

Race Organization Facebook

Sleepmonsters Reports
Sleepmonsters Facebook

Weather Site
Another Weather Site

Something new - daily video reporting on ARWS races! They're calling it the Adventure Center.
"Erik and Viv will be following the ITERA Ireland and reporting on their experience and that of our racers everyday at 7pm Irish time. You can follow their reports here:"
Aug 17, 2016 4:04 AM # 
Start time is 12 noon in Westport.

For those of us in Ontario, the time difference is +5 hours so the dots should start moving at 7 a.m.

Sleepmonsters described the race course in one of their reports. They say the 1.5 km swim has been switched to a paddle.

The course begins at Westport House before the big sea paddle through the islands of Clew Bay and all the way around the coast and into Killary Fiord and the Killary Adventure Centre, where the first trek begins, crossing the Maumturk mountains. (This is the first short course option.) The paddling then continues though the thousand islands of Lough Corrib and on to the historic port city of Galway.

Thurlow said; “Navigation between the islands in Lough Corrib will be tricky at night and we avoided putting checkpoints in there as teams might never come out again!” There is a portage a Galway (because of a broken lock gate) and then more paddling across Galway Bay to Kinvarra.

This is the first time teams pick up their bikes, following the Wild Atlantic Way southwards. After riding into and out of Aillwee Caves, teams ride across the exposed limestone of The Burren, along the tops of the cliffs of Moher where there is a sheer 700 foot drop to the sea, to reach the ‘ITERA Ferry’. This is a fast boat ride with their bikes across the huge Shannon Estuary, and once over the far side the riding continues with a stop at the coasteering stage.

At both the caving and coasteering (and elsewhere) Thurlow made it clear any missed checkpoint or activity would result in the team moving to the short course – all of the team have to do everything if they are to remain on the full course!

The race has now reached the Dingle Peninsula and the route cycles and treks around it, crossing Brandon Mountain on foot before continuing the ride to arrive at the coastal crossing at Inch. This was going to be a 1.5km swim between two sand spits in tidal water but to the relief of the racers has now been changed to a short paddle!

The final trek is a long one across Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Ireland’s highest peak with a final canoe paddle stage to the finish across the Lough Leane to Killarney and the finish at the INEC. (Due to a late restriction imposed on the race this is a dark zone, so any teams arriving in the hours of darkness will be timed out and continue to the finish in the morning.)
Aug 17, 2016 4:17 AM # 
A few other excerpts from Sleepmonsters:

" teams tried to take in the scope of journey ahead and then delved into the detail of the route book it was the water crossings which were most discussed; mainly a big, tidal sea swim towards the end of the course. A picture in the route book of a very scary looking cliff jump off a small island, and another of mountain biking inside a cave system took the eye as well."

"The winners of the previous ITERA races and the UK’s top international team for many years are here, now racing as Godzone Mountain Hardwear with regulars Nick Gracie and Warren Bates, more recent team member Sarah Fairmaid (NZ) and Kevin Stephens who was pulled in as a late replacement from another team after an injury stopped Tom Gibbs making his return to international racing. They must start as favourites.

Other strong teams are SWECO (Sweden) who raced well in the last ITERA in Wales, until unfortunately missing a checkpoint towards the end, and there are strong challengers in the most experienced Irish teams, Moxie Racers, DAR Dingle and Columbia Ireland. Many of the home based racers will know the areas the race visits extremely well and Eoin Keith of Columbia Ireland joked, “I might not need those,” when collecting his maps. There is also a strong French entry here of which the fastest are likely to be FMR."

"[Organizers advised,] 'How you manage getting wet is important and you will get wet, in the cave, coasteering and when getting off the ‘ITERA ferry’. When you come out you won’t have access to kit bags so think about your strategy and how you will cope ahead of time. Otherwise you could get too cold and have to pull out.'"
Aug 17, 2016 4:23 AM # 
I am cheering for all Attackpointers but of course I'll be cheering loudest for the lone Canadian team, our friends on the all-female Bobkittens:

Leanimal (Leanne Mueller)
Slice (Liza Pye)
Dog Runner (Carolyn Connell)
La Femme (Nicky Cameron)

They aren't eligible for ARWS competition because there aren't any boys on their team but that's the only reason the organization refers to these fit, smart, experienced racers as "non-competitive". You'll see what I mean!
Aug 17, 2016 4:30 AM # 
Teams with Attackpointers - incomplete list, I'm sure. Who else?

Bobkittens - as above
Rootstock Racing - Abiperk, Broots
#TriHarderAR - Sean, Shotgunmcos
Endurancelife (GD44 is there in spirit.)
Aug 17, 2016 9:43 AM # 
I'm there in spirit! ;-)

Let's have a punt at the top 3 teams then. I'm going to be controversial and say that an Irish team will win due to the significant home advantage and the high calibre of ARers.

1. Team Columbia
2. GodZone Mountain Hardwear
Aug 17, 2016 12:14 PM # 
They're off! Slice's Mom and I are both away from our computers this morning so we're hoping for updates here!

Re GD44's challenge: It's hard to bet against GODZone for the win but I agree Irish teams should do really well.
Aug 17, 2016 12:44 PM # 
From Slice's pre-race Facebook post:

And we're (almost) off! ...And it seems that there is a bit of strategy involved in this one, so if we miss a few CPs early on, don't dismay; it's all part our master plan to win the longest Irish pub crawl any of you have ever seen.
Aug 17, 2016 2:58 PM # 
Carbons Offset:
Thank goodness the Canadian Justice system saw fit to release Bash from jury duty in time to fulfill her usual AP race tracking role!
Aug 17, 2016 3:10 PM # 
Not much to report Bash, all teams are on the water about 10km spread out. Sweco in the lead, Bobkittens mid-pack, Rootstock a little closer to the front.
Aug 17, 2016 4:04 PM # 
what's the scoop with Team FMR taking roads on the paddle? They appear to have received a car ride to Roonah Point. Per earlier post, SleepMonsters said they are likely the fastest French team.
Aug 17, 2016 4:10 PM # 
I wonder if the organisers have shortened the paddle by taking them off at Roonah Point. SWECO and FMR are there and seem to be waiting? Waiting for bikes perhaps?
Aug 17, 2016 4:20 PM # 
I quote:

"There was ample time for a captains briefing and they were told the paddle was perhaps 50/50 to continue the full distance, and that they’d be against the tide for much of the time! (Teams will trek down the coast from a pre-determined pull out point if the Coastguard decides against them continuing.)"
Aug 17, 2016 4:45 PM # 
Sleepmonsters photos of the initial run and kayak launch.

Photos of Canadian Team #35, the Bobkittens. Note their Attackpoint names are written on their jerseys. :)
Aug 17, 2016 4:48 PM # 
Are they off the water at Roonah Point for an extended portage southward? Let the test of the quality of portage wheels begin. From what Leanimal mentioned, these boats are bloody heavy.
Aug 17, 2016 5:22 PM # 
@Wokitoki, I see what you mean about Team FMR. It looks like they had their tracker with them at the start of the paddle, then went ashore after a few kms and continued by road. Their track comes ashore much earlier than Roonah Point, where other teams appear to have come ashore. Maybe it's a strategic choice to use portage wheels for a very long distance? The map doesn't show any CPs that would require teams to go by water. There could be a rule.

The last four teams - 18, 21, 24 and 29 - appear to have gone ashore within the last 90 minutes but they've just stayed where they went ashore. Two of these teams turned back after trying to get around a point so maybe the water is too rough.

The Bobkittens are on the water a few hundred meters ahead of #TriHarderAR. Rootstock Racing came ashore at Roonah Point half an hour ago and are now making progress on land.
Aug 17, 2016 5:23 PM # 
@Bash- re: AP names- I thought that was the default.
Aug 17, 2016 5:24 PM # 
Makes sense. When I get sleepy, it's easier to remember AP names than real names! :)
Aug 17, 2016 5:29 PM # 
The chop on the ocean looks quite fierce from the photos posted on fb
Aug 17, 2016 5:30 PM # 
From Sleepmonsters Facebook: "The first sea paddle at ITERA was shortened due to worsening conditions. SWECO and Godzone were first ashore. "

Here are photos of those conditions. Yup, good decision.
Aug 17, 2016 5:34 PM # 
A few seem to be regretting their featherlight gore-tex choice.
Aug 17, 2016 5:36 PM # 
I'm learning Irish geography on the fly but this weather report sounds relevant for today's racing:

"Heavy showers and some embedded thunderstorms slowly advancing further east, very heavy at times in western Galway and Mayo where 30-50 mm could cause flooding around places like Newport, Westport and Clifden."
Aug 17, 2016 6:42 PM # 
from SleepMonsters:

If you are watching the race trackers you might be wondering what happened to French team FMR. They came ashore from Clew Bay quite early and this was the result of badly holed and leaking boat. The race decided the best thing to do was to move them forward to the take out point and reinsert them in the race in the position they were when they pulled out. As a result they left Roonah Point in 6th place.

I spoke to one of the team who was philosophical saying, “No one can win. Others will say we missed a tough and tiring paddle, but we think we could have finished higher up on the paddle, especially as the boat was leaking from the start. It’s probably the best option but no one will really be happy. That’s just how it is.”
Aug 17, 2016 6:48 PM # 
Can anyone explain IssyAventure's track? Are there optional CPs on the coast that they have decided to drop by taking the easier inland road?
Aug 17, 2016 7:06 PM # 
Looks that way but it's strange when only one team does that.
Aug 17, 2016 7:26 PM # 
Another photo of rough paddling conditions.
Aug 17, 2016 8:01 PM # 
Looks like they're getting their boats again at the beach parking lot just north of the inlet that leads to the transition.
Aug 17, 2016 8:37 PM # 
As the afternoon went on however the conditions got worse and worse with the waves rising, the wind increasing and rain getting heavier. Not that the paddlers could get any wetter. Progress against the tide and wind was hard in the choppy seas and by the time the leaders came out of Clew Bay and around the low cliffs and outlying rocks of Roonah Point it was clear that was as far as they could safely paddle.

