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Discussion: Raid Gallaecia

in: Adventure Racing; News

May 8, 2017 1:01 PM # 
Off and running!

Live tracking:

I know Cliff from Strong Machine (StrongMachine here) is racing, on Chaos Machine. Not sure of other APers.

Team list:


24 Hour Meals Adventure Team
ARCADIA Adventure Addicts
Chaos Machine
Cyanosis Adventure Racing
Estonian ACE Adventure
BlackHILL / OpavaNET
Issy Absolu Occitanie
KWT Extreme Team
Marqués de Vizhoja Cornelios-Puerto Guardés
Neumáticos JL TEAM
Northwest Expedition Team
PowerBar Swiss Explorers
Red Arras
Salomon Adventure
Sweco Adventure Team
Team FMR Team
USWE Adventure Team


Aromon A Gramola Team
Cambate Las Patas
Cambate las patas
Desert Dogs
May 8, 2017 1:10 PM # 
Nic Mulder (nmulder) and Nathan Thompson (nthompson) racing on Cyanosis. Still pretty tightly bunched but early days...
May 8, 2017 1:32 PM # 
Aside from maybe Godzone, I'd say this is the strongest ARWS race this year by far, and it's definitely the strongest diverse field. Will be really interesting to see all of this play out.

In addition to the big name teams, Urtiz from Columbia is racing with 24 Hour Meals.

Curious to see how USWE does. They are a new team who declared they want to compete at the top at ARWC. Good first test for them (they do have some impressive accomplishments as individuals).

Also curious to see FMR again. We saw them at ITERA last year when they dominated a tough race that had some top level teams in it.

Can Cyanosis finish at or near the top again? Something tells me they won't get the same level of navigation in this one:)

And then there are ten or so other good to great teams racing. Will be exciting!

And of course, I'm cheering on Chaos Machine. For Strong Machine, this is is his second ARWS race. Hoping the conditions are nicer than Ireland! Two of his teammates have done CT I think, and maybe UNE. I think the other did PQ Tahoe, not sure if she has done more. So, fingers crossed they work their way through the course as smoothly as possible!
May 8, 2017 1:41 PM # 
Race maps for S1 to S4 have been posted to Google Drive. The rest of the maps will be posted when teams get to S5.
May 8, 2017 1:50 PM # 
And, brilliantly, the race maps can be toggled as a layer on the live trackng :)
May 8, 2017 2:25 PM # 
Agree on the maps Stijn...brilliant!

Jumped on here to point out that the lead bunch has diverged from the expected paddle track up a tributary. Let's see who figured out the blunder first and takes over the lead.
May 8, 2017 2:29 PM # 
AH - Looks like Estonia (orienteering pros) are the first to catch on and have assumed the lead. SWECO, Blackhill, and Omjakon are still going deeper into their nav blunder. Wow, it's not dark there...wonder what's so tricky about that fork?
May 8, 2017 2:46 PM # 
Indeed! Colossal blunder for the lead teams! I'm guessing one of them led the way down and the others just bulled on ahead without thinking. Wow! Didn't expect any excitement until the trek at least!
May 8, 2017 2:50 PM # 
Estonia definitely proved their navigational prowess in Pantanal - glad to see it's paying dividends again today!
May 8, 2017 2:59 PM # 
Sleepmonsters article on the race start. Interesting to see two references to race referees watching closely. Also, it's unseasonably hot.

Favourite quote: "Team XTTR63 from France arrived 15minutes late to collect their maps. Steve Lecomte was wearing full make-up with lipstick, black eye liner, neon blue eye shadow and cats whiskers drawn in red on his cheeks. He explained that they were staying in a gite about 30km from As Pontes and had forgotten several items of race gear back at the gite."
May 8, 2017 3:07 PM # 
Estonia did begin to move toward that same branch behind the lead teams, but then diverted, while the first three kept going. Everybody else behind (so far) have hugged river right around the tight bend at the fork.
May 8, 2017 3:12 PM # 
The map they were probably using at the time (Stage 2, Sheet B) does not show the channel that turns off to the south (the bend in the river is partly cut off at the bottom of the map) so it's not a place where everyone would have been super attentive. The next map overlaps and shows the junction.
May 8, 2017 3:13 PM # 
Somebody tell Anne-Marie that we need pics of Mr. Lecomte in his makeup.
May 8, 2017 3:15 PM # 
Good spot, Bash. That makes sense. Simple case of "always check your maps at any fork in the trail"...or river, in this case.
May 8, 2017 3:20 PM # 
Reviewing the impact of that nav error, SWECO and Omjakon have dropped 11 spots from 1, 2 to 12, 13. Blackhill went from 3 to ~15. Very early in the race, so lots of time to make up the difference and they must be newly motivated to regain some spots.
May 8, 2017 3:43 PM # 
Thanks for digging into the maps Bash. That would explain it!

