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Discussion: 2022 GODZone

in: Adventure Racing; General

Sep 24, 2021 7:13 AM # 
GODZone released newsletter #1 for the 2022 event (4-12 March 2022). Registration will be in Wanaka (personally one of my favorite towns and an absolutely stunning region) which "has been selected because it is kinda convenient for the start location. But not really. Kinda convenient for the finish location. But not really. " As this year will be a Coast to Coast race (and much longer than NZ's one day 243k Coast to Coast multisport race), it will likely only go near the town (lake, rivers, and epic mountains all nearby) which is kinda in the middle of Central Otago, South Island NZ. The course has approximately 150km of trekking, 175km of paddling and 400km of biking (~725km) with likely a lot of elevation and awesome Class III rivers.

"It would be fair to say that it is a ‘toughie’..."
Oct 6, 2021 11:44 AM # 
Thanks for the information
Feb 7, 2022 8:11 PM # 
Getting excited for some dot-watching.
Feb 28, 2022 2:09 PM # 
710km of travel over 10 varied stages
+11,000m of ascent
218km of packrafting/trekking over 3 stages
379km of mountain biking over 4 stages (one with a quite unique twist)
38km of kayaking over 1 stage
75km of straight trekking over 2 stages
Expected winning time of 5+ days, with 9 days available to go home with a Full Course sticker
START LOCATION; Jackson Bay, West Coast
Feb 28, 2022 8:11 PM # 
What's a full course sticker? Literally a vinyl sticker to put on your paddle or gear box?

Thanks for the summary, Silky.
Mar 2, 2022 6:58 PM # 
From Craig Cook/AR Live Coverage:
While it is very hard to narrow the Top Ten down to 10 teams it’s not so hard to pick the top contenders. Avaya goes without saying and it’s always great to see them racing. Tiki Tour just on past performances are always going to be at the front and in the mix. Topsport who finished second last year are out to challenge the worlds best and with a personnel change of Sam Manson ( 5th at the latest Coast to Coast ) in for Ritchie McCaw you have to argue they’re probably faster physically but a question over who is their backup navigator.
I’ve chatted with a member of Ataraxia and he said they aim to do better than last year's 4th so expect them to stay in touch up front. Highland Events were racing in the top five last year before they were totally undone by the Whirinaki Rogaine and lost 15 placing but came back strong to still finish top ten. The Sneaky Weasels will always be in the Top 5 mix but it depends on what impact all of the new little weasels have had on their training. Two mystery teams are Motueka and Tiger who don’t have team members listed but they’re normally strong teams. I think Tim may have been recovering from an injury recently. Victory Vets have become a permanent fixture in the top ten.
There are a host of younger teams ( probably the most ever ) in the 20 - 35 age bracket but most are under 30. Further Faster Fledgling are a team that have been accumulating experience over the last few years and have a desire to see how far they can go. No Idea were the first four person team home at the Marokopa Munter and only 2 hours behind Stu Lynch and Kym Skerman. Otago Uni team with the Hornblow brothers Quinn and Blake have talent to burn. I don’t know much about Team Gear Shop but with Rachel Baker in the team I would expect them to be good. I personally will be watching Rolling in the Deep with Alice West who I shared a hut with about six months ago, along with Will Adlam team No Idea and Shaun Palmer Ataraxia, before they had their first look at the upper Tangarakau River.
Under the Radar - The Secret Billionaires - Alastair McDowell, Emily Wilson, Rhys John and Tom Hadley. Emily is a past winner ( Canterbury ) and very experienced. I know Tom and this young man probably has one of the best climbing resumes around for someone only 23ish ( looks 18 ). He spent 3 months last summer traversing the Southern Alps with three friends from Arthurs Pass to Fiordland via some of the most challenging terrain they could find with endless glaciers and rock. I think his postal address is Number 1 Southern Alps/Fiordland next door to the Kea’s. This team is stacked.
Then we have the youngest team to ever compete in an Expedition Race World Wide - Fear Youth - Zac Pearson, Molly Spark, Josiah Murphy, Dean Stewart. They will have a combined age of just 74 years on race day. I saw this team perform at the Taki Traverse in November and they have all of the skills required. I get the impression that they’re not just turning up to make up the numbers but want to make a good showing of their abilities. They’re coached and mentored by Andrew Magness who has been working with them for a number of years. I hope they run their own race and don’t get too caught up in the hype and I’m confident they’ll do very well.
Disclaimer - I wrote this about two weeks ago before the latest Omicron outbreak so I have no idea what teams have been affected by it.
At 710km and 11350m of elevation this will make GZ the "Worldstoughestrace” this year I’m guessing. Eco Challenge should just film GZ and it would save them creating a race and just implant their stories of interest. It could be done for a 10th of the cost.
GZ does a good job of Race Coverage so I’m sure they’ll look after you.
Mar 2, 2022 7:12 PM # 
Mar 3, 2022 1:02 AM # 
Just a little time adjustment note: NZT is currently 18 hours ahead of EST (or, if you prefer, 6 hours behind, but one day ahead). That should help the majority of folks who are regularly active on these discussions. It's 19 hours for CST folks (silkychrome, I believe), 20 hours for MST folks (me), and 21 hours for PST folks.
Mar 3, 2022 1:16 AM # 
Map distribution is in 15 minutes (2:30pm NZT)...........
Mar 3, 2022 8:55 AM # 

