Register | Login
Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Discussion: Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge

in: Adventure Racing; General

Feb 24, 2018 5:14 AM # 
GODZone dots aren't the only ones to watch next week! The 500+ km Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge will start some time on Sunday, Feb. 25 in Belize.

Team Bones is racing and will have updates on their Facebook page. Their roster will be:

Roy Malone
Jenny Segger
Chad Spence (representing Canada!)
Aaron Rinn
Feb 24, 2018 12:55 PM # 
Doesn’t Jen Segger represent Canada too?
Feb 24, 2018 8:39 PM # 
Ha! Good point. Jen has raced with non-Canadian teams often enough that it didn't seem unusual but you are right. I think this is Chad's first time racing on a team from outside the country. He was listed on their roster for 2018 so I assume this won't be his only race. Canadian Liza Pye (aka Slice) often races with Bones too and is one of their Facebook reporters this time.
Feb 24, 2018 8:40 PM # 
On an even more important note, Randy has posted the maps on Facebook!
Feb 24, 2018 8:53 PM # 
And the route guide.

Feb 25, 2018 1:04 PM # 
Live tracking link - race starts at noon CST.
Feb 25, 2018 7:36 PM # 
I am posting pics video and updates on the Facebook page.
Feb 25, 2018 10:12 PM # 
Which is here. Thanks, Randy!
Feb 25, 2018 10:55 PM # 
Clipboard from TA1 after initial river paddle, which took the leaders about 3.5 hrs. Randy posted a video just past the TA showing Bones stopped with some bike issues, which explains why they're a little behind now. It looks like teams can do the Leg 2 bike loop in either direction.
Feb 26, 2018 12:53 AM # 
Any chance you have images of the route book? Haven't seen any info on that anywhere yet.
Feb 26, 2018 1:14 AM # 
Has anyone taken the time to figure out what is going on in the first bike section? I'm very confused about route choice.
Feb 26, 2018 1:22 AM # 
I'm assuming they can go any order. About half the field (including the two top French teams and Bones) did it in reverse order. I'd be shocked if they all screwed up.

CP2 is a big sinkhole. So they had to ride up and back for it.

Agde and Naturex tried to stay on the green line. On the topo map it looks like there are a ton of mapped tracks. But I'm thinking they were really muddy and slow. Their pace was 1-2 knots. Bones rode around and was cruising at 8-10 knots the whole time.

Those three lead teams all went counter clockwise. The next group (GoodNuff, Adeo, Tubaina, etc. all went clockwise. And then some of the back third also went counter. And they're all crossing paths.

Bones is now bombing back to TA with all CPs. Naturex also has all of them. Agde seems to have fallen off Naturex though they were with them for most of the bike. I think they are still ascending to the sinkhole.

All other teams still working on progress and CPs.

Great start for Bones, despite the bike issue that caused them to fall of the French. Might have helped them though. Wonder if the French would have gone the long way around if they had seen Bones do it.
Feb 26, 2018 1:26 AM # 
Check that. Agde's tracker hadn't fully updated I guess last I checked. They are side by side with Naturex.

And CRUISING. Moving significantly faster than Bones according to the bricks.

This race is such the opposite of what we'll see next week. Muddy roads might slow them down, but so much of this is on gravel roads, and as long as they can stay sharp on turns and such, the stronger teams are going to blaze at times.
Feb 26, 2018 2:45 AM # 
From Facebook: "Leg 3 will see teams back on the Belize River in canoes after dark for another 35km of paddling. Leg 4 should be a straight forward 40km bike on gravel roads through small villages and farms and take teams into daylight on day 2. They will then face one of the cruxes of the race, a tough 58km jungle trek with climbing and cave swimming."
Feb 26, 2018 3:45 AM # 
FB: "There is a dark zone at TA 4 until 5 am but teams are racing hard to get there and get as much sleep as possible before being released. They are traveling with their bikes in their canoes for this second paddle so we don’t expect it to be quite as fast as the first."
Feb 26, 2018 2:22 PM # 
FB: “Just a heads up to everyone that Bones and Naturex have entered the cave swim. Since it is an underground river, their trackers won't post position while they are in. They will ping again once through which I expect to be just under 2 hrs or so. This will also be true for all teams while they are in the cave.”
Feb 26, 2018 2:22 PM # 
Some interesting racing so far.

GoodNuff had a good night, breaking free as other teams wandered a bit on the mountain bike and coming into TA 3rd. Agde in particular really struggled with the route finding.

But then the dark zone brought all back together, and Adeo really has taken advantage to move into third. Agde seems to be recovering and moving up.

And from the tracking map, PowerBar Swiss have dropped. No access to FB at work, so maybe there is an update? Related to Rachel's crash yesterday? Bummer.

I still think the race is going to privilege power and speed. Naturex did well to close and overtake Bones overnight. I expect Bones will give them a push, but I don't know if they can hold with Naturex all the way. And I wouldn't be surprised if Agde moes back up to the top at some point, or near it. I'm thinking those two-three teams will ultimately separate from the chase pack.

The GoodNuff crew is interesting: Sara and Misty are strong racers down in Florida and I think strong triathletes. This course might play really well for them, especially since they are from FL so might be better suited for the weather. Don't know anything about the two guys they are racing with, however. I also don't know if any of them has much big race experience. I know the women race Sea to Sea, and they came out for Worlds last year in WY, but beyond that...and again, the guys. Still, having a good race so far!
Feb 26, 2018 2:59 PM # 
One of PowerBar's canoes capsized and was lost. At that point, they decided it just wasn't their day.
Feb 26, 2018 3:24 PM # 
FB: "And more good news! Powerbar is at TA4 and continuing on! They'll be headed out on Leg 5 to the rappel and through the caves. These folks don't quit!"

(Not sure how the ranking will work, given that they got a ride back from the river.)
Feb 26, 2018 4:43 PM # 
Thanks, Bash! Wow!

A lost canoe. That doesn't happen all that often:)
Feb 26, 2018 4:48 PM # 
I'm assuming that interpretation of the following typo from the race organization: "Somewhere along the paddle, they accidentally capsized their boat, loosing the craft." On the other hand, maybe the boat was simply "loosened"? ;)
Feb 26, 2018 5:45 PM # 
background on GoodNuff...Sara McClarty is/was a triathlete, a very very good triathlete. Division 1 All-American swimmer, World Champion Aquathlete (run-swim-run), 7 top-20 finishes in World Cup triathlons (Olympic distance), etc.

Misty Becerra is Sara's coaching partner. (sorry I could not find more athletic achievements for her)

They did OTILLO together in 2015, placing 6th in women's category in 12h26m. Sara broke her kneecap during the race.

I think it's pretty cool to have someone of Sara's knowledge base in adventure racing. She's managed the life of a professional triathlete for many years and it would be really interesting to hear her perspective on sponsorship in AR.
Feb 26, 2018 6:56 PM # 
The top 5 teams are through the cave swim and tracking again. Naturex was just ahead of Bones as they came out of the cave 3 hours ago but Naturex has close to a 1-hr lead on the trek now. Agde and AdeoRun are traveling together a couple of hours behind, then it's Good'nuff a short distance behind them.
Feb 26, 2018 6:59 PM # 
Anyone know where the leaderboard is?
Feb 26, 2018 8:07 PM # 
Looks like they disabled it?
Feb 26, 2018 8:37 PM # 
The YB leaderboard wasn't set up for them when I saw it but I hoped they might put one somewhere else. When we used YB for Wilderness Traverse last year, we didn't use their leaderboard because we didn't want to use geofencing, which was the only option. We had a separate leaderboard that we updated manually based on reports from checkpoint staff. Anyway, I guess we'll just watch dots and hope we can figure out if teams are short-coursed, unranked, etc.
Feb 26, 2018 9:16 PM # 
Indeed. So far, it seems pretty straight forward. I know they posted an image of the first TA sheet with times, but I don't know if they will keep doing so?

Impressive forward movement by Naturex. They came in as the favorite on paper for a reason (based on their ARWS ranking and their impressive efforts at ARWS races and Worlds in the past). They seem to have opened a lead that might be approaching 1.5 hours on Bones, and Bones has about 2:20 on the chase pack.

And the French on Agde have also pushed hard to make up time after last night and seem to be about done overtaking the chase pack. Will be interesting to see if they can keep moving ahead at that pace or if they slow down after a hard morning of racing to move back to third place(ish).
Feb 26, 2018 9:55 PM # 
Uh oh...Tubaina has seemingly turned south. Struggling to cross the river?
GoodNuff seems to have really slowed as well.
Feb 27, 2018 12:08 AM # 
Huh. Did they forget something at the Caves Branch Outpost? Or are they going back there to drop?
Feb 27, 2018 3:12 AM # 
Hmm, maybe they thought they had gone too far or they'd turned onto the wrong path/road? They backtracked to a junction and took the other option (either way would work) and they're back in action now.
Feb 27, 2018 3:20 AM # 
Randy has posted some awesome rappelling photos on the MMAC FB page. A couple of examples:
Feb 27, 2018 3:22 AM # 
Naturex is about 1 km from TA5, the end of the long Leg 5 Cave/Trek leg.

