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Discussion: Godzone 2019

in: Adventure Racing; General

Jan 11, 2019 1:26 PM # 
team list is posted!
Jan 11, 2019 2:13 PM # 
Go CP Zero!
Jan 12, 2019 2:36 AM # 
Excited to be able to cheer on our very own Silkychrome! :)
Jan 12, 2019 3:31 AM # 
I don't know if any are here but, Go Wolf River Racing. Phil Nicholas from Silent Chasers, Brian Eason, and Pete Spagnoli
Jan 13, 2019 12:32 PM # 
Woo silkychrome!!! That is awesome!
Jan 31, 2019 3:17 AM # 
Some comments from the RD on this year's race and some of the top teams.
Feb 7, 2019 7:01 PM # 
Newsletter 1

Newsletter 2

Newsletter 3
Mar 4, 2019 9:07 PM # 
The Logistics Planner was handed out today. I'm hoping we'll get a higher resolution version but this is just barely legible.

AR Live Coverage said this after reviewing it: "What we can see is 286km of Mtb with one leg of 160km. It's almost become a GZ tradition to have a bike leg of 130km plus each year. This leg could start and finish anywhere but I'm sure it will go through some great country. 77km of Packrafting and 77km of Kayaking so as always a lot of paddling. There is another leg with 73km of packrafting and trekking so the paddling could be close to 200km. This leg has an average expected speed of between 4 - 5kmph with less than a 1000m of elevation so probably a 50/50 split. The stand out is one monster trek leg of 84km with +3800m and -3940m. The expected time for this leg is only between 21 - 29 hours which is very quick but the Race Directors have said that there is some very tough travel but in between it can be very open and quick. This could be two or three big climbs."
Mar 5, 2019 2:05 PM # 
Great Sleepmonsters article about Silkychrome and Scott (does he have an AP name?) of Checkpoint Zero doing GZ as their pre-honeymoon.
Mar 5, 2019 3:02 PM # 
Love it!
Mar 5, 2019 3:06 PM # 
Thanks guys, it was a fun one to write up :)
Mar 5, 2019 4:18 PM # 
Scott (aka Erl) is Sami11 on AP

Thanks Cliff for the article! <3
Mar 5, 2019 5:37 PM # 
Thanks, Silkychrome - have fun! Your photos have been jealousy-inspiring. :)
Mar 5, 2019 5:39 PM # 
Btw if you have time to email a higher res version of the logistics planner, I’ll post it here.
Mar 5, 2019 11:28 PM # 
Silkychrome took time from her pre-honeymoon to email the PDF - thanks! :) I've taken screen shots of the important bits. Click on an image to see a larger view.

Other Considerations

Mar 6, 2019 12:52 AM # 
Trying to figure out the purpose of bags A and B...
Mar 6, 2019 2:32 AM # 
Found it in Newsletter # 3:

Without going into specifics (we’ll leave you hanging for that), you could make the following assumptions about bags and boxes:

Gear Box ‘A’ will mostly contain additional supplies for trekking and food.
Gear Box ‘B’ will usually travel with Bike Boxes (a handy receptacle for spare bike bits and extra food/drink/supplies).
Gear Box ‘C’ will be used for additional supplies and extra camping equipment (see below for more info).
The Mesh Bag and two Duffle Bags will be used for water sections – providing extra capacity to carry packrafts, PFDs, around the course. On some stages you may be expected to take the Mesh Bag and even a Duffle Bag with you.
Mar 6, 2019 6:31 PM # 
Mar 6, 2019 7:40 PM # 
Mar 6, 2019 9:52 PM # 
Dark zones on legs 5,6 and 8. If you’re moving at exactly the slow time estimates you get hit with each of them for a total of almost 27 hours. The last one is off the clock.
With only 12:45 hrs between dark zone finish/start and a fast time estimate for legs 5 and 6 at 12 hours total the leaders will surely hit a portion of it too.
Mar 6, 2019 10:24 PM # 
...and bins A and B will be maxed out on weight just from food.
Mar 7, 2019 1:01 AM # 
You'd almost think JayXC has done some expedition racing. ;)
Mar 7, 2019 2:38 AM # 
Just getting ready for the play-by-play. ;)
Mar 7, 2019 3:42 AM # 
:) Since we're talking dark zones, they all run from 8 p.m. to 7:15 a.m., which is pretty much sunset to sunrise.
Mar 7, 2019 3:51 AM # 
TLDR version:

GODZone will begin at the Akaroa beach front on Sunday, March 10. Competitors will make their way to the Christchurch Adventure Park about 80 kilometres away, arriving 4-9 p.m. Teams will complete five different disciplines in the first day including coasteering​, mountain biking, packrafting​ or canoe, trekking and orienteering.​ The next day, competitors will be taken to an undisclosed location in the greater Canterbury area, and have six days left to complete the race.

"There will be a few hours of respite on Sunday night when they can eat, rest and prepare their maps before being coached out of the park in the early hours of Monday morning to an as yet undisclosed location."
Mar 7, 2019 4:09 AM # 
When our Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, the time in Christchurch will be 17 hours later than Toronto/New York.
Mar 7, 2019 9:07 PM # 
Some predictions from AR Live Coverage (Craig Cook):
Top Teams at GODZone 2019

The teams at this years Godzone look more even than ever. Race director Warren Bates said he didn’t want teams going into the wilderness and constantly coming across other teams so they reduced the number of teams to give it more of that Expedition feel. While the overall field looks very even there are still three teams that stand out to me. I still think Tiki Tour are my top pick after an impressive win two years ago in Queenstown. From what I’ve read about this course so far ( longer, faster ) I think it will be similar to Qtown and suit them. Corrinne also had another impressive race at Coast to Coast finishing fourth. It’s hard go passed Chris Fornes ( Perpetual Guardian ) race record and even with personnel changes it will take a huge effort to beat him in his own backyard. Simone won the Coast to Coast and Marcel has only recently retired from racing internationally, while Emily is a very experienced racer, so as usual they don’t really have any weakness. Stu Lynch ( Swordfox ) is my favourite all time Adventure Racer but he must be sick of finishing behind Chris so come on Stu - “Smash Em Bro!” Ooops that’s right I’m supposed to be unbiased and impartial. Must work on that.

The fact that the course is likely to be a bit faster this year, I’m expecting this to suit some of the younger up and coming teams. Torpedo7 has a very different line up this year but expect them to be right up in the mix as always. I think this could be the year for the Sneaky Weasel Gang so I’m expecting them to be pushing very hard for top five and beyond. If anyone can break up my Podium pick it’s probably the Weasels. Of this young brigade also look out for Further Faster Fledglings.
Rounding out the New Zealand Top Ten contenders I would look out for Penati Go mainly based in Nelson and Christchurch. Highland Events who had a good race for third at the recent Absolute Wilderness race in Twizel. The same goes for the Carnivorous River Ducks who finished second at the ARC race on the Coromandel Peninsula a few weeks back. Now I’ve probably missed a couple of teams so feel free to comment below.

A month ago when the team list came out, I predicted that three or four of the International teams could finish Top Ten and I stand by this. This year has one of the better international fields for a while and this is largely due to the A1 series. Bend Racing/Yogaslacker had a monumental race in Fiordland last year and they have been in New Zealand for almost two months training. They’re a tough team! However I think with speed being the important factor this year I’m going to pick Thought Sports the Australian A1 Champions to perhaps take out the International prize and push for top five. Jabberwock from South Africa are a very good team but may struggle with the sustained pace of this race. I wouldn’t count out Fenix Multisport with a very strong experienced team. Marika Wagner from Sweden has been here since before the Coast to Coast where she finished a very creditable seventh in her first attempt. I’m going to throw Can Do into the International category ( they won’t be eligible for prizes ) with two Kiwi’s and two French members. Fanny Frechinet is from Team Lozere who finish sixth at the World Champs and who are currently ranked 9th in the World.

