The Adventure Race World Championship 2015 is an event on Brazil's extreme west on the border with Bolivia in a unique region of amazing natural beauty and biological diversity. The Pantanal – more precisely Serra do Amolar – has varied landscapes uniting vegetation from the Amazon, Mata Atlântica, Cerrado and Bosque Chiquitano, also housing hundred of animal species.
This will be an adventure race in the truest sense of the word!
The Pantanal, located in the Brazilian Midwest, is the largest wetland continental area in the world. There are approximately 210,000 km2 spread over three countries in South America: Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. Most of this plains (approximately 140,000 km2) lie in Brazil.
Due to its geological profile that provides a water pulse, the Pantanal has two distinct seasons annually: dry season and wet season. It is considered to have one of the richest biodiversity in the world. This ecosystem has the highest density of wildlife in the Americas, being compared with the African savannas.
The team is now in São Paulo. 14 hours of flying done; one 2-hour flight, a 1/2 day bus ride, and a 12 hour ferry left. Here is a short video on how to pack a bike box and squeeze in 50 lbs of other gear in 30 secs...
Consistent with what we see on Wilberto's map, here is info from the RD's final course test:
We got lucky on the race section that I was most worried about – the second Pack rafting leg – as it is much drier; so what could have been 50 km on small boats might be 25 km of trekking and 25 km paddling. Might be, as some heavy rain can flood everything once again and in 3 weeks of drought the water level can lower many meters.
The second part of the race, where it was supposed to be the ‘dry part’, will have a very wet stage… This news will make the race even more exciting, as I’ve cancelled a CP and teams will have plenty of path options. During the technical briefing I’ll show you 3 of those options and it will be up to each team to choose the best one to follow.
Here's an idea of the infrastructure. Evacuation of sick/injured racers sounds challenging:
The region we will be passing through is extremely poor. 70% of the race will be around an area populated by native riverside population without electricity, communication of any kind and in extreme living conditions. There are no roads to these communities. The only access is via air or rivers. And even that is very
complicated. They live from what they can fish or plant.
The race will have only one cut off time, close to the end of the course.
The idea is to have the largest number of teams completing the full course. But that doesn’t mean that all Transition Areas will be open until the last teams have made it through. TA’s will have closing time that will be specified at the race book and teams must pay attention to it.
There will be no mandatory stops at any time of the race nor there will be dark zones.
- One trekking pole per person is mandatory on the flooded regions of the course. This equipment is necessary in order to try to avoid any athletes from stepping on the stingrays. There are plenty of stingrays on these areas and they don‟t attack. They sting only when in distress, meaning when stepped upon. The native cattle herders have the habit of using a spear to poke the ground taking the stingrays out of the way to prevent the cattle from being stung; the trekking pole should be used in the same manner.
I'll be on here supporting South Africa's Merrell Adventure Addicts. They consider paddling to be one of their strengths so I'm looking forward to seeing how they fare against the likes of Seagate, who might consider the same!
Last update for now. Wow, this is an interesting place!
Wildlife Notes from Newsletters:
With some animals the encounters will be frequent, like with capybaras, alligators, tuiuiús, monkeys and macaws. But the jaguars, tapirs and otters will only be seen by a few lucky ones.
1) Bees - We can say that this is our biggest concern... There are several types of bees, non-aggressive and very aggressive. Aggressive behavior of Africanized bees has, as a source, noise or very close drive from the hive. Sound of children playing, outboard motor, chain saw, dark colors, mammals‟ odors - including human sweat [yikes!!], rough texture and sudden movements, are examples of what can trigger the attack...
It was strongly advised by bee specialists that the best way of protection against a hive attack is to have a garbage plastic bag of 100 liters at hand. One bag per athlete! In case of an attack, it is recommended to bag yourself and stay quiet. Don’t try to fight them.
2) Piranhas - For them, the danger arises when the water level is low, the prey is scarce or river bathing disrupts their spawning. Basically, only when the fish feel really threatened or very hungry, they become more aggressive. In the Pantanal, this situation of extreme food shortages are rare but can happen in the dry season, when some becomes trapped in small wells and the food just before the flood. To protect yourself, pay attention to small wells and creeks if our November drought is very dry.
As we’ve said on the first info pack, they don’t attack! But they do like blood! My advice here is to make a good wound dressing. In case you have a big bruise, open, bleeding wound and has to go into the water, either to cross a corixo, a river or even paddle, you must take care of the injury and make a nice dressing. I suggest you that have a good waterproof tape (sports tape), waterproof band-aids and gauze. Do not pack light on this item...
3) Ariranha - Also known as Giant Otter... In Brazil, we find these animals
in large quantities in the Mato Grosso Pantanal region and in the Amazon River basin. The ariranhas are very noisy, so our advice is to leave the water when possible (where they are faster) and always head to the opposite direction of their noise.
4) Catetos - Peccaries - These are wild pigs with a narrow snout and mobile head. Their coat is a dark brown, almost black, flecked with white. They inhabit forests and can be viewed during the day, especially in the late afternoon. They cross rivers and lakes, even though they are not that good swimmers, they do swim. They are also able to cross vines and bamboo groves with great ease.
There is no standard procedure, but based on the morphology of the animals, they do not have great skills to jump, climb trees or swim. So these are the safest places to protect yourself. But before that, they are very noisy and are easy to detect at a certain distance, then it is relatively easy to avoid an encounter taking a detour off the course where they are, or even stand still watching they pass through.
5) Pantanal Alligator: As its name implies, it is a species frequently found in the Pantanal, measuring 2-3 meters at their adult stage and has the nickname of piranha-alligator, to have very sharp teeth. They live in rivers, bays or lagoons, always looking for water...
Despite the appearance somewhat scary, Pantanal Alligators are not aggressive and females turn out to be protective mothers. To make the nest, they look for hard to reach places, near wasp nests or between branches. They dig a hole in the ground and use sticks, leaves and sand to cover it. Another interesting aspect is that the nests are reused from one year to the next. So stay tuned if you are, do not destroy an abandoned nest of alligators!
Alligators are smiling friends and are afraid of us. They only bite when attacked. So even more attention! Do not step on the heads of alligators. [A good rule to live by!!]
6) Stingrays: The most dangerous animal of the Pantanal is hidden in the sand and attacks (more defense than attack) usually in the shallows - the freshwater stingrays. Of ten Pantanal fishermen, two have been stung by stings rays. The wound may take months to heal.
The locals say to enter the rivers in the Pantanal, ideally using a stick, stirring the bottom of the river because they have a hidden stingray, it scares and leaves, or walk dragging your feet, so that the movement chases away the stingrays. Although the stingrays are not aggressive, it is common that they defend themselves against the "stomps" of fishermen, locals and distracted bathers, lashing with its tail against the hurt.
The stingray sting is in a dangerous toxin and when the person is stung usually in the ankle, will feel a very sharp pain that may be followed by vomiting and increased heart rate. The first step after a stingray attack must be submerge in hot water, as the fish poison has thermo labile characteristics - the heat can degenerate the poison and lessen the pain, although it is unable to prevent necrosis. The victim should then seek medical attention for xray the affected part and receive medication with antibiotics. Until today it was not developed a serum for the sting of stingrays. The production is not justified by the small number of reported accidents (though not know the real scale of the problem) and the fact poison not be lethal, such as some snakes.
Therefore, stingrays only attack to defend itself, but as you will be walking in various regions flooded, creeks and ponds, on a trekking in particular, the use of trekking pole is required, all athletes must have and use while walking anywhere waterlogged. They should be used to poke the ground before stepping forward, so they can get out of the way. Have to be very careful as several sighted in course survey. They are camouflaged in the sand and even in the shallows is difficult to see them.
7) Jaguar - the largest feline in the Americas, reaching 135 kg. It is a robust
animal with great muscular force, and the power of its bite considered to be the greatest among felines throughout the world. Their natural prey are wild animals like peccaries, capybaras, alligators, deer and armadillos....
In Brazil, after the Amazon, the Pantanal is the largest continuous refuge for
jaguars and their prey... We've done several survey trips and the first one was lucky enough to see one jaguar.
Jaguars don't attack. The risk of a jaguar attack exists only when it is with a cub or carrion. Or when the man is after her, usually in order to hunt / kill. There are thousands of people living in the region, farms, ranches, river banks and coexist
with the big animal. The cases of attacks are very few and are always related to hunting or baiting (the habit of giving food to the animal in the same place in order to attract the predator so that it is often seen by tourists)...
But these rural residents return to their homes, shacks, or camp overnight. Although all researchers assert that the jaguar can pass within a meter of us sleeping, smell us because of it is curious and go away, we do not even want a sniff, do we? Spending the night in a house is not feasible for athletes, so I have been researching all the "rules" and security measures so that they can sleep in the bushes smoothly.
Among the research with Pantanal farmers, riverside locals, biologists, researchers and internet, we‟ve come to a good solution. The White waterproof strobes!
Flashing lights have been used in several rural areas to scare jaguars of livestock attacks. What convinced me was the story of a boy, Richard Turere from Kenya who lives next to the Nairobi National Park and was even on a panel at TED talks.
He created a system of flashing lights to protect the livestock of his family of lions, too numerous for being there next to the National Park.
Therefore, the white strobe, with the specifications listed in the mandatory equipment list will be mandatory at all times and in all disciplines. When going to sleep, you should leave connected at least two strobes, blinking at different times, with a distance between the two. Have enough batteries for the whole race.
In case of an inland meeting, stay together in order to appear bigger, don't turn your back on the jaguar and leave slowly avoiding sudden movements.
The wildlife is so rich that the race newsletters don't even mention snakes - but hey, it's Brazil. Maybe they are less active at this time of year? From another source on the Pantanal:
Among reptiles, there are more than 30 species of snake. The yellow-anaconda Eunectes notaeus is very common on the plains and is small in size compared to the other species, the green anaconda E. murinus that lives at the edge of the Pantanal and may reach 5 m in size, some observations reporting a size of 6-8 m...
There are four species of poisonous snakes in the Pantanal: the Brazilian-lancehead Bothrops moojeni, the Neuwid'lancehead B. neuwiedi, the neotropical-rattlesnake Crotalus durissus and the Pantanal-coral-snake Micrurus tricolor.
After reading all that, I'm sure Bean is pretty happy to miss this race. Jaguars and Pigs and Rays, oh my! That flashing strobe...the teams might know where close competitors are at night in less-dense areas. I wonder if they will push more in the night to avoid turning on the strobe.
Sounds awfully wet to me - it's giving me flashbacks of the 30 hours we spent padding around the Mangroves de Sierpe in CR 2013!
I see that the live tracking is being provided by Delorme - is this the platform where you can overlay the race maps on top of the satellite images? Hope so, as this made following Raid Gallaecia much clearer - it's much easier to see why teams make the decisions that they do when you have access to the maps that they can see. Which sound like they are going to be truly awful, by the way... 1:100k with 50m contours. Tricky to navigate in an ever changing swamp with that level of detail.
Are Breathemag / LosDobos doing a live commentary this year?
Top 5 Predictions: (has anyone seen a definitive team list?): With Thule sitting this one out, it's hard to look past Seagate for the win this year as so much of the race is on water and they are probably the strongest paddling team in the world at the moment. However, other picks for top 5 have to include world ranked #1 Columbia Vidaraid, and US-based Tecnu seem to be getting stronger every year. SA-based Merrill had a strong race in Australia and look to have been training hard. The heat may suit them...
Rounding out the top 5 could be any one of the following: AdidasTerrex (now known as Godzone) have vast experience and are usually well up in the front pack of teams, but this year are without super-navigator and tactician Tom Gibbs (still recovering from a horrendous knee injury) and I don't think they've done much packrafting before! We'll be cheering them on from the UK regardless.
Local boys QuasarLontra have the home turf advantage - if they have a good race they could surprise the usual challengers.
Haglofs/Silva - the Scandis beat Seagate in a straight fight in Spain earlier this year. If they can avoid the curse that seems to haunt them at the Worlds (last 2 years have resulted in 2 consecutive DNFs with broken arms) they should be in with a good chance.
Race starts Saturday morning. Let the dot-watching commence!
I am also kind of happy not to be there. It sounds like there will be very little coverage from the course. It looks like the best bet will be the ARWS twitter feed.https://twitter.com/ARWorldSeries They will be using satellite phone. My long shot for top 5. Yogaslackers. They love their packrafts.
Thanks, Randy! I've added that link to the first post in this thread, where I'm collecting relevant links in one place. Let's hope the tracking is good! I don't think Breathe Mag is formally involved so maybe Los Dobos will join us here.
With only the information of distances and sequences disciplines - the maps will be delivered only on the boat going to the start line - athletes need to imagine your pace between transitions to know how much food to carry.
At this moment the experience of teams make much difference, who know better their average pace in each discipline and can add extra time to stop and navigational errors.
Talking about the race for Urtzi Iglesias, captain of the Columbia Oncosec, the race is still unknown. "We know it will be very hot and the team that will be able to eat - in the heat is very difficult - and hydrate well, have a good chance to be in front."
He thinks there will be other important factors, among them a lot of navigation. And about the wildlife, "We don't know what we will find. It also does not let us run like in other races."
I will be out on the course filming for a Japanese documentary. We have a crew of 8 (including 4 "runners" actually following the teams on full sections) who will be following the top team(s) and Eastwind (the Japanese team). If I can get e-mail access (unlikely though), I'll hop on and try and give an update. As of now, I'll be following the lead team(s) on the first 2 trekking sections and then we'll be adjusting things on the fly from there... It's been quite the challenge to pack as I'll need to be as quick as the top team while carrying all the mandatory gear as well as a satellite phone, GPS, Yellowbrick, 2 cameras, and extra batteries for everything. But there's a very big incentive to keep up, since the alternative is to find myself alone in the middle of the Pantenal ;-) I will, however get many more opportunities for rest. The heat here has been absolutely stifling the last couple days, and will surely cause some havoc for teams if it continues...
Thanks for the update, Relentless. Are you also carrying a trekking pole for the stingrays and a big plastic bag for the killer bees? These will be interesting treks! I hope there will be some way to see your documentary some day.
Maps are being given out on the boats on the 12 hour journey to the start.
That should keep the teams interested during the journey - and stop the navigators from getting too much sleep....
Interesting that all of the teams have had to do all their logistics and food planning based on distances alone, without the benefit of having estimated stage times provided by the organisers. That could prove problematic if speed over the ground differs significantly from their estimates - there's nowhere to stock up on food in the middle of the swamp. Maybe that's what the machete is for - fresh alligator steak, anyone?
I'll be on here and FB most likely. Craig from ARWS asked us to do our live thing, but the race organisation never got back to Joel about it, so it was decided not to try to throw something together last minute.
This course is scary. I know of at least one very experienced world class racer who is legendary for his toughness who pulled out as course information became available. My first wish for this race is that everyone make it through the experience safely.
I want to stop the rumors I am the world class racer who pulled out. One, I am not a racer and B I'm not world class (that might be a lie). I will say I am not unhappy I am not there. It will be frustrating not to post any images from the course. I am also wondering if those covering the race will see anyone. I do suspect I will have some good episodes of the podcast after the race.
I got a copy of the race booklet, which basically says 2 things - stay close together so the jaguars don't eat you and absolutely don't try to sleep in any of the paddling sections unless you can find a house
Btw every time someone mentions an information source here, I've been updating the first post in this discussion. So if you go up to the very top, you'll find a bunch of links guaranteed to distract you from whatever you're supposed to be doing!