(Update: But they turned away and headed back in! See below.)
Feb 27, 2018 3:28 AM # 
Up next is what looks like a fairly straightforward 50 km bike ride. (Update: it appears the distance on the Route Guide was incorrect. And of course it hasn’t been straightforward. This is AR! :) )

Bones is about 2.5 hrs back now. They are about 2 hrs ahead of Agde Raid in what looks like a very slow part of the jungle trek. AdeoRun was close behind them and probably still are but their tracker hasn't worked for the past hour.

Naturex was able to do most of the jungle trek in daylight so teams behind them will slow down.
Feb 27, 2018 3:31 AM # 
Naturex didn't hit CP 16 yet. They lost a bunch of time trying to stay on the marked route. Bones closed the gap just as Naturex seemed to decide to head to the road. If you look at the image of the map on facebook, there is a trail that leads to the CP, shooting off the orange track to the northwest of the CP. Looks like Naturex is going all the way around to access this trail.

Meanwhile, Bones seems to be as confused as Naturex was at that point, and the other two French teams are pushing up.

Interesting! I suspect if anyone can figure out the trail at that junction they will make up time, though Naturex is moving so they might stay clear of the chase pack.

And yep, Tubaina went back and around. I guess they couldn't sort out how to cross the river where the others did?
Feb 27, 2018 3:40 AM # 
I just saw that! (Naturex, that is.) It looks like Bones will do the same thing. I figured CP16 must be marked incorrectly on the tracking map since it's not the first time teams have seemed to bypass a CP.
Feb 27, 2018 3:52 AM # 
broots: looks like the back three of four teams have been short-coursed, but I'm not sure I fully follow. Three teams appear to have been transported forward to the end of the trek. I think some of them may have done the rappel? But not the swim. Bummer. Sounds like the river cave swim was the highlight of the race.

Relentless looks to have jumped to the END of the cave swim...but I looked back, and their tracker seems to have been wonky for...ever...So, not sure what happened with their spot, not sure what they did this morning/afternoon?

And am I misreading this, or was Powerbar underground for a VERY long time...?
Feb 27, 2018 3:53 AM # 
Just checked the race map. I love that the elusive, more direct trail to CP16 has "Ladder 1" and "Ladder 2" marked on it. It seems a shame to have missed that! :)
Feb 27, 2018 3:55 AM # 
Agreed, looks like Powerbar has had a couple of stops/slow sections. One teammate is very sore from a bike crash and they're unranked anyway so maybe they're just taking their time.
Feb 27, 2018 3:58 AM # 
A leaderboard is kind of necessary if you're encouraging spectators. :(
Feb 27, 2018 4:12 AM # 
Bones is making time on the road route around to CP16. They're about 1.5 hrs behind Naturex now.
Feb 27, 2018 5:01 AM # 
Summary of Day 2 from ARWS Facebook. It was worse for Powerbar than we thought. They're probably not unranked; they're probably just doing the jungle trek because they came all the way to Belize. They won't be able to bike because apparently their bikes were tied to a canoe that sank!

"French Leading, Swiss Out of Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge

Into the second day of racing at the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge and French team Naturex hold a small lead over team Bones from the USA.

A run of bad luck and mistakes has seen team Powerbar Swiss Explorer retire from the race. It began with a collision between two of the team members as they left the transition into the Leg 2 mountain bike. Susan Tschappat suffered abrasions and bruising to her ribs and hip, and continued on in obvious discomfort.

Further difficulties for the Swiss occurred on the next leg 3 when they capsized their canoe in the Belize River. A capsize could be considered a normal part of adventure racing, but in this situation the canoe sunk in the moving water leaving them stranded on an island in the dark. To make matters worse the team lost two of their mountain bikes which were secured to the canoe during this leg. The Swiss spent the remainder of the night cold and wet on the island until rescue teams reached them in the morning and they retired from the race.

Leg 4 was a relatively fast mountain bike leg along gravel roads and through farmland. USA Bones arrived into the end of this leg around 2am, 15 minutes ahead of France Naturex and followed by Brazil Good’nuff DSN74. Bones and Naturex both banked a little over an hour of sleep prior to starting the much anticipated Leg 5 of the race. Good’nuff DSN74 left into Leg 5 without sleep followed by France AdeoRun in fourth place.

Leg 5 may be the most memorable leg of the race for teams in the 2018 Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge for the mind blowing terrain they traverse. After a short trek from the TA teams descend by ropes into a 120 metre deep sink hole. They then travel through an enormous cave before exciting via ladders. Next a short trek will bring teams to the Seven Mile Cave System where they will swim down a river which runs though these gigantic caverns. The cave section is expected to take teams approximately 2 hours to navigate through. They are permitted to use flotation devices in the water in this section. After exiting the cave system they still need to complete a 23km jungle trek to reach the TA at the end of this leg.

As this report was written the leaders have emerged from the cave swim and are proceeding into one of the more navigationally challenging sections of the race, the jungle trek. It appears France Naturex may have made a error and gone off the expected course. Check out the live tracking to see if they can recover before they are overtaken by USA Bones."
Feb 27, 2018 5:24 AM # 
Dude, I would be so pissed if I lost my mountain bike due to having to carry it in a tippy rental canoe in moving water!
Feb 27, 2018 12:28 PM # 
Brilliant, less gear to fly home with! I have had to do this in a few races and it’s not fun.
Feb 27, 2018 1:34 PM # 
FB: “Powerbar was permitted to complete the cave swim but apparently had some issues finding the exit and so were extracted and shuttled to TA6, Monkey Bay.”
Feb 27, 2018 1:35 PM # 
FB: “You may notice 5 of the teams appeared at TA 5 after returning to TA4 following the ropes. Belize Grisons, Commie Bar, Mexico Cemac Toluca, ThisAbility and Relentless arrived too late to complete the cave swim and thus were shuttled to the end of Leg 5. Everyone is now taking some rest before continuing on the regular route as prescribed. All are well.”
Feb 27, 2018 1:37 PM # 
FB: “Although initially setting a solid pace on the jungle trek following the cave swim, it now seems that teams are having trouble finding the trail off Indian Creek and onto Five Blues Creek. The trail traverses under a thick canopy, passes through a few caves and then crosses over into the Five Blues National Park. Naturex is first in to TA5 so we’ll try to find out what’s tripping everyone up. All the front teams seem to have lost a good bit of time on the search so it seems unlikely anyone will make the dark zone tomorrow at 1pm at CP26.”

I’m not sure why a trail that passes under thick canopy, goes through a few caves and has at least two ladders would be so hard to follow at night...
Feb 27, 2018 1:50 PM # 
Hah! I was wondering if Good Nuff and Tubaina would have an easier time in daylight, but it doesn't seem like it. My impression from the FB text is that the RDs were surprised by this struggle. Makes for fun tracking though.

Bones: any guesses as to whether they have slept, or did the sleepmonsters cause them to blow by the correct turn on the bike? Big miss. The others seem to have found it just fine, and the road crossing over the river should have been a big clue.

Wonder if Naturex is missing the turn, or if the overlay might be off? Or if they are biking in their sleep too?
Feb 27, 2018 3:34 PM # 

Tubaina has seemed to figure out the trail!! It may be that GoodNuff was at the junction before light (looks like right around 6AM). Possible that Tubaina was the only team to be able to see enough to find it.

Anyway, they look to be on their way through the jungle trail.

And it looks like GoodNuff have bailed on getting CP16. They went straight into the TA. Wonder if this means they are unranked or short course A...or B...or Jaguar, as Grant Killian would say...I assume they will be ranked behind Tubaina assuming they survive the jungle but ahead of those teams who were shuttled forward.
Feb 27, 2018 6:58 PM # 
More detailed Day 2 recap from the organizers. Naturex currently has a 3-hr lead on Bones.

Exactly at 5am, teams who had arrived before the dark zone bolted out of transition to make the trek and climb up to the ropes. This included Bones, Naturex, Good’nuff, and AdeoRun. Both Bones and Naturex had banked a little sleep. But the other two didn’t have the chance.

The trail to the top of the sink hole is a fairly narrow and steep one, and can be a bit slick. Once at the top though, the view didn’t disappoint. Just as the sun was rising, the jungle opened up some 400+ feet below. Our ropes team reported several worried looks as racers peered over the edge ;) Racers enjoyed a fast, free-hanging rappel into the bottom and then traversed around the edge of the sink to a gi-normous cave mouth that seemed ready to swallow the world. They would grab a point here before continuing to the ladder (yep – a metal ladder) to climb out of the sink hole. From here, it was a ~9 mile (hot) jaunt across the orchard to the entrance of the cave swim.

The 7-mile cave swim (sponsored by Caves Branch Lodge), was a unique opportunity for racers to paddle/swim through an underground river with crystal blue water and high ceilings. Every now and again, a window in the rock also let in the yellows and greens of the jungle canopy with the sunlight illuminating the blue water for a truly beautiful experience. The cool water also was a good chance for racers to cool off from what was proving to be a super hot day.