Sounds like the next leg will be both beautiful and maybe has the potential to shake some things up?
May 8, 2017 4:37 PM # 
SM says the three teams lost 40 minutes to their error - as well as the race lead.
May 8, 2017 4:44 PM # 
I love the control placement for CP5: it forces teams to decide if going around or over is the best course of action.
May 8, 2017 6:25 PM # 
Naturex in 2nd has just missed a turn at a trail junction after CP7.
May 8, 2017 6:27 PM # 
...and caught their mistake about 200m later.
May 8, 2017 7:22 PM # 
A little birdie told me that word from a racer coming out of the pre-race was that the nav on this section would be very tough and would perhaps determine some teams' race (this according to the RDs)....Thus far, and from a quick look at the maps, I don't quite see that...but maybe I'm missing something. We are also debating if maybe there was a miscommunication and that it is, in fact, a different leg that will serve as the crux?
May 8, 2017 7:24 PM # 
I think it gets hard with CP12 when the track moves onto an orienteering map (the roughly circular blue outline on the main map) and into darkness.
May 8, 2017 7:39 PM # 
I wondered the same, but the maps suggest one could and even should largely rely on trails and roads in the O section. All of the cps seem to be on trails/roads or just off of them. I haven't looked at the published O-map online...maybe that looks different. I know it may be harder than it looks, but I'm just surprised to hear that they are pitching this leg as one that could determine the race! Very curious to see how the teams handle it with this information in mind:)
May 8, 2017 7:43 PM # 
The orienteering map is part of the tracking map overlay, but I don't know how to get it to stay on top so I can study it. Right now it's behind Stage 3 map B for me.
May 8, 2017 7:46 PM # 
Posting from AR Live Tracker on facebook a few minutes ago:

"As day one comes to an end and darkness descends for the first time on the teams they are heading into the most challenging section of this leg. Marcos describes it as " the most difficult Foot-O map in Galicia" so taking this on at night could make for an interesting evening. These next few hours could be critical."

So, maybe the issue is less the nav itself than the quality of the map?
May 8, 2017 7:55 PM # 
'quality of the map' is always my problem when things go wrong.
May 8, 2017 8:42 PM # 
See Bash's link above for the link to the maps. They have uploaded PDFs of the maps. You can examine the O-map. Looks relatively high quality to me, so unless it's not updated, I'd say they can't complain. Good amount of detail like any O-map. The terrain certainly looks more complicated when looking at the O-map. The approach to the final control in particular looks like it could be a tricky one, especially in the dark. Still, if the O-map is up to date, then I think good navigators will handle it relatively cleanly. I'm sure teams will bobble and lose some time, but I'd be surprised if any of the top teams lose hours and hours in there...which is what I feel like we might normally see in a "crux" type section.

I don't expect that a replay of Paraguay will unfold before our eyes this afternoon:) But I'm up for watching anyway!
May 8, 2017 11:58 PM # 
Naturex (15) in second has just taken a different route on the bike that doesn't appear to be a good choice to me. It'll go if they stick to it, but longer distance, more elevation and more intersections to get mixed up at... And, now they turn back after losing a spot in the ranking for the moment.
May 9, 2017 1:57 PM # 
FMR has moved up slowly during day 1 to take the lead (barely). Impressed with their race so far. And super impressed with BlackHILL who has climbed all the way back to fourth position. Interestingly, SWECO and Omjakon, the other two teams who took the wrong turn on the river have not been able to make up the same time.