I am now re-considering my picks for Top International team after looking at the Logistics Planner, as I think the long bike leg, followed by an 84km hike with tough climbs ( 3800m of elevation gain ) might suit Bend Racing. They’re also very good experienced Packrafters. I’m not saying I now favour them but it’s very hard to split the top teams.

I started writing this long before the Logistics Planner and yesterday's announcement came out about the start. I think stage one will suit teams with Stage Race and Multisport experience so definitely Perpetual Guardian and probably Sneaky Weasel Gang ( SWG ) but maybe Thought Sports from Australia as well.
Mar 8, 2019 10:34 PM # 
handbook and maps for the first section (hope this link works)
Mar 9, 2019 4:30 AM # 
I can see them. Thank you! :)
Mar 9, 2019 7:33 AM # 
great! it might expire after 24 hours? anyway i would DL for in-race reference.
Mar 9, 2019 8:12 PM # 
How will the down time wait for the ride to the start (after the adventure park) be factored in? If they are all getting in the same bus(buses) is there a reason to push hard in that section?

(I haven’t read the full race brief so if it’s in there and I missed it so apologize)
Mar 9, 2019 9:16 PM # 
Let the dot-watching begin:
Mar 9, 2019 10:38 PM # 
Woohoo! Early on the first bike and the perennial powerhouses hold all the top 5-10 spots.
Mar 10, 2019 1:09 AM # 
I may have missed this somewhere, but do we know whether the prologue counts for anything, other than top teams getting their maps a little bit sooner?
Mar 10, 2019 3:02 AM # 
From AR Live Coverage on Facebook:
"Stage 1 Course.
The first stage of Godzone 2019 is about to get underway. It starts with 7km of Coasteering and swimming, followed by a 43km Mtb which goes from sea level straight up to almost 700m. They then have some nice riding along the tops until they finally drop down into Port Levy and then one final hill over to Diamond Harbour. Teams then have a quick Packraft section up the Harbour to Governors Bay before a final climb over the Port Hills to the Christchurch Adventure Park.
This is where teams will finally receive the rest of their maps and find how the rest of the race falls into place. At the moment they’re still unaware of where Stage 2 starts. Teams will be magically transported overnight to the middle of Te Wai Pounamu for a new beginning."
Mar 10, 2019 3:26 AM # 
Re the benefits of doing well in the prologue: I've only read about the advantages of getting maps earlier and sleeping. If there's something more, it doesn't seem to be in the race handbook.
Mar 10, 2019 3:31 AM # 
Checkpoint Zero is moving well in the midpack just ahead of Fenix Multisport, which is a great place to be. Go team! :)
Mar 10, 2019 11:56 AM # 
From AR Live:

"While the teams are stopped at the Christchurch Adventure Park tonight it is a Darkzone, so the clock is still running and nobody gets a time advantage. However there are advantages in arriving early. You get more time to study your maps and possibly a better place ( under cover ) to rest for the evening. Teams are not allowed to leave the Adventure Park. Teams will get a few hours rest before boarding a bus at 1.40am. They will then no doubt attempt to sleep on the bus for a couple of hours before preparing in the cold early hours of the morning for a 5am start. It will be a fitful night at best. The biggest problem can be that three members get good sleep while the fourth gets none. I would be the fourth person. I would struggle to sleep before midnight and I don’t sleep well on buses. So while it hasn’t been a tough day some teams will be in better shape in the morning. There is a @Giant prize for the first two teams that arrive at the Adventure Park today. Today is no different to a prologue at any other race and the racing proper will commence with vigor tomorrow."

I don't necessarily mind prologues that don't have consequences for the main event, but this is a long one. Wonder what the teams thought about it.
Mar 10, 2019 12:46 PM # 
I actually think there is a good consequence here IF you can go to sleep. That said, Craig's analysis is right on: a lot of teams really won't get much sleep even if they get in early. But being up for a 2 AM bus ride...that's going to hurt the back pack teams much more. (this all said, the top teams will be able to bank some quality rest. There should be enough time to let experienced racers wind down, settle in and get several hours. Less experienced teams? Yeah, they'll be jazzed and it will be tough).

Also, I saw some interesting pics: yes, some teams are "sleeping" under cover: on benches in the warm cafe/pub...with the lights on...Others, including the leaders from a pic I saw, are outside in tents, likely getting sounder sleep...

FIrst team arrived at 515, and to the minute, it took them the time predicted to finish the leg. No one is as good as Godzone at predicting and knowing their course. The last place team rolled in at 10:15. An hour slower than predicted, THOUGH they did predict this time for the slowest Pursuit teams...

Anyway, for the teams looking to race competitively, no, no measurable impact, but top teams can get a healthy 5-6 hours of sleep and the last teams will be lucky to get an hour or two.
Mar 10, 2019 4:52 PM # 
race is underway. again.
Mar 11, 2019 2:07 AM # 
Sleepmonsters is talking about the restart.
Mar 11, 2019 2:31 AM # 
Rough start for 2/3 of the North American teams.

Just Smile and Wave: Brian Eason crashed his bike during the prologue. Bike is down and out, and he might have been injured enough to deter him from continuing. They are racing as a three. He might join them for bits:(

Checkpoint Zero: Technically, registered as Kiwi, but 3/4 are from the US. Nightmare start on the first CP this AM. They (and one other poor team who is even further behind) lost hours and hours on the field. Probably not the honeymoon Emily and Erl were planning:(

Bend/Yoga is off to a solid start.
Mar 11, 2019 3:13 AM # 
Mar 11, 2019 3:44 AM # 
For quick reference:

• Stage 1: Coasteering, MTB, Pack Raft, Trek, Rogaine from Lushington Bay to Christchurch Adventure Park – 66km
• Stage 2: Trek/Packraft Poulter & Waimakariri River 73km
• Stage 3: MTB Castle Hill to Lake Clearwater 160km
• Stage 4: Trek Big Hill & Palmer Range 84km
• Stage 5: Packraft Upper Rakaia 53km
• Stage 6: Kayak Lower Rakaia 77km
• Stage 7: MTB Lake Ellesmere to Wainui 83km
• Stage 8: Packraft Akaroa Harbour 17km
Mar 11, 2019 3:49 AM # 
Torpedo 7 was the first team to finish Stage 2 and head out on bikes. Tiki Tour was 12 minutes back - the only other team on Stage 3 so far.
Mar 11, 2019 10:20 AM # 
I haven't had a chance to look over the book. CP0: They had to take an overland route, from what I understand/can tell. Do they get penalized for this? Think it was a dark zone concern on the packraft.
Mar 11, 2019 1:32 PM # 
Answering my question: Course book does not suggest there are penalties for the trek around.
Mar 11, 2019 2:00 PM # 
An AR Coverage facebook post yesterday agrees with your answer BRoots. there is/was a safety driven decision for that.
Mar 11, 2019 2:27 PM # 
After leg 2, the top 15 teams are still on schedule to hit Leg 5 Packraft on or before the dark zone lifts Wed am. Getting there before it lifts would be helpful so that they can catch some sleep before trying to crush the Leg 5 and 6 paddles before 8pm darkzone. They will have been racing for 57 hours since the start of Leg 2 so it will be very tough to gut it through without sleep beforehand. Some of these teams will surely fall behind on Legs 3/4 given their respective lengths.
Mar 11, 2019 2:35 PM # 
I was informed that Torpedo7's tracker stopped working and a newly programmed one was waiting for them (and tracking) at TA2. I believe they are now carrying it and have never been in the lead.
Mar 11, 2019 3:13 PM # 
TikiTour has been overtaken by Chris Forne & Perpetual Guardian, but not so much b/c they are going slowly. They appear to have stopped a couple times. Wonder if they have had both a mechanical and perhaps elected to catch an hour or two of sleep?
Mar 11, 2019 3:16 PM # 
Any word on SwordFox? It doesn't seem like their tracker has moved for a while now. ------ Sleeping. ----
Mar 11, 2019 3:18 PM # 
@Conman: Figured it out! Torpedo 7’s tracker was waiting for them at TA2 for awhile, then it left TA2 first and headed down the road, apparently biking. They were also shown 1st on the leaderboard by 12 minutes. (Geofencing- sigh.) That’s when I posted last night and went to bed. After that, their tracker came back all the way to CP9 (before TA2), where it appears to have been given to the team. As an aside, I hate the leaderboard format but I know GZ feels it works better for the general public.
Mar 11, 2019 3:24 PM # 
I agree. This leaderboard is practically useless.
Mar 11, 2019 3:49 PM # 
We talked with them about using their tracking system for Wilderness Traverse after Grant closed his company. They thought their leaderboard was awesome to help non-adventure racers understand the sport. The general public was interested in Richie McCaw but would find a simple “scoreboard” easier to understand. That wouldn’t work for us.
Mar 11, 2019 4:12 PM # 
Still a big fan of James Thurlow's platform from the UK.
Mar 11, 2019 4:24 PM # 
What tracking platform is used by Exp. Africa? I don't recall it with certainty, but I think it was one of the best I've ever seen.
Mar 11, 2019 5:31 PM # 
Expedition Africa uses the AR World Series tracking platform based on Open Tracking software. I don't think it's available to races outside ARWS. In North America, Adventure Enablers provides tracking services using Open Tracking software but their fleet of trackers requires cell service to transmit to the tracking map so it's not suitable for some events.
Mar 11, 2019 5:32 PM # 
I haven't seen Thurlow's platform advertised to the public. Is it? It may be proprietary for his races only.
Mar 11, 2019 6:32 PM # 
Bash, the Open Tracking platform is James'. Good points on coverage. I suspect the UK is easier for such services compared to North America.