From exiting the TA until the end of the cave swim, Bones and Naturex traveled pretty much in lock step, until the 26-mile trek to and on the Indian Creek trail where Naturex was able to put a little bit of time on Bones. Heading east on a gravel road, the flat farmland sudden started to rise into green mounds of thick jungle vegetation. The Indian Creek Trail traverses between these hills along the Indian Creek bed. The beginning of the trail travels through three different caves before narrowing into a singletrack jungle trail. Although more of a fade, marked by machete points, Naturex made quick work of this trail, getting ahead of the race director’s estimates. Bones lagged behind but not very far.

But being ahead of schedule quickly changed to being several hours behind schedule. When the teams approached the junction of the Indian Creek Trail and the 5 Blues Lake Trail, it appears that the 5 Blues trail they were supposed to be taking west to the lake was very hard to find. Almost all teams lost hours here as they searched and searched but came up empty handed. Because many of the teams thought the trail wasn’t there, most eventually bailed and took the road SW then headed back north to nab the point from the west side. During this time, Agde and AdeoRun hung pretty close together while Good’nuff Teiu gained a little time on them while they searched for the trail. Tubaina eventually caught up to Good’nuff, but after Good’nuff decided to leave for the TA and skip the CP, Tubaina stick it out and it paid off after the sun came up as they became the only team to find the 5 Blues Trail!! Nice work!

Meanwhile, back at TA 4, the Tubaina and Agde Raid Adventure came in shortly after 5am to trail only slightly behind the leaders (but still with no sleep). Behind them, five more teams, Belize Grisons, Mexico Cemac Toluca, Commie Bar, Relentless and ThisAbility were all still heading for TA 4. Mexico Cemac Toluca was actually shuttled to TA 4 after coming off the water very late so that they could have a chance to do the ropes. Many of the teams were looking a bit exhausted and hot, but still excited about the upcoming leg. Arriving late morning gave them a little time to rest, however, by the time they headed out, the heat of the afternoon sun was unforgiving, and that slowed the pace even more. The teams were permitted to complete the sink hole rappel, but told they must return to TA 4 and skip the cave swim as they were estimated not to arrive at CP 12 until almost 8pm which would have been too late. These five teams were then shuttled to TA 5 to catch back up with the other teams.

From TA 5 is where we launch day 3 of the MMAC. Naturex and Bones both caught some more sleep at TA 5 since it is becoming clear that they will not make the dark zone at 1pm today. Naturex headed out to TA 5 about 3am but had some navigation challenges heading to CP 19 that slowed them down a bit. This section of the bike course requires them to pass through a mountain gap by traveling on some orchard trails before finding some local hunting trails (a fore-warned short hike-a-bike) and then pass through more orchards before returning to gravel roads on the other side of the range. A few of the teams also seem to have had some trouble finding the road to CP18 but eventually back tracked for it.

The remainder of this 75-mile bike leg is flat gravel roads and is pretty straight forward. Naturex and Bones are now back on track and poised to fly towards CP 22/TA 6. It’s going to be a hot one though!! May slow them down just a bit. We’re anxiously awaiting!
Feb 27, 2018 9:19 PM # 
With 3 hours until sunset on the bike leg, Naturex leads Bones by about 3.5 hrs. Bones has a 4-hr lead over the "chase pack" - Agde and AdeoRun. Up next is a 28-29 km trek on a "jungle ridge trail" with a gravel road into the TA. It looks like Naturex will get started in daylight but the others will arrive at TA6 after dark.
Feb 28, 2018 12:13 AM # 
The route guide shows the bike from TA5 to TA6 as 30-32 miles, but that doesn't look close based on the dot watching map and the 14 hours it took Naturex to complete. Did they change the segments?
Feb 28, 2018 12:18 AM # 
I commented last night that it looked like a relatively quick 50K bike ride since it was described as pavement, short hike-a-bike then gravel roads - and that was totally not true! Maybe the route guide was updated after the version posted above. Broots noticed that it had been taken down from Facebook after it was first posted, then I found this one still posted on Twitter. [No wait, that was GODZone's route guide. I'm getting my dot watching confused!]
Feb 28, 2018 12:19 AM # 
Anyone know what happened to the Belize team?
Feb 28, 2018 12:27 AM # 
Nothing has been posted about them but it looks like they started the Leg 6 bike ride then either rode back to TA5 or called for a ride from the course.
Feb 28, 2018 12:28 AM # 
Btw this bike leg was described as "75 miles" in the Day 2 recap, more than twice the length indicated in the route guide above.
Feb 28, 2018 12:42 AM # 
Likewise, the bike after the next trek is listed as up to 100+miles, and it doesn't look that, seems like they got their wires crossed with the estimates on this bit.

Now, I THINK the next cutoff is at 1PM (as stated by Randy on SM). I have it in my head that I saw somewhere that this is at CP26...which is on the bike. I'm thinking this might not be accurate. Makes more sense to have it at the start or finish of the trek before the packraft leg. I'd think it would be at the water. But, SM did report that it's on Leg 9 (CP26 is on Leg 8).

So. I'm not sure. That said, while I haven't crunched numbers, I'm wondering if there is a chance that only Naturex makes that cutoff at this point. IF they make it. If this next trek is tricky like the last one, it's possible no one makes it by 1PM depending on how far along the cutoff actually is.

If anyone has figured this out more definitively, please share. I'm supposed to be grading...
Feb 28, 2018 2:23 AM # 
CP26 is Barton Creek Cave Reserve, which was also a CP in the 2016 edition of the race. The cave is really cool, I wonder if there is a mystery challenge or something similar because in 2016 we had to paddle into the cave for a CP. There is also a little tiki hut that serves food and drink. In 2016 it helped OWWWP-'Merica with some truly wonderful breakfast burritos, Coke, and coffee for our final push to the finish line.
Feb 28, 2018 3:01 AM # 
The Day 2 recap said, "Naturex and Bones both caught some more sleep at TA 5 since it is becoming clear that they will not make the dark zone at 1pm today. " I assume they meant tomorrow.

MMAC Facebook said earlier, "All the front teams seem to have lost a good bit of time on the search [for CP16] so it seems unlikely anyone will make the dark zone tomorrow at 1pm at CP26."

It looks like Powerbar is trekking with Naturex after skipping the Leg 6 Bike due to missing mandatory gear. At least they're getting some fun out of their trip to Belize!
Feb 28, 2018 3:57 AM # 
OK. So, Naturex is moving well enough on the trek. About a third of the way through (not an accurate measurement at all) in 3.5 hours. So, lets say they take another 8 hours to finish with dark and such. This gets them to the end at...6AM ish Belize time (I think).

Then...according to googlemaps, the route is about 60km by car, and it looks to be straight forward roads (this all assumes the info on the cutoff being at the Barton Creek lodge, thanks Silkychrome). So, Naturex would have 7 hours to TA and ride. Seems reasonable. Bones has been running 3 hours or so behind. If they are awake enough and can push through, they MIGHT have a chance to make the cutoff. They'd have about 4 hours to ride 60km. Depending on road speed and energy, it could be close.

But it's late and my math might be totally off.
Feb 28, 2018 4:13 AM # 
The route guide says the biking starts on pavement then the rest is on gravel roads, some of it through towns and a climb into the mountains at the end. So it should be pretty fast, like you say.
Feb 28, 2018 4:30 AM # 
Btw how's that grading going, Broots? ;)

That jungle ridge trail might not be super easy to see in the dark. Naturex and their new friends from Powerbar have just returned to the main route after what looks like a 2 km out-and-back on the wrong trail.

Bones has arrived at TA6 about 4 hrs behind Naturex.

The teams that were battling for the bronze - Agde and AdeoRun - were still neck and neck mid-afternoon today but AdeoRun fell back and stopped in the vicinity of CP19 when darkness fell. Agde is biking about 3.5 hrs behind Bones. Good'nuff is a few kms behind them but we assume they are unranked after missing a CP.
Feb 28, 2018 4:38 AM # 
Agreed. I suspect my best case estimates are out the window a bit with the lost time. Can't wait to wake up!

I moved on from grading to changing my treads and sealant on my bike. Much more exciting. And now, I'm off to bed:) Happy dot watching.
Feb 28, 2018 5:09 AM # 
Sleep tight! After returning to the main trail, Naturex did not head forward on the indicated route. (C'mon, it's ORANGE - why is it so hard to see?) Instead they retreated about 1.5 km and tried turning at an earlier junction. They have now returned to that junction and are undoubtedly saying bad words in French. Bones wasted no time in the TA and are now just 30-40 minutes behind Naturex. Wow!
Feb 28, 2018 5:25 AM # 
Why the bike section got slow
Feb 28, 2018 5:27 AM # 
Looks like Chad may be navigating for Bones

Randy's also got some cool drone shots in this album.
Feb 28, 2018 5:35 AM # 
And an awesome album of jungle trek and cave swim shots.
Feb 28, 2018 5:38 AM # 
At 23:30, Naturex is back at CP23. It doesn't look like they missed it on their way by the first time but maybe they did? Or maybe it's a good place to rest and relocate? Regardless, Bones is less than 1 km away and is about to have a very nice surprise.
Feb 28, 2018 5:58 AM # 
It's Leanimal, but now Naturex has headed north past the junction where they should start to head west (just north of CP23). I'm so curious to see what Bones does in here. It must be confusing in there.