I'm not sure how valuable the live coverage site by Area Raider will be. At the moment it seems mighty jumbled. The only bits that seem useful are the AdvFeel feed (also visible on FB) and the weather.
Love the flags for the teams on the tracking map. What's the current rule re: team composition for ARWC? Previously they spoke of requiring all 4 members to be from the same country, and they were going to phase toward this by now?....
Does anyone know if the tracker locations are all uploading at the same time (synchronized trackers), or does each tracker upload at its own time and you have to do some breadcrumb math in order to make close comparisons?
You can see teams' history by going to the tracking page. Click on the Teams sidebar for it to pop out and then select which team(s) you'd like to track. You can then use the timeline bar at the top to scan through the teams' progress. The trackers appear to be updating every 10-30 minutes.
I just saw that he fantasy rankings first tally comes 2 days from now. I thought it was tomorrow. It's gonna be so tight for the next 2-3 days amongst those top 10 (2,3-11,12) I may have switched one or two had I realized :-(
I wish we could see each others pix once the deadline passed, but I guess people can still make strategic changes on the fly if the 10 point penalty is justified.
Can't wait to kick Phatty's a$$.. assuming he got his pix in :-)
Anyone have the ear of the tracking software geeks? Maybe ask them to turn on the breadcrumbs feature? The tracks show inflections where teams' positions were recorded...just need to add the time at each inflection. Can't be that hard, eh?
Is Mountain Designs headed straight to TA 5? Every time their tracker refreshes, I'm hoping they turn back but they just keep going off further in the wrong direction. Any chance they can cut across that swampy-looking stuff or will it be quicker for them to paddle all the way back?
As an update, it looks like Mountain Designs has gone unranked due to a sick teammate: https://www.facebook.com/ARWSBrasil/photos/a.14368... Also, for a while it looked like Tecnu was taking a very long transition but their tracker just updated with them in third place on the packraft, closing in on CP3. According to race information, there's a road all the way to CP3 and then a trail to CP4. After that, "The vegetation is similar to a savannah, and easily crossed."
From the race booklet, the section between CP2 and CP3 is where teams enter the region renowned for having the largest concentration of jaguars in the world. The last teammate in line is supposed to wear a flashing white strobe on his or her back at night. That would typically be me although I can imagine myself pushing hard to be 3rd on this trek!
loving this race so far!! Looks like Tecnu and Silva have made some great choices, but hard to be certain without a breadcrumb.
love that there are loads of teams that appear to be all moving at relatively the same pace due to terrain/choices
Looks like whoever manages fuel/hydration/health and sleep the best over these next 2-3 days will have a huge advantage over teams that just focus on speed.
Huge advantage to experienced teams vs some of the awesome fit/fast but less experienced teams IMHO
Time for the night shift to take over! Currently, it looks like Seagate is in the lead (with tracker not updated yet), Haglofs Silva and Tecnu tied for 2nd, and Columbia in 4th as the lead teams approach CP5/TA2, the transition from trek to pack raft/trek.
From my lastest view/guess looks like Seagate and Silva took exact route... possibly one following the other?!?! (or together.. times stamps mismatch) and tecnu caught up with them at PC 5 and is either with or ahead of both Silva and Seagate!!
So many teams racing hard and soo close that it's hard to be certain with 30 min gaps... but lots of teams in the hunt still!!
Tecnu taking the longer way around to the channel while Silva look to be portaging over a shortcut. Perhaps short enough not to have to deflate/inflate rafts again? Will be interesting to see what Columbia does..
Looks like about 10-11 teams in the podium hunt at this point. Likely that will split soon into a lead and chase pack. My guess is the split will happen after Merrell, with Columbia perhaps moving up to join that lead pack of Seagate, Haglofs, Tecnu, Godzone and Raidlight.
Note that due to communication challenges on the ground, the stage times on the leaderboard are provisional and only come from the tracking system, which stalls out often. Seagate was clearly in the lead by about 500m at ~3:00am local time, about 1.5 km from TA2. Seagate, Silva, and Tecnu were at TA2 at the same time (04:30) but that's not surprising given how close they are traveling to one another and the time required for a packraft inflation transition. The Seagate tracker was offline through the entire next stage and they are in the lead at the end of the paddle by 2.5-3 km. I'd venture to say they were really in first place through TA2 and every team's split times on the leaderboard and the 'course_live' page are somewhat inaccurate.
Makes it easier to evaluate their decisions about where to haul out from the paddle and tackle the rest of the stage on foot.
I'm particularly curious how many will paddle all the way to the "open" terrain (lt. brown) near the NW PRef to see if the long way around is faster than the direct bushwhack with terrible visibility up to PC7 on the ridge. Night will change the decision on this for some of the teams at the back.
Handwritten log snapshots are better than a geofencing leaderboard! We had the option of using geofencing at Wilderness Traverse but turned it down since it can make the leaderboard so unreliable. However, we had the luxury of staff with communication devices (cell or Delorme Inreach) at almost every CP.
This Sleepmonsters article adds some details to what we saw on Day 1. A couple of boats started to sink and had to be replaced (including Peak Performance) due to the extreme heat, Merrell and Swedish Armed Forces lost an hour with a wrong turn on the paddle, and there is more info about Gary on Mountain Designs, who had heat-related illness.
Looks like there will be quite a convergence on CP7 in the next 30-45 mins
Tecnu, Merrell, Godzone and Raidlight all look to be with 0.5 km (linear) from the CP.... followed by a heavy dose of Swedes after that... and Columbia appears to have gone back down to the water?
Curious to see how Blackhills "longer" route around to CP 7 pans out ... well I hope, they are one of my Fantasy picks!!
I just got back from the trek from CP2-CP5. All but the last part (bushwhack down from CP4) was double track and quite fast. We trekked with Seagate for CP2 – CP3. On the way into CP3 we could see plenty of fresh Jaguar tracks in the sand on the road. Seagate was moving well up to this point, running about half of the section. We left CP3 with Columbia and then took our time on the climb up to CP4 to film a few more teams. We then spent a few hours around CP4 filming about the first 20 teams or so. For the most part, everyone was in good spirits, but nearly every team had at least one member with blister problems on their hands from the paddle. So this could be an issue moving forward.
I saw JayXC and his crew at CP5 and they seemed to be in good spirits and all seemed fine. JayXC said his team mates climb like mountain goats!
The bugs are absolutely horrible just about everywhere. Especially if you are not moving. The weather today is much cooler and cloudier than yesterday so I think this will give team much needed relief. Last night it was very muggy and the only relief was some strong winds around CP4.
Strange... The tracker says Tecnu left CP7, then returned, then headed back out again. I wonder if they forgot something...? Or maybe it's just a tracker issue. It appears that the gaggle of four chase teams (Haglofs Silva, Merrell, Raidlight, Godzone) has passed Tecnu and fanned out on three different routes to CP8/TA3. The sun sets in 15 minutes so they'll be moving as quickly as they can. The TA has some facilities for resting, eating, etc.
'We've talked with athlete Erick Feldberg from team Rosa dos Ventos at TA2 - "We didn't expect to get here as tired as we are. From now on the plan is to overcome small challenges, from one TA to another, rest, change clothes, eat and go for the next TA. Right now, everything is uncomfortable: insects and unbearable heat, it is necessary to know how to manage all this", says the experienced adventure racer.'
Godzone appears to have reached CP8/TA3 in 2nd place although some of the trackers aren't up to date, particularly Tecnu's. It looks like 10 teams are currently between CP7 and CP8/TA3. Now that it's dark, racers will likely take the chance to sleep at the TA.
We can't tell what's happened to Tecnu or Black Hills but the chase pack has grown. East Wind, Peak Performance, the Estonians, Raidlight, Merrell, Haglofs Silva and the Swedish Army have all just tracked at the same time between CP7 and CP8, and nobody has a whopping lead.
The Estonians are also at CP8. Not sure what sequence Merrell, Raidlight and the Estonians arrived.
Tecnu has dropped back. It appears that they really did stop for awhile near the summit and maybe they did go back to CP7 as the tracker showed.
Tecnu, Haglofs Silva, Columbia and possibly Black Hills (awaiting next track) are almost together in 6th place. It looks like Haglofs Silva did some circling. I wonder if they can't find the road in the dark.
Peak Performance started to head cross-country like Godzone did, then turned abruptly south toward the road route.
Seagate is 2 km from and 400 m below CP10, climbing through what appears to be relatively open terrain. Godzone is flying on the trek in 2nd place after a good rest at TA3.
The Swedish Army has made a great move to hit the road/trail to TA3. They are definitely in better shape than Columbia or Black Hills right now. Tecnu and Haglofs Silva didn't update at the last half-hour so we don't know if they found the road or headed farther south like Columbia and Black Hills did.
Nice that you're watching even though Slice isn't there this year!
Three Brazilian teams - 16 (Quasarlontra), 23 and 31 - decided to climb straight to CP7 from the water, leaving about the same time that R'ADYS headed out on the longer, gentler route to the top. They weren't able to get to the top so they've all descended a little after getting within a few hundred meters of the CP. It's supposed to be cliffy and of course it is dark and jungly.
It's official... The Swedish Army (SAFAT) has moved into 6th place, passing Tecnu, Haglofs Silva, Columbia and Black Hills, all of whom seem to have headed down to a lake, probably with the plan of using it to locate the road to TA3. Those strobe lights are flashing and all the teams can see each other; some may be travelling together. The Swedish Army is about 2 km from TA3 by road has arrived at TA3 (a rare time that the leaderboard is more up to date than the tracking map!)
Haglofs Silva found the road and made excellent time to TA3 in 7th place. The other teams who were near them by the lake - Tecnu, Blackhill and Columbia - are still there doing some back and forthing. Looks like Peak Performance is heading over to join them. It must be really tricky - especially in the dark on a 1:100,000 map!
But when it comes to pack rafts, you reign supreme!
Not sure why Yogaslackers still haven't reached CP7. Maybe someone isn't feeling well. The three Brazilian teams who got cliffed out have headed north along the ridge to a place where other teams have been successful in gaining the top.
Yay, glad you're awake! Time for the excellent Night Shift!
Since I'm here... Seagate is almost at CP10. Although the terrain looks open, they've been moving about 1 km/hr for the past few hours as they ascend. Godzone is about 3.5 km back. Raidlight was the 3rd team to leave TA3.
Still at TA3 are Merrell, Estonians, SAFAT and Haglofs Silva.
Peak Performance has found the road and is either with Columbia and Black Hills or ahead of them. (Those two didn't track last time.) Tecnu did track and unfortunately is still where they were before. Maybe resting again? Since they just rested near CP7 and are on their way to a TA where they can sleep, it looks like someone isn't feeling well.
Impressive to see so many teams all taking sleep/rest on the course at the same approx. time, many outside of the TA, which has become common to avoid the commotion: Seagate, Columbia, Tecnu, Estonia, SAFAT, Silva, Merrell, Raidlight... Clearly the heat is taking a toll. At past races in Ecuador and Costa Rica, both also tropical, the leading teams did not sleep until 48+ hours into the race, if I recall correctly.
Tecnu is moving, but slowly, probably nursing illness and resting. Columbia has reached TA3 along with BlackHill in the last hour or so according to the leaderboard, but this is not shown on the tracking map.
From TA3 (Facebook): "We had very little water , with a very dense forest , we tried many options to set the navigation, and we tried, along with other teams like Columbia, Tecnu and Black Hill until we find the path to get out of the valley ", says Robert Lindberg 's Haglofs Silva team.
This passage was much harder than we thought , especially because we were the only teams with individual pack rafts ." The Haglofs Team had the privilege of seeing monkeys and crocodiles.
SAFAT now also showing as being on the trekking leg - about 30 mins to an hour behind Merrell. There must be some other teams in the mix as well with trackers not updating. Raidlight also seems to be moving very slowly - Estonia may have passed by now?
Silva and Blackhill have just left transition, with Columbia still in transition (fresh update). These teams should be well-rested now so will be looking to cover this ground much quicker than those ahead, particularly with imminent daylight on their side...
I think Peak is back on track by the look of the latest update. I'm not sure what would've dragged them SW... I just love how the Estonians and South Africans took very different routes from CP9 to CP10 and they appear to be together again.
As far as I can tell, Godzone is the only top team that has not slept yet... Approaching 46h of racing so far - surely they will need to bank some sleep tonight. That long paddle may be very sleepmonsterish otherwise!
yes, Godzone appear to have slowed dramatically over the last few tracker updates - from nearly having caught Seagate at one point they have dropped back again and the chasing teams seem to be catching them again. I thought it was just the approach to CP10 where everyone was slow, but they've not really picked up speed again since this. I suspect that they are desperately in need of some sleep, but will probably try to hold out to the end of this stage as they will value having the daylight to help them navigate - getting cliffed out in the dark sounds easy to do on this stage!
Just noticed a good random statistic in the course overview - the first time that they get to use their bikes is 72% of the way through the course. It's 150km long with 28 metres of climbing. No resting the legs on the downhills, then...
I can't believe there are only 30 something teams racing... That's half the teams that were racing in Costa Rica two years ago... And with the toughness of this course I wonder how many teams are going to finish... I'm not sure they will get twenty teams on the full course this year...
Does anyone have the link to the Facebook photo of Map 1?
A little info on Stage 4 from the course guide: Athletes will take 8 kilometers of trails until the point where they must start climbing Serra do Amolar. From PC9 there are no more trails, and the way to go is pure navigation. Serra do Amolar’s mountains are steep with huge walls, therefore navigation must be very careful. Once atop the sierra, after checking PC10, the way follows the ups and downs of the ridge, crossing springs, creeks and waterfalls.
The ability to quickly locate the road leading into CP8 seems to have played a significant role last night from 7-8. I wonder if we'll see a similar jostling of the top pack when they look for the road/trail that covers the last 2/3 of the segment from 12-13. It could help the chasing teams who have had the advantage of daylight for much of the trek from 9 onwards and then will (hopefully) have a nice fast 'finishing route' when it gets dark this evening.
From the Merrell posting, it sounds like CP7 was a tricky one. Anyone have any idea what this means: "It turns out the CP 7 had been put in a random spot - 500m when the map which we and the competitors have shows it at 350m." Is that altitude? Does that mean the CP was near the top of the mountain? If it was at that altitude, seems like where it is placed on the Tracking site might be off a bit.
Several of the teams who had been at the race front early on (Tecnu, Silva, Columbia) struggled to find the way and spent long hours without food and water in the night. They found a small waterfall at one point, but Tecnu didn't fill all their bottles and later regretted it. They said they'd spent 10 hours with no food and up to 3 hours with no water during the night.
Strongmachine, I assumed that was altitude. I've been calling CP7 the summit and it is around 500 m but there is a higher point a little farther along the ridge. It sounds like the racers' map shows the CP at a lower elevation on the ridge - a point that most people would pass by - but based on the tracks, it appears that our tracking map is probably pretty close. I do wonder about all the Brazilian teams who aimed straight up the slope at the CP. Maybe later teams were informed about the new location.
JayXC and R'ADYS are currently enjoying a rest at TA3, hopefully inside the screened porch. All the reports of fire ants and swarms of insects are starting to make the jaguars sound good. At least they finish you off quickly. ;)
One of the biggest concerns about wonky time estimates is that teams won't be able to purchase much food along the course - at least not till later when they get to more civilized areas. Remember they loaded food into their gear bins before they saw maps, just using the RD's time estimates.
one thing that is nice for dot-watching, is the tracking map made Mountain Design's dot highlight in yellow to signify short-course. all other teams' dots are highlighted in green.
interesting stat on # of starting teams...just 30-ish! didn't realize that was such a drop from Costa Rica. wow! hope the race management has some sponsors that can pick up the lack of entry fee income.
