I might as well start. I am doing a Go Fund Me page to go to Worlds to help explain what is going on to the dot watching world. The race doesn't have any resources to help me get there or when I am there, so I am reaching out the the AR community. The money I raise is for a plane ticket,a car/fuel, and data. Thanks for your help.
Randy, do you have a team or are you just doing a media thing? Trevor from Tiger Adventure (Qld) still has teams to fill - paid or unpaid (up to you really but I believe he's sunk a fair bit of money into creating teams so would be good to contribute something to him). Anyone feel free to contact me if you want to join and I'll pass on your details.
Australia Welcomes Biggest Expedition Race Ever - Full Write Up Below.
The Shoalhaven in Australia is the host region for this year’s Adventure Race World Championships which is set to be the biggest expedition adventure race ever to be held. There are 99 teams on the start list which come from over 20 different countries and every continent. Under the recently introduced ARWC nationality rules 3 of each team of 4 must be from the country they are representing, making it a true adventure racing championship of nations.
The top teams from nine AR World Series qualification races this year will be the favourites, bringing race winners to the start line from events which have taken place in Belize, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, Paraguay, USA, Colombia, Ireland and France. The European and U.S. national champions are also in the start list, and the top 7 teams in the AR World Series rankings so there is no doubt this will be one of the most competitive races ever held.
The race is hosted this year by XPD Australia, which is organised by Geocentric Outdoors, owners of the AR World Series, operated by Craig Bycroft and Louise Foulkes. They previously hosted the World Championships in Tasmania in 2011, a race won by the Thule Adventure Team of Sweden, and this is the 9th edition of XPD.
Race Director Craig Bycroft said: “Our 15 years of experience, including hosting the largest AR World Championship of 79 teams in 2011, puts us in a great position this year to deliver the best World Championship the sport has seen.”
The chosen venue this time is Shoalhaven in New South Wales, a dream destination for adventure sports, combining ease of access with a magical and pristine natural environment.
The race venue will be the town of Ulladulla, which is 230km south of Sydney, which means it’s easy to access, just a few hour’s drive from an international air hub. It’s often said just getting to the start of a big adventure race is one of its hardest challenges, and with no need for internal flights or long road journeys the ‘getting there’ part will be relatively easy for this race. A moderate climate, English language race and no high altitudes or other geographical extremes also make the location attractive … and packing easier!
Convenience isn’t the main consideration of course and it’s the natural environment around the county of Shoalhaven which is the main attraction. A staggering 70% of Shoalhaven is designated National Park and there are dozens of rivers, lakes and bays, and 109 beautiful beaches, including Jervis Bay, with the whitest beach in the world. Wildlife is abundant, and the huge Morton National Park is renowned for its sandstone cliffs, canyons and forests. Host town Ulladulla is a beach and surf Mecca and nearby Nowra is a renowned climbing destination. There is going to be plenty of scope for a magnificent course.
The 600km route will only be revealed just before the race start with teams given their maps in ‘Lock Down’ (i.e. without access to phones/internet) and the course will be open for 8 days – which is shorter than previous XPD’s.
The event is described as “a straight out linear race, no mandatory stops, no dark zones, no optional controls – pure adventure racing at its best!” This is very much in the XPD ethos of ‘as much an expedition as a race’, giving all the teams time to finish the route and have their own adventure regardless of their position in the rankings. The leaders are expected to take 4.5 days to complete the route, sleeping only for a few hours at the time and place of their choosing. (As always in adventure racing, tactics, navigation and team work will be as important as endurance and speed in the final outcome.)
The question is who will be the leaders? It’s a very hard question to answer as there are so many experienced and elite teams in this race and any team getting into the top 20 will have had an exceptional race.
The favourites must be Seagate (NZ), the current World Champions and world #1 ranked team, and the dominant force in adventure racing for many years. They recently won Raid in France and have the most experience, the most world titles, and the best navigator in Chris Forne. However, this year they don’t have Sophie Hart on the team and as a result Nathan Fa’avae is back out of a (very short) retirement so they are racing with Jo Williams, who is very experienced but new to the team. Could there just be a chink in their armour?
There are plenty of contenders to the throne plotting to take the crown. Columbia Vidaraid (USA) have been World #1 ranked in the past and are back with their strongest team after a year when they’ve not raced together much. They did however win a qualifier, Expedicion Gurani in Paraguay.
All of the other top ranked teams will be contenders too. Adventure Medical Kits (USA) have had a strong year and took the win at the Cameco Cowboy Tough qualifier, while Merrell Adventure Addicts (RSA), Swedish Armed Forces Team, Naturex (FRA) and Godzone Adventure (UK) will be aiming for the podium at least, and for the double ranking points from a world champs event. Unusually though none of these top 10 teams has won a World Series race this year.
There is a somewhat unfamiliar list of ARWS winners this year, with new teams breaking through and of these DSN Hoka 74 (FRA), Yealands (NZ) and Painted Wolf (RSA) are at the World Champs looking to challenge the established teams once again.
Any of these could be the dark horses of the race and from outside the world rankings Thule Adventure will be expected to do well, and will certainly be aiming to regain the world title. They first won the title in Tasmania, so Australia is a happy hunting ground for them, and after years away from expedition racing they are back under the leadership of Martin Flinta. They’ve recently won the European Championships in Spain and the ARWS demonstration race in China, so are in excellent form.
There are other strong teams from recent races and the world’s top 20, including Estonian ACE Adventure (3rd in the last World Champs in Brazil), Ecuador Moviestar and Gallaecia Raid Fridama (ESP), and then there are of course the best of the 42 Australian teams! It is common for home country teams to do well and take advantage of the familiarity with the terrain (and the thinking of the Race Director) and it would be no surprise to see an Australian team breaking into the top 10, or one of several strong New Zealand teams.
The form team from Australia with recent wins is Adventure Junkies, but there are half a dozen other strong home teams, some of them past XPD winners, who will be cheered on by dot watchers following the live satellite tracking.
Whatever happens it sure to be a competitive and exciting race, which will be enthralling to follow live, and will produce a worthy World Champion Team.
1 Adventure Medical Kits 8 United States
2 Seagate 1 New Zealand
3 Yealands 12 New Zealand
4 Columbia Vidaraid 4 United States
5 Thule Adventure Team 17 Sweden
6 Painted Wolf 13 South Africa
7 GODZone Adventure 7 United Kingdom
8 Swedish Armed Forces Adventure Team 3 Sweden
9 Estonian ACE Adventure 5 Estonia
10 Merrell Adventure Addicts 6 South Africa
11 Naturex 9 France
12 Bones 31 United States
13 R'ADYS Team Switzerland 20 Switzerland
14 Shotz Sports Nutrition 18 Australia
15 Bivouac Inov8 19 New Zealand
16 Peak Adventure 21 Australia
17 Sweco Adventure Team 24 Sweden
18 adventurejunkies.com.au 26 Australia
19 Black Hill / OpavaNET 22 Czech Republic
20 CanadaAR 38 Canada
Man, I'm looking forward to following this (and the record-breaking AP thread!). And it's great to have 2 strong South African teams taking part. Painted Wolf certainly have the firepower and they seem to be taking it very seriously with regular team training sessions in the build-up. But Merrell have always had the team experience factor going for them. Several years of racing international expedition races (including many World Champs races) in pretty much the same team combination will do that for you.
What a great lineup of teams. Really shows the international reach of the sport. How come this race has gotten such a diverse group of entries? Expanded number of entries? Attractiveness of destination?
Will ARWS run a fantasty league this year? That was tons of fun last year, even though there were a couple of bugs in the system that messed with the scoring...
Lambo, that would weaken it for sure. That said, Torpedo is listed as: T7 Team NZ Adventure
I know Isla from Godzone and from her race with Seagate. Haven't looked up the others. I'm sure you know them. Might not be as strong as I'd think if they are missing a couple, but still might be up in that mix.
And for the record. I do like you guys up near the top somewhere too. Just need to decide how high:)
GOOD LUCK!!! We'll be rooting for AMK for sure. Finish the year strong!
Maybe some would but I probably wouldn't. There are usually a few interesting points that come out of the race briefing but most of it isn't that exciting for online spectators. Although I'm really looking forward to your video and photos from other parts of the event, I'd be happy to just get a few point form notes from the briefing. Maybe a few minutes of video would help to set the scene, e.g. the part where they talk about Lambo's favourites - the snakes!
Me, Mawson Tiger Adventure. Kev Piercy is one of only two people to have done all 8 XPDs so far. I've done 6. We're looking to be 1st Masters team (190+ combined age, I drag the average of our team down).
In light of the fact that Fantasy AR does not seem to be happening this year, does anyone else want to pick their Top 10? Here's mine:
My top 10 for worlds: 1) Thule 2) Seagate 3) AMK 4) Columbia Vidaraid 5) SAFAT 6) Naturex 7) Bivouac Innov8 8) Torpedo7 9) Sweco 10) GODZone
If you're not up for picking the top 10 (what turned out for me at least to be a very long homework assignment), how about answering a simpler question: do you take Seagate or the field for the win? Actually a very tough call for me...Extremely deep field of contenders this year versus Seagate's total dominance of the sport lately...
I can only handle a Top 5 1. Thule (So So strong but not sure about nav) 2. Seagate (So much paddling, and amazing nav) 3. AMK (been putting in all the work and Have Rob Naving (local star)) 4. SAFAT (Strong and consistent but can't finish the deal) 5. Merrell Adventure Addicts (Experience and Race Prep)
Course Outline from the Sleepmonsters article above (copied here for ease of referral):
The race begins at 12.30 with a 35km paddling stage at Jervis Bay, a short drive up the coast from Ulladulla. The bay is known for its beaches and cliffs and is a regular stop for migrating whales, so it’s likely the teams will see some, as well as dolphins.
Next is a 14km coastal trek, heading south and passing Hyams Beach, said to be the whitest in the world, though its likely teams will be here in darkness on the first night of the race.
Stage 3 is another paddle, this time 13km inland, still heading south towards CP5 at Sussex Inlet, and it is only here that they truly leave the coast for a 95km bike ride up into the hills and back down to the coast at Kioloa. They pass through an area of dramatic rock cliffs known as ‘The Big Brother of the Blue Mountains’ and descend to TA5 where most of the equipment will be set out ... it’s going to be a big, and a very busy transition.
Next it is back to the coastline again for a 38km beach and shoreline trek to Bateman’s Bay, still heading South, and this begins with a walk along Merry Beach, known as one of only two places in Australia where kangaroos gather on a beach. (There may possibly also be a large gathering of photographers too!)
After Batemans Bay transition the route now goes inland and stays there, with teams not returning to the coast until the finish line at Ulladulla. Stage 6 is a 37km paddle up the Clyde River, one of the biggest rivers in the state not to be dammed, and it is tidal all the way up to the take out.
Once out of the water its back on the bikes for a 57km ride to Yadboro Flat, and the race is now in much more remote and sparsely populated country, so there will be little chance to find places to stop for any food or drink.
Now teams are heading into the crux of the race and stage 8 will be a critical trek. The 48km route past the area known as ‘The Castle’ takes hikers 3 days usually, but even the slowest race teams won’t take that long. Race Director Craig Bycroft did still say it will be very slow and very hard going.
The destination at the end of this trek is Nerriga, a very small town, but it does have a pub ... and that’s where the transition is! Those who arrive at the right time will be able to get food there, and there will be a warm welcome at any time.
Leg 9 is on bikes again, on sealed road, as the teams head north to Bungonia and two more key stages in the race. The first of these is the mystery discipline, revealed as caving, with teams getting 5 out of 6 checkpoints in caves, taking anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. These are no show caves however, and there will be some tight squeezes ... and a few nervous racers.
Then leg 11 is the packraft with a tough trek to get to the Shoalhaven River followed by a 44km paddle down the deeply incised river in Karst limestone scenery. There are numerous class 1 and 2 rapids all the way down so there is a dark zone on the river here. Teams have to be off the water from dusk to dawn – but they don’t have to stop. They do have the option to trek along the riverside ... if they can.
From the Tallowa Dam the route continues down the Shoalhaven river to the regional capital at Nowra but with teams now in kayaks. (There are still a few small rapids, but no dark zone on this section.)
Stage 13 is a 99km ride, the longest on the race, finishing with a ride along the beach and past cliffs at Bendalong and there is then one final transition for the last 14km coastal trek to the finish at Ulladulla!
