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Discussion: Huairasinchi

in: Adventure Racing; General

Jun 5, 2019 2:25 AM # 
Huairasinchi is coming up this weekend!

Assuming the list is up to date, some of the top teams include the Estonians, Columbia Vidaraid and MRC/MainNerve (Dave Lamb, Rachel Furman, Shane Hagerman and our own JayXC). Mari Chandler is racing with Movistar Ecuador.

Race starts Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m.
(It's an hour earlier there than Toronto/New York.)
Teams have 80 hrs to finish.

Stage 1: 40 km kayak
Stage 2: 138 km bike
Stage 3: 62 km trek
Stage 4: 130 km Bike
Stage 5: 30 km trek
Stage 6: 38 km bike

Google Translate of part of the organizers' Facebook post:

The 16th edition of the Huairasinchi Movistar 2019 is here.

Project Adventure, organizing company of the tenth edition of the Huairasinchi Movistar 2019, welcomes the adventure competition with more editions in the history of sport, which for the first time will be based in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, a city Located in the north center of the country joining the low area of Ecuador with the mountain.

The Huairasinchi will start with the arrival of several international teams to the country next Friday, June 7 Competitors and teams from Estonia, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand, France, USA, Denmark, Spain, and of course Ecuador will be present. The race will have 38 teams in total participating, 25 in the category ARWS expedition and 13 in the adventure category.

The competition schedule will start with the registration of teams on Saturday, June 8 at the Hotel Zaracay of the city of Santo Domingo and later the opening ceremony and technical congresillo will be held on the same site. Unlike other years the organization will not deliver maps and route information in advance, and the runners will find out about the route in a "technological lock" only one hour before leaving.

The race will be held at 07:30 am of the day Sunday June 9. Previously the teams will be moved from the city of Santo Domingo to the point of the start on buses of the organization. The route will have a surprising diversity, taking into account that the race height will be between 250 and 4200 meters above sea level. Huairasinchi has defined a route that is very different from traditional tourist routes and focuses on discovering Ecuador in a different way to show it to the world as one of the most important adventure destinations.

The teams of the expedition category must complete a route of 433 km with a maximum of 80 hours in route. The Adventure Category will have a 180 km tour with a maximum of 36 hours to finish it...

The Final Award of the category ARWS expedition will be held on Wednesday, June 12 at the Hotel Zaracay of Santo Domingo at 18:00.
Jun 6, 2019 2:18 AM # 
JayXC has arrived in Ecuador and hiked up to 4200 m for a little pre-race warm-up today.
Jun 6, 2019 12:07 PM # 
This should should be a fun one! Good luck to all the teams!
Jun 6, 2019 5:29 PM # 
More tapering by JayXC, presumably with his team. A short hike partway up the slope of Cotopaxi, turning around at 4900 m altitude.
Jun 6, 2019 10:03 PM # 
Camila Nicolau of Columbia Vidaraid was biking just north of where JayXC and rocky33 were today. Last week a friend of mine from Paraguay (who is racing with Lars B) was in the same area. Mari Chandler is heading to Ecuador by the fine mountainous region of Michigan. (Kidding about the mountains.)
Jun 7, 2019 12:54 AM # 
Just read ele gain is 250 to 4200m. Holy smokes.
Jun 7, 2019 9:19 AM # 
Team list here - Looks to be about 24 or so teams. Good luck to all:
Jun 7, 2019 5:47 PM # 
Which APers are going?

Dave Lamb...
Jun 8, 2019 11:56 PM # 
Here's MRC/MainNerve at check-in. Race starts tomorrow!
Jun 9, 2019 2:43 AM # 
Google translate from FB (I think there will be a lot of this): Tomorrow, the teams will be on buses to the place of departure at 2 am, arriving at the site of the start at approximately 6 am. The Maps will be delivered during the ¨lock down¨ at 6 in the morning.
Jun 9, 2019 2:45 AM # 
Could MRC/MainNerve look any more squeaky clean and well-groomed in their pre-race photo? The next few days should take care of *that*! :))
Jun 9, 2019 12:16 PM # 
Looks like the live coverage is in Spanish. That's OK for the dots but I hope someone here can translate the news more quickly than I can.
Jun 9, 2019 12:17 PM # 
Race starts in 10 minutes!
Jun 9, 2019 7:07 PM # 
Teams started racing 6.5 hours ago, and MRC/MainNerve hasn't tracked for about 3.5 hours. This tracking system isn't my favourite but on the bright side, it looks like the leaderboard may not be based on geofencing since they are shown with a time at PC3. If it's correct, they're right in the midpack, which is good pacing at the start of a long race.
Jun 10, 2019 1:28 AM # 
They are still doing well! And seemingly neck and neck with Movistar Ecuador (Mari Chandler is on that team). Another name we know in these parts is Lars Bukkehave. He's on Qualificar BeatFitness. I met his teammate Dani in Paraguay and we have stayed in touch. They are moving!