I know there's a lot of race left, but with the size of Seagate's lead, would any of the chasing teams think about working together to try and bridge the gap? I haven't done any expedition races so I'm not sure if that happens...
The colour-coded dot highlighting rocks! Brazilian team #5 Azimute is also continuing unranked, currently starting the longer route up to CP7. Norway's team #20 Nordic Adventure Racing has retired and is highlighted in black at TA5.
Team #31 Terra de Gigantes has gained the ridge about 4 km past CP10. They veered a little in the right direction in the last half hour so maybe they've realized their error. They still need to climb another 200 m to reach the elevation of CP10. They should run right into Team Peak Performance soon. It looks like they may not even drop in ranking as a result of taking this route but it doesn't look like it would have been a conscious choice.
It looks like Blackhill started the trek from CP10 to CP11, then changed their mind and started to descend. It appears they may be returning to TA3. [Note to FB: You may need to change your Fantasy League choices!]
"There will be 60 kilometers paddling the majestic Paraguay River. This section of the river is majestic, for having the Serra do Amolar as a background.
PCs along this stage are located in river communities and farms, this way the athletes will have the opportunity to get in touch with the local people, and especially to be able to ask for shelter, in case they need to rest."
- There might be homemade food for sale at TA4. It is screened in from the bugs.
- The kayaking will be "calm" with easy navigation although it is a Federal Waterway with "considerable traffic of vessels".
- "The next CPs are located in populated places. If you need to sleep, please look for local people's homes and farms to take shelter. Do not sleep on the banks or river beaches. That is exactly where the animals go to drink at night."
And then racers reach TA5 where "the most difficult section of the race begins".
Seagate barely stopped at TA4. It will be dark in a couple of hours so they're making the most of it. They can rest later when it's dark - as long as they don't mind knocking on some stranger's door in the middle of the night. ;)
As much as we like AR, there is something far more important to discuss than this frivolous competition.
I'm referring, of course, to the AR Fantasy League. Without real names, it's a little hard to figure out but I see that Canadian Long Sault Long Shot is tied for 1st. I'm tied for 12th, which only matters because I'm ahead of Wilderness - and he will be pleased to be ahead of his Dad, FB.
Looks like Seagate took 3 hours from 12-13, which most teams should be able to match if they find the road 'efficiently'.
What's up with Blackhill? If they are dropping out I want to change my pick, but it does not take effect until tomorrows calc point (which I found out the hard way) so I don't want to give up on them too early :-(
I gapped and miss my swap opportunity yesterday so now I am nervous about waiting too long to pull the trigger, but just in case Blackhill is looking for the snickers wrapper they dropped ......
Does anyone know how the ranking works? do they just calc off the leaderboard or is it based on where the teams are on the course when the deadline hits. My points yesterday didn't seem reflective of where the teams were on the course... that can have a huge impact on choices... less so going forward I suppose
I suspect they use the Leaderboard since if you're not on AP, you probably don't know the instantaneous ranking. ;) So for tonight, the league calculation will probably be based mostly on arrival time at TA3. I am willing Blackhill to walk downhill slowly so they aren't considered retired or unranked until after 8 p.m. race time.
Back to that other competition, Terra de Gigantes is about 1.5 km from CP10 after taking the loooong way. They passed Peak Performance going the other way and will see Quasarlontra soon. Depending on how fast the Yogaslackers and East Wind climb, Quasarlontra may be the only team to pass Gigantes between CP9 and CP10. Because Blackhill is heading downhill, Gigantes' ranking probably won't change.
Seagate is flying on the Rio Paraguay - almost halfway to CP14 already. They are taking advantage of their paddling skills and the last hour of daylight. No other teams will hit the road to CP13/TA4 before dark so this is a great opportunity to extend their lead.
From TA4 (Facebook): Team NZL Seagate (2) arrived a short time ago at PC 13 / AT4 (4pm local time) and were tired and very hungry after a trekking through some fairly rugged terrain. Nathan believes the stage during the night will be very difficult for the other teams. He spoke of the fantastic views of this section of the race and commented that the navigation was a bit tricky just before the PC12, though it didn't really slow the team down. They slept about 2 hours at PC10. From here they will kayak to the next PC.
This leg takes teams over the highest peaks in the Panatanal in the Serra do Amolar range. Shubi Guimaraes, race director, described it as being is one of the most stunning treks she has have ever hiked as there are 360 degree views over the Pantanal in every direction. "When organising the race the locals told me I was crazy to cross this mountain range, they said no one has ever been up there".
She also described it as one of the toughest legs in the course. The hiking is typically half metre high grass with rocks under it. This will make it harder for the first teams and gradually easier for the back of the field as a path of least resistance is made through the bending the grass. There are a lot of ups and downs out there that teams will have to conquer as the route travels along the sky line of the mountains.
...It seems most teams are nursing one team member along as conditions such as blisters and heat exhaustion set in.
"My concern is that the lead team after 54 hours has only traveled 20% of the course."
Given that teams haven't biked yet, it's not surprising that the distance travelled has been relatively short. (It's 150 km to TA4 in a race advertised to be around 700 km.)
On the other hand, the predicted winning time was 108 hours. Hmm. With only 129 km of biking coming up at a (hopefully) faster pace than paddling or trekking, all while the racers are fatigued and moving more slowly, I'd say Earring Doug is right to be concerned.
Just about to pull the trigger on a swap for Blackhill. A shame to see, but I can't see how this team will continue in the race ranked if they are heading back to TA3.
Any word on the status of East Wind? They are my obvious replacement choice and not a surprise package given the wealth of experience on this team. I read earlier in the posts that someone saw them as unranked on the leaderboard, and in a close look at the trackers it is hard to see if they actually collected CP7, however they are still coming up as ranked on the leaderboard and the tracking system. It would be a shame to swap out one unranked team for another and burn 10 points. Also, do unranked teams still get assigned a score (ie do they just come in at 32nd, 31st, 30th place, etc)?
Slice and Bash - my assumption was that it doesn't matter on the order that you set the teams up. My assumption was that in effect you select a total of 10 teams and where they fall on the ladder at each scoring cycle (8pm local time every day from day 2 onwards) you get given that score. I thought if you had Seagate as #4 on your list that you would still get the 100 points. Otherwise, how would they calculate the points for your Group B teams - it is not like they will also be sitting in 1st to 5th place.
I'm going with East Wind. I can't see a team as experienced as this just skipping a CP, particular given that they must have approached it from the "safe" second reference point. Plus it would be fun to get behind this team.
If rankings are based on the leaderboard and not what's happening on the ground (which I suspect they are), then I'm going to take a big hit this next scoring cycle. Hopefully everything will work out in the long game.
Interesting to see that there are 4 Brazilian teams all travelling together.
It says that the scores are based on "the ranking of the teams that you chose" so I would assume that the leaderboard counts! But who knows really. If your #1 pick is sitting in 2nd, do you get 85 points, or zero points?
Those are probably the same 4 teams that got cliffed out together below CP7 last night. I haven't looked back to see. I expect that would be quite the bonding experience. :)
Darkness has fallen and Seagate has passed CP14 on the paddle, having completed about more than a third of the leg.
Raidlight is in 2nd, still working their way another 2.5-3 km along the ridge before they will drop to CP12 and make their way down to the road to TA4. Unranked team Mountain Designs is ahead of them, just starting to drop down. It looks like they will get into some thick jungle bushwhacking partway down so Raidlight probably won't benefit from seeing MD's lights.
Several kms back, Columbia (3rd) and Merrell (4th) are the only other teams who have passed CP11. They're about half a km apart.
The Estonians are 1 km behind in 5th and Godzone is taking a less-travelled route in 6th place, probably trying to avoid some climb. About 2 km behind them, the two Swedish teams - Haglofs Silva and SAFAT - are travelling together.
A little behind them, it's our friends Tecnu in 9th, then a big gap to Peak Performance in 10th. (Unless I've missed seeing a hidden flag.)
Godzone have been overtaken by several teams now, and are travelling very slowly. Possibly they stopped for a nap, but the tracker never seems to stay still for long. Hopefully not sickness or injury in the team, they were doing great until the last few hours.
Looking more closely, Haglofs Silva hasn't moved in more than 2 hours although they are tracking. SAFAT is now about 2 km ahead of them in 7th and Tecnu is approaching from 2 km behind. Godzone has regained the ridge in 6th place.
Congrats to RogueAdventure, who has moved into 2nd place! And StrongMachine in 5th.
After a great start, I'm back in 29th - sigh. I'm tied with Wilderness and Wokitoki and ahead of such luminaries as Leanimal and Shebeen but, alas, FB is crushing me now with his 23rd place ranking. Phatty and AdventurePete (Dobos?) are doing well too.
Bash, I'm lizapye... but wait a minute. Looks like the whole leaderboard isn't displayed. I see AR-fan in 59th, but apparently I'm 67th. Maybe I'm not in last place afterall as the whole board may not be displayed! :)
I still don't know how to swap teams so I didn't actually change my picks before the last tally. Looks like I have a couple of days to figure it out now.
Hey, do you guys think that Tecnu can look over to their right and see Seagate's headlamps on the water?
Slice, to swap teams, you log in to get to the "My League" page. You can "add team" beside any one of your choices, which schedules a swap for the calculation *after* the next one. Unfortunately, if you do that now, it will not take effect until the calculation that will be done almost 48 hours from now. (You missed the deadline by 40 minutes.)
At 22:30 race time, Seagate is less than 3 km from the end of the 60 km paddle.
Raidlight has just passed through CP12 and will now bushwhack down the mountain to look for the road that leads to CP13/TA4. Based on what happened to several top teams last night, this will probably be harder than it sounds.
Columbia, Merrell and the Estonians are spread out on the ridge in 3rd/4th/5th, 2-3 hours behind Raidlight.
Not too far back is Haglofs Silva in 6th, charging up the pack after their nap. SAFAT is next, followed by Godzone in 8th, who have been stopped at CP11 for at least an hour.
Tecnu is in 9th about 1 km away from CP11 and 200 m below. Tecnu is where 2nd place Raidlight was 5.5 hours ago so there is still lots of room for anything to happen in this chase pack of 2nd to 9th place teams.
There is a more significant gap back to Peak Performance, rounding out the top 10. Hot on their heels are Quasarlontra, East Wind and the Yogaslackers.
I'm pretty sure the order you have them set in for the fantasy league doesn't matter. I don't think that MDs will net you any points though as they aren't in "32nd" place on the leaderboard and there is mention in the rules about not being able to select teams that have finished or unranked, so it is definitely worth taking the 10 point hit and swapping them out. To be honest, the points difference beyond sixth place doesn't make much of a difference, although it all adds up over the 6 days. If one of your teams is really off the pace now, it may be worth the 10 points and swapping them out for a team that is placed 3 or 4 places higher than them now.
I'm surprised I only fell to 2nd place in this round of scoring given the major shake up of lead teams heading in to TA3. Mountain Designs were my hot tip from pool B, but at least the writing was on the wall with their problems just before the first round closed. Great to see Sloshy and co back on the course and making the most of their time out there. Liam.
But from their pace, it looks like they are going with the flow of the current for a change. I wouldn't be surprised to see them make it the end of this stage, get dry and have another sleep in the TA.
Whoops, RogueAdventure is right - I saw Seagate nearing the TA triangle and failed to notice it wasn't the TA they were headed for. They're getting close to TA5 now though and should be able to get some rest around 1 a.m.
The 00:30 track shows Haglofs Silva continuing to storm ahead - now in 4th place just ahead of the Estonians! I hope that Merrell (6th) hangs a right soon. They've gone a little past the saddle that teams are using as an attackpoint for CP12.
It's been fun following so far; thanks for the work folks are putting for the others to follow. Keep up the 'nerd work'. Like so many APers, I'd love to be at these destinations but this it's shaping up such that I'm not so sure that I'm glad to be home on a comfy couch....and not suffering slow death by ants and mosquito. Given the choice I'd chose death by jaguar ...at least there'd be a good story behind it!
The Lanterne Rouge appears to be Summit Adventure Team from Colombia, currently taking the long way up to CP7 accompanied by unranked Brazilian team Azimute.
The only other team that hasn't reached TA3 yet is Brazilian team Grilos #13. They've entered the dark Bermuda Triangle of jungle that confused a number of the leaders last night and they've just done a little backtracking. All the best, Grilos!
From the race booklet: "Here is where we believe the most difficult section of the race begins. Despite being the flattest part of the race, it will be very challenging. It is going to be a section with plenty of navigation in a region without references and many flooded parts.
The suggest path follows a herdsman road, the way the cowboys lead the livestock. The good navigator who's got acute vision to see the road under the flooded areas will have a great advantage.
Life vests are mandatory for all the swimming moments. This should happen more than once, especially where the herdsman road crosses the largest streams. Kayak Bag carrying is mandatory.
Warning: This is a place with plenty of stingrays. They lie on the sandy bottoms and prefer cold water, which makes them like to be more active during the night in the middle of the roads. The use of trekking poles is extremely important to remove them from the way. If you all pay attention, we will not have any problem."
Those roads appear in the dry season, and disappear during the wet season. Each year, the road changes, since the cattle always seek the driest parts.
It’s a flat trekking, fast on the dry sections, but athletes will have to cross very wet sections, sometimes having to wade in water up to their waist. Sometimes athletes will have to swim for up to one kilometer. All that water may vary, depending on the rain or dry weather...
Neither 2nd place Raidlight nor unranked Mountain Designs has tracked in 2+ hours since they entered the jungle-y, jaguar-y part of their descent from CP12 to find the road to CP13. It must be thick in there!
3rd place (we assume) Columbia is tracking but they're not heading as directly toward TA4 as the earlier teams.
4th-6th place Haglofs Silva, Estonia and Merrell are all together now and it's impossible to tell whether any of them has visited CP12 yet. It seems unlikely, given their position.
Not much has changed behind. Tecnu is still napping in 9th place near CP11. After their nap, Peak Performance has moved past Quasarlontra back into 10th place.
2nd place Raidlight finally tracked again at 2:30 a.m., close to the road to CP13.
3rd place Columbia is making progress but they have taken the long way and may have some trouble finding the road since it probably won't be there as a backstop if they continue travelling in their current direction.
Merrell is in 4th and Haglofs Silva 5th after they both found and moved past the elusive CP12. The Estonians are almost at the CP now.
Raidlight hasn't found the road yet and Columbia has moved into 2nd place! Haglofs Silva and Merrell are travelling together and are down in the valley now. The Estonians stopped well up the mountain for a rest. SAFAT (6th) is now at CP12.
haven't been following closely so far, but on reflection it looks like Seagate made really good time on the 4th trek leg. what was just a 2hr lead on Godzone at the start of the stage has grown to become a 12 hour gap.
Columbia also stormed through the field, going from 9th to 2nd - but still gave 4hours to Seagate. Haglofs went from 6th to 3rd, giving Seagate 5.5 hours.
I won't dwell on those who lost out, and there's obviously still plenty of miles in this roadtrip, but this was quite a decisive leg by the kiwis. Not sure what news they got of the chasing pack (at either start or finish of paddle), but they can comfortably take the foot off the gas slightly here if they choose to.
Looks like Godzone finally stopped for a sleep at PC11, having crawled along the top of the ridge. they stopped for 3 hours and are now moving much quicker! They're now about 2k short of transition. They've been on this trek for 34 hours already and must have run out of food hours ago - there's no way that Nick would have thought a 40km trek would take this long!
glad to see Merrell have finally made it out of the woods and on the path to the TA. But Estonia are already on the paddle and Godzone have caught up quite a lot. Raidlight look like they still having fun in the jungle!
