Who's going to follow along and join in on some chatter here?
The racing starts tomorrow Monday (May 9) at 6pm PT. It has been snowing and raining consistently over the past few weeks all over the course area. A last "minute" gear adjustment by the RDs included a requirement for teams to bring snowshoes and ice axes, maybe crampons(?). So, teams are in for a doozy of an experience!
Here is the link, and that's something that the busses aren't leaving until 9:30 PT and a race start that's after my bedtime EST ;). Here is the link for the race: https://expeditionoregon2022.maprogress.com/
And, read some coverage about sub freezing temps in whitewater. Getting cold just thinking about it!
Looks like Brent Freedland from Rootstock will be offering ongoing commentary. Can't wait to fire up watching dots.
That weather looks miserable. Never have I been so happy to NOT be doing a race! Excited to follow along though!
I think that Vidaraid and Bend are the clear 1-2, and my guess is that the weather will shrink the gap between them. Not sure if it will be enough for Vidaraid to not repeat though. I saw Jason mentioned in a video on Facebook that there is a chance that every team ends up skipping points.
I'm pretty certain that between EO and Endless Mountains in June that I can get 2 full seasons worth of stories for the podcast out of these races. Part of me is happy that I'm not there and part of me is bummed that I'm not there. The duality of AR! Here. We. Go.
Looking forward to following along! It's always more fun when friends are racing.
I’m enjoying the social media updates that have been posted so far. I hope they are able to keep it up. I want to see some whitewater packraft footage.
Dark Zone: It seems like some of the fast teams might get a good sleep before the paddle. The fast estimates (I’m not sure if they were adjusted for the weather) have them arriving well before the 630am paddle start. It might be difficult to sleep so close to race start. On the other hand, if some of the slower teams get lost at night, they might not make the 2pm cutoff to start the packraft.
GLewis, It would be super interesting to see the top teams skip points if they feel the course isn’t clearable.
From Bend on FB:
“We are trying something a little different this time around as with many races we find it very hard to follow. In an attempt to make the leaderboard make sense, we are doing the following point system:
TAs are worth 100 point
CPs are worth 25 points
Pro CPs are worth 10 points
and O Points/ Orienteer points are worth 5 points
In the first couple hours of the race, the leaderboard is likely to be incorrect. However, by the second leg, you should see that it starts to make sense.
For example, a team may potentially sprint to TA 1 getting 100 points and getting #1 on the leaderboard until the top teams who got all the points (180 total for leg 1) get to TA 1. Again, as the race goes on, the leaderboard will even out. But essentially, this race will be won on first points and then time.”
I don’t love this idea since we all know the difficulties of following AR as it is. I think it needlessly complicated things for the RD to keep everything straight and communicate that to viewers. But, Bend has never shied away from too much work so we’ll see how it goes.
I AM really looking forward to reading all of the commentary Bend has lined up!
The videos coming out of the night are so jarring - racers trekked through a full on snowstorm. I cannot overstate how happy I am to not be there.
It's really hard to tell what's happening at the front end of the race with the bunch being so tight and the trackers not all updating at the same time. My guess is that teams will most likely get to the paddle close to the end of the dark zone.
silky - I initially thought the same about the scoring system, but overnight my opinion has become a little more positive on it. It seems more simplified than the system that they had last year, which was still confusing teams after the race finished. Not as simple as the typical setup of labeling all of the points either optional or mandatory.
I wonder what RASPUTIN's opinion is on the scoring system ;)
I finished my last test today, so I can properly dot-watch the rest of the race. Interesting race start.
Some maps for the race were released online (just stage 2/3 thus far): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ATHO2O898GxFz382M...
Looking like we can finally get an idea of the leaderboard as teams leave the river and start stage 4, climbing on the bikes. I'm not an expert with this tracking, but I think this is right.
2. Bend +45 mins back
3. Peak Pursuit + 30 mins
4. Eastwind + 30 mins
Much tighter than I would have expected, but if the weather keeps calm I'd expect Vidaraid to start putting more time into the chasers, especially on the next 2 stages.
More teams keep popping up in TA, but one to note who is nowhere close is Rootstock. They are only about halfway through the paddle, about 3.5 hours out of TA, and look to be on the trail about the river. Hope everyone is alright and that they have some stories to tell.
Hmmm. Looks like Vidaraid just missed a turn on the tops just beyond the 100 mile marker on the expected route. Perhaps snow-obscured? Twilight-obscured? Both?
Seems to be a planned route deviation? Bend and Eastwind are now following Vidaraid down the same road. All top 3 teams look to be w/in a ~3km of each other now.
Looking at the race maps vs the tracking site. Suggested route on tracking site has teams bikewhacking down to the river. Looks like the fast teams are trying to take FR530 down towards Twin Lakes instead.