I am bummed there is no fantasy. Strong Machine has had me thinking for a couple of days. Here are my final picks for top ten, because it's fun. Though an impossible exercise. I am counting at least 30 teams who all could realistically go top 10, maybe more.
1. Seagate 2. Thule 3. Yealands 4. Columbia 5. AMK 6. Peak Adventure 7. Painted Wolf 8. T7 NZ 9. Naturex 10. Ace Estonia/Black Hill (I just cannot decide. Feel like Black Hill is way due after some very strong moments and Ace has really come on strong in the last year or two.
Columbia as American is not too far off since at least two of the team lives full time in the US. Not recalling the ARWC nationality rules, but maybe that's what forced their hand from either BRA or SPN?
Nathan Fa’avae of Seagate said, “I guess we are a little disappointed there doesn’t appear to be much navigation on the course. We like it when you are constantly making decisions.” As they have Chris Forne on the team the harder the navigation the more advantage they’ll have, but he did add. “Having said that you never know until you get out there and see what it’s really like on the ground. All the races of Craig’s we’ve done in the past have had plenty of navigational challenge.”
Yealands is also in the lead group now - although the chasing teams are very close behind so this info is really just for fun at this point!
With 99 teams, we're going to have to divide up the dot watching so here's an update on our Canadian teams. Team Canada AR is just arriving at CP E. Looks like they're around 25th place. A little farther back, it's Tecnu, then Spirit Canada, both more than halfway along the paddle between CPs D and E. There are still about 20 teams between CPs C and D.
Stephan Muller (RD of Expedition Africa) posted these photos of the lead teams around the final paddling CP F. "Last cp on kayak leg. Merrel. Seagate. Painted wolf. Amk. All close together. All looking strong. Different paddling options. Two two or three in one boat and one in faster kayak. Go RSA"
Thought I'd try to assemble some of the most useful online spectator links into one post. Any others? I can add them. (Tomorrow, that is. [Yawn] Over to the night shift. The election kept me awake late last night.)
OK, here's a cut at the top teams from my armchair...so many talented teams, and I don't know the Aussie / Kiwi teams all that well, so this was quite tough. Having a quick look at the maps, it looks like it might be a 5-day sprint for the top of the field:
1. Seagate - I'll never bet against them
4. Painted Wolf
6. MTN Designs
9. Estonian ACE
...I think Yealands, T7, Tecnu, Merrell, or Outnorth could sneak into this lofty group and feel like Bones is due for a top 15 finish, too. My only other prediction is that FB of Team Spirit Canada loses his mind when he finds his glass jar of pickle juice has opened up during transport and is relegated to sucking the remnants out of his clothes. Keep him on the level, Hermes!
Hi all, since djtom is racing (Endurancelife Tiger Adventure) and has left me holding the baby (literally :-) down here in Sydney, I thought I might join you all and see if I can provide some night cover for the European/US contingent.
We've been at the race base for the last few days watching the teams prepare. The race organisation has been really very impressive with no visible hiccups. Unusually there was no briefing (everything was provided in the pre-race documents and route book) but Craig did emphasise at the start line that portages over headlands would not be permitted (due to private lands), and that teams could not cross/travel on ANY part of an out of bounds road (ie not between the X marks). No surprises there but lots of effort being made to avoid the controversy that has plagued previous races.
The boats the teams have been given could not be more different - a nimble 2-man surfski and a 3-man rudderless sit on top (with no backrest attachments). Teams were able to test out various configurations on the bay outside HQ over the last few days and balance the boats to their individual strengths. While most teams stuck with a traditional 2+2 format, EnduranceLife set out to CPA with 3 in the SoT and a towline to their 4th in the surfski...it'll be interesting to hear how they fared...
Darkness has just fallen here at 1930 and at this latitude it falls fast once the sun goes down. Teams are already spread out as far back as the end of the first kayak to halfway through the second kayak.
Just for interest, Seagate completed the first paddle in just under 4.5 hours (vs 5 hours predicted fastest time). The back of the pack have taken 6hrs40 (vs 8.5hrs predicted) which may be due to some pretty perfect paddling conditions.
Seagate's first trek was 1.5 hrs vs predicted 2 hrs - this race is already proving to be a fast one as predicted!
I know, I know. Plenty of time for all sorts of things, but it sure looks like Seagate is starting to pull away a bit already. Considering that in loaded fields like this they often take some time to settle in before separating, this is interesting. Just that much better? Or moving too early?
I personally don't think they would make a mistake like pushing too hard too early, and it seems despite Nathan's comments pre-race that nav has already factored in for some teams. So, I'm just going to say they look to be on top of their game despite the quiet year.
And I've wanted to see more than one Kiwi team competing at worlds for years. currently 5 of them in the top 12. They really are at a different level nationally than everyone else. Amazing to see.
The early polling had Seagate in the lead - so far that's the status quo!
back to the boats - at first it seemed like quite an interesting tactical hurdle to give the racers, but I think the reason is more logisitical. With 99 teams, you'd need 198 identical 2 person boats at the start. Getting two sets of 100 boats seems easier.
Question for our NAmerican viewers - am I right in saying that Team AMK is basically the old team Tecnu? Then is the new Tecnu understudies, or a 'B Team'?
Shebeen -- Kyle, Mari, etc... broke away from Tecnu after Worlds last year (publicly, at least - not sure when the actual dissolution happened). They now race as Adventure Medical Kits. Doug Judson kept the Tecnu banner going with a new team roster, a mix of active racers and people who are returning to the sport. Most of the roster is now Canadian, though there are a couple from the US as well (and Benjamin Medina, who used to race with Buff - not sure where he's located).
Interesting pack of 8-10 teams sitting together behind the third position. Wonder if the pace is appropriate or if they are all pushing each other too fast too early.
Reminds me of what we saw in China last month: a ton of very good teams all killing themselves and each other. A few of them didn't make it to the finish line. I wonder if a team or two up there might be going too hard.
Especially since there are a few teams behind them that I would expect to be IN that big group: Thule, Columbia, Naturex in particular. Are they playing it "smart"? Going to move up? I like all those teams strategically.
It very well may be that it's appropriate and just a reflection of the depth this year, which is off the charts. I haven't studied the maps too closely to see if it seems like they really are crushing it or if it all makes sense.
Also, Bash, don't know if this was answered, but Barbara and Marco both live in the US. I BELIEVE Urtzi does too now. I don't know anything about citizenship. Nor do I know if the ARWS standards are about citizenship or residence. Pretty sure Jon Ander lives in Spain though. So, I'm guessing Urtzi has to be living in the US.
I think there at least must be a clause/loophole for residency in the rules since I'm pretty sure Barbara and Marco are both from Brazil while Urtzi and Jon Ander are from Spain. (and I feel like I remember hearing that Urtzi moved to the US not too long ago?).
Tracking site leaves a lot to be desired: no tracks; no breadcrumbs; replay is not functioning... Sure be great if these features were fixed soon. They are most important as the race enters the later stages.
Tecnu has 3 Canadians. Greg and Denise McHale were top adventure racers more than a decade ago, often racing with Bob Miller, Tecnu's navigator when the team came 3rd at ARWC in Costa Rica. The McHales were racing with Bob when they placed 4th behind Robyn Benincasa in a sprint finish at Primal Quest. (Utah, I think...?) Greg and Denise live in the Yukon where it's expensive to get to races so they stepped back from AR, remained active, put on their own race for a few years and focused on other types of races closer to home. I last saw them at a 6-day snowshoe running stage race in Yellowknife, which they both won. They have been working and raising a young family. Team Tecnu's sponsorship has allowed them to return to the sport. They've done well this year in AR and other races but so far AMK has prevailed when they've competed.
Alexandre Provost (Jackson5 on AP) is also Canadian, a talented navigator and racer who has won Wilderness Traverse. In this forum, he may be best known for racing well with the Yogaslackers at the Patagonia Expedition Race this year.
Yep replay does seem to be working.. As above click play button.. not available on mobile version of site. To isolate teams in replay - click star by name and then start at top of list this will just show those teams in replay. Wish we could find a way to make this favourites option more intuitive.
Thanks all for the pointers on the tracking system. It does appear that all of the features I was looking for are there. Not as intuitive as expected, but figuring it out is more impt. than having it be easy to figure out.
I wonder if it makes more sense for Spirit and their friends on Teams 33 and 70 to just continue up to the Tianjara Firetrail and loop around that way to CP8? They've already climbed 400m and if they go back down they'd have to do it again up to CP8 a second time? Looks like Team 70 just hooked a left back downhill on another connector, but Spirit pushed on to say hi to Team 33.
Anyone figure out how to get actual times in/out for the CP's/TA's on the leaderboard? Understandably you can see each teams split for a various leg, but I can't figure out how to see actual times at CP's/TA's.....
Getawaystix - sorry that data is just not being recorded by the trackers. The CP's / TA's are geofenced. In theory something could have been done with two points - arrival / departure. But as you can see the leaderboard is in danger of being a little overwhelmed and I can see very soon it will have to be changed to accomodate the data.
I hope Painted Wolf doesn't do the same thing but whip down the hill even further. I liked their pre-race interview whereby Mark Collins humbly mentioned that they're famous for making big errors...but I'm sure they've got the speed to make up for it most of the time. These little twists, turns, and intersections will be tricky to negotiate at 3h00 on this MTB!
The dreaded wrong turn on top of a wrong turn for Team Spirit and 33, ugh. :(
Their first walkabout of the race: "Walkabout historically refers to a rite of passage during which Indigenous male Australians would undergo a journey during adolescence, typically ages 10 to 16, and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood."
Haha! Bob, never make me keep a leaderboard updated manually for 99 teams at Wilderness Traverse, OK? That said, I've always turned down the option of using geofencing.
I've just discovered that if you click on a team name in the list (or choose "More Info, Route and Splits" when you click on them on the map), it takes you to a box with their team photo and info, and if you scroll down (which I hadn't previously), you get arrival times (not splits) at the CPs.
Depending on the map layer chosen, it still looks like Spirit and PowerBar can get back to the main route without a bike-whack or retracing...we'll see soon enough. Here's to hoping they find the a passage
It does seem to me that we are seeing some settling. Several teams, most notably the Aussie team Peak have already slipped off the pace of things up top while some stalwarts have been slowly or not so slowly moving up. Is Yealands slipping a bit too? Merrell?
On the other end: Godzone has seemed to make the biggest leap, but Thule is edging up as well. T7 NZ has also steadily climbed up into top ten contention. Naturex and Ace also are working their way up into the top ten tier.
Still waiting for Columbia to start asserting themselves. Maybe the biggest surprise to me right now. Will still be shocked if they don't pass a number of teams for a strong finish, but yeah, wondering what's taking them "so long":)
AMK only 12 minutes back of Seagate through 12. Impressive. You gotta think keeping the Kiwis in sight is the strategy. If they can keep it up it will be interesting to see how it shakes out when sleep becomes an issue.
In other news, anyone else getting lots of enjoyment out of Aussie naming? Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Wheelbarrow Rd, the aforementioned Monkey Mtn Rd, and Cockwhy. The entertainment value leaves plenty to do between dot movement!
Yep! They are a strong kiwi team. I THINK they normally race as a split team but not sure. Seriously thought about them as my third kiwi team for the top ten. As of now, I'm glad I picked T7, but still, good team and could end up in that top tier. Could see 4 Kiwi teams in that top ten. And I wouldn't be surprised if a fifth like the Bivouac Colts made a late run to move up.
Sorry if I came across as chauvinistic, Britty! Deleted my previous post. Just wanted to bring some positive attention to a team I haven't heard much about. Sneaky Weasel Gang is majorly impressing me!
Team Canada AR was the first of our 3 Canadian teams to reach TA4, the end of a 95 km bike leg and start of a 38 km coasteering leg. Tecnu has arrived and both teams are in transition at the same time. They were 10 minutes apart at the previous CP. The sun has been up for more than an hour so I'd expect them to have some coffee and head out for some coasteering soon! [Update: They just did.]
Spirit Canada is about 1 km from the road now but I wonder about Joe's question. Also, they may not know how close they are to the road because their map doesn't go that far west if I'm reading it right. (Slow country Internet.)
Whatever that feature was, Spirit has turned back on the road and they're heading north. It's daylight now so it may be easier to see the best way out. Team Power Bar Swiss Explorer is still down there looking for a way through, apparently.