I wonder if there's 'food' to be had along the way? they could be getting supplies from farms/villages but they seem to be more in the river sections - otherwise they could always use the mandatory machetes (to cut fruit off the trees).
onto Leg6 - the hardest one of the lot. seagate left at 4/5am and have probably done about a third of the distance so far without straying much from the suggested route. it would appear that they seem to be coping fine with this leg - but will finish it sometime in the dark.
Raidlight finally found the road... really feel for them. Hope it didn't take to much of a mental toll on them. doesn't look like they were resting just struggling...
It will be interesting to see who has managed their health the best for the next trek/packraft/trek.... looks like teams can make some good time on that final 26 km trek if they're not completely trashed from everything up to now and then over 100km of wetlands with heavy loads in oppressive heat. I'm sure they'll be looking to stay in the packrafts as much as possible vs carrying them.
Took me a while, but I am now firmly in the camp of 'rather be here than there' ...
ARWS Facebook: Team Godzone arrived at TA4 with Merrell and SAFAT. Warren Bates said the heat was their main challenge. At one point, they had to cool themselves on a puddle. They slept for 2.5 hours up there.
I'm guessing tonites fantasy rankings will be based on Time out (or in) at TA5.
Looks like Seagate took about 8.5 hours for the paddle so anyone on the water now should be able to hit TA5 before the next Fantasy tally. Could be some rank swapping if teams decide to rest there going into the night and others push straight through and get out of TA first.
Maybe I'll gain back some of those points I lost from teams resting in TA 3? :-)
Seagate about 1 hour out from the reference point (half-way?) on trek to CP17. That'll be about 7.5 hour trek for them and I'm guessing will be about the same time Columbia gets to TA5. I would think Columbia will want to push straight through to save daylight for the trek, but it if a matter of following a flooded out cattle trail, daylight may not make much difference.
I suspect daylight will be huge in the next (packraft) section for route selection
At high noon (HOT), Seagate is at the reference point about halfway through the Stage 6 Trek.
Blackhill is at TA5 with their flag now highlighted in black, which means they've officially retired. (Also reflected on the Leaderboard now.)
2nd place Columbia is about an hour away from TA5, the end of the paddle. They'll get a good start on the next trek in daylight. When the RD talks about using "acute vision" to spot a flooded road under water, I expect daylight will help. Too bad the cowboys don't use reflectors but I'll bet they don't do much herding at night because stingrays.
Next it's Haglofs Silva in 3rd about an hour back, just past TA3 on the river. It looks like Team #13 Grilos is on the river starting at TA3. Maybe this is going to be a short course for them? We'll see at the next update.
After a bigger gap, it's the Estonians in 4th, then SAFAT in 5th. (Those tricky Swedes have a way of working themselves up the rankings, no matter what terrain they race in!)
Then it's Godzone and Merrell almost together in 6th and 7th, then Tecnu in 8th and poor Raidlight in 9th. If you want to see a depressing race stage, rewind the tracker and watch them trying to find the road in the dark at night. I feel for them.
The 2nd to 9th place teams are all paddling between CP13/TA4 and CP16/TA5. The 10th place team (East Wind) has just reached CP12 high up on the ridge. It should be easier for them to find the elusive road in daylight. They only have 6.5 more hours of daylight, which doesn't bode well for a lot of teams still on the ridge.
Ouch, it took Seagate about 3 hours from CP12 to CP13 in daylight. It took Raidlight 12 hours, mostly in darkness, likely including some sleep. They were in 2nd place when they started so this is what can happen to a really, really good team in that terrain. Yikes!
And, from the Merrell FB page--a quote I LOVE--especially the last line... "Organiser prediction for top team: 14 hours on Stage 4 trek. Seagate 22 hours. Merrell 30 hours in 5th position. This does not bode well for the rest of the teams, less than a third are likely to finish the full course in time to catch their flights home on Sunday. “Why did we ever think a race here would be a good idea? Why were we excited to come here? This is not fun. This is not a nice place.” Said the ever optimistic Robyn in a despondent outburst. I cannot get photos out yet so throw these words at a canvas and build your own picture of the team: filthy, matted, rancid smelling, blistered, swollen, bitten, chafed, rash covered, utterly exhausted. This is not inspiring. This is not an advert. Yet they collected their box, ate their food, picked up their paddles and set off on kayaks. And this is why they are my heroes."
Anxiously awaiting the next few updates to see how long Columbia and Silva linger in TA5.
The cool water that the stingrays enjoy is probably the most pleasant place to be walking (wading) to get a reprieve from the heat... but then there's the tender feet and unavoidable sand/grit filling your shoes &, & ...
Seagate now at roughly 9 hour lead, but they slept for a while (~3 hrs) at TA5. Columbia barely stopped there...maybe they slept on the kayaks? That sleep bank for Seagate may put first place finish for anyone else out of reach.
#13 Grilos has travelled from TA3 to TA5 so fast that it must have been a motorboat ride. There is no reason that kayaks or kayaking gear would have been available for them at TA3 unless the RD is doing some "short course on the fly" planning in an area with limited communication and transportation. Doubtful. Now we will see if they start the Stage 6 trek. Their flag is not highlighted in a different colour, nor does the leaderboard indicate a change in status - yet.
The previous Lanterne Rouge, Summit Adventure Team of Colombia #28 is now at TA5 highlighted in black with "Short Course" beside their name on the Leaderboard. Until now, black highlighting has only been used for teams that have retired.
Did you see that post? "During the Pack Raft stage BRA Enigma Papaventuras (10) went to test their lights (headlamps) and they did not work at all. "I had an alligator coming our way and we were there, desperate. No one knows what it is!" Said Rose Muller. "No light at dawn, alone, on the waterfront. We and alligators. But we are stronger than them and survived" joked Rose"
I would have been very scared and as pissed off as the time when FB forgot the map in transition ;)
It's now 9.5 hours since Seagate left TA5 and it looks like they're about 2/3 of the way through the trek, having done almost all of it in daylight. The predicted times for this leg were 7.5 (fast) to 16.5 (slow). Who tested this course?
There's a decent gap from Haglofs Silva to 4th place Estonia on the river, then SAFAT is an hour behind them. Godzone (6th) and Merrell (7th) are within an hour behind SAFAT, and Tecnu (8th) is an hour behind Merrell.
And good for Raidlight - now at CP14 on the river, about 45 mins behind Tecnu.
Update - 5th to 10th at CP13/TA5 at the end of the Stage 4 Trek.
ZAF MERRELL - "It was a tough trek with jagged rocks the whole way but the main problem was the relentless heat. There was a small window of cool in the middle of the night as the breeze came up" said Robyn. As they descended from cp 12 they couldn't find the trail and had to swim and hike down the creek to the TA. "All we wanted to do was get out and it was so slow. DEET was mouth wash for the Mosquitos" said Hanno. The team looks like they are in reasonable condition with only a few blisters. They slept for 1 hour on the mountain and are planning to get onto the water and 'Activate their kayak sleep plan' which involves one person paddling and the other sleeping.
GBR GODZone - This team who started the trek in second was slowed due to the heat. "We were forced to stop for 5 to 6 hours as we just weren't moving anywhere" said Warren. In spite of this they only managed to get only 2 hours of descent sleep. Even then they woke to find the industrious leaf cutter ants had been slicing up and carrying away parts of their back packs while they slept. The lid of Warren's pack is now a patchwork of holes. They were full of praise for their navigator. Sarah noted "Gui is the only reason we are here. He is on fire with route finding and navigation". Warren sought some medical attention for blisters on his hands which presented with some blisters and swelling. There was some debate by the medics about his wedding ring which may need to be cut off at the next TA. Warren was philosophical, "I haven't been able to get it off for years, I think I have put on weight since my wedding".
SWE SAFAT - This team entered the TA very quietly and methodically went to work getting ready to leave the TA. This team also missed the track and followed the creek to the TA but found the going better than they expected. The teams most interesting moment was seeing a jaguar on the track about 150m in front of them before they ascended into the mountains. The jaguar stood and watched them dancing around yelling and clapping for about a minute before fading back into the jungle. Malin sought some medical attention for a nasty heat rash on her back and it is unlikely she will be able to carry a backpack for the remainder of the race.
USA TECNU - Tecnu entered the TA just as the 3 other teams were leaving. They were more concerned about their placing than anything else and were very glad to be back in the race. Kyle did say "It was very slow with rocks hidden in the grass. It was a good challenge to cross the mountains of the Pantanal. It was very steep on the way down and there was a lot of sliding on your backside. It wasn't dangerous as there was a lot of jungle vegetation to hold onto to slow yourself down". They also said the hardest part of the leg were the ants as they made sleeping difficult. Mary went straight to the shower when arriving while Jason who has blistered hands sought medical help to ensure he could keep on paddling.
FRA Raidlight-Naturex - Arrived not long after USA Tecnu. They had one of the fastest times over the top of the mountain and were in 2nd place at CP12. They lost all of this by not being able to find the trail at the bottom. The team followed the creek line and tried on several occasions to use their machete to beat down a path and get to the road. They finally gave up, had a short sleep and hiked out along the creek. Nicholas said "We are very disappointed as we trekked well when up high. I am very proud of my team though as we managed to work together to get out of the jungle."
At 15:00, it looks like 10th place East Wind has not found the road to TA4 yet. They could be following the creek, as some other teams did. Not fun.
11th place Brazilian Quasarlontra has descended from CP12 to the jungle-y, jaguar-y place where the trackers often stop tracking for awhile.
Behind them, it appears to be a 5-way tie for 12th just past CP12, including R'ADYS, Peak Performance and three Brazilian teams. Peak Performance is staying high on the ridge, leading the way on a route choice we haven't seen yet. R'ADYS and two Brazilian teams are heading straight down as most other teams have done.
Team #20 Nordic Adventures has been "retired" at TA5 since yesterday morning. This afternoon they seem to be paddling east, roughly along the Stage 6 trekking route. Bored? Passing time while waiting for a ride? Eager to explore? TA5 is on the Rio Paraguay so staying there is the fastest way back to civilization. I don't think they will keep going because where would they go?
It would be very convenient if East Wind and R'ADYS could make it to TA4 before 8pm for the Fantasy League points :) I'm presuming checking into TA4 is sufficient to update their significant move up the rankings? Or would they have to check out of TA4 before 8pm for that to happen?
I would think that checking out would only matter if a team passed somebody in transition. If a bunch of teams arrive before 8 p.m. and nobody leaves, I assume the Fantasy League would use the order of their arrival since that's how the Leaderboard would work. But it's calculated automatically so who knows if it makes sense? :)
Nordic Adventures has turned around and is returning to TA5. I guess they were just bored after waiting around for a day!
Bad news for those of you who picked East Wind in the Fantasy League. They haven't found the road to CP13/TA5 and are following the creek, which is slower. Maybe they'll make another attempt with their machetes!
11th place Quasarlontra hasn't tracked yet at 16:00 but if they find the road, they could move into the top 10.
Behind them, the two different route choices down from CP12 didn't make much difference. R'ADYS and Kailash are half a km ahead of the others but it's the next section that matters. Teams have about 2.5 hrs of daylight to find the road, which is enough if they choose a good route. Sending good vibes to JayXC! Wield that machete!
By the way, I think the next Fantasy League points aren't calculated until tomorrow night? "You are currently selecting teams that will contribute to your League score when the League points are calculated at November 18, 2015 8:00 pm (AMST) - 1 day."
I can't even admit openly my horrible swap from yesterday. I assumed someone must have been sick/injured and they might be just limping into TA3 to reassess.
I won't be able to look "them" in the eye next time I see them :-( ... I am ashamed
Slice, I think they count at 20:00 tonite based on who you have right now. Any changes you've selected to occur at 20:00 tonite will be counted for you tomorrow at same time. A painful lesson for some of us!! :-)
That was the mistake I made with Mountain Designs. Not swapping them out early enough meant I only scored on 9 ranked teams for the first 2 rounds of points :( No swaps today though, so hopefully that will help.
At 17:30, Seagate has about 12 km left in the 49 km Stage 6 trek. It took them about 4 hours to cover the last 12 km. I doubt the satellite image can be trusted because of changing water levels but this last section looks a little better. Regardless, the sun will set in 90 minutes and they started just before sunrise this morning. I wonder how close they will be to the estimate for the slowest team?
Quasarlontra has arrived at TA4, much to the chagrin of people who chose East Wind in the Fantasy League. ;) East Wind has found their way and will arrive shortly in 11th.
With an hour of daylight remaining (probably less in the jungle), #17 Kailash Brou has found the road in 12th place. Peak Performance, R'ADYS and #7 Aroeira are close if they don't make a left turn along the creek like some teams have.
That featureless landscape trek will be MUCH more difficult in the darkness. Seagate has virtually locked it up by tackling this during the day. Of course, that's assuming the next packraft section doesn't throw a wrench in their plans overnight.
From Facebook - More things bothering Marina Verdini of Kailash Team Quasar Lontra when she arrived in PC13 were the bites of ticks! "I need to get an urgent remedy, I will not be able to paddle with this endless itching", reports Marina.
Bash - agreed East Wind coming in before the Brazilians would have been nice, but the difference is only one point in the league, so no biggie.
The tough call is Issy Adventure. After a great start they have been sitting a bit behind on this trek. They are far enough down the ladder that you are only losing a point for every place they are behind another option. But a couple of points (ie a couple of places) behind each day will add up over the next 3 or 4 days to make it worth while for the 10 point hit of swapping out. Not to mention that they still have to find the track out of the trek in the dark, and future short course options are looming on Friday. A tough call, but I mad the last second decision to swap out for the round tomorrow. Will see if it pays off over the next 3 days. It's a risk because the team you swap for might tank, but I guess it is all about playing the long game.
I love how the league keeps the race in the middle of the pack really interesting for those following online. Funny how you find yourself supporting and cheering on teams you would never normally follow.
Given your success in the League, I probably screwed up! I decided to stick with Issy Adventure due to their experience. They've come a long way to race and will try hard to finish. My other options were mostly Brazilian teams I don't know who may be pushing beyond their abilities. I wouldn't know which one to pick.
Yeah, Issy were a pretty good bet from the onset due to their experience, and I admit of all the decisions I've made in the League, this one could really come to bite me back. It will be at least 2 or 3 days to see if the swap was worth it. The Brazilian team to swap for was an easy call though - Kailash Bro Aventuras have been tracking well all race and have at least one competitor from the very experience BMS team racing with them. I nearly picked them from the onset. Will be fun to see how it all plays out. Liam
According to the Course Description, Seagate has now completed 38.5% of the race course distance. Predicted winning time was 4.5 days, which would be tomorrow night. I don't think so!
Stage 7 is 57 km of Pack Rafting, estimated to take from 10.25 hrs to 22.5 hrs. There's a 26 km trek after that, which will bring us to the halfway point of the race. (!!!)
Here's the course description for the Pack Rafting:
"If the previous trekking was the beginning of the challenge, this is where the race will separate the men from the boys. Aboard their little inflatable boats, athletes will cross approximately 50 kilometers of flooded farms.
It is a region with countless options of trails, under or above water. This stage will require careful attention in orientation, because the references are all the same, just small bushes and not a single hill… Good navigators will stand out!"
From the race booklet:
"If the last leg was considered difficult, I believe this is the true crux of the race. Plenty of water within the forest and animals. [Poor watery animals!] Navigation with endless path options and difficult for the lack of references in an extremely flat region. Be careful and have a repair kit for your pack rafts. Pay attention to the stingrays. Despite being a section with deeper water, they are still there.