Watching our friends from Chaos Machine bobble on the bike. Seems like they have figured it out, but their margin for error for the time cutoff is shrinking. I think they should still make it in, but maybe only with 3 hours give or take to spare. Hope this doesn't affect them for later cutoffs!

I haven't followed RG too closely, but I'm impressed that they designed a course on which the time cutoffs are so generous. abiperk and I always seem to pick XPDs where the time cutoffs are really designed for the elite! I enjoy seeing more teams racing the full course for longer myself, whether I'm there or not. Makes dot watching more fun!
May 9, 2017 2:59 PM # 
Maps delivered at TA4:
May 9, 2017 3:19 PM # 
From SM just now: "It appears team Sweco are out of the race. One of the team has reported a torn muscle, so they are returning to the abseil TA. They have no option but to do so, as following a canyon with a damaged limb would be crazy."
May 9, 2017 5:37 PM # 
First cut of the race is at the CP22 abseil in ~40 minutes. Many teams have made it through and many won't, but one team (#19 Swiss Explorers) is on the bubble! I hope they make it.
May 9, 2017 5:44 PM # 
Interesting, hadn't seen that Conman. The first listed cutoff in the routebook is actually at 10PM local time at the TA prior to the trek, but they clearly are shutting down part of the trek as is clear in the stage-specific information. I gather teams are still on full course if they miss the checkpoint, though I assume ranked behind those that get it regardless of what happens.

I also wonder if they will make teams carry all their ropes gear if they can't use it...
May 9, 2017 5:53 PM # 
See this map to go with that text in the route book.

Good question about the harnesses and such.
May 9, 2017 6:02 PM # 
Also, in the newest sleepmonsters article, they detail how Estonia now has a 2 hour gear-related penalty to serve. Rough one for them:(
May 9, 2017 6:14 PM # 
I hadn't read the article, but did know a penalty was coming after reading an earlier report about them missing 2 of 4 harnesses at the abseil.
May 9, 2017 6:17 PM # 
Sadly the Swiss did not make the abseil by the cutoff moments ago. Now we get to learn what the "alternative paths" are that they are supposed to take instead.
May 9, 2017 7:07 PM # 
Skimming this quickly, I thought the Swiss were required to take "alternative pants" and I wondered what kind of weird gear penalty they had received!

In an earlier trekking section, full leg coverage was mandatory because of the gorse so it even made a little sense. :)
May 9, 2017 7:56 PM # 
What's going on with team 12? They had an obvious tracker error a little bit ago, but now it looks like they really did leave the canyon to the East.
May 9, 2017 8:12 PM # 
The second time cutoff has just passed. Any teams not to TA4 by 22:00 (a few minutes ago) will continue on bikes (stage 6), skipping stage 5. As far as I can tell that will be only be three teams: 11 (Kuwait) and 103 & 104 (Cambate Las Patas 1 & 2).
May 9, 2017 9:18 PM # 
Interesting route selection for Urtzi and 24 Hour Meals (#1) on the seawater swim. Be curious to see how that plays out in terms of time. It seems like more mud trudging and swimming than going for the sandy peninsula. They are the first team to attempt this in the dark, so maybe it's just a nav blunder that might work out fine.
May 9, 2017 9:28 PM # 
Team 26 (tracktherace) is fiddling around in the forbidden zone on the sand bar. Hope they manage to get out of the sensitive area and avoid a stiff penalty.
May 9, 2017 9:29 PM # 
Just got a text from Cliff via race staff (#4 Chaos Machine) - unfortunately they will be on the short course from Ortigueira due to an ankle injury for a teammate. Not sure if it is a new injury or an old injury that's been aggravated. Also not sure if this means full short course or whether they will be able to add some sections. Seems they won't leave TA until the top teams do. In any case, definitely no 64k trek with heavy packs! Otherwise sounds like they are in good spirits.
May 9, 2017 9:30 PM # 
Thanks for the update Kate. Wish them luck with what remains! They are doing great!
May 9, 2017 9:39 PM # 
Team 19 (Swiss) is heading for the South side of a drainage along a path that goes over a big hill. Seems like the better approach is on the North side where the terrain goes more gradually down to the canyon and CP23.
May 9, 2017 9:41 PM # 
Looks like Team 12 has picked up a car ride back to TA4. Hope everyone is ok.
May 9, 2017 10:36 PM # 
Ugh! Team 8, Blackhill, are doing some laps near CP28. I can't help wondering if they are running back and forth with the tracker to mess with us dot watchers. Or maybe, they are running for fresh water while teammates sleep?
May 9, 2017 11:26 PM # 
7 Estonia is taking a novel route on the second bike heading for TA29. Hope it's not a nav error, rather a nav innovation. The two leading French Teams (15 & 25) have also seemed to aim off. Be interesting to see how this stage shakes out.
May 9, 2017 11:28 PM # 
According to the recommended route on the tracking map, FMR and Naturex have taken the wrong turn...shouldn't be a big deal once they figure it out. Battle of the French!