First to arrive just before 5pm were SWECO of Sweden – and they wanted to carry on paddling! “I thought it might be more sheltered in the bay,” said Mattias Carling, “but it was quite rough and difficult even in there. We think we can continue and would like to do so but I think the decision is we cannot.” They wanted to carry on as they are the strongest paddlers and not so quick on foot. They said the boats were very stable but the decision of the water safety officer was firm so they had to get ashore and prepare to trek down the coast.

Carling was shivering violently and wasn’t going to stop to argue – he needed to move to keep warm, one way or another, and the team set off after being shown the trek route by Ivan Park. This stays close to the coast, much of it on beaches, so it is going to be exposed.

Second to arrive were Godzone Mountain Hardwear, with Nick Gracie and Kevin Stephens struggling to get into the small pier, which is for the ferry to Clare Island. “That was challenging,” said Gracie, “and I think it’s the right decision. We would not have finished in daylight and the slower teams are already finding difficult.” He’s just come back from a visit to the Olympics and as the wind lashed the rain into him and the team struggled to change by the roadside he said, “It’s not exactly Rio is it!”

Unfortunately there is no shelter here so teams are having to change and sort out themselves out in the open before continuing.

If you are watching the race trackers you might be wondering what happened to French team FMR. They came ashore from Clew Bay quite early and this was the result of badly holed and leaking boat. The race decided the best thing to do was to move them forward to the take out point and reinsert them in the race in the position they were when they pulled out. As a result they left Roonah Point in 6th place.

I spoke to one of the team who was philosophical saying, “No one can win. Others will say we missed a tough and tiring paddle, but we think we could have finished higher up on the paddle, especially as the boat was leaking from the start. It’s probably the best option but no one will really be happy. That’s just how it is.”

The rest of the teams are now gradually struggling into the Clare Island ferry pier, tired, shivering and glad to get ashore, and it looks like they should all arrive in daylight.

It’s been a tough start to ITERA Ireland.
Aug 17, 2016 8:54 PM # 
Thanks, that clears up a lot!

From Sleepmonsters:
"The only all female team, The Bob Kittens from Canada showed me their team mascot pinned to a rucksack strap and when I asked what a Bob Kitten was they said, 'We’re not sure, we think we invented it during a long night adventure racing!'"
Aug 17, 2016 10:36 PM # 
Sunset :)
Aug 18, 2016 1:14 AM # 
Well, that looked miserable! I'm sure the teams will be glad to be off the water, but it just adds to the length of the next trek (50km / +5000m...)

I'm surprised that they put such a long coastal paddle into the race after previous experience in Itera wales, in which both coastal paddle sections were cut well short (from 40km to ~10km) due to choppy seas. The west coast of Ireland isn't exactly known for its glassy smooth sea conditions, after all!

Sweco currently holding a 2km lead as they head into the Maumturk mountains, followed by a french duo of the Agde and FMR teams. Godzone are leading a chase pack of 4 or 5 teams another 2km behind that.

My predictions -
1 - Sweco
2 - Columbia Ireland
3 - Godzone
Potentially controversial, but Sweco are getting stronger and stronger this year. Columbia have the advantage of home turf (Eoin Keith said after seeing the route that he probably wouldn't need the maps...) . Godzone are always strong, but don't have the talented navigation and strategy of Tom Gibbs this time.
Aug 18, 2016 1:40 AM # 
Great, the night shift has arrived! :)

The Bobkittens were tied for 17th of 33 teams after the paddle, a few minutes ahead of Endurancelife and #TriHarder. Rootstock is the top Attackpointer team (I think), currently in 11th.
Aug 18, 2016 3:55 AM # 
Episode 1 of The Adventure Center, discussing Day 1 of ITERA and featuring an interview with our own Abiperk and Broots of Rootstock Racing, and Leanimal and Slice of the Bobkittens. The ladies had a clever plan to rigidly connect their two kayaks, and we get to see it in action. There's also an interview with Team FMR after they came ashore.

Aug 18, 2016 4:04 AM # 
Godzone seem to have stopped by Pollacappul Lough - they've been there for 90 minutes now. Doesn't look like there's any particular reason to stop there - there are no buildings or shelter etc - odd. Rootstock appear to have caught and passed them!
Endurancelife now off on the trek after a slow transition - guess they took the opportunity to warm up with some hot food?
Aug 18, 2016 4:36 AM # 
Leanimal had mentioned to me before they started that they (Team Bobkittens) were thinking about cutting the first trek short so as to get to the next paddle as quickly as they could. HOWEVER, it appears that they've nixed that idea and they look to be the 13th team to hit CP1, now in the middle of the night. Nice nav, ladies!
Aug 18, 2016 9:02 AM # 
Cp 4 and cp 5 now both removed from the course due to the speed that teams are moving being slower than expected. It doesn't shorten it much but does save quite a bit of climbing.
Aug 18, 2016 10:32 AM # 
Are non ranked teams held at transition until a full score team comes through, or are they free to continue?
Aug 18, 2016 11:16 AM # 
Not sure about non-ranked (assume you mean non-comp?). p3 of the route book here says that short course teams are held, not sure if n/c full course teams would be but I assume not.
Aug 18, 2016 12:20 PM # 
I loved the ARWS Youtube video! I'm looking forward to tonight's episode already.

Stage 2 - Trek (Maumturks)

1 day down and the gaps are already pretty big. As expected SWECO are at the front as a result of their kayaking prowess.

FMR seem to be slightly ahead of SWECO and just got into transition at end of Stage 2. The unfortunate incident with their boat means they exerted far less energy than the other teams and were able to rest and refuel too for several hours. Doesn't seem fair but what else could have been done?

From the original 33 teams that started, 17 of the comp teams and one of the non-comp (same sex) teams (Bobkittens) remain on the long course. 14 teams have short coursed and 1 retired.

The next cutoff is Thursday 2200hours. Teams must leave Maum village (T2-3) by then. So the question is whether the long course teams at the back can make it in time. These include:

17 KerryOutdoorSportDCEnergy
30 Team bigO
15 IKAT ThermaTech
31 Team Endurancelife
35 Bobkittens
21 Misadventure
20 DSN74 MaXi-Race
7 DAR Dingle

All the above are west of Lough Inagh and have 10-15km remaining

Team Endurancelife and Bobkittens are close together and remain on the long course. Team Endurancelife in 14th.
Aug 18, 2016 1:06 PM # 
Looking forward at the route, it appears that the vast majority of the mega bike leg is on minor roads. Judging from the Beast of Ballyhoura last year where we also spent a lot of time on tarmac, Ireland seems to have a surfeit of tarmacced minor roads in place of bridle ways or tracks. Maybe a cyclocross bike would have been a good choice for this course!
Aug 18, 2016 1:06 PM # 

In ITERA Wales 2014, only 7 teams completed the full course albeit SWECO were effectively short coursed as they went past one CP without dibbing in.

My observation from that race is that after 32hrs, the team that finished 6th (Team Endurancelife) were approx 11 hours behind the leaders; a difference of 33%. In the remaining part of the race, the % difference was far less at 10% with only a difference of 6 hours over the following 60-66 hours.

After 25 hours of racing I estimate that Team Endurancelife are 5-6 hours behind the leaders and therefore still in with a chance of completing the full course as long as they keep moving. However I know Jacqui would like more sleep than Team EL would normally take so it'll be tight.
Aug 18, 2016 1:07 PM # 
I guess that answers it, teams are off.FMR did well for their rest on the first stage by the looks of it. Tough for them, as they said, no one wins
Aug 18, 2016 1:10 PM # 
Ah just discovered the page doesn't autorefresh. Now I see you've already said that!
Aug 18, 2016 1:20 PM # 
Times at cp3: Sweco at 0828, Endurancelife are there now at 1410, so ~5h40 behind. They should certainly be ok for the next cutoff, but after that it will depend on how they do in the next big paddle. Wonder how Ant is getting on with his return to AR?!
Aug 18, 2016 2:16 PM # 
Team EL are taking a different route off the mountain to others.

I think Ant will be OK as their pace is OK. I suspect that Dan will be suffering the most.

FMR have pulled out some distance on SWECO!

Welcome Andy!

GMH look slow
Aug 18, 2016 2:59 PM # 
Yeah,don't know what could be up with them jetlag? or Nick not having his kit bag causing them issues? or just not on the pace (yet)?
Aug 18, 2016 3:58 PM # 
If I understand this correctly (which is far from certain) it looks like the BobKittens have about 4hrs to the cut-off and they are about 3-3.5 hrs away based on teams ahead of them. I would think that if they want it they will make it, they are certainly capable and hopefully healthy.
Go Kitten's!!

and Bob Kittens are a 'thing'
Aug 18, 2016 4:49 PM # 
Hmmm... just looked at this FB and from race booklet says that the cutoff is 22:00. Given it is currently 17:45 in Ireland (12:45EST for you and I), that gives them 4:15hrs to get there, transition, and leave again (the cut off is the departure out of the TA). Based on their current position and the travel time of Rootstock Racing from this same spot ...looks like 2hrs to the TA. Sunset looks to be 20:45, so dependent of transition speed they may just make it on the water as the lights go out.
Aug 18, 2016 6:13 PM # 
With just a little less than 3 hours to go before cut-off, Bobkittens appear to be roughly 4 km from the TA and Endurancelife is following about 3 km further back.
Aug 18, 2016 6:13 PM # 
It appears BK are now just over an hour out from the TA and just shy of 3 hrs to the cut-off. Very doable. I think Godzone was about 2.5 hrs from where they are now to leaving the TA and they were not under the same 'cut-off crunch'.
Aug 18, 2016 6:19 PM # 
Update GZ was 2 hours to clear the TA from where BK is now and BK they have 2:40ish (I picked GZ because they seemed to have hustled through the TA more than some of the other teams)
Aug 18, 2016 6:58 PM # 
Rats! Bobkittens have stopped tracking just short of the cut-off spot.
Aug 18, 2016 6:59 PM # 
They'll make it through no worries. However, what will be interesting is how Team Bobkittens deals with sleep next. They've nailed that trek, in terms of navigation, and once on the water for a ~70k paddle on night #2, I fear that the sleep monsters will be biting with the monotony. That said, they've got PVC piping to lash the two boats together so I suspect they might consider taking turns sleeping in the bow...provided the chop is manageable and that they don't freeze in their wetsuits when not creating body heat from motion.
Aug 18, 2016 7:01 PM # 
Update that.....BKs have just tracked and have reached transition area.
Aug 18, 2016 7:12 PM # 
@ phatty - will they have time for a small nap before they set off again?
Aug 18, 2016 7:13 PM # 
I think that makes the Bobkittens 13th, just ahead of Endurancelife? (If they were allowed to be ranked, that is.)