After crossing the Santa Rita stream, you arrive at the driest part of the race. If there is no hard rain, the last 7 km of this section will be trekking."
I don't understand the Short Course vs. Retired vs. Unranked rules. Two "Retired" teams are out on the Stage 6 trek and I think they've done the same amount of racing on the full course (i.e. up to TA3) as Grilos, currently listed on the "Short Course" and also doing the Stage 6 trek. These teams appeared to get a motorboat ride from TA3 to TA5.
Anyway, according to the leaderboard...
Summit Adventure Team
Hahahahah! Sounds like those animals need some diuretics!
I know Google Earth isn't very accurate for looking at what the route may look like today, but if the images are any indication of travel. it looks like the teams will be in and out of boats quite a bit. Wet feet.
I wonder what the race organizers will do with the course now that we know that the top team will be nowhere close to finishing the course in their predicted time. What section would they cut out? Will everyone take the MTB Corte during the first MTB leg and skip section 10 (kayak)?
I think retired are out of any competition (lost a team member). Short would be the ones who took the motorboat but are still an intact team. And unranked... ummm, not sure how thery're different from retired?
And as for alternate route choices, what are Kailash Brou Aventuras doing at the start of the paddle! I imagine in the dark with all that jungle around them, it will be impossible to get any meaningful reference points for navigation. Hopefully they can get it together in short order.
GAH! Darkness reigns supreme over FRA Issy and all the other teams currently in the hunt for CP12. Issy is searching in vain on the wrong mount it appears. Hope they decide to bed down for some rest until daylight.
At 23:00, Seagate hasn't tracked but they are probably resting at TA6.
2nd place Columbia is near the Reference Point on the Stage 6 trek.
Haglofs Silva is an hour behind in 3rd.
The Estonians and Merrell are 2.5 hrs behind, tied for 4th. SAFAT hasn't tracked but they are probably in the same group. These lead teams are travelling with two "retired" teams (Summit Adventure and Azimute) and "short course" Grilo. I guess they're hoping to splash a lot and scare the crap out of those stingrays!
There's a larger gap back to Tecnu in 7th and Raidlight in 8th, both near the start of the trek. Godzone hasn't left TA5.
I'm a little confused by the classifications of short coursed, unranked and retired. By my definition, a retired team is no longer continuing on the course and an unranked team is one that has lost a team member or missed a CP but is still continuing on the course. However, there are a couple of "retired" teams out on the Stage 6 hike now. I'm hoping this means that MDs haven't retired but will get to still continue on the course at some point.
Peak Performance is moving fast on the river and dropped Eastwind very quickly after starting the paddle with or near them. Will not be surprised if the catch up with Quasar before the end of the stage.
From the Blackhill/Opavanet Facebook page: Právě jsme obdrželi zprávu od organizátorů: "Hi Black Hill community, one of the athletes was not feeling well so the team choose to retire. But all are well, so no need to worry."
Craig Bycroft from the AR World Series walked up to CP12 and said that in the area near the road there was a large creek completely unmarked on the map which he thought had been causing some of the problems. Poor mapping is just one of the navigational issues the teams have to cope with as they cross Pantanal.
Craig said; “It was like another world up there. There are huge gullies and chasms, many ridges and spurs and as you look into the distance there so many more mountain ranges. It’s an amazing place. It was cooler up there as the wind is stronger today.”
The two Brazilian teams (10 and 31) who headed off bushwhacking in the same direction as R'ADYS had a Eureka moment and turned east to the road. Unfortunately, they didn't flash their strobe lights brightly enough. R'ADYS is still in the thick of it. :(
Issy Adventure and unranked Canoar A.A. are still looking for CP12 on the wrong mountain top in the dark. So easy to see this from the couch at home. Two other teams will arrive soon to add some minds to the problem, which will hopefully steer everyone the right way eventually.
As of midnight, 84.5 hours into the race, my approximate estimate of the top 15 as they stand on the ground are below. I've included time splits to Seagate, who have been in TA6 for 4 hours and are presumably sleeping. Note that these times don't take into account how much sleep a team has had, and given it is in the early hours of the morning, they could still see a shake up over the next few hours:
Seagate have been in TA6 for 4.5 hours now. I suspect they have gotten word of their handy lead and are taking a solid rest. I wouldn't be surprised to see them up and moving soon, and being (relatively) well rested moving well. Sunrise is still a while away, but they should do the bulk of the Stage 7 packrafting leg in daylight and presumably extend their lead.
Anyone taking bets that even Seagate get sent on the short course and will skip Stage 10 all together? The only other time I can think of this happening is the first GODZone race in 2012 where every team, including Seagate, had to skip whole sections of the full course to get through the race in time.
The course closes in just over 86 hours. The "fast" time estimates for the remaining stages total about 47 hours, not counting transitions. Starting tomorrow, we may see teams affected by transition areas closing, e.g. TA4 closes at noon. We should have another pool on the number of teams that will finish the entire course! (And "zero" is an acceptable guess.)
By your maths, there should be plenty of time to complete the course for Seagate, and perhaps one or two others. But apart from the kayaking stages, all of the time predictions have blown out massively, particularly Stage 4. Even Stage 6 had time predictions of 8:30 to 16:20 and it took Seagate 19 hours, doing most of it in daylight.
So if the bet is to how many teams make it through the full course as it is set now, than my prediction is 0. This next packrafting stage looks brutal.
Good morning! Pleased to see Merrell having moved up a few places - it's all still quite tight for 2nd through to 9th. Thanks again for the fantastic updates! I, too would like to throw my name into the hat of "thanks, but no thanks" when considering the conditions these teams are facing...
I'm also more than happy to do this race from a satellite image, leaf cutter ants tearing out your backpack whilst you (try) sleep?!!:
The most extreme situation happenend with Jose Elias (Kailash Brou Aventuras) who drank urine and asked for water when reaching CP7. “We ran out of water 5 hours ago and when I am in this situation, I pee in the bottle to use inthe last call", he said.
But he had another system to get water, too. “I put some leaves inside a plastic bag and attached it outside my bag. The leaf humidity turns into water with the heat.”
Curtlo Lobo Guará had two situations to have some water. The first one was not a good idea, said Rodolfo Portella. He had a buff in his wrist and tried to use the sweat to kill his thirst.
Them his teammate Pietro Carlo remembered the wet clothes from pack rafting that they put inside a dry bag. They twisted them to get some fresh water.
Despite all the problems the teams keep going. “This is the World Championship, is not for kids. Teams here know this is not a regular race so it has to be this way and a little more. It is a race for the best”, said Xikito (QuasarLontra).
Seagate now in transition for 7 hours. Perhaps a sick team mate, or they are banking a ton of sleeping, backing their speed when rested and heading on the packraft closer to first light. Theories anyone?
after the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team comfortably won the Rugby World Cup last month, it pains me to see Seagate so dominant here. It's not over yet, but as it stands - the Leg4 trek is where they really showed their class. Only team to do it in under 24 hours and they opened a huge gap here, despite starting with a small one on the chasing pack.
They have the minor irritation of a 30minute time penalty, but it's possibly not going to make the slightest difference - one can only applaud.
Conspiracy theory but what if Seagate looks at what is in the rearview, how much time it has taken, what's still to go, does the math, and goes for maximum rest so as to put extra pressure on the race organizers to shorten a racecourse that is too long for the time allotted? Smart move in my opinion as they'll still be able to move quicker than the rest of the field with sleep and rest in the bank.
In other news, it looks like team Mountain Designs are back on the move again after spending over 26 hours in TA4. I assume they are paddling as a team of 3 and not catching a motor back to race HQ given that it has just gone sun up and would be an ideal time for an unranked team to enjoy more of the course.
This next stage (7) is going to take an awful long time at the current pace - check Seagate's progress relative to the previous stage, and that is after a massive sleep and in daylight! Stu is going to sleep till Christmas at this rate!
Nathan's dislike of long races is fairly well known I think - he's been quoted in the past as saying that 4 days for the winners is ideal. I wouldn't be surprised if Phatty is partially right on this issue. The other reason will be to bank enough sleep so that they can start out on the packraft section just before daybreak and move quick enough to complete it in daylight. The navigation on that section sounds horrible, and any teams trying to do it at night are likely to be at least 50% slower. Chances are that even with 6 hours sleep, they'll do it as quickly as anyone who has to do part or all of it at night... (remind me to check back on that prediction tomorrow!)
looks like seagate are going backwards..they've done an about turn and have spent about an hour going nowhere - BUT the tracking has such course resolution with 15min timestamps so it's very hard to say too much right now.
Ouch, Fi is right. Nearly 4 hours out of transition and they've done less than 5km. If Seagate are having issues in the daylight I wouldn't fancy the chances of mere mortals having to do this stage in the dark.
Who knows what is the faster travel in that flat, waterlogged terrain? Head for any type of vegetation in hopes that there's decent land underfoot to walk on? Or, try and find navigable waterways that are hopefully deep enough and long enough to warrant a full inflate of the packrafts? One can only imagine...honestly, that landscape looks like a nightmare.
Well spotted, Stark. Looks like it leads to a small village. It must be on their map. I'd love to see what they are seeing on their maps. 1:100 000 - can't be easy, especially on flat featureless terrain like that.
Seagate going SE, parallel to that trail - maybe GPS is off. SAFAT doing something strange but at least seem to have recovered, Haglofs straight out of TA6 - no hanging around. Godzone also back on the accelerator, passing Tecnu. The Estonians taking it easy.
#24 4any1 Lobo Guára and #27 Rosa dos Ventos are dicing* it out for the Lanterne Rouge honour, currently around CP11 on the Stage 4 Trek. With only 7 more hours of daylight, let's hope they find CP12 easily and head straight for the road to CP13/TA4.
Btw TA4 was scheduled to close a few minutes ago. I'm not sure what that means for the 5 teams currently between CP11 and CP13/TA4.
My Fantasy League friends, Issy Adventure, saw the correct mountain top at sunrise and headed over to CP12. They then made a beeline for CP13/TA4, taking only a few hours to get there. I guess they got lots of rest on the wrong mountain top!
By contrast, JayXC really got his money's worth on this leg. I look forward to his race report since his stories are always good! R'ADYS took almost 16 hours to get from CP12 to CP13 after getting tangled up in the valley jungle where other teams have reported using machetes to move forward. They couldn't have been carrying enough food for that.
Yep, Bash, while #24 and #27 dice it out for the Lanterne Rouge, the nice 3-way dice for 2nd place is about to get very interesting on this next stage. The teams probably won't stay together. I hope Merrel can make the most of daylight and get moving. Meanwhile Seagate has found that village.
Yikes, I thought they'd got themselves back on track but... no.
With only three teams out on the Stage 7 Pack Rafting section so far, we're seeing route variations and signs of confusion already. These are the top teams in the world. They are navigating in daylight. Access for rescue looks very limited. Weather, fatigue and wildlife could cause serious problems for some racers. Opportunities for rest are probably limited too, given the terrain and animals.
Having managed a race HQ a number of times, the thought of less experienced, more fatigued teams doing this section at night is raising my blood pressure!
Merrell taking a bit of a break at TA6. Looks like Columbia slept a bit on the trek...does anyone see the last time Haglofs slept?
Stage 7 (the one the leaders are on) is, to me, the most interesting stage to watch so far, with Seagate choosing a line that's way off the recommended route. They seem to be making good progress nonetheless, but it will be fascinating to watch whether teams that take the recommended line go significantly faster and actually make this a race for more than just second place.
I'm guessing that Seagate is navigating toward obvious landmarks on the map in order to stay found. In this terrain this is only going to be villages/ranches that are noted on the maps. Look how they nailed a village an hour or so ago. Now they appear to be aimed almost directly toward the Ref point, which is also a village. We'll see if flawless bearing following is faster than flawless trail following (if either is even possible).
I think Haglofs got a couple of hours sleep at the "CPref" shown half way through the previous trek. Looks like their tracker stopped there for a couple of hours.
Seagate are going for the straight line approach, by the looks of it. Godzone appear to have picked up the pace quite a bit, passing Tecnu and the Estonians and making good progress, now only 3km from the transition.
@ Bash -Yes, But it is confusing to see black teams still on the course - like Nordic Adventure and Mountain Designs. I thought "retired" meant you stopped racing. Although Nordic Adventure just seems to be going back and forth near TA5.
I agree the terminology has been confusing. Also, the Leaderboard hasn't always assigned teams to the correct category, e.g. Summit Adventure Team was listed as "Retired" at one point but now they are "Short Course".
Nordic Adventures has been "Retired" at TA5 for more than two days. Yesterday afternoon they fooled me by going for a paddle and it looks like they got curious and did some of the trek today too. They're just trying to entertain themselves after travelling all the way from Norway and doing so little of the race course!
Yay, always fun to see different route choices play out!
I don't know how they did it for this race but for Wilderness Traverse, the marked line on our live coverage map shouldn't be called the "recommended route". The developers ask us for a GPS track, usually within two weeks of the event when we're really busy, so the track is usually one we already have, i.e. a route we took. When we test a course, we may be curious to see what a particular area is like, whether there is a campsite on a lake or whether a trail goes farther than marked. We sometimes choose the route we would take in a race but not always. So in our case, it is "a route", not "the route".
Our marked line is not provided to racers, just to spectators. In this event, I think the racers only have the Reference Points.
A-ha, thanks for the info, Bash! Going the direct route doesn't seem to have slowed Seagate at all, so I think it will be difficult for Columbia to gain too much time, although zooming in on the (newly termed) "blue-line route", it appears as if much of it is tan-colored/cleared away/dirt rather than jungle/green.
Seagate travelled about 3 km in the past hour. Not bad considering how yucky the terrain looks. (That's a technical term for any non-adventure racers following this thread.) There's still a long way to go with only 4.5 hours of daylight remaining. If it's dry enough, the last 7 km will be a trek on a trail and Seagate will be able to nap again before heading out on the 26 km trek - you know, the one that will bring them to the halfway point of the race course, distance-wise.
Tecnu has veered north of the herdsman's trail on Stage 6 for the past hour. Let's hope their next track turns south. And poor Summit Adventures is still going backwards, trying to get back on the trail.
I'd love to see the maps for this leg7 (and leg 6 really too).
It should be mandatory for races with big online following for the RD to upload their maps or a screenshot thereof to us dot watchers. :-)
also, Bing maps is way better here for sat photos. someone asked earlier about the seasons. - it's the start of the wet season currently, so i would hazard a guess, the driest possible.
Rain season in the pantanal In general we can say that the rain season starts in November and ends in April. At this time the water level raises and covers a large part of the land giving you the possibility to explore the waterways, revealing fantastic landscape views. The rain season is also the breeding season for most of the animals, when they search for higher lands to hide. Dry season in the Pantanal In the dry season (May to October) the water level goes down forming baias (bays), lakes and waterways. It is the season when trees start to bloom and animals come out to look for food for their new born: mammals, reptiles and birds. As the land gets dryer they gather around the baias, lakes and waterways looking for water. Giving you the chance to spot a variety of species.
Okay found it on Sleepmonsters FB stream. Quoting it:
Here's an update that I just received from Rob Howard: "Update from AT4 on day 4 at ARWC Pantanal. The closure time here has been extended to 3pm, but its unlikely all the teams still trekking will make it.(If they don't they will have to wait for a boat downriver.) Almost all the press are here and going nowhere as fuel is low and the plane is broken down, so don't expect much in the way of news today."