No word yet on when Estonia has to serve the penalty? I'm assuming they didn't at the last TA?
May 9, 2017 11:29 PM # 
Estonia also corrected after heading a couple km off course on the bike. Lots of teams in TA - next few sections look really cool and doable. Some rain rolling through in the next couple hours - I wonder when teams will get back on bikes...
May 10, 2017 12:06 AM # 
I saw mention somewhere (sleepmonsters?) that the Estonian's will serve their penalty at the last transition area. This is as prescribed in the AWRS rules.
May 10, 2017 2:57 PM # 
Anyone know if teams were allowed to do the foot loop in reverse, stage...7?
May 10, 2017 3:35 PM # 
The route book says all points in order for the whole race: "All sections of the raid are linear". Is someone doing stage 7 backwards? Naturex started stage 9 by hitting the last CP first, but then did the rest of the loop, returning to the last CP (43) before heading back to the TA.
May 10, 2017 5:00 PM # 
Yeah, Chaos Machine did it in reverse...
May 10, 2017 5:05 PM # 
Well, that's awkward. Gonna figure that's an alteration that won't matter since they are on the first short course.
May 10, 2017 5:30 PM # 
Yeah, hope not. They lost an hour to KWT, ther other short course team, anyway (they basically started at the same time). Odd mistake if the routebook clearly says all is to be done in order.
May 11, 2017 12:31 AM # 
Sumthn up with team 17 Omjakon. They are taking a beeline for TA10 ignoring forbidden road restrictions.
May 11, 2017 2:41 PM # 
Looks like there is about 1 km (on bike) separating Naturex and FMR. Going to be an exciting finish!!!
May 11, 2017 3:27 PM # 
Indeed a very tight finish for the leaders. 15 minutes gap at just a moment ago. Any small nav blunder on this bike ride could change things.

Also, the gap back from Estonia in 3rd is nearly four hours and they are just about to begin a 4 hour penalty at the last TA. Could be quite exciting to see who pulls in to the 3rd position at the finish.

USWE has just caught Issy on the Stage 11 trek. They could be battling it out to the finish as well.
May 11, 2017 3:29 PM # 
And moments after my post, FMR made a wrong turn and turned back, losing maybe 5-10 minutes.
May 11, 2017 3:39 PM # 
With USWE and Issy going at it neck and neck, they might accidentally catch up to Cyanosis. With so much race left, I imagine Cyanosis will have more left in the tank for the last push then either of their chasers.
May 11, 2017 3:53 PM # 
As it stands right now...FMR tracks less than a half k behind Naturex, BUT their tracker updated 5 minutes ago whereas Naturex's updated 2 minutes ago...I'd imagine FMR might be within eyesight of Naturex...
May 11, 2017 3:54 PM # 
And leaderboard updated: 3 minutes behind at CP 56!
May 11, 2017 4:31 PM # 
Down to 2 minutes approaching CP 57!!! If you aren't watching dots, you are missing an incredible podium finish.
May 11, 2017 4:39 PM # 
A little bobble on the nav just lost FMR a few minutes, maybe tripled their time back, now at 6 min. Naturex is biking like pro mtb orienteers.
May 11, 2017 4:50 PM # 
synchronized micro-nav blunders. High drama.
May 11, 2017 4:50 PM # 
Now Naturex has a bobble in the hunt for CP57. Meanwhile FMR is trying an alternative approach, which might work but looks slower. Don't blink!
May 11, 2017 4:53 PM # 
Issue looks to be that the high route (taken by Naturex) might have been too high! On the race map it looks like you can get close to the CP but maybe not get down to it. I'm guessing that's what happened considering Naturex's decision to turn back.

