EO kicks off at 8 a.m. local time tomorrow, hosted by athletes from Team BendRacing/Yogaslackers.
Some of the key info:
Host Location: Bend, Oregon
Distance: Approximately 200 miles
Disciplines: Trek, whitewater pack raft, mountain bike, ropes, orienteering, and a few surprises
Winning Time: 2 Days (48 Hours)
Course Open: 3.5 Days (85 hours)
Team Format: Teams of 2, 3, & 4. Only 4-person co-ed teams are eligible for ARWS series points & prize money.
Support Crews: Not permitted.
Prizes: Guaranteed prize purse and prizes from sponsors.
Qualifier: 1st Place receives priority opportunity to enter ARWS 2018 and free entry into Expedition Oregon 2019.
AR Live Coverage is already reporting lots of good info.
Liza (aka Slice) of Team Bones wrote: "The course promised to be both challenging and exciting. We are starting off with a bang tomorrow morning on a massively steep bushwhack, followed by days of more of the same with some exciting whitewater, technical ropes, and single track biking sections in there too. The race ends on Saturday at our hotel hot tub... and hopefully a cooler full of beer. "
From the organizers:
The event will see teams racing amidst some of the world's most stunning snow-laden mountains, cascading hidden waterfalls, frosty alpine lakes, and ancient lava fields. Covering just about 200 miles, the 85-hour course has eight stages.
Stage 1 involves a 16-mile trek sponsored by Leki with an elevation gain of 3,500 feet and loss of 4,200 feet. It should take teams 5.5 to 9 hours to complete this stage.
Stage 2 is a 20-mile paddle and trek leg sponsored by Alpacka Raft. This leg will take teams 4.5 to 7 hours and see them covering 500 feet of elevation gain and 1300 feet of elevation loss.
Teams will see 10,000 feet of elevation gain and 6,500 feet of elevation loss in the 10 to 16 hour, 30-mile mountain bike and climb Stage 3 sponsored by Edelrid.
The 11-mile Nite Ize sponsored Stage 4 trek sees teams covering a 3,000 ft elevation gain and 4,000 ft elevation loss in 7 to 11 hours.
The 12-mile, 2 to 3-hour Mountain Khaki mountain biking Stage 5 covers 2,700 ft elevation gain and 1200 ft elevation loss.
Stage 6 is a 7-mile, 3 to 5-hour Gear Junkie orienteering leg that will have teams covering 1,200 feet of elevation gain and loss.
The Ellsworth sponsored 85-mile Stage 7 mountain bike and climbing stage will take teams 12 to 20 hours with an elevation gain of 8,000 feet and loss of 9,000 feet.
The final stage, sponsored by Bend Racing, is a 10-mile packraft, mountain bike, and trek that has teams covering 700 feet of elevation gain and 800 feet of loss in 2 to 3 hours before rounding out at finish line at the LOGE Entrada hotel.
The winning racers will be coming in on Saturday as early as 5AM or as late at 3PM. The majority of the teams will be coming in throughout the day on Saturday, with the back of the pack coming in on Sunday. The finish line cutoff is 5PM on Sunday. At the finish lines, teams will find a hot tub, Deschutes Brewery Beer, Red Tank Cider, Caboost Kombucha, food, and more.
There are lots of familiar names on the list - both teams and individuals.
I'll be cheering for Canadians, which will include Team Bones this time because of Liza.
Team Paleo Eats / Bend Racing Canada includes Alex Provost and James Galipeau, who have extensive international expedition AR experience.
Although I don't know the 2-member team Flying Grizzlies, they are also part-Canadian apparently.
There are a lot of American teams - and there are a lot of Americans on AP so I'm sure there will be plenty of others to cheer for them! :)
The race has started! The RD provided this description of the first trekking leg:
There’s no other way to put this: the first stage is challenging. Getting from the start to CP1 involves bushwhacking up 1800ft of elevation, up a steep slope covered in patches of the worst possible manzanita imaginable. If you stick to the “clearings”, where there are few trees and lots of manzanita, it could take you over an hour more to get to the top than if you sneak through the more wooded areas. Manzanita can’t grow to its full level without a lot of sun, so anywhere there is shade, there’s a lot more speed. This is the most remote stage of the race, and the coverage of the trackers in this area is poor, so we won’t be able to get live updates of the teams progress through here, but rest assured, this will separate teams quite a bit based on how quickly they figure out how to pick their way through the wall of brush.
Once up, they have a fun lake checkpoint, an absolutely stunning ridge checkpoint, and then a difficult lake checkpoint. The high plateau between CP3 and CP4 is an volcanic expanse covered in thick woods, burnt sections, and slushy alpine lakes and swamps - it’s quite difficult to stay on a bearing, and there are lots of things to confuse novice teams. Though there are plenty of re-attack opportunities, we expect teams to wind up quite lost in this area, frustrated by the inscrutable features and poor visibility (so many trees!). If teams spend too much time lost in this area, they risk missing large sections of the first paddle leg, so it would be smart to re-attack, maybe twice, and failing that - book it to the river section to minimize the number of lost points. Finding CP5 and 6 are a lot more straightforward, though doing so efficiently will give teams lots of opportunity to gain time.