So, it looks like Ekos will be the last team to paddle stage 5. Cut-off happens right about now.
Pretty sure Doug is indeed part of the press crew. He wrote this yesterday:
"I have a limited access where I am but apparently our tracking device stalled two hours ago so not sure what place we are in on the 60 kilometers paddling leg but I'm sure we are a couple of places farther up than where we are."
Maybe he's in places with limited access that are not in Brazil?
"It's incredibly hard to call this race. Media crew in Brazil here are all fighting for use of one satellite phone, one satellite connection. Wi-Fi is almost non-existent. Not much word coming back from the course and when there is its spotty. Just a very difficult part of the world to get word out to everybody who's trying to follow the race so we are left watching dots blinking when we can get them but those are inaccurate because trackers are either not working, or they're stuck for hours."
Regardless of whether Earring Doug is at an event, he always writes the Facebook updates as if he is there. And he is a great fan of Tecnu, often suggesting that they are likely doing better than it appears online. :)
The word "here" in the 2nd sentence is an indication that he may be there, as he sometimes does attend events. But he is posting much more to the Internet than I would expect for someone who is in the Pantanal.
At the back of the pack, I hope the Lantern Rouge team(s) -- 4any1 and Rosa -- find PC12 and get off the mountain before dark...it's awfully close, but maybe they have enough light and visibility at the moment to know where they need to go before dark settles in.
When you're too tired to feed yourself... It's time to get in a kayak and paddle 60 km.
From ARWS Facebook: "The team BRA Ekos Pines Jungle Adventure (9) was the last team to go through PC13 / AT4 within the TA closing time and will continue on the full course, but the team needs to keep up the pace in order to make it to the next PC before 2:00 a.m. Otherwise they will be disqualified!"
Thanks for the map link Rouge. I agree it's not great, but you can decipher the location of TA6 centered near the top in pink, then PRef on Stage 7 SE of it about mid-map as well as TA7 further SE and near to the E map edge.
The many straight black lines seem to indicate trails/paths and the one from TA6 that teams have been trying to track along is pretty clear.
I know this is a "packrafting" leg, but looking at the satellite map, the race map photo and the route the three lead teams are taking, and do you think they will actually do any packrafting? It's a long way to carry an extra 12kg+ worth of gear (3kg per raft, 1kg per paddle and 0.5kg per PFD) if you don't end up using them.
I was just wondering the same thing. It may be very similar to the last leg - trails that are occasionally flooded but not necessarily worth pack rafting. That's a long time to spend doing that kind of trek. #nodice ;)
BRA Ekos (now the Lantern Rogue) left TA4 at just before 1600 local time and have until 0200 to reach TA5 = 10 hours. The teams already reflected on the leader board have all accomplished this or nearly so except, most notably, for the two recent stage 5 finishers (JPN East Wind and BRA Brou) who each had some nav troubles / questionable route choices along the way. So, it's doable if they ride the current, paddle well and stay the course.
wait a moment...map2? have they done the first 80 hours of racing on one map?
interesting that all three teams to do the leg7 so far have taken the direct route to the Pref as soon as possible. does it mean the suggested route(s) is probably quicker, but they just don't have the same level of info the RD had when setting the course?
I say this, because if transition marshalls are watching, they could pass on this info to later teams...and the race compresses.
anyway, 4:30pm local time now, but bedtime for me at GMT +2. i think there's going to be some varicose veins all over this leg when i wake up.
shebeen: Map 2 picks up just before TA5. Yes, Map 1 was the only map in use until that point. The maps are 1:100,000 so they cover huge areas and don't have very much detail, esp. for elevation contours. That was part of the trouble in the stage 4 mountain trek for many teams.
From ARWS Facebook: "Teams BAR Nossa Vida (21) and URY Uruguay Natural UltraSports (32) arrived after the TA4 closing time (15:00) so they are now out of the race and are being transported to TA 5 with the HQ boat."
It seems weird that teams who didn't get to TA3 before it closed were allowed to resume racing on a short course from TA5, whereas (presumably better) teams that got to TA4 are out of the race. There are still teams paddling on the river who haven't reached TA5 yet. And the race isn't expected to end till Friday.
Uruguay is marked "Retired" while Nossa Vida is marked "Unranked" but that may be a temporary Leaderboard issue.
"The teams maps do not have the colored course line like we can see on the tracking map. This line may or may not be the fastest/best route. It is just the route that the race organisation went during their course reccies. Teams are free to choose how they get from one CP to the next."
Looks like the flood of race news, photos and videos is going to dry up overnight. ;)
"Kalypso, it is the name of the boat that works as HQ of ARWC Pantanal 2015. All the race control is inside the boat, that travels Paraguay River following the race with organizers, media and families and friends of racers.
Small boats travel attached during all time and they are used to take journalist and photographers to checkpoint alongside of the river or places that the big boat can not reach. With food, bed and air conditioning, Kalypso offers all the infrastructure in a remote area like Pantanal.
The boat with the organization of the team will leave the Treasury Acurizal the 16hs sense Corumbá. We will take about 15 hours and we no communication! Monitor the site the position of the teams! Tomorrow morning we will be online with more information Pantanal Pro."
To be fair, there are some gorgeous photos of the race course, even though some were taken before the race. There are some nice racer photos too. Check out Stage 7 to see what the trails may look like.
Seagate's speed has really picked up the last couple of hours - hopefully the terrain is improving? I read somewhere that the RD has been through here a couple of weeks before the race sand said the last part of this section was drier than expected.
Seagate's lead to Haglofs Silva is 5 hours right as it should be getting dark soon. They are about half way through the trek and have been out on this leg for 13 hours (almost all of that done in the day). Even if the second half of the leg is quicker terrain, and done faster in the cool of night (despite the harder nav of darkness), the organisers predicted time of 10 hours for the fastest team is right out of the window. Even the slowest time of 22.5 hours is looking like a push for the best team in the world.
Holy s**t, the 2nd packraft stage is already causing havoc! Silva is making circles at the first farm and Columbia is heading due East...really curious what they have planned. Doesn't night arrive over the next hour?
Haglofs Silva left a farm (I think) and returned to it more than an hour later. They had only gone half a km south of it before they turned back so they were moving slowly. It looks like a conscious decision, not a nav error. Perhaps with darkness falling in less than an hour, they decided to look for a dry place to rest.
Or maybe they couldn't bear to leave a perfectly good road to return to the wetlands.
Or they've spotted another route where they can use the road.
#24 4any1 Lobo Guára and #27 Rosa dos Ventos, our former Lanterne Rouge teams who are now officially out of the race because they've missed the TA4 cut-off, are just entering the jungle below CP12. From there, it is either 3 hours to TA4 - or a whole lot more. Sending them "find the road" vibes!
Our new Lanterne Rouge (last team on the full course) is Ekos Pinheiros Selva.
....and Ekos appears to be making decent time on the river so far. Perhaps about 15 mins behind Seagate's time over the same stretch & about 1/3 of the way, in river miles, to TA5. Seagate took ~9:30 for the stage, so Ekos may be have trouble making the cutoff if they don't pick up some time.
Going into Wesnesday night I am looking for how course closure(s) might/will happen? I'm just looking at the stages wondering how it's possible for even the non-mortals to complete this before flights home. Any info anyone on this?
Only thoughts I have are that there is a large amount of biking coming, with much faster travel assumed. I saw something earlier estimating Friday finish for Seagate on full course. Judicious short-coursing should get the mortal teams caught up, I think. We'll see!
Seagate will probably finish Stage 7 some time tonight and take a nap. The total "fastest" time estimates for the remaining stages total almost 37 hours, not counting TAs. So if Seagate leaves TA7 at first light on Thursday morning and if the fastest time estimates are accurate this time, and if they rush through the TAs, they could get in on Friday evening. But that's a lot of "ifs".
It looks like the best bet is to send everyone to the finish by mountain bike after the Stage 8 Trek. I like Phatty's conspiracy theory on this.
Columbia has blazed confidently east and arrived in what looks like some higher ground, maybe farmland with some trails visible. They have to turn south eventually. What's the plan? At this stage, it's hard to know the rankings of Haglofs Silva, Columbia or SAFAT. Whose route will work out first?
Bragging rights? It's not just me - there is terrific commentary from around the world! I hope some day we can all meet in real life. When I finally met Silkychrome in person, it was like I'd known her forever!
Welcome aboard, Shotgunmcos! I checked out your discussion forum - nice to know we're not the only dot watchers around and nice to know I've had 15 minutes of fame in Ireland, albeit under a nickname. Please share info here too - we need people from different time zones and with different schedules!
@SM, the WT date conflict was unfortunate this year. The RD has another job that keeps him busy for most of racing season, and our host venue was unavailable on the only other weekend we could have had it. We haven't decided on a date for 2016 yet because we have to finalize our course design and book the host venue. I'd guess it'll be a couple of weeks earlier though.
Fun times in the Fantasy League. There are one or two teams who are giving me strategic headaches.
The next question is: given the pace of Seagate out front on this packrafting leg, will teams like GODZone, Estonia and the elusive Merrell make it to the next TA before the next (fantasy league) scoring round at 8pm tomorrow? Ie, will they knock this leg off in less than 24 hours? If not, their scores will stand from where they came in at TA6 for this past round. They are right in that zone on the ladder where a smart change now would justify the points in the long game.
My other question is, when a top team finishes the race and is assigned their final place, do you keep getting points for that team while the rest of the field finishes the race? I know you can't select them after they finish, but surely you would still get the points? Might be worth a change just before the finish line if there is still a couple of days left in the League and it looks like one your non-picks is going to finish highly.
I assumed you would still get the points. Unless the course is shortened for everyone, I doubt Seagate will finish before the 20:00 league calculation time on Friday so this question only comes up for the final calculation.
At 21:30, Seagate is about 1/3 of the way between the Stage 7 Reference Point and TA7. It should get faster toward the end but I still doubt they'll be leaving the TA before first light tomorrow.
Columbia has turned south but their game plan is still not obvious. Anyone know the easiest way to get coordinates to look at the same location on Bing Maps?
Haglofs Silva's western odyssey is over and they have rejoined the blue-line route about 1.3 km away from SAFAT, who veered right a little. They probably haven't seen each other after all. Silva must think they've totally screwed up but they are probably still in 2nd place.
Godzone and the Estonians aren't travelling together but they're only 500 m apart, both still on the blue-line route.
Merrell hasn't tracked since 14:00. Tecnu didn't track (yet) for 21:30 but they were still at the TA half an hour ago.
Raidlight is way off course and runs the risk of bypassing TA6 completely. What will their backstop be?
Getting coordinates is not possible via the tracking map (I presume unless you are an Admin). Best bet is to just zoom out a bit to compare the two maps and find recognizable features (bunches of trees, farmsteads, river bends, etc.) then move Bing toward where the team is on the tracking map. As a starting point, here are the lat-long coordinates for PRef: -18.304296, -56.930565 and for TA7: -18.460396, -56.762936
Hello and want to say Thanks! for all the great commentary. I have been glued to this all week, to the detriment of getting 'other things' done. I am also firmly in the camp of glad to be here not there, as I am sure my feet would be complete cases of trenchfoot.
Definitely feeling for Raidlight, but looks like they are heading the right direction now. Hope they keep it up.
Both SAFAT and Columbia have only moved a few hundred meters in the last hour. Haglofs Silva is the clear 2nd place team at this point. They've been flying since they got back on the blue-line route, whatever it is.
Darn, should have gone into the Fantasy League... Haglofs Silva was my choice for #2... I figure bad luck can't hit three years in a row, they are due for their chance to show how well they can finish.
In the Lantern Rouge realm, it appears that 9 BRA Ekos has put the paddles to work. From the point they are at now, Seagate took about 2:45 to get to TA5. If Ekos holds to 3:00 or so, they'll make it to the camp with about 30-60 min to spare. Cheer them on!!!
Meanwhile Quasarlontra and Peak Performance are passing near to short course team 28 COL Summitt, who has been walking in circles for several hours. I hope they catch the lights of those teams and latch on to get to camp before they run out of food.
Brent hasn't joined AP, but here's his most recent analysis, sent to a group of our east coast racing friends (and shared here with his permission):
"Okay, just spent way too much time doing this, but…here you go. My predictions based on all that has been and all that I foresee in my cloudy safety mirror…also, based on relatively flawless nav and TRUSTING that the rest looks far more straight forward than the past…
Seagate will arrive at approximately (times are in the local Brazilian time): TA 7, 4 AM (Thur) TA 8, 9 AM (Thur) CP21 (cutoff), 2 PM (Thur) TA 9, 9 PM (Thur) TA 10, 7 AM (Fri) TA 11, 11 AM (Fri) TA 12, 2 PM (Fri) TA 13, 630 PM (Fri) **Finish, 830 PM Tack on several hours more of sleep, because I think they will sleep some more: Finish sometime between midnight and 2 AM on Saturday. MAYBE a bit faster if this last part of the packrafting is drier and faster, like the RDs suggest…
Now, IF Haglofs manages to finish this section now that they are on track, holding roughly with Seagate now, I estimate 12 hours behind at TA 7, BEST case. If you then say they hold with Seagate, this would have them finishing at approximately noon or 2 PM on Saturday. So maybe.
That said, I think this is very optimistic. Seagate is much fresher than the chasers right now thanks to their big sleep and daylight. They can afford to sleep more, maybe coming in later in the morning, but still finishing the whole thing. I don’t think Hagloffs can afford to rest much, and realistically, I don’t think they can hold with Seagate considering the banked sleep and timing with the sun for SG (honestly, I don’t think Haglofs will manage 12 hours, I think it will be more).
So, my official declaration: SG WILL finish all of it assuming the course isn’t modified for them. Haglofs appears to be the only other team that has a chance. They are already pulling away from Armed Forces, so I don’t think can do it. Columbia appears determined to packraft back to Spain and Estonia/Godzone seem to be more like 14-15 hours back, and it won’t surprise me if they wander in circles all night or at least slow down considerably. I don’t see them keeping that gap with what they have ahead of them. My only remaining question then is whether Merrell might be sneaking through all the mess and following Seagate’s track smoothly. If they are, MAYBE they have more time to play with than Haglofs. And as for Haglofs: I’m going to say no. I think the relative lack of sleep and how tight it looks now means they won’t make it. Not sure which cutoff they’ll miss, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the RDs force everyone to detour at CP 21 after Seagate goes through. Or they might let a few go down south, paddle, and then straight to GO, collecting 200$ and a baby anaconda on the way…
Ultimately, I HOPE they let SG finish the whole thing because I think it would be a hell of a finish for them, esp. if Nathan does hang it up. But the RDs probably only need to bring one boat down to that TA and get a refund on the rest…"
Yeah, that's what we were assuming, too. I had the same thought, that someone isn't doing well. Brent isn't quite as convinced. His logic is that they had the fastest split on the trek, so hard to believe that someone was really struggling coming into TA.
R'ADYS is about a quarter of the way through the 49 km Stage 6 "wet trek" that precedes the 57 km Stage 7 pack raft stage. This will take them most of the next two days, much of it in the dark while using trekking poles to scare off the stingrays.
My questions are:
1) How much would JayXC have to pay you to switch places with him?
2) Do you think he would be willing to make that offer right now?
(**If you are JayXC, then you only need to answer Question #2.)
Well JayXC rocks and I am guessing is having the time of his life. He would have to pay me a lot mind you, but I think he SO committed and is LOVING his sport of choice that he would never trade places right now. In fact, I bet he is planning his return trip to the Panatanal.