I can hear the French cuss words from here.
Feb 28, 2018 6:35 AM # 
Hi Leanimal! Bones has just made the correct turn at the junction and moved into the lead. But Naturex also went that way the first time, then veered south off the main trail a little past where Bones is now before retreating. Will Bones find the elusive orange trail?
Feb 28, 2018 6:40 AM # 
Naturex (and Powerbar) have gone about 5 km off the line. Maybe they're doing this on purpose to find another way into CP24, similar to what happened at CP16?
Feb 28, 2018 6:47 AM # 
Looking at the map, it seems unlikely. The road route would be to the south. Naturex is off the map.
Feb 28, 2018 6:55 AM # 
Just looked at Google Maps. The race map appears to be out of date north of CP23. On the race map, a minor trail is shown going north but it's the main road now.
Feb 28, 2018 7:07 AM # 
And Bones has just turned off on the trail heading southwest - the same one Naturex tried and retreated from after 1.5 km. The thing is, it looks like the best route. Maybe Bones can make it work? Meanwhile, Naturex has realized their big error and turned back toward the junction where they made their error, turning the air blue with cries of "Merde!" Third place Agde is at the TA and not as far behind Naturex as they think they are! Argghh, must go to bed.
Feb 28, 2018 12:04 PM # 
morning update, looks like Bones is now ahead of a chase pack of Naturex, Agde, and Powerbar Swiss. Bones is right at CP24. Didn't look like they hit it cleanly, but now they are moving away so hopefully it got sorted in the dark.
Feb 28, 2018 12:13 PM # 
Well...Not quite what I was expecting to see this morning, but more good entertainment from Belize!!

And now I'm thinking it is unlikely anyone makes that dark zone unless the trek REALLY picks up for Bones.

I'm also thinking I'd be rather frustrated about the dark zone. It is what it is, but a mass restart might leave a team or two rather disappointed. This probably helps Naturex in that they probably have the advantage physically over the field, though in packrafts, who knows. Might help Agde too.

The endless conversations about dark zones and timing out...
Feb 28, 2018 1:00 PM # 
Bones is going to be shocked when they get to the TA! And then, as Broots said, it’ll be a letdown.

In case anyone joined us late, Powerbar appears to be in the mix on the tracker but they’re unranked.
Feb 28, 2018 1:13 PM # 
FB updates:

The trail between TA 6 and TA 7 is a low land Savannah trail, with a different type of vegetation than the high canopy of the jungle. Though a flatter profile and lower vegetation, it is nonetheless very dense at times and can be tricky to see at night. Diligence is key! From CP 24, there is a little more of this trail and then nice gravel roads into TA7. Once Bones gets to CP 24, it is highly likely their pace will pick up a good bit.

Teams Belize Grisons and Team Commie Bar have had major mechanical issues with their bikes and will discontinue the race. Grisons are already in and Commie Bar is awaiting a ride. Everyone is disappointed but doing well.
Feb 28, 2018 1:18 PM # 
Bones is about to hit the road in 1st. They arrived at the last TA 4 hrs behind Naturex, who are now traveling with Agde, tied for 2nd.
Feb 28, 2018 1:53 PM # 
Even in daylight, Naturex and Agde seem to be having trouble following the trail toward CP24.
Feb 28, 2018 1:57 PM # 
I wonder if it’s possible to just follow a compass bearing through savannah in Belize. If so, maybe that was the secret to Bones’ success in the dark. Silkychrome, do you have any thoughts after racing there?
Feb 28, 2018 2:12 PM # 
Crazy. Bones is really pulling away. And now I see teams seemingly bypassing the trek altogether.

Unless they are heading to that road that heads north to the CP.

I am so eager to hear reports from the teams.
Feb 28, 2018 2:21 PM # 
Looks like short course teams can skip CP23 and maybe CP24 as well.
Feb 28, 2018 3:02 PM # 
Can someone explain how the next section is slated to work? I'm only guessing that they bike to CP26, labelled on the YellowBrick map as a dark zone, and have to wait with bikes before they can continue onto the TA...?...without their gear bins? Or, is the Dark Zone mislabelled on the YellowBrick map and is supposed to be at CP27/TA8? And then, with the course closing at some point today, how can there even be a Dark Zone at all? Will CP27/TA8 end up being the finish line?

So confused...
Feb 28, 2018 3:10 PM # 
On the website, it says course closes tomorrow. No listed time, but the banquet is in the evening. Even then though, I agree: I'm still not convinced we know what the actual cutoff is or where it is. I just don't get why they would stop them in the middle of the bike, and then there is a trek too...this just adds more time and distance for tomorrow which makes tomorrow harder in regards to getting everyone to the finish and the banquet...

Confusing indeed.

Looks like GoodNuff skipped 23 but is going north to 24. Guessing the RDs are telling them the trail is too hard to follow and that they won't have time. Bones did move really well after 24 though...Almost to TA. They'll have 3-3.5 hours maybe to make the 60km bike...if the cutoff is really at 1PM...and if it's really at CP 26...
Feb 28, 2018 4:21 PM # 
Pulled from Bones' facebook page:

The team is undoubtedly celebrating being the first team into CP25/TA7! Well done gang!

The next crux, however; is the dark zone at CP26. They have until 1pm local time (just over three hours from now) to get through CP26 or else they will get cut off. We aren't sure how long the dark zone is for, or quite why there is one at CP26. There will be a mass start after the dark zone is lifted for those who get stopped there. As far as we understand it, the teams will get a time penalty at the end of the race equal to the amount of time they come into CP26 after the leaders. (e.g., Naturex would get a 4hr time penalty if they come into CP26 4hrs after Bones arrives).
Feb 28, 2018 4:24 PM # 
From SM:

At the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge Team Bones Adventure Racing (USA) continue to lead and are approaching the end of the trek on leg 7.

The question is can they complete this and get to CP26 on the next leg within the next 6 hours to arrive before the Dark Zone?

It looks to be around 75 miles to the CP. where they pick up a canoe to paddle into a cave to collect the point. They can then continue biking on to TA8 (a further 25 miles) until the Dark Zone comes into force between 3pm today and 3am tomorrow morning.

In other race news there are two more retired teams, Commie Bar and Belize Grisons, and the two bikes and a pack team Powerbar - Swiss Explorers lost in the river earlier in the race have been recovered for them!
Feb 28, 2018 4:26 PM # 
If there really is a time penalty for teams arriving later at the dark zone, things are looking good for Bones!
Feb 28, 2018 4:33 PM # 
I'm glad they got PowerBar got their bikes back. I met those guys in Spain and they're nice folks.

On another note, has anyone else encountered a surprising grizzly bear sighting in Legendary's photos from the caving section? Yikes!
Feb 28, 2018 4:40 PM # 
Bones' FB explains the dark zone.
Feb 28, 2018 4:42 PM # 
Hey all. I had the opportunity to vet the maps for this race and was planning to contribute here but unfortunately, haven't had the chance. I'll try and comment on a few things that I noticed.

I like Bones' choice to take roads through town instead of the trail on the first bike leg. I actually had planned that myself. I took the CW route though so I could get a better idea of my options though.

When I looked at the maps 3 weeks ago there was a trek planned down by CP18 but it looks like they took that trek out and added the trek near CP26 instead. Based on discussions with Julia I believe this was to have a better balance between biking and trekking and ample breaks from each. This was probably the reason for some confusion on the distances on the route guide.

And to comment on the darkzone (which seems to have just been addressed by Bash just above). Yes I believe the darkzone is at 26 because it is a more optimal place to stay. I imagine they will be able to leave that location very early in the morning (3am above) while it is still dark just so that they don't arrive at the packrafting too early.
Feb 28, 2018 4:43 PM # 
Thanks, Mayer22! StrongMachine, where is Randy's grizzly?
Feb 28, 2018 4:44 PM # 
Mayer22, can you confirm whether or not teams are clocked out in the dark zone?
Feb 28, 2018 4:46 PM # 
No I cannot. I wasn't given darkzone info in my vetting. They probably were planning to use my feedback to determine darkzones and start times. I was more checking for adequate information about maps and plotting routes.
Feb 28, 2018 4:47 PM # 
Got it - thanks!
Feb 28, 2018 4:50 PM # 
Also it appears Bones is off the intended route. Maybe by accident or on purpose. That being said there are multiple other options to get to CP 26 via Valley of Peace and Mount Hope.
Feb 28, 2018 4:53 PM # 
For anyone interested here are the maps I received and my intended route.
Feb 28, 2018 4:54 PM # 
Well, if they are indeed applying time penalties at the second dark zone, Bones is in good shape (knock on wood). They of course probably don't know how close Naturex is, but they are approximately 8 hours ahead of where Naturex is now. So, even if they don't make the dark zone, great position to be in.

Now, no mechanicals, no injuries, no lost bikes, no more jungle trail shenanigans...