Course preview, hope we can get some look at the racemaps. Perhaps in the livetracking?
Mar 3, 2022 3:57 PM # 
RD Warren Bates says race "is Avaya's to lose"
Mar 3, 2022 3:57 PM # 
Yikes on the 155-km packrafting/trekking stage...
"Teams have to decide to either go up the Cascade or around the coastline heading towards the Pyke River and an ascent up Hidden Falls and on towards Park Pass in the Mt Aspiring National Park. They then descend the Dart River to Glenorchy."
Mar 3, 2022 4:00 PM # 

710km of travel over ten varied stages
+11,000m of ascent
218km of packrafting/trekking over three stages
379km of mountain biking over four stages (one with a unique twist)
38km of kayaking over 1 stage
75km of straight trekking over two stages
Expected winning time of 5+ days, with nine days available to go home with a Full Course sticker

643km of travel over 13 varied stages
+11,000m of ascent
74km of canoeing over four stages
402km of mountain biking over four stages (one with a pretty unique twist)
38km of kayaking over 1 stage
129km of straight trekking over four stages
Expected winning time of 5+ days, with 8.5 days available to go home with a Full Course sticker
START LOCATION; Milford Sound, Fiordland
Mar 3, 2022 4:14 PM # 
Gatens here. Rebranded the username to get the podcast gig up and running on AttackPoint. Looking forward to discussing GZ via this site.
Mar 3, 2022 7:09 PM # 
Anyone know what time the start is?
Mar 3, 2022 7:33 PM # 
Tracking here:
Mar 3, 2022 8:48 PM # 
JayXC: ~11am NZT. refer to my post not far above for time conversion beta. EDIT: tracking page has this about starting times:
Staggered starts, due to COVID, will be neutralized at TA3
Pursuit starts 9:30 and 9:45am
Pure starts 12:30-1pm
Mar 3, 2022 11:24 PM # 
Leg 3 looks awesome. So does Leg 5.
Mar 4, 2022 1:11 AM # 
Looks to be an awesome course!
Mar 4, 2022 6:26 AM # 
Leg 3 underway for many teams now. Of the lead 5, Highland Events (#23), has taken the alternative route, which sure looks to be a rough way to go, but time will tell. Love that the land is open for this section to be able to occur with no CPs, allowing for any route choice that a team could come up with.
Mar 4, 2022 7:06 AM # 
Just a guess, but I'm not a fan of going around, like 23, 54 have chosen. Seems to add signifcant distance, not sure that would be that much quicker to offset extra distance. Also with these monster foot sections, the feet will take a beating, so adding distance on the feet to an already big leg section, seems imprudent. I'm open to critique...
Mar 4, 2022 7:26 AM # 
Yeah, bugeater, their feet will get hammered over the course of this entire race. There's at least 200 kms of trekking, many of them with packrafting gear. Every step is likely to be precious. And to top it all off, the last stage is salt water coasteering where macerated or otherwise destroyed feet combined with salt water could make for a very painful finale.
Mar 4, 2022 11:50 AM # 
Could be worse, it could be on a road.
Mar 4, 2022 2:24 PM # 
right! lol
Mar 4, 2022 3:58 PM # 
Leg 5...CP12 to CP13...dreamy!!! or a nightmare, depending on how your feet are