Columbia Vidaraid and Estonia are very close together. CV won Paraguay (2 of the team for this race did Paraguay) and Estonia have podium'd many races but never first....or will locals triumph?

Another interesting dynamic is there isn't an ARWS spot to race for it seems?

This race looks brutal with all the climbing and temperature swings. JayXC reported they had a bin weight limit of 50# which is not too bad. BTW, the race is CST.
Jun 10, 2019 1:29 AM # 
Just got a report from one of the referees (Alen Pujol, great guy) that they were superb in the kayak and are moving really well. Go team go!
Jun 10, 2019 2:32 AM # 
Go MRC/MainNerve! They were in 7th place when they rode past PC11 a short time ago.
Jun 10, 2019 2:39 PM # 
Where is the tracking found for this race?
I'm sure it's embarrassingly obvious, but I have to ask as I can't find it?!?! ;(
Jun 10, 2019 2:52 PM # 
Try this link:
Jun 10, 2019 3:26 PM # 
I can at least see the map now!... might be a security feature where I'm at that won't allow tracking info to load.
Jun 10, 2019 4:06 PM # 

1) Estonians (will they win their first ARWS race?) 24:01
2) Movistar Terra Aventura 25:22
3) Columbia VidaRaid 25:24
4) Bosi Adventure 26:32
5) Life Adventure/Imptek 26:39

Arrival at TA2/PC13:
6) Movistar Ecuador 24:43
7) MRC/MainNerve 26:05
Jun 10, 2019 4:07 PM # 
The top teams have finished Stage 2 (138 km bike) and started on Stage 3, the 62 km trek.
Jun 10, 2019 6:36 PM # 
MRC/Main Nerve moving well. They're in striking distance of everyone except Estonian ACE who are dropping the hammer on the rest of the field.
Jun 10, 2019 6:47 PM # 
Sorry. Trackers just updated. Movistar Terra Aventura and Vidaraid also currently out of striking distance and non-hammer victims.
Jun 11, 2019 1:31 AM # 
Day 2 photos are up and there is one of JayXC and looking mighty sunburned! Oh no!
Jun 11, 2019 1:42 AM # 
Hmm, I can't scroll the leaderboard right and left so I can't see any times after PC14. Anyone else have the same issue? (I'm on Macbook + Chrome.) The top 6 or 7 teams have passed PC17. The tracking system isn't good enough that we can afford to lose the leaderboard.

Speaking of which, MRC/MainNerve hasn't tracked in 4 hours and the 1st place (I assume) Estonians haven't tracked in 6.5 hours.

AR Live Coverage is following the dots closely on Facebook, which helps.
Jun 11, 2019 1:43 AM # 
Yikes, JayXC looks like a boiled lobster!
Jun 11, 2019 11:18 AM # 
So, the leaderboard is showing Columbia Vidaraid, then Estonia, Movistar Ecuador is in 6th, Qualificar/BeatFitness in 8th and MRC/MainNerve in 11th.

I'm on a work trip, so can't follow closely...and the live site isn't as mobile friendly. A lot of teams seem to have retired..but not sure if they are continuing as partial. About a third of the field in Paraguay lost a teammate.

In other news, Guambra Imptek is an all female team, I met a couple of them in Paraguay, so I am cheering for them too! Keep racing! :)
Jun 11, 2019 1:00 PM # 
From my referee buddy after I sent an inquiry....

"Your yankee fellows are doing great. I sang a bit of the star spangled banner. Dani is doing great through they had a major mistake in navigation to CP 12. Dani de León is now on a short course. Didn't see her at all."

Dani is on BeatFitness and Dani De Leon is on the female team.

PS: interesting a guy from Uruguay is saying yankee!
Jun 11, 2019 2:06 PM # 
The colour of JayXC's legs sent a shiver up my spine... :o
Jun 11, 2019 9:07 PM # 
It looks like the Estonians' tracker has been picked up by an eagle.

The tracking system says that 11 teams remain on the ARWS full course. 10 teams have retired and 4 teams are on the short course. There was a 16:00 cut-off at TA3, if I remember correctly - and that's right now. So there will probably be a few more short-coursed teams on the leaderboard soon.