Naturex must just be devastated. They have covered 10 k or so, maybe, in 13 hours..."on trails".
Feb 28, 2018 4:55 PM # 
And my RoT
Feb 28, 2018 4:56 PM # 
Links seem to be protected, Mayer22.
Feb 28, 2018 4:58 PM # 
Try again. Sorry did that for before race for security reasons.
Feb 28, 2018 5:01 PM # 
I think the links are new now
Feb 28, 2018 5:05 PM # 
Got it! I'm wondering -- do you think the arm chair vetting was worthwhile, without being on the ground and seeing it?
Feb 28, 2018 5:15 PM # 
It provided them information on the routes I would choose just as if I was planning my route as a racer (who hasn't seen the course yet either). We then discussed further information about the course (what is rideable what isn't, etc.) and I could give some more informed feedback. It also allowed me to give them feedback in order to clarify certain inconsistencies, typos, or areas in need of more information.

Execution of the chosen routes is a different thing. I would imagine a true vetting of these expedition courses is rare.
Feb 28, 2018 5:19 PM # 
Bones now has the option to go through Teakettle or Mount Hope.
Feb 28, 2018 5:22 PM # 
Also note this Trek that is causing so much difficulty was originally intended to be on bikes.
Feb 28, 2018 5:22 PM # 
Thanks. Hopefully they were out on the course enough during their scouting trips to have a good sense of what's going on for each section.
Feb 28, 2018 5:55 PM # 
Looks like Bones is taking the same route I marked. I think the RD intended route may be faster though.
Feb 28, 2018 6:00 PM # 
On satellite, I'm not seeing a bridge in Teakettle. Think they must be riding to Mt. Hope.

Any chance the RDs are routing people to the finish after this trek?? I doubt it, but interesting decision. Thinking they are riding through Mt. Hope to the Western Highway and then west to Chiquibul Rd. Yeah, those roads may be more solid, and at this point I imagine no one wants to risk another trail or sketchy road if they don't have to.
Feb 28, 2018 6:00 PM # 
And Naturex/Agde/Powerbar have finally gotten to the intended route (8+ hours behind Bones)
Feb 28, 2018 6:01 PM # 
Mayer22, if you turn off the course map on tracking and look at satellite, there is at least one stretch where there is no visible road. Considering what we have seen, that could a nightmare.

Now, the teams wouldn't know that as they were in lockdown, but...might allow for some fast riding all the way?
Feb 28, 2018 6:10 PM # 
It took Naturex 17.5 hrs to get from the TA to the main trail north of CP24. It took Bones 5 hours - all of it in the dark.
Feb 28, 2018 6:12 PM # 
Where are you talking about broots
Feb 28, 2018 6:14 PM # 
Guessing you mean right before CP 26. Yes that could be questionable. I was thinking the time on Western Hwy "might" make up for whatever that is but definitely could be risky.
Feb 28, 2018 6:20 PM # 
From the organizers on FB:

Alright folks, here we go! Team Bones is into and out of TA7 and pushing hard for the dark zone cutoff of 1:30pm at CP26. If they move and pick the right route, it’s possible. That would make them the only team to complete the paddle today and would finish this evening. Send them energy!!
Feb 28, 2018 6:21 PM # 
Yeah, that bit. I tend to agree with you, but I suspect we'll see. I'm sure someone will beeline it to make up time.
Feb 28, 2018 6:22 PM # 
Also, wondering if the teams around the CP decide to bail on the jungle trail and follow GoodNuff.

Bones did well after the CP, so not sure it would be the right move, but I could see them crying uncle.
Feb 28, 2018 7:06 PM # 
A leaderboard, sort of! And a further explanation of what's happening.
Feb 28, 2018 7:07 PM # 
So Good'nuff is Short Course after (apparently) missing an early CP, not unranked.
Feb 28, 2018 7:12 PM # 
And Naturex, Agde, and Powerbar are bailing on the trail...or so it appears.
Feb 28, 2018 7:15 PM # 
Maybe they've had enough trail for one day! :D
Feb 28, 2018 7:53 PM # 
Please let Bones continue...
Feb 28, 2018 7:56 PM # 
Looks like Bones arrived at CP26 just after 1:30 pm but there's no update on social media. And there is a suggestion that the road book said it would be a 3 pm cut-off.
Feb 28, 2018 7:56 PM # 
Also, the organizers have updated their recent team status post to say that Mexico is short course, not unranked.
Feb 28, 2018 8:01 PM # 
And do you see what GoodNuff has gotten themselves into, and what the others are now following them into? MERCY!
Feb 28, 2018 8:12 PM # 
On satellite, it looks like a dirt track so maybe it'll take them all the way across. I think Naturex has lost their mojo.
Feb 28, 2018 8:15 PM # 
Nothing yet on social media from organizers about Bones' arrival or their status. Bones posted a copy of the road book on social media saying that teams have until 3 pm to *leave* CP26. I've done a race where there were different cut-offs for arrival and departure at a TA but 90 minutes seems like too big a spread. Bones has asked the organizers about the time cut-off discrepancy repeatedly on social media but it's crickets so far.
Feb 28, 2018 8:17 PM # 
Wonder why GoodNuff is wandering...or was. minor slowdown, but still. At this point, I'm sure every slowdown is agony.

Took Bones about 4 hours to reach TA from the CP using the suggested route.

Naturex has already been moving for an hour and a quarter and have only succeeded at getting farther away from the TA distance wise. (check that, tracker updated, so closer, but still, I don't think it's going to be a winning decision)

Good Nuff bagged the CP 3 hours ago and probably are only a short distance closer to the TA right now than the location of the CP.
Feb 28, 2018 8:24 PM # 
Bash, how much work are you getting done this afternoon? :)
Feb 28, 2018 8:27 PM # 
Well, I'm making some great "to do" lists while checking in on the action in Belize and NZ! :)
Feb 28, 2018 8:31 PM # 
Seems like there's a lot of that going around today :)
Feb 28, 2018 8:50 PM # 
Naturex has gone about 3 km in the last 45 mins on their alternate route. Could there have been a rule that the full course teams couldn't use the highway? If that were the reason though, I'd expect Good'nuff and Powerbar to wave "bye bye" and head off on their own. Although by now, Naturex and Powerbar must be tightly bonded.
Feb 28, 2018 9:02 PM # 
On FB -- "Bones is here!! So close, they missed the cutoff by just 12 min (time stops here so any team that comes in behind them will still be that far behind them at 3am when they leave). So now they’ll be keeping us company, getting fueled up and getting caught up on sleep until 3 am. But hey, this isn’t such a bad place to be!!"

Feb 28, 2018 9:06 PM # 
If you're Bones, I guess it's not the worst thing to get 13 hrs of rest and food followed by 35 km of pack rafting in the morning. The race is for 2nd place now.
Feb 28, 2018 9:33 PM # 
And now Naturex is headed back west again. I can't watch anymore!
Mar 1, 2018 2:13 AM # 
Unbelievable. Naturex and Agde *still* aren't at TA7 - although they're going to arrive very shortly. They must be exhausted and ready to rest at TA7. It took Bones almost 4 hours to ride to CP26 as fast as they could since they were chasing the cut-off. It's only 7 hours until Bones can start riding again. Will the "chase pack" even be there when Bones leaves?
Mar 1, 2018 3:46 AM # 
So,according to Randy's video update from two hours ago, Naturex and presumably Agde (and Powerbar) never found CP 24.

If true, and assuming there are no cruel twists of fate for Bones, they will be the only full, full course team. Curious if Good Nuff found it since they went for it.
Mar 1, 2018 3:51 AM # 
Well, then I read this in a post from earlier...seems like there is some confusion between messengers.

"Since Naturex and Agde Raid Adventure eventually found CP 24, they remain on the full course with Bones, but it is unlikely that they’ll be able to make up the amount of time lost on Leg 6. We’ll see what happens when the sun rises!"
Mar 1, 2018 4:04 AM # 
After I heard Randy say that, I checked their tracks. It sure looks like they went to CP24 although it was off the trail so we can't be sure. I suppose if they missed it, that could explain their back-and-forth on the minor track parallel to the highway. I'm thinking they found it but not all race staff would know that yet.
Mar 1, 2018 4:17 AM # 
OK. 5 hours until Bones moves. Will Agde or Naturex make it before they leave? I'm thinking no...

Abiperk and I have been emailing with Drisc "a bit" today. Some of you might remember he raced with Roy in PQ two years ago. Infamously undone by Hellhole. Knock on wood, but it looks like Bones might just get their redemption.
Mar 1, 2018 4:24 AM # 
Ah, I see the post you were talking about, Broots. I've copied it below. Lots of details in here and they say Agde and Naturex went to CP24.

Friends of Chad will enjoy the video posted on the race FB page. Our local boy needs some sleep!

Day 3 of the MMAC

Teams were offered a hot meal at TA 5 before packing up and moving out. With some sleep and a full belly, teams were hoping to start gaining some time back for the challenging navigation on leg 5.

Leg 6, a ~75 mile bike ride began with fast, rolling pavement, but soon returned the racers to gravel roads to nab CP 18 at a stream crossing. Naturex headed out to TA 5 about 3am but had some navigation challenges heading to CP 19 that slowed them down a bit. This section of the bike course requires them to pass through a mountain gap by traveling on some orchard trails before finding some local hunting trails (a fore-warned short hike-a-bike) and then pass through more orchards before returning to gravel roads on the other side of the range. A few of the teams also seem to have had some trouble finding the road to CP18 but eventually back tracked for it.

