"A total of 52 teams will take part in Expedition Africa Namaqua West Coast this year with 20 international teams from countries including the US, UK, Russia, Switzerland, France, Japan and Norway lining up at the start. The balance is made up by South Africans from across the country, with top competitors Cobus van Zyl (Team Jabberwock) and Graham Bird (Team Merrell Mentored) amongst them. Well-known adventurer Peter van Ketz takes part in Team Grit Nyamezela with South African sports photographer Jacques Marais following and documenting every step they take."
Tom Davies (DJTom) and I (Gary Davies) will be there racing in Team #7 Endurancelife. Looking forward to it.
Great, we have someone to cheer for! This is always an interesting race but if we don't know anyone to watch, it's not as exciting. Have a fantastic time!
I’m pretty sure Frenchie is racing with R’ADYS.
I'll be there again on Team Charnas (#23). Looks like there will be some proper expedition-style legs, including a ~200km bike leg! The area has also been hit by a severe drought, so water will be an issue. We've been told to have water capacity for at least 5 liters per person on the trekking legs.
Just around the corner now! :)
Wow! Those will be some heavy packs. Have a great race!
Route and Logistics Planner
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Live tracking site is up. The race starts Sunday - around midnight Saturday in Ontario/New York.
As they say, getting to the start line is half the battle. In Frenchie’s case, it might be 60%. She is on her way to Africa to race with R’ADYS after a last minute root canal. Luckily, that happened while she was still in Canada and not in a lower pressure aircraft - ouch! Then last night her dog ran away from her friend's house. A crowd of local animal lovers came out to help and eventually someone caught her poor scared dog. Yikes, nothing like a little pre-race stress!
DJTom, I and the team fly out Wednesday evening from the UK. Almost all packed!
Have a great race! Safe travels.
Good luck to all the international teams making their way to EA. Travelling with AR gear is like a special stage on its own. Like Bash said it's half the battle won just arriving at the start with a fit and healthy team. Respect to the 18 international teams making the effort. I'm sure it will be worth their while though and we look forward to welcoming them.
Fortunately this year I'm speaking from the point of view of a guy who has only 4 hour drive up the N7 highway from Cape Town! Team Parallel will be there again, battling it out for an upper mid-field position (hopefully).
We're in for heavy packs due to the lack of water and some big legs on this one, notably a 200km bike ride, a 50km paddle and a 60km hike. The only paddle is upfront so it won't serve to rest tired legs and sore feet either. Apparently the other paddle leg had to be rerouted as a hike due to the drought.
Regardless of the challenges ahead, we are very keen to get into the area and start racing / exploring / discovering.
Thanks for the info. Have fun!
Rob Howard of Sleepmonsters checks out the competition and figures it's wide open.
Based on photos coming out of the event, at least the route for legs 1 and 2 is available. Starting near doringbaai, and a costal trek north to papendorp. From there it will be a paddle up the river, probably all the way to Lutzville.
The start will involve one member of the team Being taken on a local fishing boat out to sea to collect their gps tracker, then it’s a few Km’s orienteering around doringbbaai before collecting their bags at cp12 and trekking north along the coast
Some very welcome big rains have just fallen in the drought-stricken area around the race start & finish. Must be the AR gods.
Frenchie and team R'Adys are hanging in the lead pack as teams finish the first (and only) paddle of the race heading into TA2. They are in roughly 7th position, but there are 5-6 teams in about the same area on the river, so it's a bit unclear.
Now that a section without handrails is underway (stage 3 trek), I find myself wondering if anyone has access to the rules of travel and maps that the teams are working with. Anyone?
Who would choose the 2km hike-a-bike option (CP 22A) vs the 20km longer route without hiking (CP 22B)?
That said, what the heck is Blizzard doing continuing South from CP21? Is there an Option 3 that I didn't catch with regard to the CP22 route decision?
Maybe they are avoiding the railway?
Thanks for the updates, Conman! The race is getting some good coverage on Facebook as well.
AR Live Coverage Page
Kinetic Events Page
Upon leaving CP21, R'Adys has assumed what appears to be 3rd position. The decision regarding which CP22 to collect looms. There are two lead teams (Blizzard & Agde) that have gone a bit to the South of the expected route. They may move faster or slower...only time will tell.
Looks like the unmarked southern option to 22A was the fastest. R'ADYS now locked together in a fight for 4th with Nevarest and Jabberwok hot on their heels.
I wonder why part of leg 6 wasn't a paddle to break up the Trek-Bike repeat?
Edit: nevermind, greatescape explained above that’s there’s no water in the reservoir...
Anyone know anything about Blizzard? I'm not familiar with the team or the racers. impressive showing thus far. I haven't been able to follow this one yet. What's up with East Wind? Anything notable? I'd expect them further up in the field.
East Wind had a helluva time with night nav. on the second trek. They were in the top 15ish at the point things went off the rails, maybe dropped 20 spots during that trek. These are just estimates...I haven't examined the breadcrumbs to confirm.
I'd love to know whats going on with team 39 Vaucluse. Took a VERY round about way to get CP22B, and then by the looks of it tried to go get 22A as well? They've lost about 10 hours or so!