So, yeah, he made some sort of agreement with AE. Interesting points, and that might explain why coverage wasn't as good at ST this past fall as compared to James' UK tracking.
Mar 11, 2019 6:39 PM # 
Also, any idea what is going on with Swordfox? They have been gapped by several teams. Seems they haven't had the best run on Leg 3. Wonder if they have an issue?

Leaderboard aside, is it just me/my computer or is the actual GPS tracking wonkier than we would expect for Godzone? Every time I look at it, it seems someone else is in front by a gap. For a while it looked like Chris Forne's team had passed Tiki and pulled ahead. Time stamps said the dots were updated. But now Tiki is back up by a ways, also saying time is updated. Doesn't add up.

And Bend is seemingly having a nice run today, pulling away from the chase pack to run down Swordfox on their own...if the trackers are to be trusted.

Final complaint: is there a way to better examine the actual routes teams are taking? The fact that all lines are the same pale grey is not making it all that fun or user-friendly to analyze the race!
Mar 11, 2019 6:44 PM # 
broots: Tiki and perpetual took naps at different times and swapped spots during both. Pretty Swordfox also napped.
Mar 11, 2019 6:49 PM # 
Thanks, Broots. Yes, the cell network-based trackers were used for ST. They do capture all the GPS data, even when a team is outside cell coverage. When they return to cell coverage, the tracking map and leaderboard are updated. At ST, this was sometimes hours later. This system works well in areas with good cell coverage or in situations where realtime GPS info isn't important, e.g. when teams want to review their routes after the event. They aren't good for following a race where cell coverage is spotty, and they don't allow teams to communicate with HQ if they have an emergency in an area without cell coverage. It is possible to rent YB trackers from the U.K., and AE is able to link them to the Open Tracking software for a fee.
Mar 11, 2019 6:49 PM # 
Not perfect but you can make ‘favorite’ one team which will highlight just their track. Different color tracks would be nice (and a std expectation by now I would think...)
Mar 11, 2019 6:50 PM # 
I've been doing the "Favourite" thing too. (For once, my spelling is the correct one, haha!)
Mar 11, 2019 7:35 PM # 
Lead teams starting to roll in and out of TA3. Update on CP0, they just set out from TA2.
Mar 11, 2019 7:45 PM # 
For the leaders leaving TA3 shortly after 8 a.m., the upcoming Stage 4 trek will be 84 km with 3800 m of climb, estimated to take 21-29 hrs. As JayXC pointed out above, they will be hoping to arrive and rest before the Stage 5 dark zone lifts at 7:15 a.m.
Mar 11, 2019 7:52 PM # 
Bend/Yoga is riding with Torpedo 7 in a 7th place tie 60-90 minutes away from TA3.
Mar 11, 2019 8:58 PM # 
And just like that Tiki Tour decides to head straight to CP16 from CP15. Cuts off a lot of elevation gain and drop but the topo map shows a number of cliffs surrounding the reentrant they'll have to descend to make it work.
Mar 11, 2019 10:57 PM # 
Damn! Just discovered that Fanny from France has pulled out with stomach issues. So hard to see these folks who've travelled from really far away to compete in NZ having to pull out. It must be such a disappointment for them. I hope it wasn't the food at the Adventure Park.
Mar 12, 2019 1:30 AM # 
CP15 has already been trouble for a couple lead teams during night, the trailing pack is going to struggle massively. A few approaches by successful top 10 teams used creative attack points. Really wonder how easy those same attack points will be to find in the darkness.
Mar 12, 2019 3:28 AM # 
Silkychrome and team are around the midpoint of the Stage 3 bike ride, about to arrive at CP13 in 37th place.

Top 3 approaching CP 17 are Tiki Tour (veering off the Red Line), Perpetual Guardian and ThoughtSports.
Mar 12, 2019 3:48 AM # 
There is a short course cut-off at TA3. Teams must depart by Wednesday at 3 a.m. (10 a.m. Toronto/New York time). Go CP0!
Mar 12, 2019 9:54 AM # 
CP0 is about 15k from the TA at 11pm so they should make the cut-off.
Mar 12, 2019 10:51 AM # 
Mar 12, 2019 12:37 PM # 
Where is Nutrient Rescue Racing going???
Looks like a number of teams tried to go straight to CP16 from CP15 but only 1 was successful based on the single grey ‘breadcrumb’ line.
Mar 12, 2019 2:15 PM # 
If I successfully set up the map, it looks like Nutrient Racing did an out and back for 16, and then cut up and over to get to 17...

It actually seems to have kind of worked...they were behind Yoga by a bit, as well as Penati and Out for the View at Cp16.

They may have lost a bit on Penati and Out for the View, but they may have gained on Yoga...Longer, but clearly they knew something the others didn't in regards to pace. Maybe it was much clearer and easier. Saved some energy?

Certainly an interesting decision.

Yoga seems to be sleeping or having a hard time deciding whether to go up and over through the northern pass. so far, everyone has gone to the south.

Or maybe they buried their tracker as usual.
Mar 12, 2019 2:16 PM # 
In other news, it will be fascinating to watch the lead teams navigate to CP 19. Big route choice, lots of terrain. And the top two have already elected totally different routes by the look of it. Could be the crux decision and execution right now!
Mar 12, 2019 3:04 PM # 
CP0 is at TA3 an hour after the cut-off. I suppose they could be sleeping after checking out on time... she said hopefully.
Mar 12, 2019 3:37 PM # 
Forne is shooting for that long stream/river valley. No doubt banking on it being faster travel than up high. Satellite looks promising, but how many times have I cursed myself for thinking a satellite image gives me a realistic view of things;) Tiki is committed to more up and down I think. They might drop into a similar parallel valley to Forne's team, but theirs doesn't look quite so promising to me...Still, I think Tiki has a shorter, more direct route...

Will be interesting to see what Rob Preston and the Aussies decide to do.