Way to go Abiperk and Broots - Rootstock Racing in 7th!
Aug 18, 2016 7:14 PM # 
@Pyeinthesky, the Bobkittens arrived 2 hrs before the cut-off. They would have time for a short sleep there in addition to their transition activities, or they could check out of the TA and have a longer sleep elsewhere.
Aug 18, 2016 7:20 PM # 
I'm guessing Carolyn is naving Bobkittens - Phatty, can you confirm? They nailed the nav so far. Rootstock are really surprising to the upside here, they are doing amazing.
Aug 18, 2016 7:26 PM # 
It's typically Lee on the maps with Liza as consult. Nic and Carolyn also chip in with pacing and distance counts...perhaps elevation tracking, too, given where they are.

I would guess that their priority is to get as warm as they can before they head out on the big paddle. They've got freeze-dried meals so a few will be downed for sure. The sleep topic may have to be addressed on the water so that they get out of the TA in time. I wouldn't be surprised if a boathouse or a lakeside bothy gets visited for a couple of hours at some point as they head to Kinvarra and the next TA.
Aug 18, 2016 7:48 PM # 
New pics from Open Adventure Facebook page. Here we see Leeanimal carrying the maps.
Aug 18, 2016 8:10 PM # 
Moxie Racers' tracker is on the road and they've been short coursed. Anybody know why?
Aug 18, 2016 8:19 PM # 

So the following 3 teams are definitely going to miss the Thursday 2200 cut off:

17 KerryOutdoorSportDCEnergy
30 Team bigO
15 IKAT ThermaTech

The following are in transition and are probably resting before having to leave at 2200:

31 Team Endurancelife
35 Bobkittens
21 Misadventure

The following have just left:

7 DAR Dingle
Aug 18, 2016 8:26 PM # 
Looks like Team EL and Bobkittens supporters might be swapping some banter if our teams are going to keep going as they are!
Aug 18, 2016 9:06 PM # 
I hope their clocks are slower than ours as I expected them to be moving by now...
Aug 18, 2016 9:11 PM # 
Me too.
Aug 18, 2016 9:15 PM # 
Phew Bob Kittens are on the move, hopefully EL are out as well as their tracker is still on 21:55
Aug 18, 2016 9:30 PM # 
It's now 2230 and Team EL's tracker hasn't updated since 2155. Aaaarrgghhh! I'm tearing my hair (well what's left of it) out wishing to know if they're going to start the paddle or not!

Whilst at the pointy end of the race, Team FMR have missed the River Corrib channel between Lough Corrib and Galway. An opportunity for SWECO to catch up I think however they may see FMR's lights and go towards them.
Aug 18, 2016 9:34 PM # 
Well Bash has reassured me about this. She says:

"Maybe they've checked out officially but haven't left. If you close your gear box and hand it in so it's no longer accessible, you could check out and have a nap nearby."

That was direct quote.

Hopefully they are on the move and it is simply a question of waiting for the tracker to update.
Aug 18, 2016 9:59 PM # 
Moxie Racers - Unfortunately Caulfield had to pull out of the race with an injury and Race Director James Thurlow brought his team into TA3. They are now one of several non-competitive teams on the race leaderboard, continuing with as much of the course as they are able to.

Stage 2 paddle stage - The plan for the second paddle stage had been to portage through Galway City and continue with another sea paddle across Galway Bay, but the sea paddle has now been cancelled so teams will start riding down the Wild Atlantic Coast from Galway tonight. This lengthens an already long bike stage but I doubt the teams will mind missing a second sea paddle, this one at night. They’ll just be glad to get out of their kayaks! This will explain why FMR went to the end of Lough Corrib and not down the River.

GODZone MH - the defending champions Godzone Mountain Hardwear are in 8th place. Warren Bates has been ill since the start, hoping to push through the viral infection he’s suffering from, but it’s not been an easy start to the race and when I saw him trekking and asked how he was he just gave me a thumbs down and had a grim look on his face.
Aug 18, 2016 11:11 PM # 
Team Endurancelife is on the move now. Perhaps they had a sleep before leaving the TA.
Aug 18, 2016 11:35 PM # 
Another episode of the Adventure Centre:
Aug 18, 2016 11:36 PM # 
Nightshift back on duty, and it's a lovely sunny morning here in Sydney ;)

Godzone are really struggling - it looks like they may have stopped to sleep on an island in Lough Corrib. Hopefully this will allow Warren to get over his illness and let them get up to their normal level of performance. They're 5h15 behind FMR (who are in transition in Galway as I write). Rootstock have just stopped on the same island as GZ...

FMR took an odd route into transition - they missed the river entry and then there's a blank spot in the tracking, but it looks like they portaged over the corner of the land. There is a track there so maybe not a bad idea.

FMR have put a decent gap on Sweco, about 6km as of now (0000 GMT), and Sweco in turn are a safe 8km in front of the chase pack of 4 teams - Columbia Ireland, AGDE, Rachel's Irish Adventures and Issy Absolu 1. That lot will be having fun - all the Irish teams know each other and I'd imagine there will be a bit of banter between them and les francais.

As the sea paddle from Galway to Kinvara has also been cancelled (no great surprise there!), teams will have an extra 20km to add to the mega bike leg. Still, better than paddling!

Further back in the field, Endurancelife left T2-3 at 0000GMT and are now a hunderd metres down the road at the kayak put-in. Sleeping? I'd guess that they missed the cutoff if it was at 2200, unless they dibbed out and then went back to sleep outside?

Bobkittens tracker breadcrumbs were showing as still being in transition at 2210, but they're on the water and moving well, so I guess they just made the cutoff. Dar Dingle are maybe an hour in front of them.

Long night paddle on flat calm water? I'd expect the sleepmonsters to kick in hard about now. I think we'll see teams stopping to sleep on this leg.
Aug 18, 2016 11:44 PM # 
Sleepmonsters report from this morning - old news but still interesting.

The article explains why Team A.R.S.E. is no longer racing - yikes!

"Frank Nash and Bryan Mathias of team A.R.S.E were also there. Nash told me the dramatic story of their withdrawal from the race yesterday.

“We decided to come in to shore on the paddle but got caught in the surf near some cliffs and got into difficulty. First the girls fell in, then in trying to right them we all ended up in the water getting thrown around below the rocks. I ended up hanging on to one of the boats and the bags, then the paddles fell in and I grabbed those, but in the end Bryan just shouted to me to let it all go and get myself out. It was still a wet and committing climb out as a slip would have taken us back into the water. Then we saw the other boat fall back in and Sinead on the shore with blood all over her white bib from bashing her head in a fall.”

The team pushed the rescue button on their tracker and got help from a house nearby and assistance was there in minutes from the race, coastguard and ambulance service, taking Sinead Keogh off to hospital to be checked out and looked after.

Nash and Mathias were looking to move forward on the course and then were co-opted as marshals to go and redirect teams on the next trekking stage."
Aug 19, 2016 2:42 AM # 
I'm not quite sure what the next cutoff for the race is, as the requirement to leave boats in Galway if arriving after 1300 has probably been superseded by the fact that all teams are leaving them there anyway!. This means that I guess the next cut is at Kinvarra - "You need to have arrived in Kinvarra by Friday 15.00 and left by 17.00" - but as there is no transition there now then hopefully they're only enforcing the "leave by" time...

At the back of the pack, Endurancelife are the holders of the Lanterne Rouge as the last team still on the full course (assuming that they did in fact make the cut at T2-3). It's now 0323 and EL appear to have stopped on the shore with Ikat Thermatech. EL are exactly 12h behind the leaders at present, who took 8h to get to transition from that point. Assuming that EL won't be as quick at paddling as the race leaders, it's probably 10h minimum to get to transition from their current position, which would bring them in at 1323 if they get going now.

Then they'd have about 3 1/2 hrs to transition and ride 20km to get through Kinvarra. It should be possible, but it's a lot closer than I'd like...

Come on EL!

In other AP news, Bobkittens are going well, 4km in front of EL, and Rootstock now well over halfway through the paddle.
Aug 19, 2016 3:00 AM # 
Thanks, djtom! Where did you find the race instructions? Are they posted?
Aug 19, 2016 3:00 AM # 
Here's a photo of Team FMR when they came off the paddle at Galway.
Aug 19, 2016 3:23 AM # 
Routebook is linked from the tracker site - it's the road icon on the right. direct link here:
Aug 19, 2016 4:49 AM # 
Sleep, little Bobkittens...sleep! I'll bet they wake up with renewed power on the water. Them...and the rest of the teams sleeping in various spots along that long bit of water.
Aug 19, 2016 4:50 AM # 
Thanks, djtom!
Aug 19, 2016 6:42 AM # 
Hmm, since I last posted, EL appear to have gone backward and are now off the water and at what looks like a cluster of farm buildings, along with IKAT ThermaTech. Neither tracker has updated for a couple of hours, so presumably they are inside a building. Both teams are now almost certain to miss the cutoff.