I also think Leg 7 looks super interesting...look at it on satellite vs. the base file for race maps:
Mar 4, 2022 3:59 PM # 
Highland Events is giving it a good effort around the coast but it looks like Forne, et al are finding the ridgeline pretty easy to travel on. Avaya will likely descend down into the Pike River valley now while Highland has a sketchy, steep coast on the southern side of that point and then a potentially nasty swamp to trek through to get to the river. Team Kuhmo is trying to get through on the Cascade River route but is definitely losing time there. Its starting to get steeper and I wonder if its become more like boulder hopping at this point (A river named Cascade may have been a warning...).
Ridgeline looks like the winner so far.
Mar 4, 2022 4:02 PM # 
Thanks for the link Silky. Highlands will have a trail to work with through the swamp but they also have a bunch of cliffs on the point to get around unless the go over the top of it.
Mar 4, 2022 6:07 PM # 
To give you an idea of how miserable the Cascade Valley is iSport is going straight up the mountain to get out of it.
Mar 4, 2022 6:50 PM # 
I like iSport and HAGs ( and others) route choices. although its not perfect, going though the river Valley would be a solid choice, and keeping in mind much of this would be at night. Then when the valley starts to narrow, head up. the climb out would be tough but short lived I think(?), and get on the Ridgeline for some daytime travel. It would not surprise me if there is a track to follow on top as well.
I am a little surprised that not one team going around (the coast route) thus far, has not tried to come across to and up the Gorge River Valley to the Jerry R. then gone SSW to the Pyke R. Seems doable and would save some distance.
This versus going around the point like 5 Highland is currently on track for; maybe the appeal of trails is strong vs bushwacking.
Maybe there is something we don't see. Seems doable .
Mar 4, 2022 10:30 PM # 
I see a couple brave navigators cutting the corner; 54, 44. should be interesting to see how it works out - If they don't get cliffed out and able stay the course.
Mar 5, 2022 12:31 PM # 
Looks like Avaya have decided to take a nap a few hours past CP5. There’s a pack of 6 fighting for 2nd with most of them taking a nap in the hut at CP5.
Mar 5, 2022 11:34 PM # 
From Team Tiki Tour' Facebook: "We’ve had word that Tiki Tour have been through CP6 at around 11.20am, so they are still on track! Legends! Can’t wait to see them at TA3. They have to sit for 30min as they were in the first wave."

Avaya passed CP6 at roughly 7:35am. So, that's about a 3:45 gap to first for Tiki.
Mar 6, 2022 12:26 AM # 
Has anyone stumbled on the race maps or the race book/rules of travel? I'm quite curious to see hoe the CPs are described and about the amount detail teams have to help with locating them...thinking about recent issues with this at Panama and Sea-2-Sea.
Mar 6, 2022 6:15 AM # 
Looks like Avaya and possibly Tiki Tour (unclear where they are at the moment) are the only of the leading 10 teams who will be past the Dart River dark zone that hits at 8:30 pm (~1:15 from now). If Tiki isn't out of the river / into TA3 before then, Avaya is going to run away from everyone, allowing them to move through the remainder of the course with only self-maintenance and consistent pacing needed to get them to the finish line with another win. Truly remarkable team...can't fathom how they keep it going so well year after year after year.
Mar 6, 2022 6:30 AM # 
On the Pursuit course, Team Waterboy 102 is in second, but they have turned back from their traverse of the probably correct ridge system for this mountainous crossing. Can't really say why, but there have been reports of weather (wind already, heavy rain predicted) moving in, so maybe they are trying to get to shelter and / or off the tops before night falls?
Mar 6, 2022 6:55 AM # 
Scratch my earlier comment about the Dart River dark zoning some of the chasing Pure teams. Just listened to this interview ( with the RDs and there isn't a DZ for the Pure's on the Dart.
Mar 6, 2022 8:03 AM # 
So, Tiki Tour was where expected: a few hours back from Avaya. They have arrived at TA3 just on dusk at about 8:45pm. Avaya arrived there at about 5pm, making the lead still at roughly 3:45. Both teams started in the same wave, so their time neutralization here at TA3, if any, will be equal.
Mar 6, 2022 12:39 PM # 
This leg has been brutal. There’s been 4 heli evacs so far.
Mar 6, 2022 1:56 PM # 
Wow,... the field will be blown up after this leg!
Mar 6, 2022 3:41 PM # 
This looks like it's shaping up to be the most epic AR in a long while, maybe since ARWC Pantanal?
Mar 6, 2022 7:47 PM # 
Avaya now on Leg 5. What’s the best way to get from Lincoln Hut to Island Hut besides a helicopter? My guess is they’ll follow the ridgeline around east then south and then a little SW dropping them right onto the hut from that spur. No fighting with veg along that route at least. RD could be collecting teams for the next week in there.
Mar 6, 2022 8:44 PM # 
For those unfamiliar with the terrain, it completely changes across the course.