Sounds like quite a race! Also, I went to the site to follow and not having much luck. Tried refreshing and wanted to check if others had similar challenges. Or, maybe everyone is still stuck in the Manzanita (Nod to Bash: Meanwhile, back in the Manzanita....)
Yes, it looks like they are all still at the starting gate. No doubt, that is not the case.
Per Adventure Enablers: "Bend Racing Expedition Oregon kicks off this morning! We are excited to be part of the event and provide the online tracking in partnership with Open Tracking. Expect a mix of real-time updates provided by the Bend crew on the ground and our cellular trackers. Cellular coverage is super limited through the first three legs of the event, so start looking for Dot Watching action after about CP17/TA3."
The Open Tracking website doesn't specify their tracking methodology, but it must be cell-tower dependent, given the EA post? Would GPS satellite tracking have been better for this race?
Adventure Enablers is the Open Tracking partner in the U.S. and they've chosen to use compact, lightweight trackers that use AT&T and T-Mobile networks. The devices continue to record tracking data when there is no cell coverage and they upload it to the tracking site and update the leaderboard when they return to an area with cell coverage.
We were looking into this for Wilderness Traverse this year since our old tracking system is no longer offered commercially. For races like ours that have remote areas without cell coverage, Adventure Enablers can link their software to Yellowbrick trackers but the RD needs to rent those separately and there are some additional costs. Satellite trackers would enable realtime updates of the leaderboard using geofencing on all parts of the course, and also enable communications with teams regardless of whether there is cell service. But it's an additional cost that an RD may not be able to afford so I understand why they've done this.
The organizers have entered CP1 times manually on the leaderboard. Bones was in 1st in 1 hr 14 mins with Quest AR (Mari Chandler's team) and Bend Racing Canada tied for 2nd just one minute behind. Lots of racing to go but no surprises there!
At last there are dots! Leki/Merrell reached trek/paddle TA1 first. Bones was 21 minutes behind in 2nd. Quest AR and Bend Racing Canada arrived within 5 minutes of Bones. It's 45 minutes back to the 5th place team.
From Bend Racing Facebook at TA1:
Race director Jason Magness bets that with their fiercely competitive nature, LEKI/Merell was able to move past Bones, Quest, and Bend Racing Canada somewhere in the difficult navigation between CP2, CP3, and CP4. He is betting none of the three teams chasing actually knew Leki/Merrell were in front-- and they still might not know because they are probably so focused on beating eachother.
Leki/Merrell did not know they were in first when they arrived to TA1 at 12:46PM. Jason thinks that they were giving chase to the teams who they thought were ahead of them (but were actually behind) and the three top teams thought they were chasing each other not realizing Leki was setting a 7 minute per mile pace on the downhill. This is just Jason's theory. But he thinks it's a good one.
In the TA, Leki/Merrell said about the upcoming packraft section down the McKenzie River: "We are just going to stay IN our boats. That is our only strategy."
The top 4 teams are close together as they approach the end of the pack rafting section and get ready for the Leg 3 bike ride, estimated to take 10-16 hours with 10,000+ feet of climb over 30 miles. (I am grudgingly trying to think in Imperial units since this is a U.S. race.)
DART is the 5th place team, a little more than an hour behind the lead group of Leki/Merrell, Bones, Quest AR and Bend Racing Canada. I'm not sure of their sequence since they're so close and not tracking at the same time.
Looks like Quest is holding a tight lead going into the ropes. From FB:
Quest is the first to CP15, which is the epic ropes section.
Quest Adventure Races 12:06AM
Team Bones Adventure Racing 12:41AM
Teams have to choose 2 of 3 options to complete this section.
Option 1: Least technical, longest time.
A longer traverse and scramble with 500' of elevation gain up towards the ridgeline of the Wolf. This one is not for the racers scared of heights, as the descent (although just hiking) will be long and exposed with consequences if you freeze up. Handlines will be used in a few areas for safety.
Option 2: Moderate technical, moderate time.
A steep scramble to the base of the dramatic ampitheater. Fixed ropes for hand line in the exposed sections.
Option 3: Most technical, least amount of time
A 5.9 climb (top rope) 100' up a striking arete under a huge root. Intimidating, exposed, but CLASSIC climbing movement at a grade that most beginner intermediate climbers can manage.
To avoid rushing on this high terrain and thus encourage more safety, teams will be required to stay at Wolf Rock for two hours no matter how long it takes them to finish their two tasks. It is highly likely that some teams may use their extra time to squeeze in a nap.
Although we can't say how quickly teams will complete this section due to the wet rock from on and off rain since around 5PM. Many teams will hit this section before sunrise.
Looks like tracking is spotty again, and the FB update team called it a night around 5a EST. However, seems the leaderboard is still being manually updated. I'm guessing in a few hours will be able to zero in on more information.