At the front of the field FMR are flying. They're through the caves and have pulled out a big lead on Sweco, who have been at Kinvarra for a couple of hours, presumably sleeping. Columbia Ireland and Issy are also there with them.
Aug 19, 2016 9:01 AM # 
Now 1000 on Friday and the leaderboard shows IKAT Thermatech and Team Endurancelife as Non-comp. Not sure why though. Both their trackers haven't been updated since 0404 and 0539 respectively.

Bobkittens are in the village of Oughterard and are probably resting/sleeping?

Team FMR are kicking arse at the front!
Aug 19, 2016 9:08 AM # 
Maybe IKAT and EL missed the departure cutoff at last transition and are continuing knowing they have to miss stages further down the course ie lots of sleep as cutoffs no longer matter (unless it is a jump in the van type?)
Aug 19, 2016 10:58 AM # 
Looks like EL have been picked up in a vehicle and are en route to Galway. Bobkittens appear to be in the same vehicle.
Aug 19, 2016 11:04 AM # 
The same thing may apply to BKs, who are on the same road just behind, or possibly with EL. Also team Strong Machine and team IKAT Thermal Tech are behind them still in the town of Oughterard.
Aug 19, 2016 11:24 AM # 
I see I am repeating you djtom. :)
Aug 19, 2016 11:57 AM # 
#TriHarderAR look to have taken to land along with DSN74 MaXi-Race.

Anyone have anymore info about cutoff times for getting to Galway after the bike transition was brought there?
Aug 19, 2016 11:58 AM # 
Something's up at the front of the field - FMR are way off route and have headed to the only town in the vicinity. Wonder what's going on? If they leave the planned route they have to rejoin in the same place, so this will eat into their lead a lot.
It's getting interesting!
Aug 19, 2016 12:17 PM # 
I wonder if the "ITERA Ferry" has been taken out of action and they have to use the scheduled ferries at Killimer. They sail every half hour.
Aug 19, 2016 12:28 PM # 
The high winds (with much worse forecast to come) have continued to disrupt the race with the latest change being the cancellation of the ‘Itera Ferry’ across the Shannon Estuary – which has meant re-planning the cycling route to take teams to the regular car ferry crossing further East. This is off of their race maps so teams are being briefing on the changes and given a new map at TA3 at Kinvara. They are also being given the ferry times, and as it does not run after 9pm told that the clock will be stopped if they miss it. (Should that happen they’ll be timed out until the 7am ferry next morning.) Navigators are having to concentrate hard and their maps are covered in crossings out and new routes!
Aug 19, 2016 1:03 PM # 
"Looking ahead the weather is forecast to get worse - force 10 winds are expected in Kerry, so there will have to be more changes and re-routings with the paddle across the Inch Strand and the cycling circuit of the Dingle Peninsula taken out of the course."

Force 10. Proper Irish racing weather...
Aug 19, 2016 1:14 PM # 
A lot of teams are going to miss the ferry and have a long time to sleep at Killimer.
Aug 19, 2016 1:15 PM # 
So are there any APers out there that wish they were racing ITERA now!? It's a beast of a race.
Aug 19, 2016 1:40 PM # 
I'll guess that you still wish you were there with your team, GD44!
Aug 19, 2016 1:46 PM # 
Yes I still wish I was there if we had a good team.

We'd be near Columbia Ireland if we had the original team I think.

Brutal mid-pack and further back though.
Aug 19, 2016 2:01 PM # 
Yeah as always, one to be at the front of. Longer you are out, worse it gets. DAR doing well though, I know they are tough cookies
Aug 19, 2016 2:11 PM # 
Don't know exactly why but a few teams seem to have been transported forward to the end of the 2nd paddle. When I went to bed last night, I saw that a number of teams had pulled off of the water and onto various bits of land - the clever ones at homesteads. However, when I awoke this AM, many of these were at the TA to bike. Anyone know why?
Aug 19, 2016 2:22 PM # 
The best clue to what happened is in the latest Sleepmonsters article: "Further back on the course the wind is making the paddling harder for the teams still on Lough Corrib and they report being blown into rocky shallows and reed beds. Some are stopping on the shore line to rest and most are struggling to find the river entrance into Galway, especially those who arrive in the dark."

As discussed above in this thread, several teams appear to have been short coursed by vehicle.
Aug 19, 2016 2:29 PM # 
I am wondering what is happening with Strong Machine, who have not tracked for several hours.
Aug 19, 2016 2:54 PM # 
Phatty - Team Endurancelife and Bobkittens must have contacted the organisers to come and get them and get transported to TA3-4.

See djtom's post above: Looks like EL have been picked up in a vehicle and are en route to Galway. Bobkittens appear to be in the same vehicle
Aug 19, 2016 3:35 PM # 
Kittens are on the prowl again... perhaps travelling with Rootstock? Very close together anyways.
Aug 19, 2016 4:18 PM # 
Yeah, it looks as though they're doing the caving at least I think that's what's there. FB, I'll be you'd be yearning to do a section like that!
Aug 19, 2016 4:23 PM # 
Here's what the cave looks like. Weather in there is great!
Aug 19, 2016 5:08 PM # 
Phatty... I especially love them when lose I skin trying to squeeze thru narrow spaces and I have to follow a string so I don't get lost FOREVER! :-)
Aug 19, 2016 5:13 PM # 
Rootstock and the Kittens back on the road!
Hard to tell because FMR stopped updating for a while, but looks like they have just over 2 hrs on Sweco?
Aug 19, 2016 7:47 PM # 
Rootstock and Bobkittens are travelling close together in the CP8 area. Rootstock is still on the full course!
Aug 19, 2016 7:51 PM # 
Here's what some of today's biking looks like - the spectacular Cliffs of Moher.
Aug 19, 2016 7:59 PM # 
Our friends at #TriHarder #34 paddled Lough Corrib through the night, then they came off the water late this morning and it appears they may have used portage wheels on land, based on their speed. They went down to a bay an hour away, then backtracked up to the road and continued south to a different point where they launched and finished the paddle to Galway. They were on land for about 4.5 hrs. They left Galway on bikes within the past hour. Teams are taking many different routes to the finish line, thanks to the weather!
Aug 19, 2016 8:59 PM # 
Now Friday 2130

So the following long course teams have made it passed the "effective" dark zone at the Killimer ferry crossing (as it's shut):

Team FMR
Columbia Ireland
Agde Raid Aventure
Rachel's Irish Adventures

The following long course teams will have to wait until 7am for the ferry to start re-running:

GODZone Mountain Hardwear
Rootstock Racing (along with Bobkittens although non comp)
DAR Dingle

SWECO (2nd) are about 2.5-3 hours behind Team FMR.
Agde (3rd) are about 3.5hrs behind Team FMR
IssyAventure and Columbia Ireland (fighting for 4th) are about 4 hours behind Team FMR.
Aug 19, 2016 9:55 PM # 
Friday 2255

Have the organisers cancelled Stage 5 - Trek Brandon?

Team FMR have not cycled to S4-5 but rather to S5-6.
Aug 19, 2016 10:05 PM # 
Possibly, race news hinted at more changes..[Looking ahead the weather is forecast to get worse - force 10 winds are expected in Kerry, so there will have to be more changes and re-routings with the paddle across the Inch Strand and the cycling circuit of the Dingle Peninsula taken out of the course.]
Aug 19, 2016 10:11 PM # 
I thought the bike leg around the Dingle peninsular was the stage that was getting canned, but sounds like James is having to make decisions on the fly. Can't say I envy his job at the moment...

Feeling sorry for the teams who didn't make the cut at the ferry. 11 hours wait in wet kit will be no fun at all. I'd be knocking on doors with a fistful of cash trying to find a room and some hot food I think!
Aug 19, 2016 10:12 PM # 
I hope everyone is keeping their sense of humour. Wow!

We believe Bobkittens are short course now, as well as non-comp. It appears they were moved forward by vehicle to Galway after the Lough Corrib paddle got nasty.
Aug 20, 2016 4:27 AM # 
I'm sooo confused....
Aug 20, 2016 4:52 AM # 
Tough to follow the race course and rules with all the changes on the fly - and I'm not even sleep deprived. Because there are optional CPs, I'm sure teams spent a lot of time planning their strategy in detail, and that has all gone out the window!
Aug 20, 2016 4:55 AM # 
From the latest Sleepmonsters article:

"...They’ve been racing to get the Ferry to Kerry, unsure quite what the distance on this new route is, or what the course will be on the far side. This particular race has turned into an adventure where dealing with surprises and uncertainty is all part of the challenge!"

Here's the full article.
Aug 20, 2016 5:07 AM # 
Experienced Irish team Moxie Racers (Non comp after losing a member) left the bike course shortly after CP14 and apparently got driven to Killarney, where the race will finish. Perhaps they picked up their own car there, as they are now off the course in the town of Castleisland, where they arrived around 2:15 a.m.
Aug 20, 2016 5:15 AM # 
Just before sunrise, the Bobkittens are within 12-15 km of the ferry, which leaves in 45 minutes at 7 a.m. Rootstock Racing, still on the full course, are 1-2 km behind. They *should* all make it but it could be tight.

Teams waiting near the ferry are GODZone #13, Basecamp AR #23 and Misadventures #21. It looks like these five teams will be the only racers who make the 7 a.m. ferry. (I always tell people that AR is *nothing* like The Amazing Race. But this time, it is.)
Aug 20, 2016 5:32 AM # 
Day 3 of The Adventure Center - these have been great!