Thanks for the race maps! Couple of updates from the various FB posts. First this vid (if you haven't seen it) gives an idea of the conditions: https://fb.watch/cXkWHbBXyb/
Second, worth noting here that Rootstock and CP0 left their trackers in their paddle bags. Ooof....
Wow - super slow moving overnight - can't really tell if anyone slept. Bend, Vidaraid, and Eastwind are on top of each other, with Peak Pursuit (and presumably CP0) right behind them. It looks like they have to bikewhack down towards CP9. This is wild - Maybe Jason was right and no one clears the course? Anyone know when the course closes or when other cutoffs exist?
Looooong day on the bike here. Vidaraid has been at it for almost 20 hours and has loads left to do, riding with Bend. They seem to be on a road that is rideable. Looks like they can take roads back to the recommended route around mile 119 on the tracker and then work backwards. The slow estimate was 24 hrs, so they will be way over that. The other teams will have a little less work with more daylight and pre-broken trail on the snow covered roads and trails, but this is more suffery than expected.
Yeah this stage is looking brutal. I'm fascinated that no one so far seems to be taking the RD-expected route. They are staying high and - I assume - are encountering snow which is slowing their progress. I'm so curious why the higher route is looking like the clear choice vs. the route along the river. Maybe the packraft was so traumatic they never want to see that river again??!? Anyone think they are skipping CP 8? Is it mandatory?
kateness - I know that the suggested route involved a bikewhack, so maybe they never even considered it?
The trackers seem to have all gone dead in a similar area where the teams turn north. Maybe things are improving and they are traveling more quickly?? That said, I can't remember actively tracking a race like this where the course is DESTROYING the top teams. By my estimation, Vidaraid is the fastest team in the world. They have traveled ~25 miles in 14 hours. I'm amazed that no one thought to get back down to the river, which was rough but at least a known route.
And just like that, Vidaraid has popped up at CP8. The speed must improve drastically once they turn north. They will most likely finish the leg in just under 24 hours.
Damn! CP0 has pulled the plug! I was really rooting for them to keep the pressure on...and catch up with their tracker. Sure hope to hear more about the epic snowmageddon hike-a-bike leg from them after they get their wits back.
Sounds like CP0 took the good route down from 7 too! Lots of words left unsaid in Peter's video, but I think it's connected to the video from Darren saying that teams came in complaining about the course.
Sounds like Vidaraid was grumpy about breaking trail thru the snow for the chase teams. I'm bummed that CP0 is out, too!
The dynamics on this leg were fascinating. I thought Jason's attempt at "explaining team strategy in front of a video board a la Bear Grylls" was good info. I wonder why that high/snowy route was so appealing, esp since RD didn't expect it.
Makes me wonder too, did chase teams plan to follow the "recommended" route but saw Vidaraid's tracks going high and that influenced them? Would Vidaraid be as grumpy about breaking trail if no one actually followed them? If you punch a CP in the woods but no one is around to hear it, did you really punch?
I'm also not trying to poke fun at Vidaraid's emotional state right now. They've done loads of work in very very tough conditions. I would likely be a mess.
Re: Darren's video. So interesting! I'm not sure I've ever seen an RD video with the tone of "hey, if you don't like the course, make better route choices and keep your emotions under control". It's a good point though.
Side note.. ALSO so interesting coming from Bend whom I've seen absolutely lose it at a TA when their bins didn't show up on time. But that was several years ago. They're matured :)
Interesting to see Lattanzi and MRC choose an alternate route off the tops to bushwhack (I presume) to get to a different two track road that heads "straight" (via a winding route) to CP8. Once they reached the road, their pace picked up and now they seem destined to proceed much more efficiently. I still don't expect they will finish this bike leg by the 6pm cutoff however. On that note, I wonder what the penalty or consequence or whatever will be for teams that arrive after 6pm...shuttle forward to TA5 perhaps?
Seems like Team Derecho might just make it to TA4 by the 6pm cutoff with moments to spare and by skipping CP8. Nobody else appears to have the opportunity to get there in time.
Word on the street is that MRC is still full course despite missing the cutoff by more than an hour. This race is confusing.
I'm guessing that they extended the cutoff because the pointy end of the race was not so far along that the race logistics were strung out across the whole region. Now, OUtah and ADAstra will most certainly be beyond the new cutoff when they finally arrive at TA4. Speaking of them, it seems that OUtah has awoken and is making their move now.
Good point Conman - hadn't considered that. Still, I don't like the idea of an RD changing a cutoff that may have already effected one team or another in their decision making.
It seems like those top teams are all about to be in TA together, most likely snoozing away. Based on a facebook post quoting Alex P., it sounds like the racers are fully wrecked. That said, I wonder if any teams push onto the trek with the hopes of maybe getting most of it done in the daylight? The estimates have been so bad though, I can't be sure that it'll be any faster than the others.