And, it now appears that Peak Performance and Quasarlontra have adopted the short-coursed, and recently quite lost, team COL Summitt Adventure. This after making a slight turn to the North a bit ago and getting "jungled" out (is that the same as being cliffed out?). Now, all of you get to camp at TA6. You are missing the party!!!
Looks like a LOT of sleeping is now in progress all over the place on Stages 6 and 7. Team East Wind has collected two other teams now at the edge of the farmstead at the Stage 6 PRef. Wonder how many will stop off and stay the night? From that point forward, out of 17 teams, I only count 4 that have moved >forward< appreciably in the last 30 minutes.
W4J, of course JayXC rocks! But having raced with him during Hurricane Irene, I know that even *he* would sometimes choose a nice vanilla latte over a slog in heinous conditions. I doubt he's at that point yet though so I think the answer to #2 is "no" - for now. My price to switch places would be really, really high!
What a war of attrition! I give SAFAT huge props for pushing into 2nd. Loved Abby's comment about Columbia paddling back to Spain...but I am seriously worried about them. Can they phone a friend? Or get a 50/50 on a cardinal bearing? Poor guys - they're really out there!
At 1:30 a.m., it's possible that all five of the top teams - the only teams on the Stage 7 Pack Raft - are napping. Seagate has been stopped for an hour. SAFAT is the only team that has been moving but even they backed up 200 m in the last half hour.
Thanks for keeping an eye over Merrell Bash. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like the good vibes I was sending them have been working. It is odd that they get the fastest trekking split and then stop for 12h+...
I've been trying to think of reasons that a racer might stop after the fastest trekking split. We've heard a lot about hand blisters from earlier paddling sections. Maybe someone has painful or infected hand blisters and doesn't feel they can go pack rafting for 24 hours?
Bash - that's the problem with being on the other side of the world (Australia) - all the action happens while I'm sleeping and then after an orgy of news when I wake up, I get to spend the day hitting refresh on the trackers watching teams sleep.
Just took a peek at the back of the pack (where I normally am) and noticed Team #24, 4Any1 Lobo Guara, has been on the Stage 4 trek for 47 hours and counting...I'm seriously surprised they haven't been helivac'ed out yet, with how dry other teams said that section was. Tough bastards!
On a happier note, our current Lanterne Rouge, Ekos Pinheiros Selva, made it into TA5 before 1 a.m. (The cut-off was 2 a.m.) So they get to head out into the fog and impending rain for a nice trek and pack rafting adventure.
theory from Erl about the teams stopped at TA6...maybe the race organization has halted all teams there to execute a mass short-course? I havent been paying attention to TA6 arrival/departure times to verify but wanted to throw that option out there too.
woken up, and my synopsis from 12 hours of non dot watching - Seagate are just a cut above the rest....
not sure what's happened to Merrell(my team!), they slowed down a bit coming into TA6 as columbia/haglofs got there before them. now been there for 16hours. Either someone is sick/ill can't go on, or they left their tracker behind. (they could quite easily have swapped a tracker out - happens with battery levels, and the race HQ hasn't been able to switch the team ID over, but that's clutching at strwas)
AFAIK there is no word from TA6 on anything, this came 2hours ago from the official ARWS Brazil webpage, but that might just be someone sitting in his lounge in rio with the login details (and a caiparinha).
https://www.facebook.com/ARWSBrasil/photos/a.14368... "Nearing the middle of the night on day 4 you can see sobering evidence just how hard this pack rafting section is without map features and sunlight. While NZL Seagate (2) took a very direct line between TA6 and the first non compulsary reference point, other teams like COL Columbia (1) and SWE Haglöfs Silva (14) have made wild deviations. GBR GODZone (3) has started to go backwards and EST Estonian ACE Adventure (11) has started going side ways. It's very testing out there even for these strong teams with good navigators. The next 6 hours until dawn will be really interesting...."
Earlier, we heard that the only access to TA6 was by Cessna, which would make it a hard place to implement a short course - but maybe there's another way in.
TA7 (the end of the pack raft) is scheduled to close on Friday at 6 a.m. so it won't be much longer until it is out of reach for anyone still at TA6.
The last team to leave TA6 was Estonia at 18:00. At that time, Merrell had been there for almost 8 hours. Godzone headed out but returned to TA6 after 7 hours. So Merrell and Godzone aren't at TA6 because of a halt by the race organization.
However, something like that could explain why Tecnu is still there after 9.5 hours. Raidlight has been there for 3.5 hours but they needed a good rest after their 24+ hour trek, and I could see the unranked and short course teams waiting for daylight. But Tecnu would normally have headed out by now.
As a Saffa, I'm worried about Merrell who hasn't moved in a very long time. At least they are at a transition. This is honestly the most ridiculous AR course I have ever seen. This surely sparks the debate about growing the sport worldwide. I have been racing almost 15 years and have aspired to do an ARWC (unfortunately have never got there), but seeing this is completely uninspiring and I have no enthusiasm to pursue doing ARWC in future if the courses look like this. I think its just crazy! Anyone else feeling the same, or is it just me? :-) How is the sport supposed to attract new blood with races like these? I cant wait to read Nathan's write up on this one. I am sure he'll have another full outburst as he has in the past.
To quote Merrell's Facebook page:
“Why did we ever think a race here would be a good idea? Why were we excited to come here? This is not fun. This is not a nice place.” Said the ever optimistic Robyn in a despondent outburst.
I cannot get photos out yet so throw these words at a canvas and build your own picture of the team: filthy, matted, rancid smelling, blistered, swollen, bitten, chafed, rash covered, utterly exhausted. This is not inspiring. This is not an advert.
Yet they collected their box, ate their food, picked up their paddles and set off on kayaks.
And this is why they are my heros.
And from Sleepmonsters in the early part of the race:
Nathan Fa'avae had earlier said, "I rate races by how much fun I am having ... and I'm not having any yet!".
I try to withhold judgement until the racers are able to tell us what the event was like from the inside. Sometimes it was a lot more fun than it looked or the race organization was amazing or the scenery or the local people, etc.
Having said that, I don't think I've ever seen so little "ARWC envy" among spectators, nor as many experienced adventure racers who are entirely satisfied to be watching from home. Even if this event is incredibly fun and exciting, it sure doesn't look that way. Maybe part of the problem is the inability of the media to access the race course and show off its beauty. This is the largest wetland in the world; it is a very special place. Maybe it's not the most enticing race course though.
I was fooling around and made an animation of the comings and goings round TA6. never done a gif before, and file size is just a bit too big (4.6Mb) as it seems the layers didn't sit right on top of each other to get optimised out....
my 2c as someone who aspires to get his act together one day and progress up to a full on ARWC event to really test myself and team. World Champs should be tough, but the rewards should be commensurate to the effort put in.
I watched a wildlife documentary on chasing elusive jaguars in the area last night to try and get a feel for the conditions. Surprisingly, 95% of the Pantanal is privately owned, and there's 4million cattle there. BUT it's true wilderness - this is what adventures should be about. The rosy side of that coin just gets outweighed by the conditions, hot/wet/humid/featureless/bugs. with old maps. I think a decent option would have been a hybrid pantanal/mountains/plains. we might still be getting there with the MTB in the second half, but there's been too much slog up to that point.
I've always wanted to tour some of the wild places of Brazil and what better way to do it than an adventure race? So if I was in the league of these racers (I'm not) then I would have jumped at the chance to race a long course in Brazil.
So I should be experiencing some FOMO right now. I'm not. It just looks like WAAAY too much of a good thing. A little bit of swamp is good, but this entire race has been a massive swampfest so far.
"Meanwhile, back in the swamp..." pertains to all the teams, all the time.
I'm getting the strong impression that the way to travel the Pantanal is by boat (and horse). Not the pack-raft kind, but I can see myself checking in for a week on board Kalypso.
That's a long time for teams to be stopped on night 4 of the race. Perhaps the navigation is just too hard in a featureless, potentially foggy, environment to risk losing touch with the map? Every team out on the leg probably feels like they are losing places by the hour, not knowing the general carnage going on around them.
I'm sure there will be some very interesting stories to come from this one.
At this point, looks like the only option will be the direct ride to the finish canoe bit - no extra kayak leg, probably no ropes section.
If I was due to fly out on Sunday, I'd be seriously antsy about making it. If there is the option of a full 10 days, then ok, is do-able. But I keep on hearing of Sunday as a departure time - that must be wrong, right?
I must say, big kudos to Estonia, who are the only team in the top 10 still moving through the night... While they keep moving, everyone else is sleeping, but they still haven't made up a place. Eish...
Yep, Shebeen, there are several trips on other means of transport between the airport and here. Flights are definitely gonna get missed.
Seagate timed this leg to perfection, didn't they? Maximising daylight, they moved on a compass bearing from village to village. On this flat landscape, even the relatively low roofs of a village can probably be seen from a kilometer away, maybe even smoke from a fire. On that note, I wonder if those villages have lights that would be visible at night? Anyway, once darkness fell, Seagate were on a road that was followable at night.
I enjoyed this line from Sarah Hearn, one of the journos: "The hospitality of the hotel boat is beyond what anyone expected and we guiltily enjoy icecream freshly made from local fruits at lunchtime - while the teams sweat it out in the sun quaffing warm river water - and sculptural buffets of traditional foods charmingly presented by the chef cum art director."
I was hoping Merrell were merely taking a long recovery sleep, knowing that it would be their last for the race and that the next stage was pointless by night. However, I'd have expected them to be on the move by now. Something's wrong. Ditto for Godzone. Meanwhile out in the swamp, Columbia have headed too far East. They needed to have turned South already if that was their plan. Hang on, they may have just done that! Will be interesting to see if they meet Estonia en route. And the Swedes are sweating it out from the West, on the "recommended" route. Who will hit the CP first out of these 4 teams? Stay tuned to find out.
Dawn soon so hopefully Columbia will turn about, I wonder how GZ and Merell are in TA6? Hopefully running repairs and still in it. Fenix Multisport sneaking back into it behind those midpackers. Silva have turned East now after SAFAT so that could be your latest podium Estonia have been a surprise package and still in it if they just head south. I wonder how good the Bike skills are of the Ensaar brothers? I figured they would go well with so much trekking in the first half of the race.
Also with Quasaslontra and Peak Performance going walkabout looking to hand deliver Santa Letters, Rady's could steal a march and move into the top 10!
Have a feeling there is something going on at T6. No movement from any team, and it has been light for an hour and half now. Any guesses? theories: All teams there pulled off the course? All teams short coursed? All teams got sick on the last leg? Or perhaps all teams just thrown in the towel and said THAT'S ENOUGH!
Explains what is going on at TA6. The writing must have been on the wall for the teams there for a while now. Perhaps GZ were given the chance to go out but realised they weren't going to make it in time and thought better to go with the short course instead of DNF on the long?
Quite hard to believe 4 contenders sitting in TA6, Tencu, Raidlight, Merell and GZ so its very plausible something is going on. I heard dawn has produced a fog. Maybe it is near imporssible conditions and a call is/has been made?
If the leading 5 teams can finish Stage 7 and survive the relatively more straight forward ride, then the top 5 positions have been stitched up. Kind of takes the competitive drive out for the chasing pack, however there are still places in an ARWC to fight for, and any of those top 5 could still stumble - it is looking like a long hard stage, even for the best teams and navigators in the world.
Seagate, who haven't really done too much wrong on this packraft leg have now been on it for 28 hours (including a 6 hour stop last night), and still aren't done yet. Makes the time predictions of FASTEST 10 hours and SLOWEST 22 hours seem laughable. Makes you wonder how well the course was vetted.
I think I'd prefer to complete this 'swamping' stage on foot/pack raft rather than fly in a 1950's Cessna, which has just broken down in outback Brazil! Anyway, great to see you on here for the first time Liam. Loving all the updates from yourself and others from all different time zones.
So, do they wait for the other 11 teams on stage 6 to rock into TA6 and then pile them all onto the Cessna? Do they wait for the top 5 to dib into TA7? Do the hold everyone at TA7 for X time after the top 5 head off? How much fresher will everyone be than the top 5? Are they enternally ranked >5th or can they over take on the last bike leg and try and make up time handicap? Really feeling for the Estonians and Columbia right now
As I read it Shotgunmcos, the top 5 teams can't be passed by the others now unless they DNF. I imagine they will shuttle the teams. Given access issues and the fact that the many of the ranches/properties/homesteads/farms have runways, I imagine that they all have their own small planes which will be recruited for the job by organisers. In fact, if you zoom into TA7 on the satellite photo, you can see a small plane parked there. Given that time is pressing on the course closing, I don't think they will hold teams back for the full difference of times according to arrival into TA6, however they may stagger starts a little bit (eg first into TA is first to fly and first to set off on the bikes, with time adjustments calculated later).
BTW Kim - I'll be very keen to hear Rob's thoughts on the race when he gets home. Tecnu are still in for a chance of a very competitive result. Every place means a big difference for their world series ranking given that it's a World Champs and worth more than double the points.
also seen on the twitter feed(and thisi is before they canned the last paddle) - AR World Series @ARWorldSeries 23h23 hours ago Latest predictions have NZL Seagate at the finish on Friday afternoon. Just over 6 days. #arwcpantanal
I'm also looking forward to hearing Rob's thoughts, and anyone else that posts here or Facebook, etc. From my comfy couch at home I'm glad not to be racing this one, but I'm really hoping those racing are enjoying it more than we all think they are!
At least now we have an explanation for the long stopovers and return trips to TA 6. I bet they're all looking forward to seeing their bikes for the first time.
Alright, pressure from abiperk and Bash was just too great, so I'm getting in on this fun. Brent Freedland from Rootstock Racing, formerly with GOALS ARA here.
So, obviously Seagate is behind my estimates (posted by Abby last night). Still thinking they have a chance at the full course IF the rest is as "easy" as it seems. That said, I'm concerned for the rest, except maybe the two Swedish teams. Haven't read too much this AM, so maybe there is news, but I'm really wondering about the logistical plans right now for all those teams in TA and the many still trekking into the TA from the river.
Anyone know if they had remote TA bins for this one or their full TA bins? If remote bins, I'm thinking no one sitting in TA can possibly have enough food to go through what Seagate just did cleanly. If I'm the RD, I'm really considering how to get teams out of there now rather than allowing them to progress into the packrafting leg, at least those teams that are still trekking. Seems like a rapidly spiraling logistical nightmare, and I have to think they are considering whether evacing teams or making them trek back to the river might be better than allowing them to go out with the packrafts.
If some teams trek out, perhaps they can paddle downriver to the finish. If teams are allowed to start the packrafting...will they even have time to bike short course back to the finish? I don't think many teams if any will do this as cleanly as Seagate even if they are allowed to progress...
I feel bad for Shubi and would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the race staff discuss options. Or a mosquito. Or a capybara...
Oh, and I'm not convinced about the compasses. Seagate had little trouble, though they did have that one little loop. Maybe they figured it out. Urtzi is such a great navigator though, and I can't imagine he hasn't figured it out if it's the compass...Estonians too.
Basically the organisation has lost control of the race. It's chaos now and a bit of a lottery in terms of positions. Any plans teams may have had of saving something for the final stages, sleep strategy etc: out the window. Still entertaining to watch it unfold, but I suspect less so for the teams who were still in race mode.
Looks like the two Swedish teams have a decent trail there that will see them through. Amazing how the swedes always bubble to the top. Maybe because they have AR as a school sport. Great work by them. They nicely placed for second and third now.
Seagate passed the reference point about 18 hours ago...The Swedes left TA 20 (SAFAT) and 25 hours ago (Haglofs). I'm sure they knew it would be more than 10 hours, but how much food did they actually bring? Looking like they will be out for 45 hours each, give or take, maybe more since I'm betting they are out of food or rationing by now...