"The adventure thickens for teams in the middle of the race as they take refuge on small islands. The lead teams are separated by mere hours as they move through the Ireland cave system. A huge storm begins to engulf Ireland bringing relentless rains and wind which not only forces course changes for safety but begins to impact the teams with feet issues and hypothermia. The field splits into a short course group and a long course group. "
Aug 20, 2016 5:50 AM # 
Bobkittens and Rootstock are at the ferry with 15 minutes to go!
Aug 20, 2016 6:53 AM # 
I'm trying to work out what's going on with the course, but what a mess! It appears that the dingle bike leg is cancelled, and teams are doing the trek backwards, starting at T5-6 and summiting Brandon Peak (cp17). Cp16 and 15 must have been cancelled, as FMR headed back down to t5-6 and are now heading towards t6-7 where it remains to be seen how they will get across what was a swim, then was supposedly changed to a kayak, now who knows.
Long trek though, and with the dingle bike leg being cancelled, it means that pretty much all of the biking in the whole race has been on tarmac, although the teams may be glad of that!
Aug 20, 2016 6:59 AM # 
Looks like GZ found a b&b to stay in overnight before the ferry. Probably the best thing that could have happened to be honest - they get 10 hours off the clock to feed, sleep and fix warren. They're a long way back, but if they're fresh and feeling better then who knows. Nick isn't one for giving up easily!
Aug 20, 2016 7:23 AM # 
Looks like they have ditched dingle bike and now have epic trek ahead of them. Doesn't seem much course left for 2 days?
Aug 20, 2016 10:09 AM # 
Bobkittens have gone to Ballybunion.
Aug 20, 2016 12:58 PM # 
They appear to be taking a short seaside vacation at The Cliff House Hotel. Excellent choice! Suitable for weddings.
Aug 20, 2016 1:08 PM # 
Bobkittens are on the move at 2 p.m.! I'm guessing they spent a few hours drying out, warming up, sleeping and eating hot food. They'd been on their bikes for 21 hours when they detoured off course and they still have a long ride to the next TA. There is also a bike shop in town in case they had some problem to address.
Aug 20, 2016 1:51 PM # 
#TriHarderAR (short course) are coming down the coast and should be at the ferry in 2.5 hours.
Aug 20, 2016 1:54 PM # 
Rootstock Racing is about an hour away from the bike/trek transition, still on the full course!
Aug 20, 2016 5:09 PM # 
I'm very impressed with Rootstock. I must admit that I didn't even consider them to be a top 5 or 6 team pre-race.

I've raced alongside Mark Lattanzi a few times and I particularly remember him from Costa Rica ARWC in 2013 on top of the highest peak. He was cantering along carrying others' packs wit hardly any effort at all. Fit bloke.
Aug 20, 2016 9:15 PM # 
Saturday 2215

Lots of strange things going on!

There have been a number of time adjustments due to coasterring being cancelled and a pass being blocked which is fair enough. But why have FMR and AGDE been handed a 9hr (540m penalty) but not SWECO? GMH were credited 565mins for the ferry dark zone.
Aug 20, 2016 9:25 PM # 
From Sleepmonsters:
Aug 20, 2016 9:43 PM # 
Lots of news about Bobkittens and Rootstock - thanks! :)
Aug 20, 2016 9:57 PM # 
Here's the previous Sleepmonsters article, which describes the state of the race this morning.
Aug 20, 2016 10:17 PM # 
Abiperk at O'Connor's Bar


Rootstock Racing wearing lots of layers
Aug 20, 2016 11:10 PM # 
Nice shot of Endurancelife!
Aug 20, 2016 11:16 PM # 
FMR and AGDE 9hr penalties appear to be removed now (Sunday 0015)
Aug 21, 2016 1:16 AM # 
Getting interesting with the penalties - and it's possible that it could upset the race a bit.
Godzone are motoring along following their sleep, so it looks like Warren is feeling better. They've eroded the gap to the leaders significantly. They're now almost exactly 10 hours behind them on the ground, but have 6h 45 of time credits in hand, leaving a net deficit of 3h15. Gut feeling is that this won't be enough as FMR have a downhill run to the final transition and the paddle to do. They'll probably get to the paddle in the dark zone still, so may be able to get some rest off the clock before paddling to the finish.
Sweco however are 2h30 behind FMR, with no time credits, and Agde are 4h30 behind the leaders.

Predictions (assuming that I've understood the time penalties correctly, which is by no means assured!) - FMR win it, Godzone sneak into second, Sweco third.
Aug 21, 2016 3:44 AM # 
Like most Canadians, the Bobkittens took a long break at the TA in Glenbeigh to watch the final concert of The Tragically Hip. :(

Since Attackpoint was originally designed for navigators, I guess the appropriate Hip song here is "At The Hundredth Meridian". Apologies for the digression but you'd have a hard time finding a dry eye in our country tonight.

Aug 21, 2016 4:23 AM # 
Looks like #TriHarder will bike into the TA at Glenbeigh around sunrise. Rootstock Racing, still on the full course, is not far behind.
Aug 21, 2016 4:27 AM # 
Team FMR has arrived at the start of the final short paddle to Killarney.
Aug 21, 2016 12:26 PM # 
Team FMR were the first team to finish ITERA 2016 shortly after 9 am.
Aug 21, 2016 12:28 PM # 
SWECO in 2nd.
Aug 21, 2016 12:41 PM # 
Sleepmonsters' report re: FMR at the finish:
Aug 21, 2016 4:18 PM # 
At 5pm (Irish time), Rootstock is roughly 10 km from CP23 and Triharder has just passed it. The Bobkittens have reached S7-8 and Godzone is approx midway through the final paddle. At this time, 4 full course teams are finished - FMR, SWECO, ADGE and Issy.
Aug 21, 2016 6:06 PM # 
Godzone has finished and is currently shown in second place on the leaderboard, apparently roughly twelve minutes ahead of SWECO.
Aug 21, 2016 7:30 PM # 
Good late prediction Tom!
Aug 21, 2016 8:30 PM # 
There have been some time adjustments on the leaderboard, which now indicates that the time difference between Godzone and SWECO is actually more than an hour.
Aug 21, 2016 10:24 PM # 
Looks like we have a few teams, including Bobkittens, at Lord Brandon's cottage for the night. Not too shabby...
Aug 22, 2016 12:44 AM # 
I count 6 teams there so far, including Bobkittens. This is the final TA at the start of the paddle to the finish.

Rootstock Racing is about 90 minutes out from the TA, descending a mountain in the dark. They're still on the full course and should finish in 8th place.

Here are the teams who have finished so far:
1) Team FMR
2) GODZone
5) Issy Adventure
6) Rachel's Irish Adventures

Columbia Ireland is not tracking right now but they were close to the final TA several hours ago and were in 7th place on the full course. Rootstock is next on the full course in 8th, and DAR Dingle is the final team on the full course, about 6 hours back in 9th place.

#TriHarderAR hasn't tracked for 2 hours but they were about an hour from the TA at that time. They are 7th on the short course.

Endurancelife finished at 17:16 today (Non-comp).
Aug 22, 2016 12:50 AM # 
Sleepmonsters article on the 2nd and 3rd teams to finish:


As with most teams they [SWECO] spoke of the weather, particularly the wind. “At one time on the ride three of us all blew over together. The wind just hit us and took us into the bushes at the roadside.” Said Ulf Öjebo. “ When we stood up we were holding on to stop the bikes blowing away! They were flying like kites even with all our bags weighing them down.”

From Paul Galode of ADGE: "We don’t really have rain where we live... Our feet are destroyed,” he said. “That was a really challenging race but it was always in our control I think. We just had to be tough. Maybe next time we would bring some more clothes though!”
Aug 22, 2016 12:59 AM # 
Sleepmonsters article as more teams continued to cross the finish line:


Several teams told of pulling off the water on the paddle on Lough Corrib – with different outcomes. Some finished their competitive race there but Team Endurancelife got lucky. “We were preparing to camp out,” said Anthony Emmet, “when someone from a nearby house rescued us and took us into their home. I remember sleeping by the Aga with my feet up and sometime in the night I woke up and the lady of the house was putting pink woolly socks on my bare feet!”

The same team found an outhouse with 12 old mattresses in a stack, and Daniel Carrivick was christened ‘Princess Pea’ after he slept on top! There were stories of teams sleeping in box rooms and storage rooms, outhouses, hostels, B&B’s and Hotels, and of local people helping in all sorts of circumstances.
Godzone Mountain Hardwear, the defending ITERA champions, finished in the late afternoon, with Warren Bates looking haggard but happy to have completed one of his toughest races and breaking into a coughing fit as soon as he had dibbed in. “That wasn’t a race,” he said, “it was an ordeal. I remember on that first trek feeling so ill and thinking I’d got another 4 nights of it! Still we got through with good team work and the others have been great. Nick has carried my pack nearly the whole way.”
Both Fairmaid and Kevin Stephens [of GODZone] said they’d been blown off their feet on the final trek, and on one occasion the team tracker was lost off Stephens’ backpack. (It was replaced at the next transition.)
At the close of the day [today] the paddle was closed early, again due to extreme winds, but it will open again tomorrow morning at first light. This means most of the remaining teams will have another night bivvy in their damp gear, but at least they have the prospect of an early finish tomorrow. [This explains why Bobkittens and friends are partying at the final TA tonight.)
Aug 22, 2016 1:12 AM # 
Photos of Endurancelife at the finish
Aug 22, 2016 3:59 AM # 
Rootstock Racing has arrived at the final TA shortly before 3 a.m. It looks like there are 9 teams there now, waiting for daylight so they can paddle. Sunrise is 6:34 a.m. Sleep, Rootstock, sleep!
Aug 22, 2016 4:57 AM # 
It looks like Columbia Ireland arrived at the final TA last night and, after learning they couldn't paddle, turned around and rode a few kms back to the Black Valley Hostel. They started riding back to the TA shortly before 5:30 a.m. today. Sunrise is half an hour away so Columbia will soon be joining 10 other teams eager to get on the water, head to Killarney and hit the showers!
Aug 22, 2016 8:27 AM # 
Looks like DAR Dingle are going go get timed out for the last paddle unless James has moved the window. Sad end to the race for them. BTW has anyone seen the team blogs? They started appearing on Day1, then the button disappeared...
Aug 22, 2016 12:46 PM # 
"The full results will be prepared for the prize giving tonight and the top positions are currently in dispute with protests lodged about Godzone Mountain Hardwear’s second place position."
Aug 22, 2016 2:51 PM # 
Trackers say everyone is home, but not the scoreboard...
Aug 22, 2016 6:17 PM # 
Controversy! :) Also, SWECO may think that things might have been different if Team FMR had been able to do the first paddle - not that much else could have been done, given their defective boat.
Aug 22, 2016 6:31 PM # 
Latest Sleepmonsters article about today's finishers

"...There was a rush of finishing teams who had been held by the Dark Zone overnight... First of the Monday morning finishers were Team Bob Kittens of Canada – so as you might expect they’d been pretty quick in the Canadian canoes. They’d managed their race by stopping at accommodation along the way and even had their washing done at one stop!"