I take that back. The map just refreshed and showed them back near Power Bar Swiss Explorer about 1 km from the road. Is anyone else finding that it refreshes really slowly? I was able to click on their icon and see a timestamp in a different location but now I'm seeing that same timestamp at their current position. Bizarre.
Joe - the bush here is pretty thick & spiky (mostly mid green for the orienteers amongst us), creeks are rocky & steep sided (with leeches!) and there are plenty of rock bands/cliffs to navigate.
As a general rule, sticking to trails even if a longer detour will be faster than trying to hold a bearing through the bush. When bushwacking, the best progress will be made on the high ground where the soil is thin and not much grows - teams that follow the edges of the cliffs and tops of spurs should move faster than those who opt to follow the creeks.
Just for geekery, Seagate completed the first bike leg in 8.25hrs (including TA3 transition) vs 8hrs predicted - good work by the race organisers!
At the back of the race, teams had to reach TA3 by 0400 to stay on track for Craig's Full Course finish. Two teams have already slipped behind this and I'm sure we'll see one or two more by the end of the long bike stage once sleep and nav errors get the better of some. Having said that, there is only one short course option so even the slow teams are going to have a hell of an experience getting to the finish line.
As a racer who regularly gets short coursed(!), it does strike me as a bit of a shame that these teams will miss the fun legs (caving, packrafting, Shoalhaven kayak) - but then this is the World Champs!
oh dear, back of the pack #72 Munch Express have returned to TA3 having only just set out - a forgotten punch card/map or something more serious? Oddly their dot has also disappeared, though the breadcrumbs are still there.
Looks like Team Canada AR stopped for breakfast in Durras North, just past CP14. Tecnu is now a couple of kms past them on the coasteering section.
Suzi Hitchon (Mrs. FB) just saw Power Bar Swiss and Spirit Canada (not in the same place) and Spirit is doing well. As Bob guessed originally, their detour was a conscious route choice that didn't pan out. Spirit has passed CP8 and is flying.
Seagate is now at TA5. Looks like low tide is in an hour from now, so perhaps AMK will have a slight advantage once they hit the water? In fact, the tide will be moving the fastest 3hrs after it turns, so those starting the paddle 4hrs from now will have the greatest advantage! I don't imagine the tide will have a massive effect higher upriver?
Looking at tide times for Shallow Crossing (the take out), Seagate will actually arrive there before the high tide.... as they paddle so quickly, will they therefore get stuck in shallow spots on their way up? Bones and Tecnu will likely hit the put in just at max flood. :)
Nice to see Team 66 Spirit alongside Team 99 Rubicon....hopefully they can channel their inner Lemieux/Gretzky.......both just had serious difficulty getting down the cliffs where there's a large cluster of teams between CP's 8 & 9. Wonder if the "flagging tape" that was supposed to be there has been taken down? Have lots of other teams been having trouble through here?
That's OK. I was thinking of postponing my next trip to the U.S. until 2021 anyway. ;)
Here's the latest Sleepmonsters report. @Bob, it talks a lot about the place where teams have to hike-a-bike down the cliffs. It sounds like it's just really slow. Suzi and Team Spirit Canada get a shout out too!
Saw a video on Tecnu's page: they apparently held back over the first day believing the nav is harder later on while allowing teams to go harder on the easier to nav sections. Gearing up to move up. And they have, closing the gap to the top pack in the last couple of hours.
Also notable to see ACE and Thule move all the way up to the top of the field.
Tecnu's plan to start slowly makes sense, considering they've had trouble at both CBT and Xtrail with going too hard and paying the price for it. Still weird for me to see them flying the Canadian flag though...
More from Sleepmonsters, this time reporting from TA5 at the end of the coasteering section before the Clyde River paddle.
"Seagate were the first to arrive at 10.47, still racing a couple of hours ahead of the fastest expected schedule, and almost 40 minutes in front of second placed Adventure Medical Kits. Thule Adventure and Estonian ACE Adventure came in together 15 minutes later, having both gained places on the last couple of stages. Behind Seagate there have been a lot of position changes in what is a very competitive race and when Tecnu came in in 18th place later in the afternoon they noted there were 11 teams ahead of them all of them within 40 minutes."
Thanks Bash. A quick update on the South African teams:
Merrell currently lying in 7th and seem to be moving up well on this paddle (a significant strength in the team), having left TA5 in 11th place. Their box was missing at TA4 which must have been quite a blow to their morale and they went pretty hungry on the next leg. Apparently it has been relocated now.
Painted Wolf were going really well in the first 3 legs, placing in the top 5, but 2 navigation errors on the biking leg at night cost them about an hour, several positions, and probably a bit of their momentum as well. They have now settled into about 15th place on the paddle - let's hope they find their drive again and start passing some teams up ahead!
Thanks, Stijn! From the Sleepmonsters article, it sounds like Merrell didn't get their gear box in time for TA5 either, although it has been located and should show up in future. There must be other important gear and clothing in the box that they'd like to have. Really too bad.
Here it is from the Geocentric Facebook page. Damn, so sad. :(((
"William Hitchon of Canada Spirit (team 66) had a mountain bike crash near CP 9 and sustained a collarbone injury. He has been taken to the hospital for further examination accompanied by his father who was also on the team."
"UK Godzone Adventure OMM (team 7) have withdrawn from the race at CP21. Tom Gibbs injured his collar bone during the Leg 4 coastal trek on day 2 of the race. He continued on the Leg 5 paddle but it became too painful to continue and he is going to the hospital for an x-ray."
Yes, I saw all the links in the previous post, thanks. There are so many places to look for news and I guess that's just the name of the game now with so many teams having their own pages and sources of info. This dot-watching biz is hard work! ;)
From Geocentric: "William Hitchon of Canada Spirit (team 66) had a mountain bike crash near CP 9 and sustained a collarbone injury. He has been taken to the hospital for further examination accompanied by his father who was also on the team."
Total bummer for those guys!!! Sad face times one million.
Thanks, Bash. I knew I could count on you...at 1h30 EST! I REALLY hope there's a way that Hermes, FB, and Chris continue.
I feel like such a nerd but it looks like a few of the live tracking's CP placements are a bit off in the next couple of sections. I only noticed this as I was trying to figure out why Team AMK is taking a long way to CP23.
I can only guess that the dotted red roads are different enough to go out of your way to hit a continuous red instead. It appears AMK gained 11 min but biked ~2km more. This section at night could be a big challenge with so many roads, intersections, and twists to negotiate.
At CP23, Seagate was half an hour ahead of AMK, and Yealands was 15 minutes behind AMK. Thule and the Estonians are close together about 3/4 of the way between CPs 22 and 23/TA6. No one else has started this 58 km bike leg.
Further news from Will Hitchon's Mom: They're at hospital now and doctors think he has a separated shoulder. That appears to be all - fingers crossed. She says GODZone fell at the same spot and another racer was apparently airlifted. I wonder if it happened at that cliff hike-a-bike.
AMK seemed to have missed a turn off and will need to backtrack to CP25 if they continue. could be a route choice as distance will be marginally longer and a climbing might be less, also a chance to see seagate going past
Interesting - Team Shotz Sports Nutrition was the first team to take the northern route option on the MTB, and it was faster! They were with Merrell at CP23, and they popped out ahead of them. All the other top teams before them took the southern option... So, there is a bit of nav choice on this race...
Godzone...already said above but such a shame for Tom and the team after working so hard to get back from his previous injuries. Prior to his fall they were moving well, working their way up towards the pointy end of the race and I'm sure we'd have seen them moving up further as the race went on.
EnduranceLife - 3 regular racers from the UK and a guest appearance from Lena from the US of A, put together by Tiger Team coordinator Trevor Mullins. They've been holding a good position mid pack since the start and seem to be working their way forwards now - I'm actually surprised they're not further forwards as they're all in good shape and Tom has a little local knowledge having been living and orienteering in Sydney for the last 3 months. They're aiming for the top third so with a current position of #47, they've got some work still to do. Here's hoping that they'll get in the groove and move forwards as other teams start to falter.
Peaklife Sport - I don't know these guys and gal but hear that they're regulars at the ARWC (though not so much at any UK races). Currently in position #71, they're hopefully having fun but likely to be short coursing later in the race.
"Interesting - Team Shotz Sports Nutrition was the first team to take the northern route option on the MTB, and it was faster! They were with Merrell at CP23, and they popped out ahead of them. All the other top teams before them took the southern option... So, there is a bit of nav choice on this race..."
it doesn't look like a quicker route in terms of distance or altitude gain, so road surface must play quite a part.
If I have my maths right, tail teams have to be off the bike stage by 8pm tonight to stay on the full course timings...quite a few teams scraped in just in front of this but 5 teams are going to have to push harder if they're going to avoid the dreaded short course - Scouts, Tri Adventure M&Ms, HMGA, AR Coromandel & Intrepid. 3 of these teams are still out on the bikes at 2150 local time, with the other 2 now in transition. Sleep must be bearing down on them all by now...
Further up the race, it looks like Endurancelife are about half an hour from TA5 where they'll be able to get a few hours much needed rest while they wait for low tide at 1230am. Looks like quite the party with 10 teams there already & perhaps an opportunity to leapfrog forwards a few places for the strong paddlers.
AMK not having a great night here. they lost about 20 mins going down the wrong road, and have done it again just after CP25. ACE and Thule have passed them and they're down to 4th now, but it's about an hours gap to 5th
Looks like all the lead teams are sleeping at the moment. Seagate, AMK & Estonia at TA7 and Thule at the trailhead just out of TA7.
Always intriguing to see sleep strategy: do you sleep in a TA where all the resources are there, but the kerfuffle of teams coming and going could affect your rest? Or, do you take your kip on the course where it might be sneaky and most likely quieter, but also without all your gear? Right now, Seagate and AMK know they are both resting, but nobody on the course knows that Thule has also taken a rest...they just know they left TA7 first. This is the epitome of why teams say they plan to race their own race and ignore other teams.
If you haven't been watching the Adventure Center videos, there are three of them now: Prologue, Day 1 and Day 2. (Strong Machine linked to Day 2 above.) You can find them all there. They're just under 20 mins each.
"There was one more interesting water crossing before the end of the stage across a broad creek close to the finish at Batemans Bay but this time teams got a ride across on a kayak. The reason given was that sharks were breeding in the area! However, the marshal felt that the oysters on the river bed were more of a hazard as they would cut racers feet if they tried to wade."
A lovely public post made Suzi Hitchon, Mom of Will Hitchon of Team Spirit:
"Its with much sadness that I let you know that Team Spirit Canada has withdrawn from the race. Will had a bad bike accident and ended up being taken by ambulance to the hospital. He is THANKFULLY okay. Separated collar Bone, slight concussion and a bruised up face. Dave, Shannon Miller and Chris Laughren will make a decision to either go unranked or enjoy a vacation in Australia. Tough loss for them but their spirits are great and I am so grateful for their support of my son :) I have learned from watching Dave race for the last 20 years, that Adventure Racers are a rare breed showing kindness, toughness and support, never blaming their teammates and always having each other's back. While I certainly know I am not fit enough to do what they do, I have always been in awe and jealous of the intensity of their relationships and unconditional love they have for one another."
Confused by Tecnu's recent track and their CP list. It's showing that they missed 24 (along with 17 and 21 for that matter). Not seeing missed CPs for other teams. Glitch in the system? Or is Tecnu backtracking to get 24? Looks like they went by it before so I would assume they had gotten it.
Tecnu "missing" points is most likely a geofencing issue: their tracker did not report while they were in the vicinity of the CP (within the geofence). If they are moving toward the next CP, you can be sure they got the last one.
OK about time we explained how the tracking is working on this event for dot watching geeks. Teams are carrying 2 trackers.. a GPRS tracker that records locations every 3-5 mins and a yellowbrick satellite tracker. For much of the event so far they have been in mobile coverage and the tracking you have been seeing has been served by the GPRS tracker.
Now we are getting to the part of the event where the YB tracker is coming in to its own (although Seagates tracker has very good mobile coverage right now). The GPRS trackers will still record the route and will update as soon as they get a sniff of mobile coverage.
What is awkward for us is that Australia is switching off the 2G network next month and they have done something odd leading up to this which seems to causing the GPRS trackers to have to work harder (trackers are draining considerably faster than they did in the ITERA).
But suffice to say everything seems to be working OK so far - and what glitches we have had none of you have noticed :-) and I wouldn't tell you anyway.