OUtah and AD Astra have located the fire road! Woohoo! They must be relieved. I presume they are now moving down to TA4. They might as well collect the flag at CP8 when they go by, eh?
Why are Fragile Flowers coming down off the West side of Mount Bailey, retracing the same route they took up? Hmm?
Might have had more stable ground to go around? I mean, I get where you are coming from, but it seems weird. I don't know why Vidaraid is W of Cinnamon when their tracker shows they got it. The path is weird too!
From what I could tell from facebook, the summit was a near-blizzard level storm coming in from the east, so they descended to safety westward. Looks like MRC finally summitted and are now deciding what to do from there.
I saw that the Brazilians got lost, disoriented, and then dangerously separated on their eastward descent.
Bend has a dangerous cast of frostbite, which is surprising only because they seem to have sent their best possible lineup of winter sports athletes. Sounds like the conditions are that dangerous though.
Seems like Eastwind and BC Wild are near each other a little ways back from the leaders.
Oof, near CP19(?) Bend radioed for assistance. It’s on the Bend facebook page.
Interesting question —-sometimes there situations where an athlete might have a video interview and share current medical or other privacy protected information, but I am curious if there are ARWS standards about sharing the information—I wonder if it’s part of the waiver process?
Wow - hope Lars is alright. I did find it interesting that they were filming the entire process W4J.
Are we sure that Vidaraid got 19? Sounds like a silly question but this race is so crazy and conditions so out of control that it's not absurd to ask.
Depending on where they actually are right now, they could be at TA in the next hour. Eastwind is most likely still behind them, and I imagine that BC Wild is close as well. Has there ever been a race like this that anyone can remember?
Looks like Vidaraid's tracker woke up...and Eastwind has passed them and is on the way to 21 and the TA. It looks like they walked right passed a (hopefully) sleeping Vidaraid. What a remarkable slow and steady effort from them. They have way more sleep than the rest of the teams and have been racing smart from the beginning.
More talking to myself here...but I think the race cutoff is starting to loom heavy over the teams out there. The course closes in 30 hours, and the fast estimates (which have been unrealistic thus far) total 22 hours. Vidaraid and Eastwind are still not at the TA, so they will probably be leaving themselves with <27 hours for those two legs. Wow - this is fun to watch!
Glen/W4J - I had the same gut reaction to the video of Lars - “should this really be posted?” If it was myself in Lars’ shoes, I think I would want to see the video of myself later. I’m not sure how I would feel about it being published to Social Media. I don’t have a lot of experience w hypothermia so not sure how serious his condition is. The medics don’t seem that freaked out but maybe they’re trying to put a good face on? ALA does being filmed/published affect the med teams’ decision making?
The good news is that Lars (per a FB post from a few minutes ago) is somewhat cognizant and OK. The video has created an opportunity for me to look for sources about the overall media ethics and expectations that surround sporting and news events. As an amateur media person who talks with folks about AR for fun and (no) profit, I want to make sure that I'm aware of the guardrails in place to appropriately respect and protect subjects. To be clear, I'm not saying that Bend didn't do that here, but the conversation around it opens up the window to discuss it.
In other news, this is a batsh!t crazy race that continues to again and again amaze me. Well done to everyone out there. And Glen - I'd drag you out there with me in a heartbeat. ;)
Agreed! As a former reporter/journalist I have resources on hard news ethics and marketing ethics.
And, OMG! East Wind has taken over the west!
I just now realized that tomorrow is NOT the 15th, and that they have 2 days left. I see why you all let me keep talking to myself now...
And Brian - I'm not going anywhere near snow again after watching this race.
Is this last bike leg snowy too? Vidaraid has moved 17 miles in 2 hours...
I guess we'll know when a well-rest East Wind starts moving.
My gut says that these top teams might need more sleep, but Vidaraid might push more.
It is not snowy. They may have mechanicals or perhaps they are stopping for sleep or for snacks at local shops?
Now that I scan the region though, I don't see any places of value to stop for snacks along where they've been so far unless they've waved down an ice cream truck or something.
East Wind is now biking, >2hrs behind Vidaraid. Looks like they are on roads, so the moving should be good. I think they should see each other at the O-course.
Sounds like Roostock wants to paddle in the daylight tomorrow - If they get on the bikes now they can get some sleep before then!!
Is the back half expected to be that much faster?
And, Bend and Mannys are out.
The trackers sucked overnight - lots of huge gaps for Vidaraid and East Wind. The top 4 remains the same. I don't see BC Wild being caught or catching up to East Wind. If Vidaraid can stay coherent then they might be able to hang on, but I get the sense that the gap from 1st to 2nd is shrinking.
Craig Cook estimates that East Wind took ANOTHER long TA - 3.5 hours. It almost feels like they're overdoing the sleep at this point, especially with the finish line so close.