The West Coast of NZ is notorious for dense ranforesty terrain. No surprise that Leg 3 is absolutely punishing, and is the reason a bunch of teams opted to add on so much distance and go around the coast.

From here on out the terrain is generally very open. Tussock/grass and can be extremely fast for off trail trekking. From what I can tell the riding is all on decent 4wd trails and should be quite quick too.

The distances don't tell the full story, and I'm expecting less carnage in the second half (well, relatively speaking...)

As a side note: This many teams being within even a day of Avaya at this stage is absurd. NZ's depth of talent is wild, I can't wait to see Kiwis racing international teams sometime soon!
Mar 6, 2022 8:50 PM # 
Further interesting points I've noticed:

Avaya have used 2 different sets of packrafts so far. Appears to be a fast set (red) and a light set (yellow).

Seems to be split opinion through the field on wing paddle vs flat bladed. Fa'avae has been using flat bladed for the past few years. This year 3 of Avaya are flat bladed. Interesting splits in other teams too.
Mar 7, 2022 1:33 AM # 
Thanks for the insight Camma
Mar 7, 2022 2:20 AM # 
JayXC - This is tough, with not a lot of room for error. Avaya has stayed high, not sure if there is another solid viable route; other option I see is following windley valley south, towards upper windley hut, continue south and catch the eastward valley towards islands hut; That could be a tough undertaking with no obvious trails, denser slower thick vegetation etc, and could backfire badly.

Currently, I would defer to whatever ChrisF does!
Mar 7, 2022 3:16 AM # 
Yeah he made it look easy. From CP 12 there looks to be a trail heading East. Hop over the range to the East and there’s a trail network leading towards Sheppard Saddle. Once through the saddle you just follow the spur down. Easy to say from a keyboard…
Mar 7, 2022 3:24 AM # 
No Idea and Topsport are taking the straight line, climb heavy option. Will see if they overtake Tikitour with this choice. I suppose they could follow the Windley River valley around some of the climb. Speed will depend on what the veg looks like down there.
Mar 7, 2022 10:15 PM # 
Interesting choices being made; seems at this point most teams are choosing the ridgeline route.
Seems the straight at it approach isn't horrible (although climb heavy), the ridgeline appears more efficient overall.
Great leg.
Mar 8, 2022 3:23 AM # 
I don't know the No Idea team...anyone have any background on them? They're crushing it!
Mar 8, 2022 7:56 AM # 
Just a bunch of mates from around NZ. They mostly spend time just having fun, and will occasionally show up to a race
Mar 8, 2022 5:48 PM # 
@camma of course they are just some weekend warriors casually crushing it at GZ :) :) :)
Mar 9, 2022 12:53 PM # 
Crap, Tikitour has dropped out due to foot infections.
Mar 9, 2022 2:57 PM # 
Mar 9, 2022 3:37 PM # 
FearYouth has also become unranked after losing one of the team to foot trouble.
Mar 9, 2022 7:26 PM # 
was out riding last night with Avaya - there is a bit of suffering, Nathan has a bung eye, but generally doing it easy.
Mar 9, 2022 10:48 PM # 
Avaya is minutes from the finish line. Probably arriving at about 11:50-11:55am local time. Might (I don't really know) be a live stream of their finish on FB.

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