Rootstock Racing crossed the line ahead of Columbia Ireland but are still ranked behind them in 8th because Columbia Ireland had 820 bonus minutes. I haven't been watching them much but that's more than 13 hours of bonus time so it's not just from waiting for the ferry. The team with the 2nd highest number of bonus minutes is GODZone with 465 minutes - a much lower number, which is being protested. Hopefully, Abiperk and Broots can explain that to us after their shower.

Unbelievably, Eoin Keith of Columbia Ireland is heading home today because he is running UTMB starting this Friday at 18:00 in Chamonix. Having done (most of) that tough race course, all I can say is WOW. He is hard core.
Aug 22, 2016 7:09 PM # 
Leanimal of the Bobkittens has posted a couple of photos taken on the race course. They are friends-only on Facebook so I'll wait and see if she wants to share them here herself.

One photo shows the team wearing rain gear with heavy rain blowing sideways and poor visibility. The other shows Slice napping in a nasty-looking shed filled with garbage and critters. That was during the bad weather that drove them off Lough Corrib and ultimately onto the short course. Leanimal says that other teams were taken into houses and given food but they chose a bad place to go ashore, apparently.
Aug 22, 2016 8:22 PM # 
Eoin Keith needs his head read!
Aug 22, 2016 9:27 PM # 
I can read it from here
he's Knuckin' futz
Aug 22, 2016 11:15 PM # 
Official protests received from Sweco and Agde regarding Godzone's finishing position. Anecdotal evidence from Facebook suggests that Agde were't told (or possibly didn't understand??) that the wait for the ferry was timed out.

Must be tough being told about rule changes when you are tired in what is your second or third language.

I feel sorry for James and the organising crew - it sounds like they've had a no-win situation in trying to keep the race on track. From an external point of view it looks like they've performed miracles in managing to keep the race running at all, so it's a shame that the final results are mired in controversy. Apparently the award ceremony was rather awkward :(

Surprisingly, I hear that both of the protests regard Godzone's timeout, and neither relate to the fact that the winners were pulled out of the water and driven forward on the course after their boat nearly sank.

Oh, and Eoin Keith is certifiable.
Aug 23, 2016 2:03 AM # 
Bobkittens - action paddling shots!
Aug 23, 2016 2:11 AM # 
Sleepmonsters article about the awards and the controversy

"Sadly, James Thurlow also announced that he is stepping down from expedition race directing, at least for the near future, due to health issues which have affected him in recent years and during this difficult race. His passion for adventure racing and the expertise he has built at Open Adventure will be sorely missed and everyone at this race and on the AR World Series hopes he can soon make a return to full health and to expedition race organising."
Aug 23, 2016 3:01 AM # 
What a shame. James has done more than anyone else in the UK over the last few years to promote expedition racing (and arguably AR in general). I hope the controversy here wasn't the final straw that caused him to make the decision to step back from putting on exped races.
Aug 23, 2016 3:33 AM # 
I could see teams getting annoyed if they felt that GODZone had purposely delayed their arrival at the ferry in order to get extra rest off the clock. But looking back at the dots, GODZone's biking time from Galway (an unplanned Paddle/Bike TA) to the ferry was around 11 hours. Team FMR and ADGE also took about 11 hours, while SWECO took 13 hours. Squinting at the dots, GODZone may even have had the fastest split of the top four.

GODZone barely stopped in Galway after paddling all night so they didn't dawdle after hearing of the course change. They arrived about 40 minutes too late for the last ferry of the day, and it's hard to argue that they didn't try to make it.

So the protest must be a challenge of the decision by the race organization to stop the clock for teams who had to wait for a ferry. However, if they had let the clock run, I would expect a protest about that too. It sounds like the planned ITERA ferry was going to run through the night, and teams didn't learn about the course change in time to adjust their strategy either way. I don't know what else the RD could have done. There was no perfect solution but I think he had to err on the side of awarding the time credit.
Aug 23, 2016 3:42 AM # 
In case you missed them - the Day 4 and Day 5 Adventure Center broadcasts.

Aug 23, 2016 7:06 AM # 
Back in the land of wifi and have been enjoying reading this thread! We wondered many times how the dot watchers were managing with all of the course and route changes.

Broots, Drisc, and I return to the states (and our computers) tomorrow, so we'll write proper reporta then, but yeah, it was a pretty insane five days.

The controversies at the end were a bummer but ultimately handled with class (particularly by Sweco), and the awards ceremony was a bit melancholy, following James' announcement. This is our third time traveling over for his Itera events, and he really puts on top notch races and invests his entire self in their execution. It's a loss for the AR world if his decision to step down stands.
Aug 23, 2016 8:11 AM # 
Congrats Abi, Mark, Jim and Brent. Very impressed with your performance!

I fear for UK Adventure Racing if James steps down. I hope it's temporary as he said and not permanent. People that do his races know how good he is. I had hoped that ARWC would come to Scotland in 2018 but if James steps down then that is unlikely now. I thought that may happen as Craig Bycroft allowed the ARWC to be held mid year in 2017 and not insist on being an end of calendar year event.

Controversy - I can see both sides of the story here but feel a little sorry for SWECO. Personally I think FMR had an advantage at the start of the rest by not having to kayak as long as the others. GMH had a sick team member but kept moving. AGDE - no idea why they are protesting.
Aug 23, 2016 9:45 AM # 
Broots writing: the time credit question. Columbia had two big ones. First: there was a route across the mountains on bike after the mt. Brandon trek. 4-5 teams made it. When Columbia arrived the creeks had risen and the trail was out. So they had to come back down and sort out another way over the Dingle. They were given some sort of credit for the lost time. Second: as you all know, there was a dark zone for the final paddle. They made it, BUT there were no boats ready and they were forced to stay in TA for 13-14 hours, though I think they were able to score a local hostel. So, that's it! As is obvious, it was a really brutal and unrelenting five days. Hours upon hours and so on of gale force winds, sideways rain with that wind. Getting knocked off the bikes. Fighting across the lake in a labyrinth of unmapped rocks in the dark of night two. It was a rough one. But as always, James and the crew did everything they could to adapt and respond, and I'm not sure many other RDs could have done half as well amidst the chaos. It was an unbelievable course and had we been able to see all that we traversed it would have been legendary. As it was I'd say epic is still a suitable descriptor. Drisc working on posting a short video clip I took on one of the treks now.
Aug 23, 2016 12:42 PM # 
Thanks and congratulations! So great to hear from you. Get lots of sleep, food and Guinness, and we'll look forward to hearing more when you've rested.
Aug 23, 2016 1:12 PM # 
Posted by Attackpointer Sean on Facebook - congratulations!
120 hours of kayak racing along the best coastline, trekking the best hills, biking the best trails and roads, climbing Irelands highest peak, excellent, paddling a canoe on a glass like lake in Killarney and running to the finish line.

An experience of a lifetime made possible by my fantastic wife Edel and best teammates in the world Michael, Kate and Peter.

Finishing 13th out of a startline composed of some of the best teams in the world is just icing on the cake.

‪#‎TriHarderAR‬ mission accomplished
Aug 23, 2016 2:59 PM # 
Hours, and hours, and hours of this.... we'd say that's about the average wind speed.

Aug 23, 2016 5:00 PM # 
That is fantastic footage, Drisc - thanks! Glad we were warm and dry at home, watching your dot.

P.S. Sorry, I didn't know you were on AP or I would have mentioned you when I mentioned Abiperk and Broots in the discussion above!
Aug 23, 2016 7:26 PM # 
Here's what Leanimal posted yesterday on Facebook:

"Well after 5 1/2 days we crossed the line in Ireland. Don't let these photos fool you the weather was horrendous for 5 of those days! Gale force winds and horizontal rain on mountain ridges, sleeping on the floor of a shed trying to avoid hypothermia, bangers and mash stops on course, paddling 1-2km/hour into a headwind, checking into a hotel for sleep, riding along the cliffs of Moher, and finishing with our favourite "Canadian Canoe" section the race has given us memories (and nightmares) to say the least! Through all of this there were laughter and tears and I couldn't have done it with a better or stronger group of women. It's Guiness time!!!!"
Aug 23, 2016 8:00 PM # 
Thanks Bash!!

Still taking it all in and processing the experience.

Fantastic to meet you Rootstock folk your rocked that course - so impressive and your demeanour was so positive everytime we saw you.

Race reports and video clips will arrive as soon as I get warmed up properly and some washing done :)
Aug 24, 2016 2:56 AM # 
Congratulations to all those that endured the challenge - and it did look challenging!
I hope to meet some of you down in Australia in November for the ARWC - I can promise that the weather will be better for you!

As Gary said above, SWECO were possibly a bit hard done by, but they posted a gracious note on Facebook acknowledging the diffculties faced by the organisers and accepting the outcome. (sorry, Google translate is crap but it's just about understandable. Interestingly, "Itera" appears to translate as "plastic bicycle"!)