Conman - I'll ask Rob M to look at Tecnu's CP's, the leaderboard is based on Geofencing.. all subject to confirmation.
Bones has moved up into a virtual tie for the 12th spot with a few others. Go Bones!!!
Bash asked for more updates for other countries, so here it is for the US. My overall feeling for the teams behind Bones is "experience" with the exception of Rev3.
Obviously we know what is going on up top, though I am relieved to see Columbia rounding into form and moving into the top five.
Behind the top three teams, Dart Nuun has steadily been moving, though I don't think the positioning has changed much. They are probably one of the more experienced teams in the race, though they aren't racing at the same level they did 5-10 years ago. Still might see them work their way up.
I am going to start paying closer attention to the Rev3/USMES team. This is a group of good racers from the US, though I don't think any of them have a ton of XPD experience, and I think a fair bit of what they do have comes from Cowboy Tough which is obviously a bit different than 10 days of XPD. I would not be surprised if they continue to ease their way up the rankings, which they do seem to be doing now.
Toward the back NYARA and 40/50 keep on plugging. Both teams have a lot of experience, and both probably will move up due to attrition and because of that experience. NYARA in particular with Mark Lattanzi, Amy Bartoletti, and Rodney Villella might make some noise in the back third over the next few days! Wouldn't surprise me if they work their way up toward the top half once everything is over. And 40/50 has JD, so I'm sure they're having a blast:)
I don't know SWECO per se, but having seen them in a few races and followed several more in which they race online, it seems like they are always right on the edge of things but on the wrong side, for whatever reason. No doubt they are good racers and great athletes, but it always feels like something fouls them up in big races. I am sure there are cases where that's not true, but it seems like something always happens.
The best example I have: ITERA Wales. They were in position to be somewhere in the top 5 of a very strong field, finishing full course. They literally walked/ran by a CP. Within a few/couple hundred meters of it. I think the tracker even picked it up (same system as is being used now). I never really heard a clear explanation for what happened, but it turns out they didn't actually visit the CP despite virtually being next to the thing on an open hill. Mistakes happen, some big some small. It just seems like something always holds them back.
I haven't been following them that closely in this one, so I'm not sure if they have had nav blunders or if they just aren't moving as well as they usually do, because they certainly are fast enough to be higher up. Wouldn't count them out though. They are a team that very well could turn it on and move up a bunch at any point.
As long as they are healthy? We've seen Thule and Columbia both assert themselves. Perhaps SWECO is waiting for their "moment"?
SWECO - great team, those guys are nice as pie.. I hope they do well here. ITERA Wales was just a genuine mistake - they were following another team, 3 controls one after the other, mist was down - they missed a control. Took it well, but clearly disappointed.
Tecnu arrived at TA7 around 7 a.m. in 20th place so they will have daylight for much of the upcoming 45 km trek (Leg 8) through the Budawangs Wilderness.
Team Canada AR passed CP25 a little more than 4 hrs behind Tecnu. They'll start the trek in daylight but will miss a lot of the great scenery overnight.
Will Hitchon of Team Spirit Canada remains in hospital with his parents and is receiving good care. Apparently he flew about 10 m off his bike headfirst on a downhill so it's a huge relief that he wasn't injured more seriously. As his past teammate commented on Facebook, "It takes a highly trained athlete to land on his face so he can still walk out!" ;)
Organizers estimate teams will take from 11.5 to 28 hrs to complete the Leg 8 trek and there are some interesting special rules:
- A maximum of 3 teams may travel closely together (within 100 m).
- No camping between CP28 and Mt. Bibbenluke.
- All human waste must be carried out.
- Helicopter access only, limited mobile reception.
- Rivers may rise rapidly in flood.
- Don't start this leg unless you believe you can finish it. It's difficult and remote.
On a similar note, here is a post from Nick Gracie on the GODZone Facebook page:
"Very sadly we had to pull out of the AR World Champs in Australia today as Tom had a bad fall on the coastal run and broke his collar bone (2nd time he has done it this year). We are all gutted but we really had no choice. On the positive side we were racing brilliantly and had got up to joint 3rd after the overnight bike stage and we had plenty in the tank for the later stages in the race where we had planned to push hard. Its the first time in 10 years that we have had a DNF (did not finish) and so to be fair with the amount of racing we have done we have been very lucky and its just one of those things in a very demanding sport.
Tom has not raced in 2 and a half years due to a bad knee injury but he was back on spectacular navigating form and we were really enjoying a great race in a very beautiful part of Australia. Tom is currently getting X-rays done and hopefully he will mend soon. Good luck to the rest of the teams on the course - its very tight with only 1 hour separating the top 5 teams. Its hard to bet against Seagate but there are a lot of other very motivated and hungry teams out there."
There must be a tracker error for the Estonians. I can only see one breadcrumb on the trek, then suddenly they're back to the TA in 17 minutes, roughly 12 km away. No sign of roads on the Open Topo map.
Team Canada AR arrived at TA7 just 1 hr 45 mins behind Tecnu. Maybe Tecnu napped on the course during the hours of darkness, as the teams were 4 hrs 15 min apart at CP25 in the wee hours. Or maybe Team Canada AR benefited from riding to CP26 and TA7 in daylight. Looks like both teams are still in transition.
I just noticed that CP29 is shown on the tracking map at least 2km SE from where it is on the racer maps. The racer map location makes a lot more sense (on a spur near the trail, rather than on the steep wall of a gorge).
Photo of TA7 timesheet (page 1) by Stephan Muller along with the comment that Merrell has broken a derailleur and doesn't have a replacement so a team member will be riding single speed from now on. They had a "big night of troubles".
So maybe it was a race jersey they left behind. Their Facebook page has some discussion about penalties for unintentionally leaving behind mandatory gear. Here is a translation of what seems to be the most relevant info. (And yes, I am including it here because Facebook translations make me giggle.)
"Unfortunately, yes. He lost his shit ace team jackets, it was found in the lane and was rushed in the immediate area. Ongoing information about the trek so probably can't. In addition, as the case may be for it to get the temporal punishment."
And...CP30 is at least 10kms too far south on the tracking map. Should be in the draw where the green route track makes a big pointy turn to the SW after heading North (according to the racer maps)...almost due North of Round Mountain.
Here's the latest Sleepmonsters article. It mentions that Martin Flinta may have a broken rib. Also interesting is this: "A lot of top teams prefer not to sleep at transition as it can be noisy with a lot of disturbance, but the race here has set up sleeping areas for them which are strictly out of bounds for all officials, followers and media – a simple idea and a good one."
Just looking back at Tecnu's track. It looks like they may have gone past CP25 and returned to it. I'd noticed a few comments earlier today about them going backwards but didn't have time to check it out. So that probably explains why they took so long to get from CP25 to TA7, and why they appeared to take a nap at TA7, which would have been unusual if they'd just napped on the course.
First, thank you all for this commentary and being an escape from the US Election this week. Many, many thanks!
Wanted to share a synopsis of the Team AMK progress from the FB page. As a bit of history, Kyle did many of his early races in Michigan, and Mari is from Alpena. Shout out from the Mitten State!
The page is consistently talking about their hanging on to 2nd, despite the unfortunate misses on the trek. Looks like weather has become/started to become a factor seeing pix of rain and talk of serious heat and humidity.
My favorite comment on the page "I'm ganna have to let nathen no bug his me mate that u guys are commin in hot" :)
Sure does mess with my enjoyment of the race when the dots stop updating. Both of the (now presumed) front teams have not updated for an hour or more. And three of the top 5's trackers are stalled. Hope they start talking to the satellites again soon!
Conman - yep bugs me as well. We are not out of reach for GPRS so it is based on the 15 min YB updates, of which they seem to be thin on the ground. The GPRS trackers should be taped to the shoulder straps but I think the YB trackers can be placed on the outside of the pack. I'm guessing that its been buried or just not playing ball. Think next time need to get some bracelets to put round their ankles so not an issue.. :-)
Lacking recent updates from Seagate and the Estonians, it appears that AMK and Columbia Vidaraid are travelling together in 2nd place with Thule about a km behind them. The Estonians are probably in 5th if they've kept up their pace, not counting whatever penalty they may get.
Returning to my comment on Sweco (sorry not to have responded sooner; I was out on a run): Thanks to broots and JT for your insight. All of the members of Sweco were extremely nice when I met them in Ireland, and I'm rooting for them - bigly! Also, they're on my fantasy team...in the super-secret league I'm not allowed to talk about.
"AUS Tiger Adventure Munch Express (team 72) have decided to withdraw from the race. Jo Thomae withdrew from the team after leg 3 moving them to the unranked category. Then after leg 4 mountain bike the remaining members decided to withdraw from the race.
Australia Proximity AR (team 61) have moved to the Unranked Category as Roland Trease withdrew from the race at end of leg5 trek due to an arm injury. The remaining members of the team will continue the race."
Seems a pity that yealands can't source a spare wheel,should maybe look in the godzone box quickly!
Another factor of international racing, merrel probably would have had a spare rd in a local race, but you can't take too much on overseas flights with excess baggage charges. They're going to have to dig deep on the final bike leg
Looking at the map 21 leg08c, it seems cp29 was in the right place earlier. Can only think that Thule are placing themselves at "hidden valley",must be tough if they're making this error in daylight.
Speaking of daylight, seagate are going to finish this at about 2pm. The predicted 3:30 for leg 9 will see them starting the pack raft sometime after 6pm. Not sure how viable hiking during the night will be, but it could really compress the field
Anyone here know if the controls have e-punches or pin punches? Using the tracking data for splits is going to be pretty messy on this wilderness trek if only using pin punches. Maybe there's a picture of a team punching at one of the flags that I just haven't seen.
I was just watching (and rewatching) around the 12-13 minute mark of the Day 2 Adventure Center video where teams visited a CP in the woods. It looked like one person on the team was using a pin punch and that was it. Maybe there's a mix of control types? They all seem to be wearing pink wristbands that could be used to hold individual SI cards.
Really intrigued by the potential for teams to "rest" by caving slowly or get thru the caves with time to spare and get actual sleep during the neutralized time. I'm guessing that Columbia is banking on this as their first (only?) sleep for the race.
Another interesting detail is the packraft. If Seagate gets to the caves by ~1800hrs (currently about 2 hours out at 1600hrs), then burns their 5 hrs at the cave site, they will most certainly be hitting the dark zone segment of the packraft after dark. I'd put that at perhaps ~24:00 hrs since the transition from bike to packraft can't happen until after the 5hr time block. This means I expect they'll be hiking along in the river gorge until sunrise or until they reach the 24 hr river access segment of the packraft (after CP 37), whichever comes first.
Speaking of Seagate, Sleepmonsters' latest article mentions they were 1st to the pub at TA8, the Nerriga Hotel Bar. The team said the mountains were really beautiful and Sleepmonsters talked to Chris Forne about the navigation so far:
When I asked about the maps and navigation Chris added, “It’s been pretty straight forward really, with no major route choice, but some will go wrong with unmarked tracks I expect. I disagree with Craig (Bycroft) about that. I think the maps should be updated for races where they know the tracks are wrong, but he leaves us to it. I guess it does keep it interesting for me as I have to concentrate on the contours.
"AUS Synergy Tiger Adventure (team 59) had one member withdraw at CP20/TA for unspecified reasons. The remaining members of the race will continue in the Unranked category."
The leaderboard is currently showing 5 Retired teams and 4 Unranked (Non Comp) teams. That's about 10% - not too bad after 50 hours.
Geocentric says Seagate actually resisted the pub and made a quick transition to biking. Given Conman's comment about the upcoming dark zone, I might have used this opportunity for some real food. Darkness isn't going to matter much to them tonight. But Seagate tends to be pretty decent at strategy so I won't question them! They probably don't want to act as a visible carrot for the two U.S. teams chasing them.
Didn't know this... The navigator on Team Shotz Nutrition is Kathryn Preston, wife of Rob Preston who navigates for Adventure Medical Kits. And depending on where the Estonians are with their unreliable tracker, she might be right behind her husband now in 4th place.
Columbia Vidaraid has pulled away from AMK on the road into TA8. They are about 2 kms apart with about 3 kms left to the TA for Vidaraid. Maybe they're hoping for a better selection of beer at the pub.
I'm really pleased to see women navigating for some of the teams. Aside from Kathryn, I know I saw photos earlier today of a team whose maps were in the hands of a female team member. It makes no sense to me that almost everyone expects men to be the best navigators on teams. I'm pleased to say I have learned valuable lessons from the skills and different approaches to navigation and route choice of the women I've travelled with.