MRC/MainNerve hasn't tracked for 4.5 hours but they were at CP18 and appeared to be in the midpack of the 11 ranked ARWS teams. I'm not sure they had time to make the cut-off. This tracking system isn't set up for quick analysis.
Jun 12, 2019 1:02 AM # 
sad news from Facebook:


- Team #1 Estonian ace adventure, after being several hours off route during stage 3, has decided to return to pc16 (Angamarca).

- Team #6 Movistar Ecuador has decided to withdraw from the competition for problems in navigation.
Jun 12, 2019 1:09 AM # 
Jun 12, 2019 1:25 AM # 
Jun 12, 2019 1:34 AM # 
One thing about the cell network trackers is that they're no fun to watch during a race with poor cell coverage - but when the team returns to cell coverage, their track gets uploaded. So now we can rewind and check out where Estonia went while we weren't able to see them. That's just crazy. Too bad we couldn't follow this track while it was happening.
Jun 12, 2019 1:40 AM # 
It's been about 9 hours since MRC/MainNerve's tracker went dark. They were near the Bermuda Triangle area where the Estonians and Movistar Ecuador lost their way. Fingers tightly crossed that they're not off on a similar tour.
Jun 12, 2019 1:43 AM # 
Team #13 Bosi Adventure is out as well after navigation issues.
Jun 12, 2019 1:43 AM # 
Translated (not very well) by FB:

The teams that lead the competition have already bordered the lagoon of the quilotoa in the following order: #03 Columbia life raid, #07 life adventure / imptek and #02 Movistar Terra Adventure, and they are very glued, for That we will have two last very decisive stages among these teams.
Jun 12, 2019 2:34 AM # 
Best I can tell is that MRC MainNerve is in 6thish place. Feel terrible for the teams fully withdrawing.
Jun 12, 2019 10:35 AM # 
Got some info that the trackers are losing battery power, thus not tracking.
Jun 12, 2019 12:30 PM # 
That’s too bad; it’s not a very long race. MRC/MainNerve’s dot has been near PC18 for 20 hours now.
Jun 12, 2019 12:31 PM # 
“A trekking of 62 kms with height gain - tested the teams. At Sunset, the teams faced an area of wild wasteland, where they began to have difficulties with climate and navigation. Rain, snow and fog made navigation difficult, to such a point that many competitors preferred to stop to rest.

To all the teams this stage has taken more time than planned, so they have spent adversities in route, such as disorientation, cold and lack of food.”
Jun 12, 2019 2:30 PM # 
Not to throw shade on anyone, but didn't Gonzalo Calisto of the leading team, Life Adventure/Imptek, test positive for steroids a couple of years ago at UTMB?
Jun 12, 2019 4:43 PM # 
Looks like it will be a close finish. Wish we could follow along.
Jun 12, 2019 4:59 PM # 
Seems the last 2 teams to reach the final TA continued on bike toward the finish, skipping final trek, so maybe just 2 Full course teams? Hard to say anything definitive.
Jun 12, 2019 5:04 PM # 
SleepMonsters just confirmed two full-course teams:

"There's a great battle between the top two teams at Huairasinchi.

Columbia Vidaraid and Life Adventure Imptek are side by side on the final trekking stage, after which there is only a 37km bike stage left with 1000m of descent.

Third placed team Movistar - Terra Aventura are now on a short course (not going to CP's 28 and 29, so only the top two will now complete the full course."
Jun 12, 2019 5:42 PM # 
And just noticed that MRC/MainNerve are on the move again, and on a short course.
Jun 12, 2019 5:49 PM # 
Anyone have a visual? Are they biking together? Kateness and I just watched the Wild Racers coverage of ARWC 2011 in Tasmania and it came down to a bike finish for several places. This is strikingly similar.
Jun 12, 2019 6:50 PM # 
Strongmachine, I just finished the Switzerland episodes - about to start Tasmania!
Jun 12, 2019 8:40 PM # 
Looks like MRC/MN are on a bailout route (by bike? car?) toward Latacunga/Pujili as race time dwindles.
Jun 13, 2019 2:40 AM # 
Jun 13, 2019 2:51 AM # 
It looks like MRC/MainNerve had some nav issues after PC19 - although nothing compared to the Estonians, who apparently didn't find PC19. MRC/MainNerve successfully reached PC20 and TA3, unlike some of the other top teams, but they ran out of time. I'm really looking forward to JayXC's report. He always writes good ones!
Jun 13, 2019 3:08 AM # 
The only full course finishers are done:

1) Columbia Vidaraid
2) Life Adventure / Imptek
Jun 13, 2019 3:20 AM # 
@StrongMachine, yes, Gonzalo Calisto of Life Adventure/Imptek tested positive for EPO after placing 5th at UTMB in 2015. It was an interesting case because his blood tests had previously shown some abnormalities but experts decided that it could be due to living at a relatively high altitude in Ecuador. Then he got caught with a post-race urine test that proved EPO use. He served a 2-year suspension and is now part of the ITRA Quartz Elite program that monitors athletes for doping.
Jun 13, 2019 8:40 AM # 
From Sleepmonsters:

Congratulations to Columbia Vidaraid on their win at Huairasinchi.