Oh! And Swordfox who apparently have turned up the heat, moving into 3rd. Did the aussies stop to sleep?
Mar 12, 2019 3:38 PM # 
Oh, wow! The Aussies are doing an out and back!
Mar 12, 2019 3:45 PM # 
Had not considered that but it certainly looks flatter. The valley must be easy to travel in from a veg standpoint.
Mar 12, 2019 3:56 PM # 
It's an interesting decision. They still will have to take on a decent chunk of the terrain to hit the peak + added distance. I wonder if there might be some trails up that way, and they know about them. That said, knowing the Kiwis, I would be surprised if Tiki and Perpetual Guardian bypassed a prime guess is this might backfire...

I think I like PG's route right now looking at the imagery. Looks clearer of snow and ice, assuming there is snow and ice present. And if that valley is bigger than the others, as it appears to be, they might be able to knock of a big chunk of distance simply walking along the valley/stream bed...Then again, if the valley is filled with bush...

Regardless, how awesome that the top three teams are all taking totally different routes.

What will swordfox do?!
Mar 12, 2019 4:59 PM # 
Perpetual Guardian is flying in that valley. Tiki not so much.

Swordfox is going to make their decision now. They are geographically closer to the next CP now than the Aussies, so Aussies gave up that lead and now have to catch up a bit distance wise. Will be a good barometer to see if it was worth it...
Mar 12, 2019 5:23 PM # 
And Swordfox looks to be following Tiki
Mar 12, 2019 5:35 PM # 
Rob tried a similar route option two years ago with Kyle. It didn’t work too well then, hopefully it’s better here. It looks about 6k longer relative to the first two teams right now.
Mar 12, 2019 6:14 PM # 
I was thinking of that JAYXC...As I recall, last time he had a good track to travel on as well. I'm not seeing that from the sky...I have a bad feeling about this...said every Star Wars character at some point. Swordfox is still slightly ahead north/south AND they have gained the high ground.

In other news, Nutrient's once interesting gamble looks to be dissolving as they head up the wrong reentrant into high ground they probably didn't intend to explore. It's possible they know where they are; perhaps they chose to do this for some reason on the ground. Either way, they have now lost a large amount of ground to those ahead of them at the last CP, though Bend/Yoga has slowed down a fair bit as well, letting Penati and Out for the View escape. Out for the View really ran away from this group of four teams that all were close at CP 16...
Mar 12, 2019 6:40 PM # 
Re: Nutrient- The routes through the valley or over the hill had about the same amount of climb so why not take the straighter, less steep approach was probably the thinking.
Mar 12, 2019 7:09 PM # 
Could be. Looks like some added elevation and more time on steeper terrain than if they had kept on up the main valley and through the pass other teams have used. Probably not a big deal, you're right.

Still, they went from being in eyesight of Out for the View to...I don't know 15+/- km behind? REALLY rough guess there. It's a long ways. looks like about 3.5-4 hours.
Mar 12, 2019 7:13 PM # 
At the front: Perpetual moved fast, BUT Tiki looks to be a bit closer as the bird flies.

If Perpetual stays high and loops around, they have a few extra km to travel at this point than Tiki. If they try to go straight to cut the distance, they have a ton more elevation, and some of it looks very steep. Not sure this one worked out. They very well may converge on the ridge as Tiki summits and Perpetual traverses...assuming that's what they decide.

And it's not looking like the Aussies are moving fast enough to make this gamble pay off in my mind.
Mar 12, 2019 7:14 PM # 
And it's official: Just before 8 a.m., CP0 left TA3 on the Short Course, which means they will skip CPs 16 and 17. They did a great job of recovering from CP6, which challenged a number of teams; they moved up in the field after that. It appears they arrived at TA3 by 2 a.m. but didn't feel they could leave by the 3 a.m. deadline after putting bikes away, eating, changing and other TA activities. It looks like they had a good sleep.
Mar 12, 2019 7:14 PM # 
CP0 has been marked as short course from missing the cutoff. So bummed for them as they were so close and lost so much on the "first" cp of the race:(
Mar 12, 2019 7:15 PM # 
Great minds... ;)
Mar 12, 2019 7:24 PM # 
Glued to the top 4 teams' route choices!
Mar 12, 2019 8:23 PM # 
Wow!! interesting. I am surprised to see Swordfox dumping down there...Aussies may have dodged one. I really thought Swordfox was getting ahead. They still might...
Mar 12, 2019 10:25 PM # 
And... Chris Forne and Perpetual Guardian are the first into TA4!
Mar 13, 2019 1:22 AM # 
broots:'s official. Thoughtsports' gamble did not pay off. You could argue that Swordfox is just that good (and they might be), but I think maybe it was just the wrong choice...

It's amazing. The top 7-8 teams are literally all doing rather different things...
Mar 13, 2019 1:47 AM # 
It looks like Thoughtsports may have taken a half hour nap in that hut at the base of the climb but if they'd gone up the same spur as Swordfox, they'd be ahead now.
Mar 13, 2019 2:12 AM # 
Ah, that makes sense. I have not had time to dig into who is sleeping, when and where. Split screen watching this and the race up north;)
Mar 13, 2019 2:28 AM # 
They're a good hour behind Swordfox now so they can't blame their cat nap - if that's what it was!
Mar 13, 2019 2:51 AM # 
Broots, hijacking abiperk's computer before bed:)

So, Perpetual is approx. 7-8 km away from TA. Another hour or more of packrafting I imagine (have no idea what pace they are turning in right now)...Tracker is pinging at 3:15 PM right now. They are dark-zoned at 8 PM and the course estimates are 6 hours for the fast team for the kayak...

So...If they are blazing, MAYBE they can shift over to the new boats and be off by 445-5 PM...but I don't know. They need to pack up packrafts, gather and waterproof sleeping/camping gear/food, and transition into new boats.

They should get roughly halfway through the kayak.

Tiki looks to be roughly two hours behind, but maybe not moving as fast?...So, they will probably have a maximum of an hour on the next leg...Might they elect to sleep in TA? Doubt it, but?

A couple of chase teams will get dark zoned on the packraft but then likely walk it in and go from there...Swordfox and the Aussies might be able to finish the packraft and still bank some decent sleep.

I doubt anyone else will; maybe an hour or two, but the two leaders will be in a league of their own after a full night sleep. So, even if the pack comes back together (top 5-7/8 teams), two of those teams will roar off tomorrow and the others will be struggling to press on, forced to sleep during daylight or push through sleepmonsters and slower pace.
Mar 13, 2019 2:57 AM # 
As a refresher: Stage 5 (which PG is finishing as I type) is a 53 km packrafting section on the Upper Rakaia River estimated to take 6-8 hrs. As Broots said, walking is permitted during the 8 pm to 7:15 am dark zone. Tiki Tour is the only team out on this stage now that PG is reaching TA5. Swordfox is in 3rd at TA4.

Stage 6 is a 77 km kayak paddle on the Lower Rakaia River estimated to take 6-8.5 hrs. Teams must camp during the dark zone. No walking.
Mar 13, 2019 3:09 AM # 
Meanwhile back in the mangroves, Silkychrome, Erl and team are leading the short course and are approaching the climb up to CPs 18 and 19. Sunset is about 4 hours away so it should be an adventurous night.
Mar 13, 2019 4:53 AM # 
Good coverage, everyone! I haven't been following very closely since I'm on vacation and tapping out of all normal life for a week, but I did have time to take a look at the Americans in the race and the Wild Flow Tiger Adventure team caught my eye, as it has two Americans: Brian Chontosh and Chriss Smith. I could be wrong, but is Brian Chontosh the same guy who won the Navy Cross?
He seems to be a big CrossFitter these days...
...and Chriss is also really into CrossFit:

We need to get these guys racing more in the U.S.!
Mar 13, 2019 12:43 PM # 
From AR Coverage:
'Current from: 10pm Wednesday March 13 2019 Teams must proceed from Lake Heron along the Swin River track until bisecting the fence line running north/northwest along the boundary of the out of bounds area on Map 4c.
Staying above the out of bounds area teams will proceed north above the fence line past Home Creek until the Smite River.
At this point teams are to switch to the amended map. Following the pink dotted line cross the Smite River and continue following the line until Charlie’s hut, at which point proceeding west to the four wheel drive track on the true right of Lake Stream to Glenfalloch Station.
These teams will continue on ranked (unless already unranked) but will not place ahead of teams that accessed CP19.'