"The team just arrived at TA 8, the end of the big trek. They began this morning around 3am in a downpour, which continued until 8 or 9am as they climbed their way up into the mountains. The rain finally stopped and the sun came out to light up the vibrantly green jungle and huge cliffs, caves, and rock formations. There was an hour or two of frustration as the team searched desperately for a trail in the thick undergrowth, making painfully slow progress against the sharp, thick bushes. After finally finding the trail, afraid the bush whacking set them back a couple hours against their competitors, they were surprised to come across both Columbia and Thule, who had also been lost in the bushes. The team led a fast and furious descent off the mountain, with only Columbia keeping pace. Eventually Columbia pulled ahead, and the team finished the trek in 3rd, about 15 minutes down on Columbia and 2-3 hours behind Seagate. They are tired but in good spirits, even Erik who has some pretty bad feet. At least he will get to rest them a bit as they are taking off on another bike leg now, and then the caves!"
Since they just mentioned Thule, I realized they were missing from the top 12 so I checked their tracker info. Their dot hasn't updated in awhile but they appear to be somewhere around 15th place. I wonder if Martin's cracked rib is giving them trouble. In the same vicinity are Sweco, Swedish Armed Forces, Merrell and Black Hill/Opavanet, all teams we have often seen closer to the front.
I noticed that, too, and dug into their track. It appears that they've been scrambling around some steep and technical terrain, looking for the way northeast. They're note the only team to have had trouble in that area but certainly have spun around more than most. Their tracker is a bit old now so I have faith they've got themselves sorted out now.
Interesting - they aren't alone in that area so that explains why.
Heading back to the front of the race... wow, look at Seagate fly! At 18:00, they're within 10K of TA9, the end of the 70K bike ride and start of the 5 hr caving section. After that, it's the 11-hr pack raft section with a ban on rafting at night. It's permitted to hike along the river or directly cross it wearing a PFD. It's another place where racers have to carry out any human waste.
AMK chased down Columbia Vidaraid on the road and I'd expected to see them working together to chase down Seagate - but Columbia has just tracked in the same place 15 minutes after their last track. Bike mechanical? Napping away from the TA to psyche out AMK?
Tecnu has been trekking alongside R'ADYS from Switzerland. Because a couple of trackers behind them have been flakey, we can't know for sure but they could be as high as tied for 13th. Probably no worse than 16th. Great nav on this trek - they've passed a bunch of teams.
Team Canada AR is now about 2 hrs and 8 or 9 places behind Tecnu. Both teams are still near the front of the race. The back of the pack teams are finishing up the Leg 5 Coasteering so things are as spread out as we would expect by now.
And Columbia Vidaraid just tracked for the 3rd time in the same location, which appears to be just off the road. So hopefully they're sleeping, not fixing a bike. There is still an hour of daylight and they could sleep during the mandatory 5-hr caving stop after this relatively short bike leg. So assuming they are asleep, they must really need it. Speaking of which... hope the night shift is out there! :)
Can't resist this one last post from ARWS Facebook! This was done just before AMK passed Columbia.
Turned the clock back to the 20 hour mark and had a look at who was where then and where they are now.
Seagate NZ------------------------------Seagate NZ
AMK U------------------------------------Columbia Vidaraid USA (14)
Yealands NZ-----------------------------AMK USA
Thule Sweden (13)---------------------Sportz Shotz Aus (16)
Torpedo7 NZ-----------------------------Naturex France
Naturex France--------------------------Painted Wolf South Africa
Merrell South Africa (22)--------------AdventureJunkie Aus (11)
Mountain Design Aus (12)-----------Torpedo7 NZ
Painted Wolf South Africa------------Bones USA (17)
( ) where they are now.---------------( ) Where they were at 20hr
Re the dibber question, the teams were issued a single punch card at the start, no electronic dibbers. Not sure what approach if any is being taken to ensure all team members go all the way to the CPs.
On this subject, Endurancelife are showing as having missed CP23 & 26 despite their breadcrumbs going straight past them...hoping this is just a technical glitch associated with the ever migrating CPs but doesn't seem to have affected other teams...
And just like that, 3 American teams in the top 10! Dart is still going strong, and Rev3 has been moving consistently around 50th place for quite some time. NYARA and 4050 are at TA6 with a pack of teams.
Does anyone know what time the darkzone lifts? Local time is currently about 1:30 am and sunrise is 5:45am. They've got 5k or so down to the river, so I would guess the top teams would start moving shortly after 4am.
I'm still trying to figure out the time of day/race time/tracking exactly, but seems like Seagate and AMK will be the only teams to have had extra rest beyond the 5 hour compulsory caving stop? Maybe Vidaraid also?
Then we've got a 30 hour sprint to the finish starting in a few hours.
The route book Randy posted had blanks where the dark zone times were supposed to be listed. The word "night" was used though. Maybe someone at the race can answer? I've just assumed it will be close to sunrise/sunset.
@Shotgunmcos, I was up really late Tuesday night to watch the results of the election and I haven't been able to get back to a normal schedule yet. Great for dot watching though. ;)
Well Seagate are the only ones getting a rest at the moment having got though the caving. Not sure there 5 hour total is up yet. Every one else is just in or out doing the caving by the looks of things. I expect Seagate to take a little extra rest compared to the others and head off about 3.30. The bit down to the river proper looks like it may be tricky in the dark.
Team 89 PNG Reunion from Papua New Guinea had a broken bike. So they went to town and bought a new one. They are currently Non Competitive because one of their team mates got sick but obviously the other three are determined to carry on. They are doing the Leg 7 MTB at the moment. Explains why they needed the bike.
Speaking of bikes, Team Spirit Canada's captain Dave Hitchon (FB) went to Race HQ to offer his bike to help a racer in trouble, e.g. Merrell. (Very nice to do that while his son Will is still recovering in hospital!) Turns out that would be classified as outside help so it's not allowed. Merrell could get a new derailleur from a team in the race but that's their only possibility - other than continuing on single speed.
Some musing from ARWS Facebook:
I wonder if anyone will have wetsuits with them this year. They are not part of the mandatory equipment but could come in handy when most teams will be spending more than 24 hours on the water. Last year Merrell from South Africa got hypothermic and stopped on the banks of the river for the night losing about 8 hours and that in Queensland. The weather is due to turn colder on Sunday and Monday with over night lows of around 4 degrees.
With tight squeezes in the caves being in there with other teams may not be so good. My only experience of caves in a race saw me leading 3 or 4 teams the wrong way to a squeeze I decided was too tight some of the people I knew were in the race. Getting everyone to back up was amusing but the followers did get to the missed turn first and get an advantage.
Slice: definitely no time credits for resting until dark zone lifts. I'm just saying that their lead is comfortable enough for them not to risk anything now. If they had got to the river at 2am then it could have been an option to proceed on foot
Now that Seagate and AMK are hauling kit down to the river to begin the packraft, it appears they have about a 1hr split. Was about two or so when they got to the caves, so I think that means Seagate has banked an extra hour of rest.
By the way, the haul, while downhill, looks mighty slow. Do you think maybe the Red Track is "Red" as a warning to visitors?
Next reasonably accurate update to the leaderboard on the tracking site will come from geofenced times at CP37, which is in the correct location and is along a linear feature (the river gorge) away from other race activity (teams won't get tagged when they go near it for other parts of the race = problem for CP35 & 36).
Looks like Bones made a small nav error trying to get down into the gorge with three other teams right on their heels. Will be interesting to see how that cluster shakes out by the time the get to the river.
Now that so many teams are beginning the packraft section, it sure would be nice to have CP35 and 36 back where they belong. It's obvious from team tracks that they are going to the CP locations on racer maps to punch those controls (see track for team 26, for example) but the geofenced splits are all messed up.
Also observe that team 26 (adventurejunkie) took the ridge route instead of the gorge route "down" to the river after clipping CP36 at the top of "The Slot Canyon". Doesn't look like it gained them any time on Naturex or Estonia, but maybe it'll help with sore feet.
AH HA!! Columbia just updated and as expected are a bit behind AMK. Looks like their track skipped past CP37, but the geofence seems to have snagged them anyway, albiet on the back side of the CP rather as they approached it. They are more than 45min behind AMK, instead of the 30min indicated by the leaderboard times.
And, Painted Wolf must be right on their arses, perhaps within sight of them.
Nice! Glad to see they are still moving. Awesome job to Painted Wolf, though, and AMK still seems to be moving strong as well. I am sure that packrafting has gotten old by now and they still have a long way to go.
Need some translation here! From Sleepmonsters a few hours ago: "After falling behind, partly due to a minor nav error, Painted Wolf is now in hot pursuit in 4th. Here's the impressive bit: Mark Collins did the major trek leg in his bike shoes! He certainly knows how to vasbyt and then some (ask a Saffer for a translation)"
Thank you! Just a reminder of where the leaders are and what is yet to come:
Seagate has just passed TA11, the end of the 44 km pack rafting leg (11) on the Upper Shoalhaven River. AMK just arrived at TA11 90 minutes after Seagate. This leg was estimated to take 11 hrs for the fastest team and 29.5 hrs for the slowest team. It's remote with helicopter access only and racers need to carry any human waste with them. Racers need to be off the water between 8 pm and 5 am.
Leg 12 is a 56 km kayak leg estimated to take 7.5 to 15 hrs. On both this leg and the previous leg, there are sections where helmets are required. Racers with sore feet must be extremely grateful for these long paddle sections. Hopefully they can air their feet out a bit.
Leg 13 is a 99 km mountain bike leg (7-18 hrs). Any team that may finish in the top 5 will serve any time penalty at the end of this leg.
Leg 14 is 18 km on sore feet (3-6.5 hrs) - ow, OW, OW!! There is some swimming too with the possibility of "dangerous currents". But after that, it's all sunshine, beaches and beer!
From the latest Sleepmonsters report, we have both AMK and Vidaraid suffering with bad feet problems:
AMK - Rob Preston looked grim and Mari Chandler was looking after a very sore footed Erik Sanders. He was carrying his shoes and very gingerly treading his way through the grass at the roadside – every step a hesitant and painful one.
Vidaraid - Barbara Bomfim walking very gingerly on extremely sore feet – you could see every step was just about too painful to bear.
I wonder how they will fair on the 99km cycle and 18km trek to come with PW hot on their heels...
Time penalties are pending for several teams, but in the front of the pack, the only one I see of consequence was issued to Estonia who will get a 2 hour penalty for losing their tracker (it was recovered and returned to them).
@Strong Machine, yes, Thule dropped out because of Martin's rib injury. However, they made a major nav error in the Budawangs too, which couldn't have helped their motivation. They decided to drop out during the trek and skipped the final CP (30) on their way to the TA.
Tecnu started pack rafting a little before 16:00. They'll have to pull ashore and camp during the dark zone tonight. Looks like they're still around 15th, tied with R'ADYS.
Canada AR arrived at the caving in 22nd place 6 hours ago and they're at the TA now so I assume they're finished and ready to head down for a little pack rafting before a long night of camping (and trying not to poop, haha!)
"At the sharp end of the race Seagate were the first to the caving at the Bungonia National Park and they found it a testing stage. The caves are tucked away in the gum forest and were hard to find, let alone complete. Teams had to get CP’s in 5 out of 6 caves scattered around the park and they are only identified by numbers on a simple sketch map. Once at the cave mouth the only thing identifying it was the right cave out of many hundreds was a 4cm square metal tag with a number on it, attached to the rock somewhere near the entrance! Not easy in the dark.
Seagate did all 6 caves in the end, taking the full 5 hours available for this non-competitive stage. The reason was that one of them was just too tight a squeeze for Nathan Fa’avae to get through! He had to back out and they tried another cave. With a difficult descent through the Bungonia Slot Canyon to reach the Shoalhaven river for pack rafting next they opted to sleep for 3 hours after the caving and may now try to push through to the finish without stopping again."
"Team AUS Results Racing (team 80) have decided to withdraw from the race after Bethany Dunne injured her wrist yesterday. The team camped overnight at the end of leg 6 paddle at Shallow Crossing to see if her wrist would improve in the morning which it hasn’t."
Then, there's Estonia's stalled tracker. Going to guess they are somewhere in the vicinity of Naturex, perhaps ahead of them by a bit. Assuming they are moving, CP37s geofence will not pick them up, I expect.