Nice to see GD44, DJTom and Endurancelife moving up a bit. Or so it seems!
GD44/DJTom and Endurancelife have made solid progress to the summit CP26. R'ADYS has found it as well but on their return back down they walked right past the turn to the NW and CP27 (which they were on previously). Turn back!
Turning back already. Whew!
This is a really tight race at the front. Looks like the 4 front teams will all be at the 2nd to last TA (TA6) together, even if briefly. I suspect every one of them will either sleep at TA6 or somewhere thereafter. The decision to sleep and how long may make or break podium spots.
And, it looks like the 2nd and 3rd place teams have gotten themselves turned around trying to find the TA at ~midnight. I wonder if the fog that has been common over the last 24+ hours has settled in there and made finding landmarks really difficult?
On Wednesday at 4 a.m. local time, here are our Attackpoint teams:
8th place - R'ADYS / EnduranceLife is at TA5, a trek/bike TA at Jamaka Lodge.
10th place (30 minutes back) - EnduranceLife UK is also at TA5.
26th place - Team Parallel appears to be napping between CP26 and CP27.
34th place - Charnas is taking the more direct route to CP26, which Merrell Mentored also took. Must be some local SA knowledge!
Omjakon making a strategic move out of TA6: going direct over the ridge rather than down the obvious canyon. Based on this note in the route book, the stream bed could be quite choked with brambles: "Leg Cover Recommended"
Ok, been quietly watching things develop for a while but need to express some concerns. I trust that RD Stephan Muller is on top of this, but I'm still anxious: there are currently two teams off the rails in the Cederberg Wilderness area (Leg 5 trek). Sleepmonsters are clearly working their magic out there.
One to the North (22 Steaks & Kidney) has been trending West from the last TA and has bobbled a bit even with that...probably reconsidering and then convincing themselves that they were on the "right" track. They do have has a catching feature (low elevation road) to serve as backstop if they keep to their bearing. As well, they are most certainly still traveling on a map that they were provided by the race.
The other (49 KeyHealth Neverest Origin duo) bagged the high peak at CP26, then got off track heading Southeast. They reconsidered and turned back for a bit only to turn Southeast again before relocating properly. I'm not sure, but they are likely to soon be (or already are) off the Southernmost map that was provided for the race. They are also heading in a direction with no nearby catching features. YIKES! I'm a bit worried that these folks are going to end up very lost with darkness descending.
Hoping for the best with both teams!!!
Lead pack team Agde Raid (France) must be having trouble with someone on the team. They've slowed to a crawl over the last few hours and been passed by two SA teams in this canyon section. I'd guess there's a foot or leg issue with someone and they're trying to work as a team get through it.
There are some clues in a recent Facebook post by the race organization. It sounds like they've been in touch with some of the teams that are moving in odd directions and some of them may be dropping off teammates. Here is the full list posted 35 minutes ago:
Team Changes and Updates
(6) Premier Hotels - 3 members withdrawn (exhaustion)
(22) Steaks & Kidney - sleeping in mountains and well move at 1st light
(24) Bloed en Omo - DG - continue as team of 3
(29) Raid Gallaecia - 1 member withdrawan injury
(35) 24HR Meals - 1 member rescued - continue as team of 3
(37) Sumpior-Rodosa - 1 team member ill - continue as team of 3
(40) Couples Retreat - Bike seat issues and fixed at hardware store
(47) - KeyHealth Nevarest - lady ITB issue - continue as team of 3
In about 30 minutes, Team Blizzard of Russia, barring problems, should cross the finish line as winners of EA18. Heidi promised just a few hours ago that all finishers would be Facebook live-streamed as they cross the line. So, cue up your FB feed if you want to start watching teams finish, including the winners in just a short while.
Some info on the little known winners, Team Blizzard AR.
Top 3 podium positions:
1. Blizzard (Russia)
2. Sani Racing / Best 4 Sports (South Africa)
3. Omjakon (Finland + Estonia)
And, shortly after:
4. Jabberwock (South Africa)
5. ??? (probably Agde Raid Adventure of France)
Eastwind has made it into the top 10 and are taking a straight shot to CP32 with R’ADYS on their heels. Endurancelife UK continues their drive up the leaderboard, now in 7th and onto the last bike leg with the possibility of catching Merrell Mentored before the finish.
There’s a huge congaline of teams behind R’ADYS so they can not afford any mistakes from here to the finish if they want to stay in the top 10.
East Wind and R'Adys are closing out the race mighty close to one another. EW is currently running in 9th just before CP34. Nevarest is in front of them but lost a team member about 24 hours ago, so are unranked. R'Adys is about 1 hour behind, and it's 1am. Anything can still happen, but I think it's safe to say both will finish in the top 10. The order of spots 9 and 10 is slightly more uncertain. Go Frenchie!
Anyone else think to look up the Norwegian team name translation: Aas Kadavers? If you didn't, let me share my take: I think it means bait corpse. I knew those two were funny and maybe a bit loopy post-race, but that's a pretty morbid and comical name choice. They are having a splendid race!
Tenth place to R'Adys! Go Frenchie!
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