This looks like from positions 22nd on back. CP0 is the first team on the first short course in 37th.
Mar 13, 2019 12:55 PM # 
BR/YS is currently at TA4 with Highland Events, The sneaky Weasels, Out For A View and PEnati Go all tied for 6th place.
Mar 13, 2019 1:07 PM # 
None of the top 5 teams on the water appear to be moving according to their tails.
Mar 13, 2019 1:22 PM # 
Zooming in on Swordfox...might they be cliffed out? They had been making progress on shore to the TA. They didn't stop all that long ago. If they have good gear for sleeping, I maybe they have indeed hunkered down for 5-6 hours of rest. Otherwise, I wonder if they are looking for a way to keep moving forward. They are quite close to TA and I imagine they'd rather get there and sleep...

The potential irony for CP0:
They might have made it anyway, but by being short coursed they were able to catch up and go out for the full trek. Now in hindsight, who knows, they may have preferred the trip around. If it was me, I'd be excited about that development.

Is there a note as to why teams are being routed around? Weather?
Mar 13, 2019 1:33 PM # 
Yep, Craig on AR Live noted bad weather.
Mar 13, 2019 2:06 PM # 

And it does look like Swordfox elected to park themselves. Guessing they are comfortable enough for sleeping and judging that it will be notably faster to just paddle in the AM down to the TA.

That said, Thoughtsports has started trekking again along the river, and Highland Events has decided to start trekking out of TA. Torpedo 7 isn't far down the river, sleeping, so we could have a little shake-up here.
Mar 13, 2019 3:47 PM # 
Chelsea shared a photo of Bend/Yoga on their FB page and pointed out that Jason was trekking with poles and no pack. She said he hyperextended his knee a week before the race.
Mar 13, 2019 3:49 PM # 
Shout out to Just Smile and Wave, a US team with AP'er Bugeater on nav. They lost a teammate during the prologue I think and have been unranked from the start but that didn't stop the rest of the team from continuing on. They beat the TA3 cut-off and made it onto the long trek. They then beat the weather short course hitting CP16/17 and are just outside of CP19 using the Chris Forne route. Impressive!
Mar 13, 2019 3:52 PM # 
At 4:30 a.m. on the Stage 5 packraft, Highland Events is passing the sleeping Torpedo 7 crew. They're crossing a large hill to the south, well away from Torpedo 7.
Mar 13, 2019 4:38 PM # 
The teams from 5th to 13th place are going to have their work cut out for them as soon as the dark zone lifts. Most of them are at T4, just Highland Events, Torpedo 7, Sneaky Weasel Gang and PEnati Go a bit down the river.

They'll have 12h45m to cover 130km of river paddling (oof!) to try reach T6 before the next dark zone. Perpetual Guardian took ~8h30m to get from T4 to where they're sleeping now, so I'm guessing about 10 hours of total moving time for them from T4 to T6. Doesn't leave much of a margin for everyone else!
Mar 13, 2019 5:01 PM # 
A couple more teams closing in on sleeping Torpedoes...who are going to explode!
I get why these other teams are pushing on instead of sleeping, and the dark zone lifts in a little over an hour (I think). Torpedo is going to benefit from a good night sleep, and they'll jump in the river and cruise. I expect it might be a long day for these other teams that aren't going to be able to rest like Torpedo did.

The Aussies' decision to rise seems questionable. They slept for a bit and then got up...only to be 4-5 km further along at this point...Thinking sleep might have been better...

Also, to the short course:
Team#1, NCX is on a road paralleling the river. I was wondering if they might be biking, but their tracker seems to perhaps be in a car or just jumping...At first I wondered if the short course teams (marked with the yellow stripe) are prevented from paddling AND this team is ranked ahead of CP0 who is doing great now...I'd be bummed if they aren't allowed to paddle...So. Theories? Mine is that NCX is perhaps out of the race and it's not updated, or that their tracker is wonky, or that they are getting a new one...Anything to suggest that CP0 will indeed be allowed to paddle!
Mar 13, 2019 5:04 PM # 
Just Smile and Wave seems to be tracking in Methven, off course...not in the trek...?
Mar 13, 2019 5:06 PM # 
Their tracking history suggests they may have been extricated at Lake Heron?

Or it's the tracker...that said, there is a growing pocket of teams in Methven, suggesting teams are being shuttled there...
Mar 13, 2019 5:07 PM # 
The route book says, "Short coursed teams will be transported from TA4 to TA5." However, this sentence is immediately after the statement that teams must leave TA4 by Thursday 2 p.m. to stay on the full course. (That's 9 p.m. tonight for eastern North Americans.) I was hoping CP0 might make it in time and get to paddle but a strict reading of the route book suggests they will be transported forward.
Mar 13, 2019 5:09 PM # 
Ha, whups. I mistakenly looked at their place and took it for their team number. Nevermind...
Mar 13, 2019 5:12 PM # 
Looks like Bend really doesn't want to hike anymore. Fortunately there isn't any more trekking stages but as Stijn noted it would have been helpful to get a little head start on the next darkzone.
Mar 13, 2019 5:23 PM # 
Just a note about hiking along the river overnight: teams are not allowed to cross the river. This means that being cliffed out = end of the hike.
Mar 13, 2019 6:41 PM # 
Dark Zone lifts.

Banked sleep on the river, though I'm having some trouble with the replay...

Perpetual and Tiki had a nice 11:15 rest. Flashbacks to Reunion;)
Swordfox: 2+6=8 hours...though I wonder about the first, maybe more like 6
Torpedo: 9 hours
Thoughtsports: ~5 hours

Other teams may have rested in TA, but I have a headache...
Mar 13, 2019 6:54 PM # 
Thanks, Broots - we need dots!
Mar 13, 2019 8:39 PM # 
From AR Live Coverage:

A nice flat mountain biking stage for the first half and then a sting in the tail for the second. A last chance for teams to stretch their legs as they head off on a broad circuit around the edge of Lake Ellesmere. The back roads and tracks are flat and fast, which will be a welcome relief to most teams. Part of the stage travels along the Little River Rail Trail, which also enjoys the kind of gradient made for the end of a race. However, the joy is short-lived as teams have one final climb to conquer - a 750m+ ascent over the southern end of the Banks Peninsular, that will ultimately lead them to a speedy descent down into Wainui (and maybe even a glimpse of the finish line across the bay)."

Stage 7 is 83 km, estimated to take 6-8.5 hours.

Stage 8 - the final stage - is a 17 km packraft around Akaroa Harbour estimated to take 3.5-5 hours. Night paddling *might* be permitted Thursday night (tonight) if the weather is good. It will not be permitted on Friday night. If/when the dark zone is enforced, teams will not be permitted to start packrafting after 5 p.m.