Geez, Team Shotz (AU)'s tracker is also stalled and is probably in front of both Naturex and Estonia. Silly canyon walls...why can't they amplify the tracker signals instead of deflecting and absorbing them?
Next into TA11 should Naturex followed closely by Estonia then probably Shotz, within the next 15-30 min. if their pace has matched that of their competition. Hopefully their trackers will wake up when they get there, too.
Painted Wolf and Columbia are now putting their kayaks into the river together apparently. This head to head battle might actually reel in AMK at some point, but odds are good given the amount of distance still remaining, it'll also wipe these two teams out and AMK will pull away again tonight on the bikes or on the trek in the morning.
It also appears that Mountain Designs and Bones will pass thru the dark zone (ends at CP37) without needing to get off the water. Not sure how many others behind them will have that luxury...probably Hoka and Blackhill? Everyone behind those teams is likely in for a night of rock hopping at the river's edges. Or lots of sleep. Nearest is Torpedo 7...T7...they might actually get there if they push and don't have any slow downs.
Looks like Seagate have about 1.5 hours to AMK and then the same sort of gap back to Clombia and Painted Wolf in close formation. Not enough for any serious nav issues or mechanicals on the final bike leg before the run to the finish.
Good to see Endurancelife have made it to the caves this evening (10pm local time) after another clean nav on the big trek and bike sections. Being all fairly small, they should be able to fit through the small cave squeezes - this might be the leg that they can say they beat Seagate!
TA9 looks like a real party town tonight which should be fun to watch as all the teams hit the river at first light tomorrow.
Looks like none of the teams stuck by the river are trying to hike it. Radys and Tecnu are camped up on one side and Peak Adventure look to be just over the river 100m away. They are about 6km from CP37 so if it was passable on foot you could have a go but I guess it's not very appealing.
Think it was a glitch GD44. On mine, it's corrected. That said:
"Team AMK - Adventure Medical Kits is about to discover they have caught TM Seagate who are sleeping at the TA."
If AMK happens to be able to jump on their bikes right now without sleeping, this is going to be a crazy ending. Did Seagate misjudge AMK? Should they have pushed on? Is AMK pushing it too far in regards to rest? Are they going to blow up? Things just got very interesting:)
Seagate has always been a step ahead of everyone else strategically, but they usually have more of a cushion to play with.
Also: Estonia has not tracked in an hour. Breadcrumbs suggest they are therefore 2+ hours ahead of Bones. SO, their 2 hour sit out should not give away their lead entirely assuming they more or less hold position now. It probably does mean they won't be able to catch anyone else if teams run the last legs clean. THOUGH, I assume they will get 2 hours of sleep, so who knows. They might be able to run some teams down if others are wrecked and elect not to sleep.
Has anyone else felt like this race is fantastic in terms of the continuous level of competition? Aside from the now dark-zone induced gap at about 15th place, there has never been more than a 3 hour gap from anyone in the top 15 to the team ahead or behind. And, now, those gaps are less than 2 hours. Seagate has been holding firm to the lead for quite some time, but there is little margin for error among these leading teams.
SCENE: boat launch, Seagate unloading their kit and moving their boats up off the water.
Seagate: How far ahead are we?
Marshall: Oh, an hour and fifteen minutes or so.
Seagate: Grand, let's get our bikes ready and then get an hour of sleep.
Bystander: But AMK will catch you in TA and then who knows what will happen? Do you really want to give up your lead?
Seagate: No worries. It's still a long way to the finish and we're going to need to sleep. If we sleep now, we can finish the race without sleeping again. And if AMK sees us they will be pressured to continue without sleep, which is going to be rough. And we're Seagate...
Seriously. according to social media they have banked more sleep than any of the leaders before that hour or so. Any question that this rationale didn't cross their minds? Or at least something like it? They have already nearly rebuilt their lead, and as much as I want to see AMK keep it interesting, I have a feeling the lead is going to extend now. Legends.
And yeah, this race has been the best to follow in regards to competition and changes. Just imagine if some of those other top teams were still in it (Thule, Godzone, Yealands...). Still amazingly competitive!
I'm going to say that Seagate are incredibly comfortable leading an AR and ARWC in particular. They don't really need to be racing other teams, and follow best strategy for themselves. There's a chance they've still got a bit in the tank incase it's required.
Overconfident maybe, but it sure does add a twist for the dot watchers
is anyone else impressed by the gap Seagate's opened up on AMK on this final MTB leg? they started just a few minutes apart from TA12 (albeit w different amounts of banked sleep, not sure on comparison) and now Seagate is almost 2hrs ahead (and almost to TA13)!
Yeah. Looked like AMK stopped for a bit after starting the bike, but even after they started up again Seagate has been widening the gap. Super impressive. AMK has run a very impressive race also, but has had a few small nav bobbles. Seagate appears to not have made any real mistakes again which has allowed them to rest and look to be finishing strong.
Pretty sure that AMK stopped for a sleep at the first CP after the transition (41). Seems like that sleep plus the gap they already had from the transition has put the gap just about where it is now. Honestly think both teams are moving at about the same pace with just a smidge less sleep overall for AMK. We'll see soon how it all plays out!
Estonia is going to give up some slots if I understand this correctly: They have to serve a 2 hour penalty at the final TA.
Earlier they had a big enough lead to absorb that, but Bones has closed the gap. Now Bones should be able to pass them in TA based on the current gap. Figure Estonia will sleep, so they will then be "fresh" to chase. Should be an exciting finish!
SAFAT also is going to be in a position to move up. Those guys have some serious speed it seems, especially on bikes. They already look to be eating into Bones' lead, so they too could catch Estonia with the penalty. Hope Bones has something left in the tank!
And the battle for 4th/5th is going to be good too.
Yep. Super close for battle for fourth between Painted Wolf and Naturex and they're easily within strking distance of Columbia Vidaraid and 3rd place.
As I understand it Estonia serves their 2 hour penalty at the next TA? They're in a group of 3 battling for 6th, but would then drop back at the TA. Looks like SAFAT and Bones are right at 2 hours behind that group right now, so we may have a tight race for 8-10th running down the coast.
Looks like Bones is on the move again and only stopped for 30-45 minutes. SAFAT is a strong biking team and all things being equal will be hard to catch, but I don't know where they are for sleep either.
This was interesting and explains why teams didn't leave after 5 hrs: "Once they collect all 5 CP’s teams can go back to the TA, set up in the National Park campsite, but are not given access to their bags until the 5hrs is up. They can go into the sleeping tents however." It hasn't been unusual for this section to take close to 5 hrs anyway.
Here's the most recent Sleepmonsters article. It mentions that both Seagate and Painted Wolf slept before biking but the other teams in the top five did not. I wonder if that will come into play later when they're all so close. AMK looks pretty safe in 2nd, having just arrived at the final TA.
CHAMPIONS. Seagate of New Zealand have just taken out the 2016 Adventure Racing World Championship in a performance that can only be described as dominant, virtually leading from start to finish. Whilst they never had more than a three hour lead which in expedition adventure racing is not a lot, you always got the feeling that they were in control. They banked more sleep than other teams which gave them options after the Caving. They decided to have a sleep this morning after the kayak leg by getting their bikes and gear ready, so that as soon as AMK came off the river they could leave. AMK (USA ) transitioned very quickly and tried to give chase but they soon had to stop for a 40 minute sleep and the rest was history. This is an unprecedented third straight win for Seagate, an achievement that may never be repeated again. It is hard enough to put one performance together that is good enough to win a World Championship, in a sport that is unpredictable with many variables, so to win three in a row is phenomenal. While this is the teams third win it is actually the fifth World Championship title for each of the male members of the team, Nathan Faavae, Stu Lynch and Chris Forne. However Stu probably still has the bragging rights as this is actually his fourth title in a row having won with Thule in Costa Rica 2013. This was the first time Jo Williams has step up and raced with Seagate but obviously her solid back ground and experience in Adventure Racing made her more than qualified. She took on the task of filling the shoes of Sophie Hart, considered by many as one of the best female races in the World. This would not have been easy but I guess the motivation of becoming a World Champion probably helped.
Regarding the time penalty for Estonia, I believe that I read that only penalized teams in contention for top 5 finish will be held at the final TA. Curious if they'll hold Estonia just in case any team directly in front of them and not yet finished stumbles on the hike, allowing Estonia to possibly cross the line in a position out of alignment with the final adjusted ranking. I guess, we'll soon see.
Focusing on the mid-pack Americans, DART looks to be on schedule to easily get through the packraft darkzone before it falls again this evening. Rev3's prospects for reaching CP37 are good, but they can't dawdle.
Further back, NYARA and 4050 still have the bike leg up to the caves, so they'll likely be chilling out at the cave HQ until it's time to make the trek down the river tomorrow morning.
Looks like Luncheon Creek Road goes through and PW will be fine...maybe just a wee bit o' bike bashing?
Recall that this section of the track on the first bike stage was where many teams wandered around for a while trying to find the right route. Maybe PW found some alternative roads a few days ago and is taking advantage of that knowledge?
Columbia is in Mollymook on the outskirts of Ulladulla. They've earned the 3rd place on the podium.
Naturex leads Painted Wolf by about 3 km on the trek (4th and 5th place).
Estonians, Shotz and AdventureJunkies are all at the final TA, a 3-way tie for 6th place. Good job of catching up by the Estonians! They probably won't need to sit out their 2-hr penalty here since It's unlikely that they could overtake Painted Wolf.
There's a large gap back to SAFAT in 9th and Bones in 10th. The gap behind Bones to 11th place Black Hill/Opavanet is huge. The only other team who has started the bike leg is 12th place Mountain Designs Tiger Adventure.
SAFAT took a wrong turn near the place where Painted Wolf took its wrong turn - but they're on the opposite side of Luncheon Creek Road. Looks like they may have turned around now to head back to the main route. In the meantime, Bones has pulled away in 9th place.
On the trek, the 6th-8th place teams (Shotz, AdventureJunkie and Estonians-depending-on-their-penalty) are making time on Painted Wolf. They'll need to keep pushing to stay in the top 5.
With the Aussies pushing Painted Wolf on the last beach trek, it looks feasible that PW could catch up to Naturex...or Naturex will see them coming and pick up their own pace. Should be an entertaining next hour or so.
Congratulations Columbia Vidaraid for your third place podium finish!! You guys have been incredibly consistent at worlds over the past several years. Top 5 for four or five years straight now if I recall correctly - amazing!
Painted Wolf has just about caught Naturex less than 3km from the finish and, as fate would have it, they are running on parallel roads through a neighborhood and neither probably knows it. I'm sure one team will notice the other any moment now.
Just noticed that the Aussies of adventurejunkie have slipped off the pace. Seems incredible that any of them are keeping up with each other. I'm considering collapsing just watching their dots speed along.
I just realized that Bones has a chance at 8th if they hustle. Estonia covered the trek in 2hrs and a few minutes. They apparently owe a 2 or 2.5 hr penalty which has not been assessed yet. Bones had already started the trek before Estonia finished. If they move at Estonia's pace, they will most certainly finish less than 2 hours behind Estonia on the clock. Add in the penalty time and voila!
There was talk of the Estonia penalty only being required at TA12 if they were in the Top5.
That seems a rather odd rule, and there was a point that they could have overhauled PW (or in the end Naturex) for 5th. Just leaves too much grey area in my mind, rules need to be absolute!
Don't want to be accused of betting against Seagate, their decision to sleep at TA11 totally vindicated. Also want to make mention of the 2011 ARWS Tasmania - when they also dominated the field, but mainly lost out due to a 4hr time penalty from forgetting their tracker early on.
Still taking it in, and trying not to place too much emphasis on what was an insane finish all across the Top 10, but I do remember that race being a real thriller to follow compared to the 2016 version.
Yes, I read that but like shebeen points out above (likely while I was writing my comment!), having a threshold that's in the top 5 seems a little strange to me given that the course is open for so long.
So right now Bones is in a race for 8th and don't even know it. If Estonia had had to wait at the last TA, Bones (and all the other teams) would have known that they were fighting for another position up the leaderboard.
Wow just played it back. That was some hustle by PW to catch and pass Naturex in the last km. Also some battle for 6th to 8th! To have teams finishing 1 minute from each other in a race this length is nuts!
At Wilderness Traverse, if we don't have an opportunity to make teams sit out their penalty, we do our best to inform nearby teams. If Bones talked to media or supporters over the past couple of days, it seems likely they would have heard about the penalty.