Also, was there ever official confirmation about that 6PM cutoff that MRC missed a few days ago? If it was genuine and known to all the teams, it seems super fishy to allow them to continue on the full course without losing points.
Just looked at the tracking on the last segment of the last trek and see first position Vidaraid's tracker directly under the highway where the road is marked as forbidden to cross and the route is marked with the approved crossing point about 1km to the North. Second position East Wind is maybe 1 hour behind them. This opens a can of worms...glad there's a referee at the race. I wouldn't want that job. Thank you, Adrian Crane!
In other news, it appears the MRC has finally pulled the plug on clearing the course. They seem to have skipped 3, maybe 4, of the climbing O' course controls. That's very few ranking points in the end (they are only 5 points each), so not that much of a loss in the grand scheme.
Okay, now East Wind has also used the same highway crossing, so I presume there are new instructions about using this crossing that the boat pickup at CP39. That works and at least ensures fairness.
Hiccups like this close to the end of a race are so messy when they introduce something that forces adjudication either at the end or via point or time penalties.
I wonder if MRC was concerned about the time that the o-course and those bike points would take. While they still had potential for a full set of points, I imagine that coming in late to the finish would have negated quite a few of them. Better to drop some worth 5 and 25 now to get to the last 2 legs.
Vidaraid is off on the paddle! East Wind is only 90 minutes behind, but I don't see how they can make that up on the paddle without an error from Vidaraid.
East Wind has finally gotten themselves onto the paddle as well. They started ~80 minutes behind Vidaraid. They cut a few minutes into the lead but probably needed a lightning fast TA to have any hope of catching up. With a gap of 6 miles it would take a miracle/disaster to see the lead change hands again.
Vidaraid held on! What a great victory - they earned this much more than most. East Wind will be in shortly for a well-deserved 2nd place.
Last thought for the night - this scoring system!
I was not a big fan at first, as it seemed to make Bend's confusing system even more convoluted. But...I've grown to appreciate it over the last week. It can be tough to track placements when the tracker isn't accurate, but I really like the idea of giving teams who've missed stages still have the chance to move up the rankings and make every CP matter. I'd be interested to hear what the rest of you think of it, and if we think that it makes an appearance at any other races.
Seems BC Wild/Expedition Canada is having some sort of trouble in the middle of the final paddle and slowed down enough to now almost be caught by Peak Pursuit at the very last CP (#42). Looking forward to hearing what's going on down there and hope everyone is okay.
I wonder what happened there! Peak Pursuit was able to catch and pass. There are so many stories that I can't wait to hear from this race.
Unfortunately, it looks like MRC has gotten themselves into a major spot of bother. They are way off-course, and walking in the wrong direction! They need to get their heads right, but the only have 8 hours until the course closes! They need a power nap!!!!
If my quick math is correct, they can still beat Rootstock by getting 3 more CPs.
NorCal, if their score is correct, is probably stuck in 7th place, with Tag in 8th, unless MRC needs to get picked up off the course.
Re: Stories - I'm prepped to get a few more TB's of storage for the sheer tonage that will come out of this race.
And MRC...oh dear.
Everyone needs to grab MRC, Bend Racing, Black Mamba, Rage Racing, Fragile Flowers, and every other frustrated team who had to pull the plug early; jump in every vehicle available and caravan over to the beers and bb's site so that those teams can work out their frustrations with everyone else around to cheer them on! Bring camp chairs, loud music and lots of beer!
That's a wrap! Every team is off the course and across the finish line. Some were a bit behind schedule, but whatev's...the course was really f'in hard and they deserved time to rejoice (or wallow?) in their misery and earn every penny of their entry fee or minute of their time off from work.
There's a puzzle to sort through to figure out final scoring and ranking positions for all the teams that didn't clear the entire course, i.e. those below 4th place. I'm sure along with recovery snoozes, social time, closing ceremony planning and gross overeating, there's vigorous debate between the RD, Asst RD, and Head Referee about how to adjudicate several subtleties to keep everything about the ranking fair since these scores don't just matter for this race but also impact points earned at the ARWS level. I'm sure they'll get it sorted.
I hope they live steam the closing ceremony so that those of us who've been closely involved from afar can participate from afar.
Bend posted the results: https://www.americastoughestrace.com/_files/ugd/ad...
I didn't follow NorCal closely, but I'm confused how they are so far below Rootstock when the assumption was that they were bunched together for the back end of the race.
Also, how did MRC finish unranked?? Maybe if Shane or Mark stumble over to AP they can shine some light on the race directors decision making in regards to their score and placement.
I know I've been quiet on this thread, life's been busy. But this race felt like it lasted a month.
The brain is still a bit fuzzy, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’ll hop on my computer in a bit to clarify what I can.
That was certainly an ADVENTURE race. One of the more amazing AR experiences I’ve ever had.
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