Perpetual Guardian is paddling into TA6 right now, around 9:30 a.m. So if they don't sleep, they should be able to finish tonight. In case the weather is not good enough to lift the dark zone, they will want to move quickly through TA6 to allow time for flat tires and such but they should be OK. Tiki Tour in 2nd place will not be so lucky if the dark zone is enforced. In any case, the Stage 8 dark zone is the only one where time credits will be awarded so it shouldn't affect PG's ranking - only their ability to eat real food and sleep in a bed tonight.
Mar 13, 2019 8:43 PM # 
Actually, I just noticed that Tiki Tour's last track is 75 minutes old so they are closer to TA6 than it appears.
Mar 13, 2019 8:46 PM # 
It looks like they are paddling both of these legs faster than the estimated 6 hrs for both. I think PG did the packraft leg in 5 hrs.
Mar 14, 2019 12:13 AM # 
PG has been riding for about 3 hours on Stage 7 and has passed the final bike checkpoint, CP24. They're partway up the final 750+ m climb; they'll finish with a speedy descent to TA7. They have 4 hours until the 5 p.m. cut-off to leave TA7 - *if* the dark zone is enforced tonight. It's looking good for them. At worst, they'll camp one more night with a time credit.

Tiki Tour is less than 1.5 hours behind, riding hard. They may also make the paddling cut-off - and there might not even be one if the weather is good. Anything can happen in AR - but if I were placing a bet, I'd pick TT for the silver medal at this point.
Mar 14, 2019 12:23 AM # 
Our friends on CP0 are about 3.5 km away from TA4, the end of the long trek - all downhill. It's 1:15 p.m. and I think the 2 p.m. cut-off to start packrafting still applies to them. Shortcoursed team NCX is just finishing up the packrafting section. I think we saw a new tracker being brought to them in a vehicle; they didn't get transported forward. It's going to be tight for CP0. Allez allez!
Mar 14, 2019 1:34 AM # 
PG is at TA7 at 2:30 p.m. so they'll be off the water before dark. There's a FB photo of Emily getting bandaged up after an apparent bike fall. Nothing too serious but she's scratched up. Tiki Tour is about halfway up the climb to the final high point. Obviously, this section goes really fast!
Mar 14, 2019 3:12 AM # 
Tiki Tour arrived at TA7 at 3:45 pm so they'll get to sleep in a bed tonight too. Perpetual Guardian is halfway through the packrafting stage around Akaroa Harbour. They just have to visit CP27 and CP28 on the shore before reaching the finish line in Akaroa. Too early to congratulate them yet but they've had a great race and I'm going to bed!

3rd place Swordfox is at CP23 - the only other team to have started the final bike leg.

Thoughtsports, Highland Events and Torpedo 7 are almost done the Stage 6 kayak, and the three teams are within half an hour of one another. There is still a race for the top five!

Bend/Yoga is in 10th but they're within 1 km of 9th place GuReus. All these teams will finish the kayak stage before the dark zone so they'll get to ride the bike stage later today - and maybe do the final packraft section as well, if the weather is good.
Mar 14, 2019 3:15 AM # 
CP0 is at TA4. Looks like they'll get a ride to TA5 where they can start kayaking.
Mar 14, 2019 3:31 AM # 
GuReus is unranked so Bend/Yoga is locked in at 9th...behind them is a very long ways to another ranked pure team: Jabberwock. And, they got in their kayaks at about 4pm, so they are not likely (is it even possible?) to get off the river before the 8pm dark zone stops them. Assuming that happens, Yoga should be able to secure 9th place finish (or higher) unless they have a race-stopping problem.
Mar 14, 2019 4:18 AM # 
Whoops re GuReus - thanks.
Mar 14, 2019 5:11 AM # 
The race is HOT for positions 4, 5, & 6. 5 & 6 are mere minutes apart (guaranteed to be in sight range of each other) and maybe 20 min behind 4 on the last bike. With 5&6 battling and pushing each other, 4 could get gobbled up...we saw this happen last year in one of the ARWS races. Gonna be really hard to go to sleep with this going on.
Mar 14, 2019 6:27 AM # 
I read somewhere that Jabberwock was really wrecked after the long trek, hence needing some sleep at TA4 and only getting on the water 2 hours after the dark zone lifted this morning. Looks like they'll be camping around 2 hours from the end of the kayaking leg, so may have been able to beat the dark zone, but it's so easy to watch dots move on a screen and forget what it's actually like on the ground after 37 hours of trekking with only 3 hours of sleep!

Either way, they're in 10th place now, and with a 2 hour gap over the next full course team, would hope to hold that to the finish line after a good 11 hours of recovery tonight :)
Mar 14, 2019 11:31 AM # 
What am I missing....
I see team 4, Out for the View's tracker ahead of Bend...admittedly, their tracker has done some wonky things. Not being in the mix on the water, popping up at the TA before the bike and then being there for a long while and then starting to move...they are listed as ranked down around 20 or 21...BUT they are still labeled as full course, they are clearly on the bike course re: their history, and they WERE tracking in that cluster of teams throughout the trek (Yoga, Penati, etc.)...So, I'm thinking they are in 9th and Yoga 10th?

Anyone know something about that team I don't?
Mar 14, 2019 11:52 AM # 
I’m not on my laptop and can’t find a rewind function on my iPad. From their splits, it looks like they were leading Bend/Yoga at the end of Stage 4, then they don’t have any more splits. Maybe they left their tracker behind or received a new one at TA6? HQ seems pretty quick to update short course status on the leaderboard so I assume they really are full course.
Mar 14, 2019 12:22 PM # 
Perpetual Guardian won - surprise, surprise! Chris Forne has won every GZ except Chapter 6 (Queenstown). This was the first GZ win by a 50/50 male/female team.
Mar 14, 2019 12:22 PM # 
Yep, me too. And the leaderboard seems to reflect the tracker rather than, I THINK this would confirm that Bend is in 10th rather than 9th. Still a great finish at GZ!
Mar 14, 2019 12:26 PM # 
Yes, looks like they’re using geofencing for the leaderboard (boo) and they only intervene to update team status, e.g. Unranked, Short course, etc.
Mar 14, 2019 1:16 PM # 
CP0 is kayaking now (camped during the dark zone) and is shown in 24th place - the first non-full course team. Team NCX, which had been leading the short course, is now unranked. More teams were short coursed at TA4. It looks like all short coursed teams are ranked together, regardless of which short course they did.
Mar 14, 2019 2:31 PM # 
Out For The View is packrafting ahead of Bend/Yoga on the final Stage 8. They're still shown in 21st place on the full course even after passing TA7. Perhaps the geofencing doesn't know what to make of them not having a tracker for Stages 5 and 6. They had time to complete the packrafting and kayaking sections ahead of Bend/Yoga. If they forgot their tracker at TA4, there could be a hefty penalty that could move them behind Bend/Yoga. If it simply malfunctioned, they could be in 9th as it appears.
Mar 14, 2019 3:27 PM # 
Obviously, the weather was good Thursday night since the top teams have been allowed to packraft in the dark. There will be a dark zone with a time credit at TA7 Friday night, according to the route book.
Mar 14, 2019 6:35 PM # 
AR Live Coverage has announced Out For The View in 9th place at the finish. Leaderboard still says 21st.