Given that two top 10 teams (Painted Wolf and SAFAT) lost big time between CP44 and CP45 in daylight, it will be interesting to see whether later teams have trouble finding the best route, especially in the dark.
After traveling a long time with R'ADYS, Tecnu finally dropped them during the kayak paddle. They arrived at TA12 with a half hour lead and started biking before R'ADYS but they were passed during the night and are now 25 minutes behind in 16th place. It looks like Tecnu may have taken a cat nap at CP43.
R'ADYS also snuck past Peak Adventure while they were off exploring roads to the north. They are now in 14th place with less than a 1 km lead.
13th place HOKA has returned from a 20-minute detour on Blackbutt Road, reducing their lead over R'ADYS to just a few kms. Another battle shaping up.
Back to Canadian news - I got distracted! Team Canada AR are in 22nd place early in the bike leg, about 6 hrs behind Tecnu.
Sweco has just returned to the main bike route after spending just over an hour exploring Kangaroo Hill Link and Tianjara Fire Trail. This must be tough nav in the dark! Salomon-Suunto Czech AR Team rode past them into 17th place while they were off the main route.
Meanwhile, back in the proverbial mangroves, there are three teams who have yet to finish the Leg 8 Budawangs trek. I read somewhere about a cut-off early Tuesday morning at TA8. I think it might have been 7 a.m. but I didn't hear what would happen to those racers. Anyone know?
Don't know (could look but too lazy/tired) what happens with short course teams. I have assumed from day 1 they would bike NE out of TA8, skipping the caves and the big paddle. I'd even venture that they'd be expected to pick up the CPs from CP43 to the finish.
I don't recall where, I think maybe on the scan of the course overview map (provided to racers), but the short course was marked on that. From TA8, if I recall correctly, they ride due east, yes, picking up with CP43 or 44. 43 makes sense.
I can't see the info in the Course Notes Randy posted so I'm not sure where to look. I saw a comment on a Facebook post yesterday that mentioned the Tuesday morning cut-off but I don't know where to find that info in official race sources.
R'ADYS beat Peak Adventure and HOKA into TA13 by 10 minutes after a terrific bike leg! They are already trekking in 13th place after a quick TA. The other two teams are still at the TA.
One of the reasons I love following races with a worldwide audience on AP... I learned that Painted Wolf refers to the endangered African Wild Dog - an animal I didn't know about. Aren't they beautiful?
R'ADYS continues to fly! They are 300 m behind 12th place Black Hills/OpavaNET on the opposite side of the Narrawallee Creek crossing. Tecnu has started trekking in 15th place or 16th place. HOKA hasn't updated recently, hence the uncertainty. Salomon-Suunto Czech AR has just arrived at TA13 in 17th.
Merrell is waiting for ~8am local time to visit a nearby (~1km) bike shop for a new rear derailleur. They have opted to drop in the ranking over becoming unranked by borrowing an unranked/DNF team's bike.
Wow, Salomon-Suunto Czech AR must have just thrown their bikes in a heap and started running! They've almost caught up to Tecnu already. Hoka just tracked and they are still back at the TA. So this is a battle for 15th.
Mont Adventure Racing has gone off-route in the Bermuda Triangle, this time entering the vortex west of Luncheon Creek Rd. where Painted Wolf went.
Black Hill/OpavaNET was able to hang on for 12th place in spite of a good push by R'ADYS, who seemed to fade a bit in the middle of the trek before finishing 8 minutes back in 13th. Peak Adventure took 14th place 20 minutes later. These teams all finished the race in approximately 4 days 18 hrs, as compared to Seagate's 3 days 23 hrs.
Salomon-Suunto Czech AR has crossed Narrawallee Creek and Tecnu is just getting ready to go. If Tecnu has any sprint left in them, they might be able to make a play for 15th place but they didn't give chase when passed so they have probably been giving their all.
Farther back on the trek, Hoka and Sweco are neck and neck in a tie for 17th. Outnorth has almost finished the bike leg in 19th.
Mont Adventure Racing is currently 20th but if they take too long to find their way back to Luncheon Creek Road, they could be passed by Cloud Base Nine.
Although Mont Adventure Racing found their way back to Luncheon Creek Road before Cloud Base Nine got there, they were subsequently passed. It's still very close though so the final top 20 position could go to either team.
Canada update: Team Canada AR just passed CP 44 tied for 22nd place with BMX Bandits, about 7 hrs behind Tecnu. There are a lot of teams in this race, and the spread in finish times is not as big as we've seen in many expedition races.
Team Canada AR is just entering the Bermuda Triangle of the bike leg. Stay on track, friends!
A quick update on the remaining UK teams after Godzone's unfortunate early departure:
Endurancelife Tiger Adventure have been having a really solid race so far. Tom and Ben raced together in Costa Rica World Champs where they were doing well until falling victim to the mangrove swamp from hell - they're hoping to improve on that experience by finishing in the top third this year and not getting bitten on the arse by a spider. Right now they're in 34th at the end of the kayak stage so within arm's reach of their goal if they can catch a couple of teams napping in transition. Kevin is an exped veteran having already raced ExpedAfrica, ITERA AND Godzone this year and while Lena has only one exped (Alaska) under her belt, she is proving herself more than a match for the boys.
Peaklife Sport are hanging in at #60 and it looks like they've beaten the cutoff, having just got down to the river for packrafting. Will they have time to complete the full course by the final cutoff on Friday?
Of worthy mention in any discussion of UK racers is Sabrina Verjee who's racing under the Spanish flag on team Raid Gallaecia Fridama, currently in 24th position but only just behind Canada AR and BMX Bandits on the final bike. Sabs raced with this team at ExpedAfrica and has a huge amount of exped experience to her credit in the last few years as well as a growing list of ultrarunning wins in the UK. She's also beating her fiance Ben on Team Endurancelife which must have been one of their goals :-)
USA update, finished AMK - 2nd Columbia Vidaraid - 3rd (i've never thought of them as US but glad to adopt!) Bones - 9th
still on course: Team DART Adventure Racing (#32) - at TA12, ready to start MTB and then the final trek. less than 24h to go for them? roughly 33rd place right now.
REV3Adventure/USMES (#90) - packrafting in a pack w Juggernaut, a Aussie Tiger team, and Type 2 Fun (also Aussie) roughtly 50th place right now
NYARA (#46) - i believe they have started packrafting!
4050 Adventure (#56) - i also believe they have started packrafting! which is awesome because they are borrowing my and Sami_11's Gnu. so i hope it treats them well! they are in the back of the pack but pretty sure that's of no concern to this bunch.
South African ladies and gennelmen: start your engines! Well, the Merrell-supporting ones anyway. Merrell Adventure Addicts finally have their bike derailleur problems sorted (not that the first shop they visited showed them anything like service, thank goodness for the 2nd one) and are on the move.
In recent years, Merrell have been a top 10 team, so it must be disappointing not to have been able to deliver their best on such a race-oriented course, but they are full of smiles, and are certain to arrive at the finish midst much jubilation from their supporters.
Although Canada AR did not get sucked into the Bermuda Triangle, they tried a different route choice that didn't pay off. They've been passed by BMX Bandits, East Wind and Raid Gallaecia Fridama. The four teams are all biking within 4 km of one another near CP45 so there's time to recover. For now, they've moved from 22nd to 25th.
Regarding Seagate and the 2011 ARWC in Australia, they do lose the race due to a penalty by forgetting their tracker. They led all stages except the last one following serving their penalty. Here is a photo of a joke from the race organizers related to it.
TheOrangeDot mentioned the reason for the two trackers way, way up in this thread. I'm wondering about the reason for the 30-minute penalty for Estonia vs. a 4-hr penalty a few years ago. I know the rules are updated regularly but that's a big change and we'd already heard it would be 2 hrs.
Here's the scoop on the 2 trackers. You're right - they were being extra careful and as a result, we got pretty good tracking.
"Teams are carrying 2 trackers.. a GPRS tracker that records locations every 3-5 mins and a yellowbrick satellite tracker. For much of the event so far they have been in mobile coverage and the tracking you have been seeing has been served by the GPRS tracker.
Now we are getting to the part of the event where the YB tracker is coming in to its own (although Seagates tracker has very good mobile coverage right now). The GPRS trackers will still record the route and will update as soon as they get a sniff of mobile coverage."
Looks like Team Canada AR is going to win the sprint finish for 22nd place ahead of the 3 other teams they've been dicing with! (Practising my SA vocab.) They're less than 1 km from the finish now, about 1 km ahead of East Wind. I'm looking forward to JayXC's report. I'll bet this was a seriously non-relaxing way to finish a race.
And that probably wraps up our "Canada News" segment but most of the teams are still racing. It's impressive that after 5 days, only 9 teams have retired, 5 are unranked and 2 are short coursed. The leaderboard still shows 78 teams on the full course (including 24 who have now finished)!!
I just watched a video of the Swiss Adventure Racing team finish and there was no crowd or anyone else there apart from Louise and the person doing the videoing. They hugged, patted each other on the back You can see it on there FB page - Team Switzerland Adventure Racing. These were my thought on it. I love this because there is no crowd but it doesn't matter because often Adventure Racing is so personal. It's all about you and your team completing the course and sometimes it wouldn't matter if another living soul knew about it. You know and that's all that matters!
Interesting! The penalty is now 2.5 hrs, which was one of the numbers we'd heard. I think this is the first race using the new ARWS referees. Perhaps a penalty decision needed to be finalized by the referees. Too bad for the Estonians, who had a great race otherwise but congrats to Bones!
Merrell finished in 26th place with 30 bonus minutes, likely for their missing gear box. I'm sure the impact on their race was much more than that but maybe that was the time they actually waited for it. Good on them - that's still a terrific result for a team that dealt with major adversity, took a half-day break during the race for a bike repair, and toughed it out to the finish in the top 30%. Impressive.
That's really useful - thanks! So the Estonians got two penalties, 30 minutes for leaving trash in a kayak and 2 hrs for losing their tracker.
Sweco got a 2-hr penalty for a lost tracker too. It was added at the finish line.
Painted Wolf served a 30-minute penalty on course for leaving trash and Naturex served 30 minutes for wearing an unzipped jacket over a race bib.
There were several longer penalties for teams who were reported to have broken the 100 m rule, e.g. sending one teammate in to punch a control while the others waited. That's one of my peeves so it's nice to see RDs cracking down on it. It's hard to catch everyone who cheats that way but even if a few are caught, teams may be more careful in future and it will make the sport more fair.
And there were a few more! Sounds like the new ARWS referees stayed busy. It will be interesting to see if teams thought there were too many penalties.
As a race organizer, I'm impressed at the way they're managing so many teams that have spread out so much! The back of the pack teams on the full course are just starting the Leg 11 pack raft section now. Only half of the full course teams have finished - 39 out of 78. The course closes Friday at 13:00, which is more than 50 hrs from now. Then dinner and awards are Friday evening. Some teams will get to enjoy an extended Aussie vacation!
Can someone confirm/clarify? In the most recent sleepmonsters article, Rob says it's the last night on the course and it closes at 1PM "tomorrow". I BELIEVE he means in ten hours since he wrote the article "last night" and it's 3 AM over there.
On XPD's homepage it says the course is open until 1 PM on Friday the 18th. I believe it is currently 3 AM on THURSDAY in eastern Australia, which would suggest that the course is in fact open for another 34 hours....
I don't know the race documents well enough. Did they officially change what was published on their website? Does the race cutoff on Thursday at 1PM? Or was this a mistake by Rob Howard and it's open for one more night and day?
Both the route book and the race website say the course closes Friday at 13:00. On the Sleepmonsters Facebook page, two people have commented to ask whether this story has an error. Given that the final ranked teams are still kayaking and haven't been stopped, I think SM miscalculated.
Anyone else wish the cool spiral of teams that happens when lots of flags/dots overlap on the tracking map would sort the teams by current ranking order? Maybe with the leaders at the center working outward?
by my rough math: Team 55: Intrepid Tiger is second to last team out. They are approximately 8 hours behind team 63 who is on the first part of the trek. It's taking the back of the pack teams 4-5 hours to finish the trek. SO...8 hours+say 3 (which would be fast, but 63 is part way in): means 11 hours at least to get to the finish. This gets 55 in around noon with only 1 hour to spare. Going to be tight, me thinks.