Interesting fact about Bend Canada, Karine to the best of my knowledge has done 2 24s, her first being Wilderness Traverse, second Shenandoah Epic, and now this! Go Karine! Shrekfeet has had the opportunity to train with and said she is very good. Someone to watch. Also, gotta cheer for my Michigan peep Mari Chandler.
NYARA and NWSufferfest are on a bit of a ride-about. At least the sunrise should be nice on that peak.
looks like Quest is on a bit of a breakaway between CP 17 and 18. They made the top of the Browder Ridge climb about 6:00 AM, with Bones topping out about 7:00 AM. Either Bend Racing or Leki/Merrell in third.
Anyone else surprised at the fast pace of Leki/Merrell? The team members' names are not familiar to me but it seems they have significant experience racing in Sweden, just not maybe expedition AR experience. It will be interesting to see how they hang in there on Days 2 and 3.
Really hard to follow. The trackers aren’t updating properly so you never know who is where until it updates again sometimes hours later... what is more reliable, the map or leaderboard?
I've been following the leaderboard at this point.
Ah, but the leaderboard time stamps seem wonky to me. Leaderboard currently says Bones, Bend, Quest, Leki...but looking at the actual times posted on the leaderboard, the correct order should be Quest, Leki, Bones, Bend...So, I'm thinking that the facebook updates they have been posting are the most trustworthy updates (as of TAs, of course; who knows what is going on in the woods).
That said, I'm thinking the times on the leaderboard are good, but for whatever reason the listing of team order is not...the times SEEM to line up with how teams have been moving and tracking.
Leki/Merrell and Quest just jumped to CP22.TA4 on the tracking map together! about noon local time. although their timestamps are different so not sure if one is ahead or not.
also still need tracker updates for Bones and Bend.
i am not sure why it is a TA since it seems they trek in and trek out?
Bones and Bend trackers updated and are now also at CP22/TA4. Leaderboard still wonky.
now all 4 teams are tracking at CP22/TA4.
1. Quest 27h-49m
2. Leki/Merrell 27h-58m
3. Bend Racing 28h-39m
4. Bones 28h-52m
Anyone know what's up with the bike loop near the end of the course? I can't figure it out. Is it a route option or an out-and-back?
Strongmachine: if you click on the southern half of the loop (track, not the CP), it says "Leg 6 - Bike (ALT)".
I suspect it is a short course option. Terrain looks easier, and teams would bypass the bike rappel.
Don't know if course instructions are floating around to confirm that?
So, this question is for someone who is paying closer attention to the following:
1) time cutoffs/short course rules? Finish time?
2) rate of travel for lead AND non-lead teams...
I'm looking at the map, and I'm wondering how teams behind the mid-pack are expecting/expected to get to the finish. I see the alternate bike loop, but a very quick look at the progress of the race has me wondering if all the math adds up. I'm thinking teams might skip the O course...but even then...
I really haven't looked at any of these questions, and maybe it's all good and everyone has a fair shot at crossing the line.
And I'm not suggesting we have some ideological debate over how to design a course. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this course if 6-8 teams can't get around even on a shortened course.
Just curious if anyone has looked at it as the field is looking mighty spread out and time is actually starting to run out. I'm totally guessing, but maybe something like 30 hours or so left?
I was thinking the same thing, broots. I've been following the race and have been thinking that everybody is behind on time estimates. Not sure how many teams are going to make it under their own power to the finish.
I'm rooting for Krank AR, as I was supposed to race with them but had to pull out. Bend AR's Facebook page said they have decided to skip the O-section to continue to progress through the course, and I think that's a wise move. JD Eskelson took my spot and hopefully he's keeping the other three folks (all really nice people) safe and moving steadily.
On the flip side, the race for the win will be very interesting. Quest AR and the Swedish team of Leki/Merrill have been back-and-forth all race long, with the Swedes faster on foot and the Americans holding an edge in paddling. Word just came in that L/M passed Quest on the last bit of the biking section, but that they left TA only six minutes before Quest arrived. Apparently L/M are not the most experienced packrafters, so this leaves an opening for Quest to come back. Very well could be a paddle sprint to the finish!
Well, since no one else has done so, I guess I'll break the news: Leki/Merrill have won Expedition Oregon. Apparently Quest had a slower transition and L/M were able to cleanly run the big rapids in the last section, giving them a relatively stress-free bike into the finish.
Still awaiting a brewing battle for second between Quest and the Bash-backed Canuck cohort of BendRacing Canada.
2nd place for the Canadians! From Sleepmonsters overnight:
“Congratulations to the Merrell/Leki team on their win at Expedition Oregon. They passed Quest AR to finish strongly and beat some much more experienced teams.
Second were Paleo Eats/Bend Racing who crossed the line with Quest AR but had a time credit from the bike rappell. Bones finished 4th after a big swim in the Big Eddy rapid and those are the only finishers so far.”
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