Bend/Yoga put their compass away on the final packraft section and went into the wrong bay to look for CP27. They've found it now and it won't affect their (apparent) 10th place ranking.
Mar 14, 2019 7:49 PM # 
Yoga just finished! 10th place and 2nd among internationals. Well done!
Mar 14, 2019 10:09 PM # 
Phil Nicolas (forgot his AP handle) is on the final paddle home after a very challenging race. Really eager to hear his stories from this adventure. His wife has been touring around the NZ countryside while he's been toiling away having his own fun. Going to be a sweet reunion for sure.
Mar 17, 2019 1:46 AM # 
hi friends! back in wifi land now. wow this was a tough race for us. certainly harder than i was expecting, and i was expecting a hard one! it felt like a “slug fest” out there. the terrain just did not stop being tough. after our issues w CP6 (extra time on feet) we had to spend more extra time on feet trekking around the Waimakariri Gorge aftermissing the cutoff by 20min. we carried packrafts around for i think 20hrs and paddled them for 2!! i had gotten a charlie horse in my quad during coasteering and overcompensating w other leg muscles and everything was over-fatigued. the biking went well but then the big trek, OMG, it blew my mind. we did make the 3AM cutoff but knew we didn’t have the horsepower to complete the whole thing so we self-short coursed and got a great sleep. we got some intel on the route choices ahead of us and elected to follow Chris’s route, because, duh. following the river was pretty good but once we started climbing, man, it did not stop! we topped out and it was cold and drizzly and rainy and we had to boulder around some wet rock. it was dark which was awesome to help avoid getting distracted by heights. we were up on the ridge line for sunrise which was awesome. but about then my feet stopped working and i slowed the team down. it was painful. we made it town to TA4 and got a bus ride to TA5 to start kayaking. from there it was 2 nights of dark zone sleep, the first was awesome on a nice lil sandbar on the Rakaia. the second (at TA7) was horrible bc it seemed pointless apart from wanting a media spectacle on the last day (and the TA was loud and brightly lit). the last paddle was great until a huge headwind blew up in the last hour...a bit sketchy on the packrafts when all we wanted to do was finish!! (and could have been avoided with no dark zone). so overall not the race we wanted but still, racing in NZ is incredible. the race volunteers were so amazing and encouraging, and there were plenty of them.
Mar 17, 2019 1:57 AM # 
oh yeah, and the announcement is our for GZ 2020... NORTH Island town of NOVEMBER.
Mar 17, 2019 2:10 AM # 
great work out there, Silky! Thanks for the report - we were on pins and needles watching you guys battle the cutoff! Congrats on getting to the finish line of a very tough race. And even bigger congratulations to you and Erl!
Mar 17, 2019 9:02 AM # 
Thanks for the update, silky - big congrats to you and the team on working your way through it all. Hope you're still enjoying a little bit of post-race R&R!
Mar 17, 2019 11:43 AM # 
Thanks for sharing your story! It was so much more fun to watch someone we knew. Sounds tough but you guys kept pushing and never gave up. You must be very proud of your midpack finish after all you went through. You and Erl will have some amazing (pre)honeymoon memories. Congrats!
Mar 18, 2019 7:57 PM # 
Thanks for sharing so quickly! For sure were cheering for you!
Mar 19, 2019 7:35 PM # 
Hey guys, this has been (a they say in kiwi) 'a bit of an advincha!' to say the least.
To those who have done GZ or been to NZ thank you for the encouragement to get to NZ. To those who have not been here yet, NZ and GZ will not disappoint. it is a top tier event across the board. Keren and Warren and Andy and every volunteer (some of the neatest ones around) orchestrate a truly world class event.
Part 1. Our story began with the four of us getting together, having never raced together as a team. Marta, Pete, Brian and I had plenty of experience but it's always a huge variable of not being very familiar with teammates under race circumstances prior to the start. We arrived to Akaroa a few days before hand did all day gear organizing mostly and relaxed. I had snapped the screw for my bike seat collar and had to get another in chch.
Race brief ad gear checks were routine and they actually scrutinize the gear to make sure it's what they want, shortcuts!
After turning in bins and recieving day one maps we made our way back and prepared for the start. The coasteering section turned out to be the view from our back porch over looking the bay! we were scouting the course and didn't know it! Cool. START- We started off making sure we stayed together, not worried about pace. It was fun hopping in and out of water, I was happy the wet suit was mandatory; I stayed warm. Later we found out the were an orca pod nearby checking us out, yikes! We didn't know at the time, but Brian had slipped, fallen and struck hit head, not sure how hard, but nevertheless, happy for helmets.
Transition was smooth and first bike was on. Again the focus was on staying together and finding our tempo. Note-Climbs are for real in this country. With little elevation in MN to train on it was a concern for me, that I worked on with coach; ever so glad for the extra workouts, ect. We proceeded and it became clear that Brian was struggling on this first climb. even with all the help, he was in trouble. On the downhill, as we zipped down, at one point, I looked back to see and hear Brian crashing on a slippery corner; damage- cuts and a taco'ed front tire. we had a lot to go and this was day 1, not good. Speed was now compromised even on downhills and we moved on.At the ta we spoke with med personnel, Brian rested in an attempt to recover, while the team finished the TA. we completed the packraft and moved to the trek. Again we were moving way to slowly and this was putting our sleep and map planning times in significant jeopardy that would be so crucial, for the rest of the race. We arrived to the chch adventure park in one piece.
The following morning we examined options and Brian made a difficult but necessary decision to pull out if we could continue as a 3 pers team, unranked.
Mar 20, 2019 1:39 AM # 
Thanks for the Day 1 report, Bugeater! Looking forward to hearing more. Hope Brian is doing OK now.
Mar 20, 2019 10:37 AM # 
Part deux (of not sure how many!). A Good Proper Dud!
we made our official communication with race mgmt that we are decaring to continue unranked, and they were able to pair us up with French team Lozere (team 40) for the packraft section; it was part of the deal in order to continue for safety and pairing reasons. this arrangement was made 5 minutes before the restart time where super quick micro-intros were done. couple of locals from chch, and Benoit (Fanny had dropped). we offered to carry the extra packraft, and they said they were happy to use their extra: bonus! we only needed one.
The gun went off and so did Lozere. we had to resituate packs super quickly. We quickly said a sad goodbye to Brian and set off behind the pack at a ridiculous pace. after several minutes of hoping we hadn't lost them, Marta found them and would not get them go. we joined (keep in mind we now have slightly heavier packs each) and they say we need to get us to the front of the pack to get ahead.
Our team was not happy with this but they weren't waiting. we pushed even harder to follow. their navigator was supposed to be one of the best and we hoped that at this rate and as tricky as it looked, maybe he would spike it. I initially followed along and with no discussion of a plan we were at their mercy for a bit. we charged through the brush until we were literally crawling. Very little to reference in thick vegetation meant we needed to get it right the first time; Instead we spent silly time running around for more than a couple hrs and I must admit our team were not happy campers. we were taking stabs at cp6 it was costing us precious time and energy and no discussion. We eventually found it after morning light and a large majority of the field had departed as well. We headed up and over some terrain towards the packraft raft put in without drama. this was a pleasant climb and hike. we managed to pick up our spirits and looked forward to giving legs a rest. we hopped into boats and off we were, on a most beautiful river. It was a fun and full afternoon of hitting small rapids. I was humbled by one of team14 local member's skills on the river. he read ever ripple and eddy line perfectly, as if he knew the river or something! (ahhmm) He was brilliant down to within a foot, maybe two, left or right to have the fastest line. I was sloppy by comparison and he humbled me; by the end of the section I was grasping his lines and learned some stuff. Post paddling, we said gbyes and thank you's, Lozere team 14 quickly left us in their dust.
Transitioning back out to trek, we followed a creek bed up river and that was pretty cool. we needed to locate a cave system for a few more CPs. This was straight forward until the very end, were the river seemed to 'begin' and it wasn't obvious where to go.
we stayed at it and found the entrance. Caves were awesome, although cold... a rain coat was nice to have, I had grabbed my wetsuit shorty top and I was as grateful as the 2 fist bumpin' squirrels in the Geico commercial, right on! Being cold and on slippery surfaces, I took a pretty good spill landing on my right hip and needing a minute to shake it off. Cool spot, I would have appreciated it more under non-race conditions, I think. it was all good!
we transitioned to bikes. we had decided to maximize forward movement with th goal to knock out the bike without sleep. We took about a one hour TA and we were off.
Bike went pretty smoothly. we pacelined as possible, towed, sang,and beared down to keeping the train moving. The hike-a-bike was quite the doozie. Marta hung out at the front, shaking her head on how we were supposed to do this. Pete and Marta were fantastic and we were helping each other out, and it was all good. A couple times I may have potentially possibly been slightly off on distances (ya'll kno what I mean) but no real issues with nav. once on the flats to town, we were greeted by several families who offered treats to passing teams, a great morale boost. Marta had her second flat (...stanz I say...), we worked it out. Another 30 plus k and we arrived to Clearwater lake.
As we meshed teamm-wise, we needed sleep. we agreed to take an hour TA and head towards the first CP ad looknfr a quiet spot. In TA, Brian met us and cheered us on. Brian updated his status that he may have suffered a concussion and it was indeed medically prudent for him to have withdrawn when he did. He decided to be our very own cheerleader and he was great to see. Next - part 3
Mar 21, 2019 11:54 AM # 
Ok I'll try to wrap this up a bit. Part 3 Sweet As'
We headed out, found our spot and took a 2.5 hr nap. awesome. Marta had said that she would hear my watch alarm....zzz she was dead to the world, which was fine.I had put it between my hat and ear, sweet as!
I felt 15 would be harder than it looked especially in the dark, it seemed like an RD thing to do. The clue was tarn and where we went there were, we later learned, actually 3 or 4 tarns that existed in the area but only one represented on the map. Lots of is the flag here? is it missing? are we in the right spot? After searching we agreed to take some sleep we had allotted for later in the trek, now and wait for light. Of course, once the land showed itself, we easily found it and blasted off north towards a saddle. this next leg was the best. we climbed steadily, refilling water out of streams, and the views were killer. Reaching the saddle, it was a 360 degree mtn view with two viewable glaciers. I think/hope Pete snapped some shots. we continued on the course, sleep walking into the night Pete has this mastered. We ended up taking one 45 min nap and half way to 18 that night, we were told that we were to be bussed around to cp20. top teams were way behind schedule, 17 hrs for chris F's team just from s. side of Huron lake to the next TA. we had re-calculated on 20 hrs plus easily and had only 12 hrs max of food left. Mid-pack teams were going to be in a serious situations if not already.
After cp16 and on the way to 17, the team had discussed this situation and began to ration food. we decided we are in all the way, no matter what. Good call on race direction, cuz we were sitting ducks!. Earlier when approaching cp17, I got a bit stressed and started to envision myself strangling RD Warren(I kidded with him afterwards, btw), after we found ourselves descending a waterfall, having two packs on, having to sit and drop down onto slippery unstable rocks , in the dark, I was a bit stressed, to say the least. My teammates offered solutions on routes and we worked it out, sweet as!
We were bussed around, kidnapper style (hurry up,, get out of that bus, get into this one, you have 5 min and we leave!') to TA 20, no sleep on that bumpy, driftin', 2 wheeled ride (holy s@#t, he drove it like he stole it), we were then paired up with a kiwi team team 14 (earlier I mistakenly said we were paired with 14, it was actually team 40 Lozere). Theses guys were awesome. We needed them for the long paddle sections for even pairing. we both agreed to knock out the two paddle sections in daylight if possible. we headed out and the Rakaia rvr was gorgeous. It was a mess of braids and trying to understand which side one was on and which braid to take was tricky but it worked. we got stuck and had to walk a couple times for just several meters. it was a joy, and very scenic. we TA'd to kayaks as quickly as possible and headed down river for the rest of the time. No worries. The gorge was cool and more braids kept us on our toes.
about 3 hrs until 8pm (dark zone) we started to push hard to try to make it to TA. An hour later I was hurting a bit from all the water pulling we were doing, 9 hrs-ish. The last two hrs I was in the pain cave. Our two teams gave all we could to make it. about 804 pm, 3 k from TA (up a lagoon), about 4 teams disgruntedly reached the river/lagoon corner and pulled over to camp. We set up our tents, heated water, put on dry clothes and had warm meals. We tried and commented on each other's choices, a better part of racing camaraderie. Pete had to help me in/out of my tops, since my shoulders were basically frozen stiff, thanks buddy, .
About an hr later someone from race direction showed up from the TA to say the race mgmt had given us 4 teams the green light to move to TA if we chose to since we were safely in the lagoon at that point. 2 teams repacked their gear and proceeded on. We elected to stay put vs repack and unpack again at the TA. we would simply adjust our sleep to what would allow us to complete the bike and make the final packraft cutoff: turned out to be about 3 hrs of sleep would be the ticket. At 2 am, we were paddling the last 20 in to TA.
This TA was allotted an hr, and everyone was ready in 50 min, yay- some synchronizing there! This was a flat ride with one final big climb once we reached the banks peninsula via rail-trail. Marta fought some serious sleep monsters, we had just 'slept' on the paddle recently and we agreed (Marta too) to see if we cud get past it. Everyone played a part to help. I towed, Mandi (team 14) and Pete talked to her and she put down the caffeine, after an hour or so, she popped out of it and Marta layed down some rubber, tough as nails. Sweet As
We climbed and climbed and climbed Bossu road to Jubilee Rd toward Wainui, and some clouds and spots of rain kinda brought the view down, still cool. At the last TA, everyone was ready to be done, and it was agreed to be as fast as practical! Translated-that meant break down the bike, throw all your crap into the bike box, inflate the boats, and get going; about 25 min-ish was our time (not bad for a bunch of AR zombies). We easily made the cutoff, and only 4 more CPs between us and the finish. We had a mostly good time paddling. Sleep monsters were attacking everyone again, Pete and I had a game of what's the first thing that pops into you mind with challenge questions, 3 seconds to answer. best band ever? hottest Male and female model ever? ( we were desperate to finish...) favorite color, favorite spot in the world? best concert attended?...
We made sure to cross the finish with team 14, as they were so integral to our success. They made it so much more fun and enjoyable. Kairen, Glenn, and Mandi. Sometimes they couldn't understand us and we couldnt understand them even as we spoke the same language!, Both teams just smiled and waved, the messages were understood., it was Sweet As!
NEXT favorite gear
Mar 22, 2019 9:37 PM # 
Favorite gear pieces:
Fenix Headlamp HL60R. This was a new piece of gear for me, a bit of a change as well. Historically, I like to stick with one light system (light n motion), however in looking into lightening things a bit, especially for the monster trek, I looked into a smaller, lighter but equally powerful head torch. This definitely filled the bill. It worked great, I primarily used the 50 lumen setting and occasionally used the higher 400/950 lumen setting for looking around. I used it on two stages including on the first on the big trek, and did not need to use backup batts at all. I was able to recharge it and use again later, no problems. Back up batteries are expensive though.