After passing through the gap, racers headed back to CP 19 at Davis Falls on a gravel road that featured numerous river crossings. The road is pretty good, but the water crossings are wide so it surely slowed teams down a bit. The road eventually gives way to a grass road and then a single track path before ending at the base of towering Davis Falls. At over 500 feet, standing at the bottom is surely a humbling experience. Teams seemed to keep similar time on this leg, slowed a little by the route finding, but then getting a good pace going after finding the track.

The remainder of this 75-mile bike leg is flat gravel roads and is pretty straight forward. It’s a long haul up the Coastal Hwy, a flat open gravel road that connects Belize’s coastal towns to the heart of the savannah land in the center of Belize. As temperatures rose into the upper 80s, teams surely were feeling the brutality of the sun.

Racers knew they were all pushing for a Dark Zone at CP 26. Here racers needed to have left the CP by 1:30pm or they would not be able to leave until 3am. Enforcing the DZ allowed racers to begin the pack rafting section at day break since it begins in a narrow creek bed that will require some maneuvering around boulders (this will probably be done more on foot).

With this in mind, teams continued to push hard to advance on the course, but after a scorcher of a day and a ride up a sun-drenched coastal road, Naturex had put a solid lead on the others including 2nd place team Bones. It seemed like they were poised to pull away but in the sport of adventure racing, nothing is every certain.

At TA 6, teams transition to foot for an 18-mile trek. The trail between TA 6 and TA 7 is a low land Savannah trail, with a different type of vegetation than the high canopy of the jungle. Though a flatter profile and lower vegetation, it is nonetheless very dense at times and can be tricky to see at night. Further, animal trails criss-cross the trail in abundance. Diligence would be key. From CP 24, there is a little more of this trail and then nice gravel roads into TA7. Once teams got to CP 24, it is highly likely their pace would pick up a good bit.

After grabbing CP 23, Naturex initially headed west on the correct trail to CP 24 (the online viewer shows an old trail that was scrapped pre-race and replaced by another because of the condition of the original trail – some people have asked why the trackers were so far off the route). Although appearing to travel on this trail for a good while, Naturex then turned around, headed back to CP 23 and turned north where they remained for a considerable amount of time. That’s when Bones snuck in underneath them, hit the correct trail, and pulled well ahead of all the other teams as they continued to search. It’s fun to watch the tracker paths, but for a few minutes, Naturex and Bones might have crossed paths and who knows what would have played out had they been traveling together. Roy Malone of Team Bones says that it was an exceptionally challenging feat of navigation but credits the entire team for contributing, staying diligent, and thanks them for a great team effort.

Naturex remained confused about the correct route for several hours, before eventually returning to CP 23 and giving their initial path another try. By this time, Agde Raid Adventure had also reached CP 23 so they began traveling together - This time they were successful, but Bones had already jumped to a huge lead.

Once through TA 7, the bike ride was a quick 30 mile spin on fast gravel roads to CP 26 after leaving the Santander Sugar Plantation. With the hard part over, teams could just make a mad dash for the dark zone – and boy was Bones close!! We were all watching from the TA with anxious breath waiting to see if they were going to make it. In the end, they were just over the cutoff, but are now enjoying a bit of hot food from the onsite restaurant, grabbing some much needed sleep, and will start fresh in the morning.

To explain the Dark Zone at CP 26, it is another of Belize’s Archaeological wonders – Barton Creek Cave. Here the racers have to drop their bikes, use 2 canoes to paddle into a river cave and punch the point that is about 1km inside. Why is TA 8 not the DZ? Simply because TA 8 is nothing more than a parking lot. This would have been extremely uncomfortable for a 10-hour DZ. So why not just make CP 26 the TA? And why are the racers biking in and biking out? Essentially it is because the DZ was already a long one given the length of the pack raft section and we didn’t want to extend it any longer. By allowing the racers to bike out of CP 26, it allowed them to cover that ground faster and we could let them leave a little later in the day.

As it turns out, it looks like it’s going to be a party in the DZ tonight! Earlier on in the race, as the remaining teams made their way up the coastal highway to TA 6, the decision was made to advance those teams so that they had a chance to make the dark zone and complete the pack raft. It looks like the move was made at the right time and Tubaina, AdeoRun, Mexico Cemac Teluca, and Good’nuff DSN74 will make it to the dark zone with some time to spare. These teams will be noted as on a “short course” but will still be official.

Since Naturex and Agde Raid Adventure eventually found CP 24, they remain on the full course with Bones, but it is unlikely that they’ll be able to make up the amount of time lost on Leg 6. We’ll see what happens when the sun rises!
Mar 1, 2018 4:44 AM # 
All teams are on their bikes heading to CP 26. Looks like most are choosing the same NW route through Mount Hope.
Mar 1, 2018 5:08 AM # 
From the organizers:

I should clarify what I mean by "short course". "Full course" is teams who to this point have gotten all the CPs. "Short course" is teams who have missed one or more CPs but are still following the prescribed rules of travel. Teams will be ranked in order by the number of CPs they have (most points fastest).
Mar 1, 2018 12:43 PM # 
From the organizers:
Teams are starting to trickle in! AdeoRun arrived just before 12am followed by Tubaina and Naturex just before 1am. Time for some sleep before setting out on the final leg!!
Mar 1, 2018 12:47 PM # 
Naturex passed Agde just before the TA. Naturex has departed on the final leg but it looks like Agde is getting a little more sleep before heading out. They are the only other full course team left so they’ll be 3rd as long as they finish before the deadline.
Mar 1, 2018 12:47 PM # 
From the organizers:
Everyone seems to be in great spirits but there is some funny walking going on :) The trails up around CPs 23 and 24 were pretty muddy and wet, so the sore feet have resulted. Hopefully the thought of the finish line is enough to propel these racers on!
Mar 1, 2018 12:57 PM # 
At last I have an idea of what I have been doing here. On our way to catch Team Bones at the Vaca Dam and then the finish
Mar 1, 2018 12:59 PM # 
Hi Randy! :) Thanks for all the great photos and video.
Mar 1, 2018 1:09 PM # 
What definition of “short course” is common in your area? Ranking teams by the number of CPs, as organizers say they plan to do, seems simplistic because not all CPs are equal. If one team misses a CP as part of an urban sprint (hypothetically), they would be ranked alongside a team that decides not to get a mountaintop CP. It turns the race into a bit of a rogaine without the benefit of different point values.

I prefer short courses that are defined, preferably in advance although sometimes additional short courses might emerge during a race due to circumstances that weren’t anticipated. In a defined short course, teams might be asked to bike around a trek instead of doing it but if they miss any other CP, they are unranked - unless they complete a different, defined, shorter short course.

What usually happens in your races? What would you like to happen? I confess this isn’t entirely hypothetical. One team raised this question after Wilderness Traverse last year. We had pre-defined short courses in the race instructions and they wondered about extra credit for getting 1 of 2 CPs on a trek but they were ranked on the short course that skipped that trek. Some teams purposely skipped the trek, correctly judging it to be too difficult for them to complete in the time limit, and they ended up ranked ahead.
Mar 1, 2018 2:57 PM # 
Naturex just really doesn't seem to want this race to end.

Looks like they have turned off the trail too early to drop down to the creek. I'm really hoping for their sake their tracker is just jumping a bit or that they can make quick progress. Bones didn't seem to have a problem getting to CP30, nor has Thisability.

Mar 1, 2018 4:12 PM # 
Bash - regarding the grizzly, you may have to DM Mr. Legendary to get that beta.

Regarding your question re: short courses, there was a long discussion on Facebook that touched on the topic around six months ago. Let me know if you're interested enough to want the link - I believe it was in the AR Discussion Group.

At least in the U.S., there appear to be two camps of equally passionate people. 1) Those that believe only point-to-point all mandatory courses can be considered true ARs; and 2) those that believe all-mandatory CPs can create really difficult situations for both racers and RDs.

I used to think this was less important on the ARWS level than for local- to national-level races, but having seen some of the best teams in the world, like Naturex in Belize, or Columbia in Paraguay last year, or the teams in the ARWC Pantanal race, get completely undone by one CP, I'm starting to change my mind. It makes for fun dot-watching, but it must be an excruciating experience to go through in a race, and could quite possibly create a dangerous situation as teams get stuck in situations where they run out of food and water or get too cold and need to decide whether to push past safe limits or DNF.

In my experience, having all CPs as mandatory requires a much higher level of execution for RDs on the planning end, and for participants on the racing end. In addition to stretching the race out over a much further distance, if one CP is misplaced, stolen or even lacking reflectors, it can grind a race to a total halt. Personally, I'm for well-designed ROGAINE courses that allow racers to short-course themselves (with RDs giving suggestions as to what to skip, if they think it will better the racer experience or improve safety). The trick is to design a course that prevent short-course teams from placing ahead of teams that successfully tackle more difficult sections.
Mar 1, 2018 4:23 PM # 
I think point to point is the way to go for the top level events, i.e. ARWS. But it certainly requires higher level RDing and race design. Nothing wrong with a CP that is really hard. Bones has shown in this race that sharp nav is a skill that should be appreciated. Just because others lose a lot of time doesn't mean all CPs should be on trails, that all trails should be easy to find, etc. There is a problem when all racers struggle and the RDs weren't expecting it.