"Report from plastic bicycle adventure race 2016
Sweco Imål went as other teams in the morning on Saturday at 95 hours and 34 minutes. The team has been at the front during the whole pageant and had a hard fight with in the first instance, the two French law team fma and adge raid adventure. The race has suffered very heavy weather and major changes to the track has been made. Checks and all the routes have been removed. Elements leaders had carry out has been deleted for teams that come later. Both time to be added and time which will be deducted for the law has been notified, as the race progressed. It has become a complex matrix of solving for race organisationen and figure out the final result list.
So finally yesterday came end result.
It was a big disappointment for us and the French team adge raid adventure which was the third team in. Team Godzone Mountain Hardwear showed themselves drawn a winner who missed the ferry across the straits on the long cycling. The team had to wait till morning then to be able to move on. The team has received the stopped count on its end time. The team has, during the night, which, incidentally, was the worst rain and stormnatten, sleep indoors and have been able to eat properly and dry up all the clothes, mm. With race organisationens decision, to deduct the stop time will godzone total on a 2nd place in the contest, ONLY 1 hour before sweco!
Protest against this time kompensation was submitted by sweco and the French team. But the objection was rejected. Like I said, the sport's complex, and the number of different events that may occur during a race is impossible to predict for raceorganisationen. Unfortunately, it may sometimes be unfair when the decision. This time in the us occurred.
However, we are awesome happy with performance in Ireland and a pallplacering in a världscuptävling is awesome good.
Thank you to everyone who applauded and supported during the week that was.
/ sweco adventure"

Agde - well, I have no idea why they are protesting, other than that they thought they had a podium spot and then had it snatched away from them.
Aug 25, 2016 11:50 AM # 
Interesting to hear that Seagate considered racing ITERA on Randy Erickson's podcast. The opted for Raid in France instead and then a race in Denmark for their ARWC 2016 prep. They have a new girl in the team too.
Aug 25, 2016 3:17 PM # 
One more windy video from the trekking in ITERA.

Also, our pictures from the course:
Aug 25, 2016 3:45 PM # 
Aug 26, 2016 2:31 PM # 
Carbons Offset:
Ugh! Wow! Huge respect to anyone who endured that!
Aug 26, 2016 4:08 PM # 
It was like the rain in Forrest Gump - from the side, the back, front, top, below all at the same time with a gale force wind behind it.

With that wind came a massive head wind on Lough Corrib too. We paddled hard into it for 2 or 3 mins, paused and 10 seconds later were back where we started.

Portage time!
Aug 29, 2016 2:11 PM # 
Amazing photos from Rootstock on the race course.
Aug 30, 2016 12:23 PM # 
Broots really enjoyed the Dramatic setting on the camera -- and it captured the scenery pretty well :)
Aug 30, 2016 12:28 PM # 
ah ha! i noticed there was something "different" about some of these pics..but found it very fitting for capturing what your brains were probably processing on days 3 and 4!
Aug 30, 2016 12:32 PM # 
I saw some of those moody vignette black & grey photos and immediately suffered flashbacks!!

They really captured the tunnel vision that was present at times, especially those on top of the Reeks :)

BTW what camera do you guys use? I must invest in something light & portable that is unobtrusive too.
Aug 30, 2016 1:23 PM # 
Silky, and maybe days 2 and 5, too :)

Sean, we had a beat up Olympus that was well past its prime, so before the race, we upgraded to this one: (it was a bit cheaper on amazon). I did a lot of research and for its price point, this one beat out all of the others, particularly in terms of photo quality in poor lighting, which seems to almost always be the case in AR. Not quite as light as our older model, but totally manageable, and we were really happy with the picture quality.
Aug 30, 2016 1:25 PM # 
Great Pics. I had my GoPro with me at the start but noticed it was flat, courtesy of my 2 year old Zoe :-( Still she managed to leave me with some pics of my kitchen floor and her favourite teddy as well as a 4hr video of the ceiling
Aug 30, 2016 1:31 PM # 
Ha! When did you discover the kitchen floor photos? Maybe a nice distraction on night 3? :)
Aug 30, 2016 1:42 PM # 
At registration unfortunately. By night 3 it was enough of a distraction to be clambering through tight caves not freezing our nuts off
Sep 4, 2016 8:07 PM # 
Check out these wild weather videos from Leanimal of the Bobkittens!

And if you haven't heard it yet, it's worth listening to Rootstock Racing's Jim Driscoll being interviewed by Legendary Randy on the TA1 podcast. He describes what was going on behind the dots we were watching.
Sep 4, 2016 8:20 PM # 
Randy also has a second Itera podcast up today, with Kate and Cliff White from Strong Machine!
Sep 5, 2016 2:30 AM # 
Sep 5, 2016 8:25 AM # 
Interesting thread. We were team 10 ESS NZ, 3rd in short course. It was certainly a challenge to keep going in those conditions, although I live in Scotland so it didn't seem that bad to me ! I haven't finished our write up but will post when I do, first paddle was great fun if you are into being submerged, beach trek was a a good way to warm up again, muamaks trek was where we made a call that we would miss the time cutoff and missed cp 2 and 3, in hindsight the thing that kept us ranked. Lake paddle was a mission, we were 1/2 way when the Wx blew up big time and it was frankly impossible to make progress plus really really cold on those boats. We borrowed someone's front garden for a 3h sleep and paddled in but even then it was 1kmh stuff and I would consider us as strong paddlers (being kiwis), we had to wait 30mins before heading into Galway as there was simply no way to make forward progress. Biking was dull as all roads, incessantly raining and blowing 50kmh and miserable. A few hours in a cow shed was luxury. Shared the race with the bob kittens on and off, lovely happy bunch of crazies, great to meet them. We've done lots of racing and this one was fun in a perverse way and glad to finish. Certainly has inspired me to remain 'out of retirement' as it was much better than being at work !
Sep 5, 2016 12:51 PM # 
Thanks for sharing that with us, Alba. Looking forward to reading your race report. Congrats on crossing the finish line!
Sep 6, 2016 12:28 PM # 
ITERA 2016 Race report