It looked like they would have a race to the line with Team Life Adventure Imptek, but the Ecuadorian team received a penalty at the last transition for an earlier infringement which ensured they would finish in second place.

Only these two teams finished the full course this year after another epic race in Ecuador.
Jun 13, 2019 12:45 PM # 
Thanks for the info, Bash. Didn't mean to tarnish the coverage of the race or of his effort or that of his team. But with talk of Lance doing Eco-Challenge (and from what I hear, that rumor is not true), talking about drug use and how we handle it is probably something the sport should be open to.

On another, unrelated topic, this race looked hard! Maybe too hard? I'd like to see RDs aim to get 50 percent of the field through on the full course, even if it means leaving the finish line open for longer. Any other opinions?
Jun 13, 2019 1:15 PM # 
I don't like the idea of a target finish rate for all races. The RD should be able to set whatever course they choose and the racers can decide if they want to do that RD's races or not. I do believe a "wise" RD will be consistent in their design and a good communicator - able to let racers know what to expect. Racers/teams want to challenge themselves in different ways.
Jun 13, 2019 1:48 PM # 
Agreed that I don’t want finish % targets but I wonder if this race was fair in terms of maps, instructions, terrain, conditions and cut-offs. When most of the top teams can’t get through a 62 km trek, it could either be a tough challenge or an unfair challenge.
Jun 13, 2019 1:50 PM # 
Also, as discussed in a private side conversation, I wonder if ARWS should insist on GPS trackers rather than cell network trackers. When teams disappear for that long, the spectator experience is poor but more importantly, it’s a safety issue.
Jun 13, 2019 3:44 PM # 
?? Does anyone on the thread, have any experience with Huairasinchi or the area they were in? I'm trying to get a grasp of the 'what happened' and reasons (altitiude /elevation gain/loss, length of course, difficulty of nav, ect)…that lead to so many short-coarsed, retired, and unranked teams. I bet it was a bit of all the the above, however curiousity is getting the best of me...why so many experienced, super solid teams had difficulty.
I'm sure there will be some great RRs.
Jun 13, 2019 3:49 PM # 
There were reports of fog and rain. I haven’t been there.
Jun 13, 2019 5:19 PM # 
From Estonia on FB:


So what happened to us on the mountain when we were leading Huairasinchi Ecuador adventure race? A short story here with some images from our race camera...