Serious possibility a red light and traffic could come into play...
May 11, 2017 4:55 PM # 
CP 57 is on a bridge, so I presume the teams will have to pause, drop bike, run to flag and punch. Hope there are cameras at the bridge!
May 11, 2017 5:04 PM # 
Hard to know what to believe. The tracking maps suggests it's a kilometer or less between, so a few minutes difference. But the leaderboard is updated and says 13 minutes between them at CP 57, which barring flat tires or something would suggest that maybe Naturex is relatively safe...

I'm also curious about what it would be like to whack down or find a small footpath to the road/route that is to the south of 57. Looks like it would take you more directly into the final CP...might be FMR's only chance if getting down to it is reasonable.
May 11, 2017 5:05 PM # 
Ah, but you'd have to climb back up a bit...probably not worth it...
May 11, 2017 5:06 PM # 
May 11, 2017 5:08 PM # 
That whole area is an old coal mine, so there may be some pretty significant terraces that are not really climbable without a path.
May 11, 2017 5:12 PM # 
I figured there was good reason, and on the satellite view, I'd be dubious about leaving the main route for sure.
May 11, 2017 5:13 PM # 
No flat tires or other mechanicals now or it's over.
May 11, 2017 5:23 PM # 
I think that's it...FMR was having trouble keeping pace and has turned back just before CP58...flat tire? bonking teammate?
May 11, 2017 5:29 PM # 
Did FMR drop their passport or something? Now they are retracing their steps...???
May 11, 2017 5:31 PM # 
I was wondering the same thing! Though it seems like they are e-punching...
May 11, 2017 5:31 PM # 
And Naturex looks to officially be in. Amazing race for both of these teams!
May 11, 2017 5:32 PM # 
Not e-punching; could show you a pic or two with pin punches. Leaderboard updates are via not exactly accurate to time at the CPs.
May 11, 2017 5:37 PM # 
Ah, makes sense, right.

It sure looks like FMR dropped something. Maybe you're right on the passport then...Don't know what else would be that important at this point!
May 11, 2017 5:38 PM # 
I really do think FMR has dropped their passport. No other piece of gear is nearly as important to retrace steps at this point of the race.
May 11, 2017 5:53 PM # 
FMR is back on track for the finish. Maybe they just wanted to let Naturex have the spotlight for a bit longer...or give Naturex time to clear out for their own time in the spotlight at the finish?
May 11, 2017 6:26 PM # 
A bit further back it appears that Issy has decided to stop and nurse injuries, sleepmonsters, or something else. This has allowed USWE to take solid control of 8th position and may allow Salomon in 10th to catch them as well. All other positions in the top 10 seem mildly secure except for penalties still to be served at the final TA.
May 11, 2017 6:39 PM # 
Word on FMR's delayed finish just came in from Sleepmonsters at the finish line: "Clement was the only navigator and they had to stop to feed and look after him. Sounds like he'd given his all in the chase."
May 11, 2017 7:01 PM # 
Hmmm. Odd. Didn't look like they had stopped. Unless he was loopy and led them back a ways? Regardless, amazing effort and finish for the French.

If my rough, quick math is correct, Estonia should probably be released from the penalty box sometime soon. Looks like BlackHill is still about 45 minutes give or take out, based on Estonia's trek time. Estonia of course has now had a decent sleep. SO...I'd think Estonia should be safe from losing the podium barring significant issues, and they should be relatively fresh compared to BlackHill.

Yet again, that question of how best to deal with penalties. I really think time penalties should just be added onto the final race time. Even if a penalty, sleep is so valuable. And they're in a mall, so not like it's bad sleep.