As an RD, we purposefully make some CPs easy and some harder, knowing that some teams will struggle.

The trick is really having a handle on whether the course is manageable within the time constraints you have. Or to have a very clear set of parameters for what happens if teams skip points. If I know ahead of time that points all have the same value and that skipping points is an option, I need to make the best strategic decision for myself. Of course I would skip the mountain-top.

The problem is, too many RDs don't plan for this and then adjust on the fly. And then things get really messy.

In short, as always, you can't please all in this sport. You'll never please all. So, the rules have to be crystal.

All this said, as I've said before, for entry level events or even 24 hour events, I support rogaine style. Whether CPs are one point each or varying value is up to the RD in my opinion. I have seen both work very well as long as it's logical. I just think there are too many beginners who get turned away by DNFs and such.

But at the level of an ARWS event, I think it should be point to point WITH short course options. Again, clearly thought out and vetted so that the course is realistic for multiple levels. I say multiple because I don't think an ARWS race is a top level race. I'm not saying a beginner shouldn't take it on or try it, but they have to know it's not your normal race.
Mar 1, 2018 4:27 PM # 
As for the race. Looks like AGDE and GoodNuff are not finishing the race as designed? Tubaina too? Is the tracking spotty?

Any news on that?

Bones, Naturex and Thisability all left around the same time and are now separated by almost two hours. Go Bones!!
Mar 1, 2018 6:37 PM # 
Whoops, @StrongMachine, I totally did NOT intend to get into the optional CP debate, which I normally avoid because of the passion and the fact that it is mostly a U.S. discussion that doesn't concern me. (Phew, there are so many of those lately!!)

I was wondering specifically about AR short coursing but maybe I have my answer(s) from this group. My own preference is to have different short courses defined in advance, e.g. if you arrive at TA3 after 2 pm, you have to bike to TA4 on Short Course A instead of paddling there, then continue on the regular course. If you arrive at TA3 after 8 pm, you'll bike directly to the finish on Short Course B. Etc. Amongst other reasons, knowing approximate racer routes enables us to make better emergency plans in case of injury in the wilderness, and it helps us avoid private land.

Mostly though, I think people who are good planners and navigators should be rewarded. In a case like this where the full course involves visiting all the CPs in sequence - like an orienteering course rather than a rogaine - it seems fair to favour teams that stayed on the full course for as long as they possibly could, i.e. giving up on CP1 would be treated differently from failing to find CP24. But that's not how it will work in this case.

If teams aren't finishing the race course as designed, as Broots mentioned, could this be part of the reason? If you know you'll be called a finisher regardless and don't care much whether you're ranked 7th or 8th, what incentive is there to do a long pack rafting section, even if you have the time?
Mar 1, 2018 7:06 PM # 
At 1 pm local time, Bones is about 60% of the way down the river after 3 hrs of pack rafting. Naturex is on the river about 2 hrs behind. The only other team heading for the pack raft put-in is ThisAbility. Everyone else tagged TA8 then headed to the finish directly. Does anyone know what other cut-offs are in play? The fact that ThisAbility is continuing suggests there is time for them to do the final leg.
Mar 1, 2018 7:16 PM # 
Race organizers responded to a comment and said that the course closes at 5pm. If they hold true to that, I can't imagine how ThisAbility and even Naturex will make it.
Mar 1, 2018 8:10 PM # 
Interesting! At 2 pm local time, it looks like Bones has 5 km left to pack raft followed by a 2 km run. Naturex isn't tracking but the last time they did, the distance between them and Bones was growing - about 2 hrs 20 mins. ThisAbility has not reached the put-in point yet.
Mar 1, 2018 8:20 PM # 
Thisability is 5.5 hours beyond where Bones is now, based on Bones' pace. I have to think they will be out a fair bit longer than that, unless the RDs arrange to pull them somewhere along the route.

Natures is about three hours out, so yeah, not making it by 5PM.

Bash, I'm hopeful (for certain teams' sake), that the RDs sort out the rankings as you described. It's the logical way to do it. In the same way that RDs rarely give updates on rogaine style races in regards to points, I'm hoping that they are just reporting "standings" based on TA times.

It will be interesting to see what decisions they make, however. I just hope it's a resolution that makes teams happy.

This is where RDs get trapped. My feeling is that on a linear course there must be a clear written penalty for a missed CP, whether it is a time penalty, a clear explanation of being ranked behind all other relevant teams, or a UNF designation. I know this can suck for those teams that can't find a point, but when racers are allowed to just skip points when they feel like it on a course that is "mandatory", it just muddies everything up for the RDs and frankly isn't fair for other teams that play by the rules.

This all assumes, of course, that course is well designed and fair.
Mar 1, 2018 8:40 PM # 
Agreed. Btw GODZone has posted its short course information and I'll post it in the other thread. I like the way they think. :)
Mar 1, 2018 8:54 PM # 
Bones is off the river and heading to the finish line on foot just before 2:45!
Mar 1, 2018 8:56 PM # 
Looks like Naturex is a little more than 2 hrs back. Perhaps they've been doing the math and hurrying up. It is still possible!
Mar 1, 2018 9:28 PM # 
Also agree with points made re: short coursing/mandatory CPs. Sorry to bring the discussion back into the mangroves!
Mar 1, 2018 9:28 PM # 
Bones crosses the finish line around 3:15 pm!
Mar 1, 2018 9:31 PM # 
Haha, we love mangroves on this forum! :)
Mar 1, 2018 9:37 PM # 
If I'm Naturex, I'm thinking about the road/drive that is NW of Cristo Rey. Comes down close to the river. I don't know what's down there, but I'm thinking about deflating there and running in that way if I think it's going to be close. No idea what that property is, but I'm tempted. It's not dramatically further on foot, and you cut a nice bit of rafting...I don't think there are any final CPs? No idea if the course book mandates you stay in the river?
Mar 1, 2018 10:20 PM # 
As of the 4 pm track: It took Bones about an hour to get to the finish line from where Naturex is now. It's going to be exciting!
Mar 1, 2018 10:52 PM # 
Off the water at 4:45 pm and 2.5 km from the finish. It took Bones half an hour to hike it in.
Mar 1, 2018 11:11 PM # 
5 pm. Cut-off time. Not there.
Mar 2, 2018 12:01 AM # 
the trek from the river to the finish line is not easy...up a very steep hill !!
Mar 2, 2018 12:33 AM # 
No word about what will happen to Naturex's ranking after missing the course cut-off but Randy has made a great video chatting with Bones as they drink beer at the finish line. :)
Mar 2, 2018 1:14 AM # 
This from Naturex's FB page:

"Back from the jungle!
We just arrived after 100 hours of intense raid in a beautiful country...
We thought we had done the hard and finir and the organization offered us a jungle trek with just a GPS track on the map. The beginning of hell.... we tried everything, found a lot of tracks. And finally get out of the machete like machete but without the tool! In order to finish this item 24, it is located 3 km away, which leads us into a new impasse... a nightmare section that has nothing to do in an adventure raid. Too bad because this raid also offered fantastic sections.
Sorry about this bad scenario... soon we'll tell you everything in details...
We were able to keep the liver in spite of everything, and we crossed that line tonight. This team has a steel mind!
Place to rest and holidays!"

Always a tale of two races in these moments. Those that nail it "love it" and say great things about the race. Those that don't have other views. I don't say this at all to be critical of Naturex's post here, and considering how awful it looked, I tend to imagine there are legitimate questions about...something, just not sure what yet. I'm very curious to hear from more teams about a few spots on this course to see if the overall sentiment is that this was fair and just really hard or if it was as frustrating as it looked from afar.

Oh, and I'm glad they kept their livers.

Love translators...
Mar 2, 2018 2:19 AM # 
Oh my!
Mar 2, 2018 3:23 AM # 
Facebook's translation leaves something to be desired. A few things could have been translated differently to better convey the meaning. If Leanimal is around, she can improve on this.:

We thought we'd done the hard part and would finish serenely.

The team finally got out of there on a bearing on a "machete-type" bushwhack but they didn't have a machete.

They say CP24 was misplaced by 3 km, which threw them into a new impasse.

And I'm pretty sure they meant to say they kept the faith - "foi", not their livers - "foie"!

Chad on Bones described that trek as his low point - really slow even though they looked super fast compared to other teams.

Naturex had company for most of that trek so there will be some other eyewitness accounts.

Well said re the "tale of two races", Broots.
Mar 2, 2018 3:55 AM # 
Btw Team ThisAbility pack rafted for about 4 km until sunset when they reached a road and their tracker stopped transmitting.
Mar 2, 2018 4:01 AM # 
I was wondering if the RDs would pull them. Thinking that is what happened? I can imagine Chip fighting that...
Mar 2, 2018 4:23 AM # 
Yes, looks like they got a ride. They showed amazing spirit by racing until the cut-off forced them to stop. Good on them!
Mar 2, 2018 4:58 AM # 
Photos just posted on their FB page saying, "Finally ThisAbility made it home and all was well."