Team 87, Coromandel, is about two hours behind Intrepid. Thinking they won't make it unless XPD allows the line to stay open into the afternoon for them. Which would be nice:)
And our final teams are making things interesting still.
Team 87 has apparently decided to sleep at CP42. I'm guessing they either have conceded they won't make the cutoff, or they are trusting/assuming/know that they will be allowed to finish past the cutoff.
Team 55 has decided to go dark rather than allowing us to watch them battle the time cutoff...
It's all over. There were 77 full course finishers - a record for any expedition AR. Organizers let the last team, Adventure Racing Coromandel, finish 5 hrs after the cut-off - but they only placed 2nd last due to penalty minutes added to Scouts Tiger Adventure. Only 9 teams retired completely, 2 teams did the short course and 6 teams finished unranked. The finish line was kept open for 96 hrs - one hour longer than it took Seagate to finish the race!
I believe it was from a gentleman who expressed admiration for your team having a female navigator and, intending to be complimentary, added that most adventure racing teams don't think of women taking the primary navigator role so it was great to see. Or something like that. If he is still reading this thread, maybe he can confirm. Upon reading a subsequent comment, he decided his comment had not come across as intended so he deleted it. It wasn't bad at all and didn't need to be deleted. He's just a nice guy who felt bad.
Congratulations on your race! Would you be willing to post a link to your race report in this forum?
Haven't read your post, Georgia, but congrats on a great finish! I will defer to the author of the post to speak for himself if he sees this, but I personally believe the comment was a classic case of something that maybe came across as something different than intended when posted through short-form stream of consciousness format.
Ultimately (and I don't recall the comment's actual wording) I think the author was applauding the effort of your team. As you very well know, ours is a sport with interesting gender dynamics, and I think the author was simply trying to cheer for you guys as a team that buck the gender norms of our sport. I think that some may have interpreted the comment as coming from a place of "surprise" that a team that wasn't traditionally 3-1 male was holding their own. In fact, I think the author was simply highlighting how awesome you guys were doing.
I admit, I'm biased as I know the author and think he is a stand-up guy. I firmly believe from following his racing career and knowing what he thinks of the sport and its participants that the intention was truly to celebrate your team rather than anything else.
I'll leave my two cents at that. Ultimately, I think it probably sounds like something it wasn't!
Agreed, the primary purpose of the deleted comment was to highlight your team's good performance. I don't know the commenter in real life but he clearly meant well and would like to have a do-over with slightly different wording!
Yes, there was nothing bad intended in the comment at all. I was just giving him a hard time in jest because of the way it was worded...didn't intend for anything to get deleted. Apologies for the sarcasm.
It was great to see several teams running with multiple women and more ladies taking leadership and navigational roles out there! Congrats on a great race Georgia!
.... at EC '96 in BC we had two women on our team (of 5 back then). One of the women was our primary navigator and when Mark Burnett called our team up on stage to receive an award at the closing ceremony he asked (Rhonda) 'what's it like being a female navigator?'
I immediately started laughing in anticipation or her response, but she more or less let him off the hook with a sideways glance and replied 'I guess about the same as a male navigator'.... lot's of chuckles from the audience... for some reason it didn't make the final edit of the show. :-)
Sorry for missing my chance to reply to Georgia's question when she initially asked it, but Bash' and broots' explanations were correct. I was very impressed by the Sneaky Weasel Gang's efforts and especially excited since I also race on a team with a female navigator and two women racers.
To britty, totally got the sarcasm but the wording on my post was ineloquent, to say the least, so I decided to delete the original post.
Congrats to all finishers! Going to read JayXC's race report now...need my AR fix for the day.
I don't think having two females slowed us down at all in this race although it made it harder for the guys having to carry more gear and assist when we had to portage the boats. We worked this out by having Anna and I do their transition for them while they did two trips carrying the boats.
I used to think the role of a female navigator was limited to slower teams and I'd have to get used to just following if I wanted to be in a top team. XPD changed my mind on that point. A lot of the competitive teams around us on the first two nights could have benefitted from having a better navigator in their team and I was keeping up just fine doing the navigating! Kathryn in Shotz seemed to be doing an excellent job too.
Do you have any idea if and how these recommendations become implemented? In other words, what is the official governing process?
Considering this athlete forum only had elite-level competitors, it might be wise for the AR powers-that-be to do a more comprehensive survey of all ARWS racers via email. Not that I disagree with much that was said at the forum (thanks to LegendaryRandy for the podcast covering it).
My understanding from listening to Randy's recording of it is that this discussion was more of a general airing of ideas rather than a step toward implementation. I think Craig and Louise were listening with open minds, but I don't know if the intention was to then implement.
It was an interesting discussion to listen to, though I recommend doing so with better than normal audio as it was not always easy to hear everyone (i.e. maybe not the best for workouts or something with ambient noise).
I was there (albeit I missed the first 20 minutes or so) - from what I understood the intent was for Craig and Louise to assess the strength of feeling on a number of issues. Nothing that was said was binding or was committed to by the ARWS team as an issue that was definitely going to change (or not), it was merely a sampling of opinion. The opinions expressed by the audience present (probably 75 people spanning a wide ability of racers and a number of ARWS race directors) will be used to guide any future development of the series, both in terms of amending the formal regulations and to provide guidance for race directors/planners.
It was an interesting session - some of the topics were surprisingly controversial. For example I expected everyone to be against the use of sails, but there was a large part of the room advocating their use. Who knew? Maybe people just hate paddling...
Funny, I was amazed there was any opposition to the use of sails! I've done a number of wilderness paddling trips, and we've occasionally made sails out of tarps or tent flies on rare days when conditions were right. A bit of sailing has been part of paddling expeditions for a long time - not usually with real sails though. So for me, the podcast was an eye opener on that subject for the opposite reason!
Problem with sails is that if you get on the river at the wrong time, they are useless, whereas another team may get a huge advantage or you could just be in a team that is crap at building them (my team at XPD Whitsundays). Yes I realise this applies to paddling in general in terms of wind and tide but I think sails could really weigh in a team or teams' favour.
But there are so many aspects of the sport one could apply that argument to, if we wanted to go down that road. Racers who can afford more expensive mountain bikes may have an advantage. Teams that arrive at a tricky nav section in the dark may have a disadvantage. Teams that choose to carry better first aid kits may be better equipped to continue after an injury or illness. I've never seen a sail provide anywhere close to the same benefit as a favourable tide - at least not in the same consistent, predictable manner over several hours. I've only raced with sails once or twice but I can't see why I should stop other racers from carrying them.
And this is why there was such an energetic discussion at ARWC! :)
I've proven time and time again that my $2k (road) bike kicks butt over a $10k bike ridden by a cyclist who hasn't trained as much as I have!
The first aid kit isn't comparable. If you go in underprepared then face the consequences.
You are right about nav at night though but such is the nature of the sport. You just have to be skilled enough to navigate in both day and night but yeah, I've had so many discussions with teammates during races where someone comments 'I'm glad we're not here at night!' Then we get to some other tricky section at night and get lost.
One reason AR organisers tend to supply boats is so that everyone is on an equal footing (also transporting them on the plane would be hell). In terms of other equipment, there's only so much benefit you can get from better gear, which anyone is free to purchase (if wealthy enough). You can't buy a favourable wind. We certainly couldn't in last year's ARWC and boy did that suck.
Around here, there's been plenty of discussion about organizers providing boats too. Why should racers be on an equal footing on the water but not on bikes, often using boats that no one would choose to paddle for fun? Why shouldn't better paddlers get the same advantage as better cyclists? (Low hull speed of many AR boats takes away some of their advantage.) Even if we disagree that a better bike can take less energy to ride (something I've experienced personally), we can agree that a long hike-a-bike is easier with a lighter bike.
While I've rarely used sails, I just see a "no sails" rule as being really random in a sport where we accept that weather, daylight, tides and other natural conditions may affect teams differently. It is another example - like the first aid kit - of choosing to carry extra gear that may or may not benefit you, depending on what happens. Some teams set up their two boats to tow but they couldn't do that if conditions are too rough during their passage. Some teams use rigid poles to connect two boats into one but that could be precarious in the wrong weather. In Canadian terrain, teams sometimes carry pack rafts on trekking sections but lightning or fluctuating water levels may prevent their use at certain times. On bikes, teams choose tires before the race without knowing whether rain will make mud tires a better choice by the time they reach a particular section. Racers who carry extra-powerful headlamps might reach the tricky nav section in daylight. Racers who carry ice spikes could have a huge advantage after a mountain storm.
On a different note, teams have sometimes used sails (even just their mandatory tents) to help move a sick or injured teammate forward, which may not be faster than two people paddling but it's resourceful and consistent with the spirit of a sport where we celebrate Team East Wind moving an injured teammate through the mountains by wheelbarrow.
Anyway, it's not a big deal - just interesting to hear strong feelings on a subject that hadn't seemed controversial to me before. We've been getting a lot of that in North America lately - nothing to do with AR. ;)
I was at the meeting in Ulladulla (I was also at the meeting in Cairns in '97 when Geoff H, and Robert N, and Steve G etc were trying to resolve some AR issues of the day... the 'birth' of the old ARA... I recall it being more safety related back then but similar 'vibe' to this discussion).
Now, as then, a lot of people have a hard time separating what they like and expect (based on their personal introduction to the sport) from what is fair, makes sense and is reasonable to manage/apply on the course. I can say I used to be very rigid as to what should be considered AR and what is 'acceptable', but I've since gotten old and soft ... especially around the middle :-)
Good luck getting everyone to agree on many of these issues and even when everyone seems to agree there will still be teams that feel they were disadvantaged or treated unfairly at times ... perhaps rightfully so in any given event. There were good examples of this at the November meeting.
One of the biggest challenges I see for AR is that what people want out of it varies greatly from team to team, person to person... and in my case at least, it even varies for one person over time. If you try to satisfy only one subset, you risk shrinking/restricting the audience/participants even further... would it still be AR? Depends who you ask.
IMHO the same thing that makes our sport great is the thing that will often leave some teams feeling slighted/abused/ripped off. Every race is unique. Even if you ran the exact same course on two separate dates the experience could be completely different.. and the longer the course the more different it would be.
My advice, (when it's asked) is to pick your races by the RD. If you don't like their race, don't go back.. or if everyone (you know) who does their races says it stinks, don't go. The good races will survive and thrive and the sport will benefit from the strengthening of 'good' events .. whether or not they have sails or camel riding or in-line skating or SUP's or heaven forbid OPTIONAL CP's!! :-)
... and for what's it worth, I've never been in an Expedition race where sails had a bigger impact (across all of the teams) than the ropes section did (due to line-ups mostly)
Wish I had the solution... don't know if there is ONE.
My advice, (when it's asked) is to pick your races by the RD.
Yeah I know someone who won't race Alaska again purely because of the race director.
I've been stuck on roping sections too many times to count now. It's more of a novelty component than something that the good roping teams can make up time on, particularly if there aren't time credits for getting held up.
Why not let RDs decide what they want the rules of their race(s) to be, and let the competitors decide whether they want to be a part of a race or not?
As long as the race rules are clear in advance and racers know what they're committing to, I think the sport retains more flexibility and fun in letting RDs design the rules they think would work best for the course they've designed.
However, I do like the addition of official ARWS race referees. Seems like RDs are put in tough positions when their racers are also their paying clients ...
One issue that came up repeatedly in the meeting (and this relates to both the packraft and sails issues) is the "barrier to entry" that each additional item presents to new teams. AR is a scary enough proposition with 3 core disciplines that you need to be competent in and have kit for. Start to include more disciplines or open up the rules, and you increase the amount of kit that is necessary to compete (or to be competitive), and you put off more and more teams from entering, as it is not only another skill to master, but more $$ to a) buy or rent the equipment, and b) pay excess baggage for on the flight to the race. This should not be underestimated - we are trying to grow the sport, not to price newcomers out of entering!
Amen djtom. For the newbie, the amount of gear and $$$ is daunting. I don't even want to think about how much we've spent trying to do this sport. I think if a RD wants to add a new dimension to the sport, they need to seriously consider how much value it's adding versus the cost to the athletes.
One issue that came up repeatedly in the meeting (and this relates to both the packraft and sails issues) is the "barrier to entry" that each additional item presents to new teams.
Not only to new teams but even to those that (in the case of the 2016 ARWC) had already entered without even being given a hint of the new discipline added at a later date that cost most teams members an extra couple of hundred dollars!