Alternatively, for those concerned about teams crossing the finish line in proper order: has anyone ever seen an RD set up a finish line, say around the final corner before the finish? Would be contrived and tedious perhaps for the RDs, but I think you could neutralize the question of free sleep if you could stop teams before they literally or metaphorically come into view at the end and hold them there...Again, maybe not the most practical idea, but maybe an interesting and fairer compromise?
May 11, 2017 7:40 PM # 
So, there we have it - race leaderboard now says Team 10 Issy is no longer ranked, although they are still moving on course. I presume this mens they have dropped a team mate or accepted medical support, but wanted to continue the race.
May 11, 2017 8:37 PM # 
Cyanosis is moving very fast on the last paddle and looks to be within reach of Team Tracktherace. That'll be an interesting development.
May 12, 2017 3:25 AM # 
I'm still watching the dots ... is anyone else? Big movement going on in the 6-8 rankings right now. USWE has the gas pedal on the floor on this last trek and has passed one team and basically caught up another in the last hour or two. They do have a 2 hour penalty (=enforced sleep) coming up, but if they keep it up they could put more than an hour both teams before the last TA and that could make the last bike leg pretty interesting.
May 12, 2017 3:41 AM # 
Not watching dots now but I am watching this discussion! :)
May 12, 2017 3:45 AM # 
Uh Oh! Blackhill looked to have 4th locked up, but now they are battling the darkness trying to find the second to last CP (57) only 5 miles from the finish line. They have stopped not moved for a short bit, and VK Bikes is bearing down on them, now only about 2.5 miles away from them.
May 12, 2017 4:29 AM # 
Well, it seems that Blackhill will hold on to 4th barring something really weird happening to them in the next 2 miles on the bikes. They have 3+ miles to finish, but the last mile is going to be easy city nav with lit streets and such. VK seems to be bobbling the night nav to the same CP57. Well earned 5th for them, but they'll probably be pretty bummed to unexpectedly hit the finish only ~5-10 min behind Blackhill.
May 12, 2017 4:40 AM # 
Maybe I spoke too soon! VK is moving much faster than Blackhill at the moment and Blackhill is not quite moving the right direction. It could still get interesting.
May 12, 2017 10:35 AM # 
Broots and I have been watching the dots pretty religiously, both at the front of the pack and keeping a close eye on Chaos Machine (who unfortunately, seems to have gone unofficial overnight...). Our discussion has been more focused on emails with Kateness, though I know broots is still chiming in here :)
May 12, 2017 2:54 PM # 
Slept through another epic turn of events overnight (here in the US) where USWE, who had rushed ahead to the last TA to serve a 2 hr penalty, went from 8th just hours before the last TA to 6th across the line. Impressive!
May 12, 2017 3:45 PM # 
Interesting development for anyone interested in or following Chaos Machine. We awoke this morning to find them now unofficial but riding to the finish. We figured either injury had claimed someone or a broken bike as they were having some mechanicals before the race even began.

BUT they were just reclassified as ranked again and officially 14th! Great effort for this team to stick with it and get through tough conditions! Waiting for official word that they are official finishers, but congratulations Strongmachine and team!
May 15, 2017 7:03 PM # 
Hi all, Cliff checking back in after getting home from Spain late last night. Just a note that I'll be writing up a race report sometime this week. RG this year was a great race with top-notch organization - highly recommend this race to anyone considering it in the future. Not the most beautiful area I've ever been to but definitely had its moments, and it was fun to be racing in an area of the world I'd probably never visit if it weren't for AR. Our team's goal was to gain experience and to get to the finish line, and we accomplished them, despite meeting Melody, our fourth, for the first time one day before the race start. Melody had injured her ankle before the race but toughed it out, and we survived some last-minute bike issues that could have derailed our race. The toughest part of the race, however, was dealing with frequent heavy rainstorms that left us very wet and cold...I'm sure they were the reason why many teams dropped.

A big shout-out to all the other teams we met and befriended in the past week - the overwhelming kindness and generosity of pretty much every adventure racer I've ever met, locally and internationally, continues to warm the cockles of my heart.
May 15, 2017 8:24 PM # 
Congratulations, well done!
May 15, 2017 9:20 PM # 
Great job, Cliff!

This discussion thread is closed.