Photos of the podium teams appear to show Naturex in 2nd and AdeoRun in 3rd. So it looks like organizers decided to change the 5 p.m. time cut-off.
Mar 2, 2018 8:36 AM # 
In spite of the photo, it was Agde in 3rd.

USA Bones Secures Ticket to Reunion Island

Team USA Bones (Team Bones Adventure Racing) were the victors at the first AR World Series Qualfiier of 2018 in Belize and have secured themselves a coveted spot to the AR World Championship 2018 on Reunion Island in November. Team members included Roy Malone, Jen Segger, Aaron Rinn and Chad Spence.

Team Captain Roy Malone looked relieved as he crossed the finish line after leading his team through the jungles and caves of Belize for almost 4 days. This is the second win USA Bones has had at an AR World Series Qualifier, the previous being their home territory on the West Coast of the USA in 2013.

Only the first and second placed teams completed the full course and visited all checkpoints of the race. Aaron Rinn from Bones said “It was a lot harder and longer than I anticipated”. Roy said “We thought leg 5 and 6 would be the crux of the race. But then Leg 7 looked short on the map, we planned for 3 hours and ended up being in the jungle for 9 hours.”

Second place was team France Naturex (400 TEAM) including Romy Viale, Nicolas Seguin, Sebastien Raichon and Sonis Furtado. Naturex looked to be solid prospects for winning, despite some small errors on day 3, until they encountered major problems near CP23 on the third night. They gave up a 4 hour lead to Bones and then fell another 8 agonising hours behind them. The team said on social media “This was the beginning of hell… we tried everything, found lots of tracks. Finally we had to use our arms like machete to get out. In spite of everything we crossed the line tonight after 100 hours of intense racing in a beautiful country and showed everyone the mental strength we have as a team.”

USA Bones was able to capitalise on the error of French to lead the remainder of the race to the finish line. Jen Segger said, “It is a long race and you have just got to keep pushing, because you don’t know what is going on ahead of you. You just don’t give up.”

Roy Malone said “In these races something is always going to happen, and if you are in a position to pounce, you are going to set yourself up to be in good shape.”

Team France Agde Raid Adventure shared long sections of the difficult jungle trek near CP23 with Naturex and finished the race in 3rd place overall. The team included Paul Galode, Antony Diaz, Jerome Gleyze and Christine Cornez. Paul complemented the winners saying on social media “Bones was magical in their orienteering through the jungle as it was particularly difficult in many sections”.

Final results for the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge were:

1st - USA Bones
2nd - France Naturex
3rd - France Agde Raid Adventure
4th - France AdeoRun
5th - Brazil Good’nuff DSN74 Teiu
6th - Brazil Tubaina Adventure Team
7th - Mexico Cemac Toluca (Short Course)

The remaining teams did not finish the course including Switzerland Powerbar Swiss Explorer, Belize Grisons and Canada Commie Bar.

The next AR World Series race will be the XPD Expedition Race in Australia from 17-24 March 2018. Geocentric Outdoors

For more information on the AR World Series:
Facebook at
#arworlderies #arws #adventureracing #dotwatcher

Released 2 Mar 2018 by Craig Bycroft, Adventure Racing World Series
Mar 2, 2018 6:08 PM # 
Leaderboard at last!
Mar 4, 2018 4:51 AM # 
race recap from Aaron Rinn of Bones:

Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge was grueling! The first day was no problem with several short bike and paddle legs, and a dark zone where we got one hour of sleep. We woke and ran with French team NatureX to the free hanging rappel and then to the cave swim. This was surreal and stunning. Sometimes the water was deep, cold, and still and other times pulled us downstream with force. The river popped in and out of sunlight. After a couple of hours, we finally exited the river. I found that water had infiltrated most of my pack, even though I had lined it with a trash compactor bag and put things in dry bags. I threw away soggy food and both my back up and main headlamps were compromised. We estimated 14 hours for this leg, but it ended up taking us 22! To extend my limited food, I took small nibbles. We finally finished and built our bikes for another surprisingly challenging leg.

We had to navigate this leg by pictures I took with my camera of another teams maps, because we misplaced ours :(. This was not easy. One one section we had to cross a fast moving steam 5 or 6 times. Each crossing was difficult, and the land trail was overgrown and hard to follow. We finally pushed through this section and made our way to the spectacular, 500 foot high Davis falls. From here we biked on nice roads to Monkey Bay. We set out on a trek that looked straightforward on the map, but turned out to be the crux of the race. The nice road quickly turned to jungle. The ground varied between muddy and knee deep pools. There wasn’t a dry spot anywhere. Vines snared our ankles. I was so paranoid about losing the trail, because I felt there would be no way to find it again. There were more than a few challenging decision points, some where the trail seemed to peter out. But we persisted and managed to make it through this jungle section. It was amazing to trek through this jungle, not something that a lot of people get to do. We saw a turtle, freshwater crab, toads, and a 2 inch spider with a lot of meat on it! We arrived at the road elated. But we were quickly dismayed. The “road” was made of shoe sucking mud that made walking painfully slow. We wandered around looking for the checkpoint. We finally decided it was misplaced and we took the trail where we thought it should be. The next section went quickly, as I slept-walked for about an hour of it. My teammates didn’t seem to notice. We got to the bike TA and found out that we were in first place! NatureX had gotten disoriented in the jungle.

We hopped on our bikes and tried to make the next dark zone cut-off, which we missed by minutes. This turned out to be a blessing. We got to stop racing and stay at a really nice place with river caves (we canoed in these ones) and a restaurant. We got about 8 hours of sleep, and woke at 3:00am for the last day of racing. We biked to a packrafting section. This was fun, but it went on a little too long. We finally rounded the bend to the bridge where we had started the race more than 4 days prior. We trekked up the hill to the finish at Cahal Pech. The race directors time estimate was 2.5 days for the winning team! Less than half the teams finished the race and only 2 got all the checkpoints. MMAC was a true expedition race and a worthy ARWS world championship qualifier! With the victory, Team Bones Adventure Racing has earned a free entry for the ARWC on Reunion Island!

After we finished, I started feeling sick. I had a fever, no energy, and all I could do was sleep. This persisted for 2 days. They pulled me aside at customs and asked if I was on something. I explained that I had heat exhaustion and they recommended I go to the hospital. I was planning to do that anyway, but I hadn’t wanted to go in Belize. So I checked myself into a hospital in Houston yesterday. I am feeling a lot better. I am finally actually awake and have an appetite. I told them I need to be discharged tomorrow at 9:00 sharp!
Mar 4, 2018 10:38 PM # 
Congrats to Bones on a fantastic race!

I just stumbled across a post from PowerBar Swiss Explorers containing a video of them and Naturex wandering through ankle-deep mud on their magical mystery tour through the Belizean jungle between CPs 23 and 24:

The post claims both of the points were "misplaced," one by 3 km. Would love to hear from Bones as to whether they can corroborate that.
Mar 5, 2018 3:36 AM # 
Aaron Rinn (from Bones) posted a race report on FB. Sure sounds like they may have skipped 24 as being mis-plotted. Also, if you look at the spreadsheet results, I noticed 24 was marked with a red X. Wondered what that meant. I'm thinking the evidence suggests they gave credit for that point ...Still, not certain about Bones. Just my interpretation of the report.

Certainly doesn't change anything as Naturex's huge losses came before reaching the general location of the CP.
Mar 5, 2018 5:34 PM # 
I edited my post above w the full report from Aaron. Also available here: (if it is FB public, not sure)
Mar 5, 2018 6:05 PM # 
Thanks for sharing silky...
Mar 5, 2018 7:53 PM # 
Hi there, I have just scanned the thread. Thanks for the words of encouragement for Bones. Yes, I can confirm that CP24 was misplaced. We walked a long way south of its expected location along a very muddy GPS road cut to confirm this, before retracing steps and continuing west from where CP24 should have been.
Mar 5, 2018 8:10 PM # 
Welcome home, Chad, and thanks for the info. Hope you're feeling good after your jungle adventure. Congratulations!!
Mar 5, 2018 8:27 PM # 
Congrats Chad - what a debut with Bones! I knew you'd be an AR star since I first saw you ripping up the winter desert in snowy Utah a couple years back :)
Mar 5, 2018 8:45 PM # 
Thanks Bash and StrongMachine. Aside from the occasional urge to crawl under my desk at work for a nap, I feel good. Can't say enough about my teammates in this one, their strength and tenacity were at another level for me.
Mar 7, 2018 5:42 PM # 
Race report from Naturex:
Mar 9, 2018 4:58 AM # 
Hard to get through some of the translation but I'd say a very positive and optimistic report from Naturex given what they went through. Shows the spirit of AR and the beauty of the race.
Mar 9, 2018 5:08 AM # 
Bones has published their report too.
Mar 9, 2018 10:22 PM # 
A view to a race

This discussion thread is closed.