Team 10 – EarthSeaSky NZ
Pre-race #1: The usual debacle occurred when you travel overseas, we had a well oiled plan – Colin was driving from Edinburgh then meeting the other 3 at Dublin airport on the Sunday morning to drive the bikes to Killarney with the others in a rental car.
The reality: Jill missed her connection in Dubai, Dave and Jeromes luggage went on an extended break in San Francisco. Right, so a slight re-plan saw Col, Dave and Jerome heading to Killarney. Super support crew Jan and Jenny were staying in Dublin anyway so would scoop up Jill on the Sunday night and then get the gear Monday and drive all to Killarney.
The reality#2: Monday dawned bright and sunny, the gear was lost according to Aer Lingus, it might appear at lunchtime on the SF flight. It didn’t. Jill was put on the train to Killarney, the boys started to try and organise contingency bikes, paddles, pfds, dehy food, clothing – you get the picture. In reality we went for a beer in the sun with a view that it would all eventually work out after scouting out some options. Massive thanks to all the locals that offered up gear.
Tuesday lunchtime was quite fraught – the SF plane landed, Jan and Jenny, now on first name terms with the whole of Dublin airports luggage team successfully located two bikes, but no bag for Jerome. No big deal really as he didn’t need waterproofs and dehy food. Remember that statement …
Tuesday pre-race
Registration was remarkably smooth and really nice to see the whole route, albeit a tad scary as it was so BIG, and to get the maps beforehand as well. Luxury. Briefing was straightforward but the Inch swim was clearly an interesting point, frankly I didn’t care as usually when you get going you just do these things. Rest of it looked really interesting and a proper journey. Captains briefing later on had canned the swim which was fine, rest of the detail was OK.
Got back to the apartment in time to see the bikes arrive and a small amount of emergency shopping occur for Jerome to get some waterproofs, some extra food where we were very short but all in all we were organised as usual. Colin being able to pre-shop for food and bring a load of gear really helped I think.
Couple of beers and a small dram before the usual pre-race fitful sleep.
Wednesday: Day 1 :: Kayak 20km, beach Trek, short kayak, short trek -> TA -> Trek
Up at the crack of 05:00 after pretending to sleep, always good to start absolutely knackered Quick breakfast and Daves coffee which was expertly filtered through an Aer Lingus sock (not joking – unworn I hasten to add). Delicious.
Headed to bus pickup and picked up brekky roll, coffee and packed lunch – fantastic to get all this. Everyone quite relaxed and very comfy buses. Bit of chat, met a few people, napped a bit, ate a bit. Arrived in Westport to the news the full paddle was 50/50 due to incoming tide – we couldn’t quite work out why that was news seeing as tides are pretty well set in stone ! Anyhow, it was what it was. Most worrying part of the race for us fat old knackers was the 5k run. Quick pre-race photo call, line up, go, wet feet – get used to that. Run round Westport which seemed a bit pointless but it was what it was – surely a kayak start would have been a better spectacle ? Anyhoo, comfortably tucked in at the back of the pack. Into transition and you suddenly remember that these are friends who have raced together a lot – we were really fast! Into paddle gear, packs into the amazing Aquapac bags Colin got off Sportpursuit – these things were awesome for many reasons. Boat into water and off we went. Nice to get paddling and settle into a groove, then Colin broke his seat so they quickly jumped onto an island where Col trapped Jerrys fingers and he squealed like a little girl. On the island were one of the leading French teams who had a leaky boat apparently…Further on and, well let’s be honest here, it was getting quite lumpy and windy, and wet. I have never had rain hurt so much but it did wash the salt off. As we rolled along the coast we had a decent side swell which you had to watch carefully, the front people (Colin and Jill) bore the brunt of the water. And so it went on, bigger and bigger and bigger, we reeled in a fair few teams as we would say we were pretty good paddlers. Nearing the point it was an interesting conversation around speed of travel (not much – maybe 3kmh max), sea conditions (1-1.5m swell with wind chop from the N) and what would happen. RNLI RIB appeared and shouted something which we all said “Yeah fine”, WTF did they say we all asked each other? Who knows but it was a decent guess that we were coming in on the point. Which we did although that in itself was an interesting landing.
So onto dry land and very very cold. Got boats up the slipway to hear we were now trekking on coast to another kayak put in and a paddle into the TA – no worries. All absolutely freezing by now so a quick change into dry gear, waterproofs on and some sock exchanging as Jerome had started in clothes suitable for an over 40’s disco inc his Air New Zealand complimentary sleep socks ! Off down the coast we went and it was very lovely, good chance to eat and trot a bit to warmup. Rain eased, crossed some fast but shallow rivers headed into the next kayak location on dark. All good but paddle now short to a wharf and then 4k walk to TA. Fine. Decided not to bother dressing up for it and dragged boat out into the sea, waves broke over Colin and it was nice of him to show us where the surf was. Paddled into wharf, cold again, onto feet along coast to TA for Trek. No major dramas but with sand and water all day feet were already feeling the mash.
TA was nice, always good to have a Hot water urn and a coffee. Quick clothes change, nibble on some Pringles, coke, generally get sorted as we expected Trek to take – a while. The geodesic dome thing was odd as you heard conversations really clearly! Out into the night with a change to the trek start so along a minor road. Heading up to CP1 it clagged in somewhat, as in 2m visibility, no dramas as we were only going up, bit of faffing on the top to find the Tarn which Colin located by standing in it, it was so clagged you could barely turn your light up. Quick 20 min nap under the bothy bag then into CP1. Quick drop down at dawn and hit the road – Right to CP2 and beyond. On the way down we were discussing the course and timing, pulled the course book out to check cutoff post-Trek and did some maths. We had 35km to go and a x000 metres of climbing. Discussion had – decision to complete short course and miss Cp2 and 3. Hard call but the right one. Awful walk in from there though despite a service station breakfast of a Magnum Ice Cream and a Coffee – delicious !?$£ Long day on the Kerry Way then over a pass and a quick up/down then road to next TA before paddle.
Thursday : Day 2 :: Trek -> TA -> 75km lake paddle.
It all seemed so innocuous – TA meant a quick feed and we could sort out gear etc plus dry some stuff in the sun. Organised ourselves for a long night on the water and took tent plus sleeping kit as we knew we would need to stop for a decent kip along the way. We planned 2 hours somewhere along the way and then paddle all night.
The reality: It started well, nice weather, boats moving well, short nap to alleviate sleepmonsters and onwards. About 8pm we decided to call it a night and have a sleep. Pulled into shore, setup tent and all piled in, wind was definitely on the rise but nothing to be alarmed about. 2 hours later we were back up refreshed and raring to go. Back into the boats the reality of the Weather was that we had a pretty solid block headwind – oh well. On we went, Dave navigating admirably, then the rain started and that wasn’t very nice, and the wind got stronger so it was moving from ‘problematic’ into ‘battling’ to make progress. Rain increased even more, HOW does that happen ? Then we hit loads of rocks and struggled to find the channel. Onwards, bit of circling and tacking across the wind. Eventually a combination of cold, fatigue and not exactly making any progress drove us into a cove which had a very appealing little harbour. Dragged the boats out then quickly tent up, gear in, stripped off and we all piled in. Was it marginal? Yes, probably, very glad we had a tent and bags etc otherwise would have been miserable. Early in the AM, 5:30ish we rose to the Wx being roughly the same. Jerome proceeded to knock up the house owners and enquire “Where the F%% are we ?”. Having been oriented we carried on our merry paddle way. The wind, oh my the wind, total block headwind which had us at 1kmh and being soaked. Onwards we went following the channel markers, on and on and on and on. Turning towards Galway we had a quick 30 minute hiatus as frankly there was no way we would get across the bay! As the rain started the sea dropped so we made a run for it – into the channel no worries and down the river. Palpable relief when we saw the Itera flags and weren’t run over by the large boat crusing the river. Mmmmm bike boxes on the wharf, interesting ….. The volunteers were VERY enthusiastic which indicated that perhaps the overnight had been somewhat problematic on the water. Indeed, sounds like a fair few rescued plus very slow progress. Right so onto todays mystery activity, biking instead of a portage then more paddling.
Friday & Sat : Days 3&4 :: Bike to Kinvarra TA -> Long bike 200km -> Cave + Coasteering->TA
First thing we were thankful for was our Aquapac bags which were actually rucksacks as we had dumped our proper packs before the paddle and wouldn’t have had a way to carry anything. Then the brain fog had to lift to work out that bike boxes wouldn’t be seen again so we needed to take lights etc as well. Anyhow all good and we departed in good time. Straight to McDonalds where Jill experienced her first high calorie Maccas experience, the cheeseburger I stashed was delicious 24hours later! Relatively simple ride down to Kinvarra were we got properly sorted for a long night/day on the bikes. After checking course changes we left to go caving which was awesome fun. As we completed the off road bike push the rain came on and god how did it come on! It was horrific up there, we dropped into Doolin by 11:30 and hid under the pub canopy to try and dry out a bit. Onwards to the cliffs the weather just got worse and worse – no viz, heavy horizontal rain. We spiralled a bit on the two CPs and made a mistake, after a heated conversation we dropped down to the nearest village and sought shelter, in a rather manky shed but it was enough. Beds out again as we had sleeping bags and mats this time we had a lovely comfy sleep for a few hours. Up and back to the cliffs in daylight we nailed the controls and headed for a massive breakfast in a hotel which was delicious, apologies to the residents who were there. More biking, more roads, on and on we went. Still windy, sometimes it rained, the sun came out, jackets off, rain, jackets on. Made the ferry in good time and had meal number 2 for the day. Delicious. Onwards on the other side focused on making the coasteering which sounded like fun. Got there and it was cancelled, oh well, onwards via a dodgy kebab for dinner and final ride over that hill and into the TA on dark (second night on the bike!). For the record the KoM was a dead heat on that final climb , funny how competitive it all gets!
Sunday: Day 5 :: Trek + canoeing to Finish
The Glenbeigh transition was incredible, massive hall. Quickly in, bikes broken down and gear spread out to work out what was where. Agreed 2am departure time to make it over the high points in early AM and into caneoing in early afternoon, that was the plan anyway. 90 minute sleep and all left in good spirits. Straight into a massive street pissup which looked like it had recently finished and was being dealt with by the Garda ! Up and over the first saddle we dropped into the next part of the trek and onwards. All good, moving OK in fact quite fast. Up the saddle and starting to climb up to the high points the Weather was properly minging, really high winds, very very wet but we were moving. CP 22 done, CP23 next, bit of compass work to make sure we were OK, along the ridge it was pure survivial. Cp23 located and another team in front. Vertical drop of a few hundred metres then traverse round to the preferred route and suddenly the weather clears and we get a view – amazing! Down down down, bump into the camera crew and have a quick chat. We were very wet by this point but it was properly beautiful out there. Onto the road and we know we are on the home straight which is a good feeling. Heading into the TA Colins daughter greets us which was nice although she said we smelt bad! Canoeing briefing was that due to weather we might not paddle in, OK, someone will meet us at the rapids entry to the Loch and confirm. Except there was nobody there so we assumed that we would carry on, as we rounded into the Killarney part the weather blew up massive waves and it was quite a battle to work out where to go. We roughly aimed for the beach and battled the risk of capsizing, making land in where we thought we should be there was no sight of anyone. Resigned to abandoning the boats and heading for the finish the van appeared and in fact we were in the right place but were supposed to have been stopped. Oh well, collective group wee and a deep breath. Small meander to the finish and across the line. Wow, that was an incredible journey – time for a beer.
Postscript: First things first, James and team did an incredible job making this race happen in that weather. Despite the controversy on placings, probably a lot of moaning and the obvious stress of it all I am thankful that as Race Director he made good calls and put a contingency course in place that worked well. I think those that raced Itera 2016 will talk about it for a long time as that was properly horrific weather for several days, not just one. It was probably a bit more like Survivor than James had anticipated. The top teams deserve kudos for getting through the long course, anyone that finished that deserves a Guinness. We loved it, as a team that’s raced a lot together it was fun to hang out with each other and do some journeying. We’re not as fast as we used to be but we’re steady and that was what we did well in Itera. Totally loved it, I’d just prefer to see some of Ireland next time. Fingers crossed we get another opportunity to do an expedition length race in the UK, preferably Scotland so we can put in some gnarly trekking with free-for-all route options!
Many thanks to James and the team, all the other teams we met and those who offered up gear in a time of crisis (absolutely no thanks whatsoever to Aer Lingus, Jeromes bag arrived the day we finished!), Earth Sea Sky NZ for great clothing, Ampro for Bridgedale sock and all family etc who helped us get 4 healthy people to the start which is often the hardest part.
Sep 6, 2016 6:42 PM # 
Great story! Thanks for posting. :)
Sep 6, 2016 6:49 PM # 
Awesome write-up, Alba. You really impressed us with your ability to push on through the kayak and the bike. Fun getting to know you and hope to see you at a future race. Here's the photo I took of you at breakfast in Lahinge.
Sep 6, 2016 6:50 PM # 
Also, for anyone interested, I'm still working on our race report but you can get a pretty good picture of how our race went from Kate's and my appearance on the TA1 podcast:

And here's a nice two-minute wrap-up from ARWS:
Sep 6, 2016 7:53 PM # 
I listened to your podcast on a long drive this morning. A different view of the race and the sport compared to Jim Driscoll's interview, and well worth the listen!

P.S. Yes, you *should* do Cowboy Tough next year.
Sep 6, 2016 9:08 PM # 
Ha thanks Stronmachine that brekky was a lifesaver !
Sep 6, 2016 10:03 PM # 
Yes, echoing Strongmachine's comment, very much enjoyed your report, Alba!
Sep 7, 2016 12:33 PM # 
Smashing write up Alba. Just so you know the weather hasn't changed a whole lot since!

I was in the Maamturks yesterday and got the whole mixed weather bag again :D
Sep 7, 2016 6:21 PM # 
Thanks Bash. We are close to Canada so expect us to race there soon!
Sep 7, 2016 11:06 PM # 
Please do! :)

This discussion thread is closed.