Revelate Terrapin system 14 liter
This was perhaps the most valuable asset for GZ for me. Although a new system for me, it was a borrowed piece from teammate KPoire, and something (although minor) of a gamble to try out for the first time at GZ. The system seemed to make a lot of sense from a racer stand point. It removes weight and space from a rider's back and put it securely on the bike post. Its water proof and easy to manage. These straps are thought out and sturdy. I put all the larger mandatory gear in it except for the tent and in TA would simply move the dry bag portion back and forth to my primary pack and done. This gets the 'sweet as' award from me.

Salomon supercross 4 show. I have been transitioning to these shoes for 18 months and brought three pairs to have positioned in different bins in order to occasionally have dry feet. They did not let me down and did their job. I was very comfortable in both the trekking and packrafting sessions with shoes. Traction and slippage in rain, mud, and rocks were never an issue for me. Only foot damage was minor blisters on the outside of both 5th metatarsal toes;
didn't bother me a bit. Only disclosure is that I do place a different insole for improved arch support than what comes with the shoes.

Cheers all, looking forward to following and hearing from Exp India!
Mar 26, 2019 1:17 PM # 
Beautiful photo album by Alexandre Socci
Mar 30, 2019 1:29 PM # 
great race perspective by Thought Sports.
Apr 5, 2019 1:59 PM # 
Legendary Randy interviews Emily and Erl.

This discussion thread is closed.