The race was going well for us. First kayak had a 3 team lead bunch separate with also Terra Aventura close by. Bike leg was really tough and we started to feel the lack of energy on massive climbs, probably caused by the excessive sun during kayak . We were travelling close with Columbia Vidaraid and they seemed to have physical issues also with Marco laying down at some point cramping. On the last part of the bike leg we took a more right choice around the valley. It was still hard climbing, but we could ride all the way. The somewhat shorter route was more steep and we gained on teams taking that, including Columbia Vidraid. So now we had over an hour lead that we knew about as we saw the teams come in on the path we started the trek. Everything was looking great! Started at first light on the trek and it was going to be a monster. Getting through the valley to first cp was already a challenge, but of course we got rewarded with magnificent vistas of steep green hills and rock. Everything was going to plan, we found the right trails and travelled well and soon hit the manned cp in a town. This was the last place to stock up before heading to high mountains and we bought some cold drinks from the shop. We were fine physically, no problems. Not too much exhaustion, just some common trekking tiredness. Climbing to higher ground started through a valley on a gravel road which soon turned into a jagged path. We had plenty of daylight hours left so could assess our position relatively well. It was still hard as the map scale is big and we were discussing at some path intersections which one to take. Without altimeter we might have made a wrong choice. Later in the evening we made it to a mountain village and slowly crawled up to cp18 - a manned cp on a wide ridge. It was above 4000 by tracking, but our altimeter showed about 100-200m less. Now with only one hour of daylight left we started to jog up a wide valley. It looked enormous compared to map. That was really the case - with no trees and open ground the scale of the landforms opens up hard to grasp. Still feeling OK we made it to the end of the valley by darkness. We were looking for a trail shown on map, but didn’t find any, so it was just up the back side of the valley. Climb was steep, high grass. As we got to the ridge weather worsened. High winds came over the ridge and also misty cold rain. Visibility was very limited, there was no way to understand the position or size of hills. The problem was, that we had moved slightly south climbing up. When regrouping after the climb we started to look for the checkpoint or any reference, but couldn’t find any. We used the compasses bought for Reunion ARWC, but they turned out to be not suitable for equatorial area. Just tilting the compass a bit wrong made the needle turn 90 degrees. Soon after going in circles in a howling wind and rain it all started to get really confusing as you would expect from the second night of the race anyway even in easier situations. By altimeter we never went over 4300, so we assumed we couldn’t be where we actually were - on a wrong hill too south. Soon we came to a conclusion that we can’t get a fix on our location in these conditions and we found a rock outcrop for shelter from the wind. Into the bivys and bothy bag and a long shivering miserable sleep/wait for daylight… maybe a little bit hasty decision, but the weather conditions were really harsh. So when light broke - the fog didn’t care and we were still in blackout. We started to wonder on the hills, and even if it cleared up for a bit we still couldn’t get a sure fix. All the valleys and mountains could have been the one’s drawn on the map. There were no distinct features like trails or signs visible. The wind was still strong and now we also got some hail in the rain now and then. So at one point we thought that we had reached the correct spot, which was of course not the case, made a photo and started to make our way down a valley. What an amazing beautiful valley it was - obviously it had to be in the race! Checking the compass didn’t surprisingly tell us that we were in a wrong valley. What an anomaly! Everything looked fine - we were making good progress… (well it actually was a shorter valley) and soon came to an intersection of rivers. Checked by the wobbly compass - pretty ok! How could that be? So we were still looking at the map about 20km in the wrong place… As we reached the possible climbing cp hill it got more and more obvious, that the situation is not as on the map, but it felt so unrealistic that we could have entered a wrong valley as they were so far… but that was the case. When we climbed the hill we thought might have a climbing on the reality hit. We tried to ask for village, river or mountain names written on the map from a herdsman at his mud yurt, but he just smiled as the dogs barked at us. So went a bit down to a valley and found a family with whom we communicated to get a quite clear fix where we were. Reality was harsh! We now headed down the same valley we had trekked up on the day before. Out of food for long time and wondering what had actually happened we reached the town square of cp17 and a lady cooked us up a local meal of rice and chicken. Soon a car came to pick us up as everybody had been worried about us for a long time. We were actually fine - no acute threat, just some mind problems to figure out!

Coming to cp we took a rest in hotel before getting on the bikes at light and riding the last 150km to finish through amazing scenery that Ecuador offers. This race is a special one, not to be taken lightly!
Jun 13, 2019 5:53 PM # 
Thanks abiperk for the fwd. this certainly sheds light on challenges teams face.
Personally, one of my nightmare nav situations is high mountain nav in fog, day or night, more specifically dense fog (can't see s&*t).
I feel for them.
Jun 13, 2019 6:17 PM # 
Hola amigos y amigas! To shed a little light on MRC's long stay in the mountains, we had a similar issue to Estonia's of bad timing. We lost critical time earlier on the trek at 16 due to a classic case of "not far enough," which caused us to get to CP 19 just before dark the next day. The route out from 19 was very tricky in the dark and fog and we ended up sleeping and waiting for daylight also. The area was so mountainous and with maps that were 1:50,000 with 40m contours, it was really hard for us to discern what we were looking at. Absolutely stunning scenery though. :)
Jun 13, 2019 6:29 PM # 
Welcome back, rocky33! Congrats on crossing the line on what sounds like a hard-fought battle against the course and condition. Looking forward to reading to full report.
Jun 13, 2019 7:22 PM # 
Thanks for the update, Rocky33! Hope you're eating and napping today. Glad everyone is OK.
Jun 13, 2019 10:54 PM # 
bugeater: and sound! :-)
Jun 14, 2019 1:27 AM # 
Wow!!! Sounds unreal. Very tough!
Jun 14, 2019 2:22 PM # 
Jeez, sounds tough. Based off Silver's report from Estonia ACE, do compasses work less effectively around the equator? It's the first I've heard of that problem.
Jun 14, 2019 3:23 PM # 
They said they used the compass they got for ARWC Reunion but maybe it wasn’t a global compass. Ecuador and Reunion are in different compass zones.

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