And is Columbia coming out of this leg under their own power?
I'm getting worried for relentless who is supposed to be following the lead teams. According to what he said last he should be in the middle of that last leg following a team but no idea which one. I know for sure that he won't have enough food since the estimates are so wrong. I just hope he can keep up with the teams despite the extra weight he is carrying (pack raft and camera stuff)
"It will be a brave team that goes light on food. One such is Team Silva of Sweden who told me they are taking the usual amount of food, even though they also said they’ve checked their flights can be changed should they ‘get lost for a few days’."
Good planning on the flights, but they must be getting a bit hungry by now!
@Frenchie: Relentless is stronger and better rested than any racer at this point, and he's a smart guy who would know to ignore the RD estimates when planning his food. The media hasn't had much to report on but they'll know that the wonky time estimates have been a huge story.
I wonder if the upcoming short course option was explained at TA6 and teams had a choice earlier in the day. In that case, Merrell might have looked at the map and decided to try their luck at the shorter course. After all, the top five might not make it to the end of the longer course within cut-offs so the teams resting at TA6 aren't necessarily out of it. This could also be a less worrisome explanation for Godzone taking a 7-hour tour, then returning to TA6. By the time teams got to TA6, they'd seen the type of terrain and the quality of the map. In this scenario, Estonia disagreed and went for it.
word is that teams had to pack their food before seeing the maps, with nothing to go off of other than the time estimates. Might see some teams of 3 coming out of the swamp trek.
"Fiona McBryde I think they will have all lost weight...they had to pack the food into boxes before even seeing the maps, so to have the predicted times so far out (current stage pred fast time 10 hours, Seagate have been on it for 28 hours and counting) and no possibility of refueling on the course - teams will be running on empty." - from Nathan's facebook page
Looking at the chart teams were given (first post on this thread), it just shows distances, not time estimates. Since they didn't get maps until right before the race, did they have the time estimates for individual stages? We're seeing them on the live coverage page but racers wouldn't have seen that.
Nope - taken from Sleepmonsters: "Teams have had the route outline and basic details of ARWC Pantanal for a couple of weeks now, but had to wait for the full briefing and the route book until 3pm this afternoon (after they had packed their boxes and stowed them onto the navy ships which will take them to the start)."
Latest ARWS Tweet: Short course update: Teams to fly from CP17 [TA6] to CP20 in the order they arrived.
Note that I didn't include a TA number for CP20 because there isn't one. CP20 is the first CP on the mountain bike course. Looking at the terrain, it looks like a good place to land a plane but TA8 (the start of the Stage 9 MTB) definitely doesn't. Hopefully it's a reasonable place to set up an unplanned TA.
From Sleepmonsters: Back at AT6 there was something of a rebellion in the jungle. Godzone returned to the transition some 8 hours after setting out, and the message was relayed to Shubi that the teams didn’t want to go on. “I think the teams that came back freaked everyone out,” she said. “They were saying it’s impossible to go on, to find a way or navigate and all the teams got together and called me. I spoke to Nick Gracie and tried to explain that the route on the cattle track was better, then later rang them back to say we would fly the teams out from there. They were so thankful when I said this!”
Interesting. Merrell arrived shortly after 10 a.m. and stayed even when Estonia left at 18:00. So let's hope they and all the teams at the TA are OK, just rebellious. Even if someone *did* have a health issue - illness or a cut that wasn't healing - they've had some time to recover.
'...The plan is now to fly all teams at AT6 to CP20 and to finish the race from there. Their bikes will be moved to CP20 and from there they will ride to CP21 then take the short course option to CP25 and finish the race on that route.
There are two planes and each can take 4 so the teams will be flown out in the order they arrived, then resume racing, time adjustments will be made later on.
I also heard some food would be made available as teams are running out, and another comment was that racers who are dehydrated at AT6 have been allowed to take IV drips without any penalty, though not all took up the option. Again this was purely a safety option to keep teams in the best possible condition in the circumstances.
The top 5 teams who completed the pack raft will remain on the course, completing the next shorter trek and then picking up their bikes at PC19. They will then ride to CP20 and take the same short course route as the other teams. This means they will miss the river paddle and be on a reduced mountain biking leg (from 250km down to a total 185km … so there is still a long way to go.)'
Since Merrell was the first of the "rebellious" teams to reach TA6, could they possibly have instigated the mutiny? They must have been pretty gatvol* to refuse to continue after recovering so well up to 2nd place...
*another South Africanism for you - Brian can explain what it means :)
Pronounced: gaaat-fall. Meaning: very fed-up or irritated.
It is a South African word, derived from the Afrikaans language, but widely used in English (and some indigenous language conversation.)
Literal translation: gat(ass or hole) vol(full)
Probably intended to mean a dug hole full to the brim (“up to your neck with…”) , but given a slant by the double meaning of the word “gat”.
I am gatvol of the way my boss treats me.
Btw props to Silkychrome for calling it. As unbelievable as it seems, there *was* a short course plan brewing at TA6 that some (but not all) of the top teams in the world chose to go with. (Assuming we're right that Merrell made the choice to sit tight.)
Agreed. I would be surprised if Columbia bails at this point as they very well might be thinking that going out is just as hard as continuing. Just wonder how much food is left in the packs. Assuming they somehow emerge, this will be the ultimate "We thought we were out of it. Thought ten teams had passed us..." moment, only to find they are still in the top five...if they can make it out. And only 5 or 6 hours of daylight left...They NEED to figure something out fast or they'll be sleeping in the swamps again tonight.
And it will be interesting to see how Estonia pops out. Moving into third place is possible, what a race for them! Though I suspect SAFAT has it easier being on the "route".
It might have been easier in packrafts if the water was as deep as in the pic with the horses. Sounds like water levels are lower than expected in this part? So maybe what was deeper when scouting with horses is now more like ankle/knee deep and hence packrafts would be tough to use effectively with the vegetation underneath.
New question: 17 teams need flights, not including poor Issy. How long is it going to fly teams, one by one to 20? 60-70km direct line flight. So 130km round trip for each team + landing and take-off time. I imagine some refueling too...I have no idea how fast a cessna travels...but could it be as much as two hours per team? More, less?
Not counting sleep, it took Seagate more than 10 hours to get to TA7 from 2nd place Haglofs Silva's current position. Of course, they were very well rested for the last part of it, which they did in daylight. Silva only has 5.5 hours of daylight left - and who knows how much food?
TA7 closes tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. so teams have 16.5 hours to get there. Teams that missed the TA4 cut-off were "out of the race". If the same rule applies to TA7, short course teams could move into the top five.
Why are they limited to planes? I don't much about aircraft, so I guess planes are cheaper and easier to arrange. But a large helicopter would work much better, no airstrip needed. How did they expect to rescue teams in distress quickly in areas of poor road penetration if they didn't have a helicopter standing by?
Bad GPS track, I suspect. Less than 30 minutes between their position and last plot. Don't think that's possible...unless Gollum has followed them out of Leg 6, called a dragon and they are now literally flying...
SAFAT hit the reference point at 13:30, about 22 hours after leaving TA6. Excluding sleep, it took Seagate over 12 hours to get to TA7 from there. Given that SAFAT must be tired with limited food and will be in the dark in 5-ish hours, they will need to keep a sense of urgency to make the 6 a.m. cut-off. They're still in the right ballpark.
Our former Lanterne Rouge Ekos Pinheiro Selva has not left TA5 after 13 hours even though they made the cut-off. The race organization must have changed the plan after seeing the carnage up front. They are marked "short course" rather than "retired" so perhaps they will be moved forward in some other way.
I guess the current Lanterne Rouge (last team on the full course) is Columbia. Eventually, it may be Seagate - even if they win!
The last ranked team moving forward on the Stage 6 trek is Issy Adventure, accompanied by unranked Canoar Acampamento Aventura. They're close to the reference point. Keep going, Issy. My Fantasy League needs you!
The two Swedish teams are moving well on the blue-line route. Estonia is moving east too, but 7-8 km north of the blue-line route. I wonder if they think they are on "the" cattle trail. How could they know at this point?
Lots of exploration happening northwest of TA6. About 8 teams are up there, including East Wind and R'ADYS, and they'll probably be seeing footprints from other teams who spent time up there. Yogaslackers and Fenix are the only ones close to the yellow-line route. It looks like R'ADYS, Aroeira and Quasarlontra are together and have figured out their error.
Keep in mind that these teams have no way of knowing what has transpired ahead of them. TA6 was to have closed at 8 a.m. so I wonder if they are all "not in the race" as soon as they arrive. That may be what they are thinking right now, anyway. How discouraging after such a long night! Imagine their shock to walk into the farm and see Godzone, Tecnu, Raidlight, Peak Performance and Merrell hanging out, all relaxed-like.
So, for this noob over here, has there ever been a situation like this at an elite/world level race? I can't get over how the race started with no racer self evaluation of distances and times, and same distances and times are totally off, TA6 mutiny, and maybe travels plans back are at risk? How did it play out? I thought a part of the course would get cancelled...but didn't expect a full on "we won't race."
Interesting that Godzone was flown before Merrell. Teams are supposed to be flown out in order of arrival - and Merrell got to TA6 before Godzone. Maybe they really did throw in the towel. Tecnu was the next full course team to arrive at TA6 that hasn't left on Stage 7.
Work4justice. Tough questions. Clearly this thing derailed a long time ago, maybe even before the race began. As an RD myself (not of races of this magnitude, but still) I feel for Shubi with this one as this is not going to be easy to dissect for her and I imagine there are going to be some harsh words from some. I can't say I have ever heard of anything like this at all, but then again there has never been a course quite like this, and "quite" might be an understatement of epic proportions.
I hope that the AR community, esp. those living it in person, can use this as a model for why more of a hands on approach is necessary in the preparation of such events. More oversight, esp. for a race of this magnitude, more efforts to test courses is critical. Obviously, you can never test the course exactly as is in regards to duration, teams, environment, race day conditions, but more needed to happen. I'm not suggesting the team this year didn't scout or test, they clearly did a lot, but something obviously didn't translate to reality.
Ultimately, any expedition race is epic for the RD, far bigger than for the racers in many ways, and it's impossible to predict and account for everything. What's done is done, and Shubi and the ARWC staff are going to have to live with this one. Racers are also going to have to do so and find the silver linings.
There is real potential here for negative impact on the sport and the ARWS, but there is also real potential for improving things from the top on down. I hope this doesn't have a negative impact, and I am glad XPD is hosting next year because everyone knows they are among the best at putting on such races. Another race like this and you might have ten teams at Worlds...
Just a thought that came to mind, but won't the order the teams are transported have a huge effect on the rest of the race? GODZone will get to race in the light for a lot longer than the other teams, for example.
Yes, SM, that's why the organization was going to fly them out in order of arrival - a reward of sorts. And that's why it is strange that Godzone went ahead of Merrell. But Merrell is flying now, ahead of Tecnu.
Yep, flight time will affect things. Looks like they are moving relatively quickly with Merrell coming in now.
I think there will be silver linings, but I feel like I've seen races that go off much, much better than this still get slammed overall. I think we often hear more of the complaints. I'm remembering Costa Rica which now seems easy by comparison. But after that race many of the top racers were complaining about the fact that it was too hard and questioned various RD decisions and plans. They had things they spoke highly of, but I don't remember the aftermath being a particularly rosy one. And I also remember a lot of public questioning about issues like oversight and RDing at this level then too.
And CR had Arthur...I think the race staff should now consider planting abandoned jaguar cubs in TA bins or something to distract everyone for the last few days...maybe have someone rescue a puppy from a python...
@Greatescape, maybe. Merrell had already been at the TA for 6-7 hours by the time Godzone went out so I thought the mutiny had already occurred before Godzone returned. Regardless, I imagine the results seem pretty meaningless at this point and perhaps it is a courtesy to Godzone to let them go first since they have gone farther on the course.
Shotgunmcos, it depends what happens with the TA6 cut-off and what it means.
The TA5 cut-off (end of paddle) was extended by 4 hours to 2:00. We've never heard anything about the TA6 cut-off, which was supposed to be 8:00 this morning. Surely it has changed but if it's only by 4 hours, that has already passed.
Furthermore, we don't know what it means to miss this cut-off. Teams that missed the TA4 cut-off were immediately "retired" from the race and taken by motorboat.
Thanks for all the updates guys - much appreciated.
It seems to me the problem with this event is that the terrain/vegetation/elements are very unforgiving if you aren't on the exact right route. Add in poor maps and you have very little margin for error which leads to big increases in predicted times. RD was probably a bit optimistic and didn't account for this.
It is too bad we don't have anymore expedition ARs in Canada - I've got world class terrain in my backyard that would make an amazing World Champs. Bash want to bring WT on a road trip out west? ;)
Broots, you're right that the AR community needs to be thinking about possible positive outcomes based on what is learned here, rather than just grumbling. More oversight by ARWS is needed.
There were experienced racers who purposely stayed away from this ARWC. Many of us read the info beforehand and shook our heads. There were lots of indications that it might not be a ton of fun and that the rich wildlife, featureless terrain, poor maps and limited rescue access introduced major risks.
There is a phenomenon that gets in the way though. At our events, we've noticed that when race conditions are more difficult, we get more positive feedback from racers. For example, there seems to be a bigger feeling of accomplishment when you finish a race in torrential rain, perhaps because you know you've done something that most people can't do.
Similarly, there was an expedition race a few years ago that a number of my friends did. Most teams saw a small portion of the course. There were missing CPs and serious safety risks, e.g. a team arriving after a long paddle to find only their bikes - no food, no maps, no race volunteer, no helmets, no bike shoes, no food, no dry clothes. They continued on the course from memory because it would be too cold to sit still.
That was just one of many stories from that race, yet many people have raved about how great it was. It was adventurous and the landscape was beautiful (although the race organization shouldn't be given credit for the latter).
When adventure racers celebrate unnecessary risk and poor organization as "greater adventure", it may be true but they are doing a disservice to the sport. The natural outcome is a situation like this. And then how do we attract new people to sustain the sport?
Bash - yes that race certainly could have used some logistical oversight;) I wasn't too worried though - we had just passed a cottage where we'd been offered some whisky so that option was always on the table:)
We all like adventure though and dealing with (some) adversity so not surprising that the feedback is more positive when conditions are tough. It is the "epic" problem.
Just curious, any guesses how far seagate have walked so far this race? We can't know for sure whether packrafting was walking or paddling or what the split was, but still, it has to be some kind of record for AR. Day 6 and they have yet to set eyes on a bicycle.
@Veinbuster, you may be right, although an unsuccessful excursion wouldn't usually move a team up a place in the standings. Given that they didn't reach any CPs during their excursion, they hadn't made any official leaderboard-type progress. The race organization specifically said they would fly teams out in order of arrival at TA6.
Anyway, I was mostly concerned that Merrell might be unwell. If Tecnu had flown next, that would have supported that hypothesis. Instead, there was probably some agreement that Godzone deserved the first flight, even though it wasn't consistent with the leaderboard.
@Revy, agreed. Adventure and adversity are part of what make a long AR such a memorable experience. We don't want AR dumbed down to the point that it's no fun.
On the other hand, few teams finished that race and most of the others wouldn't support that race organization ever again, which is not the outcome we want. So somehow we need guidelines and a culture that encourage adventure and don't try to prevent all adversity, yet somehow find a way to keep things "reasonable", whatever that means.
It will be interesting to see what happens here. Racers who get through a difficult race leg are more inclined to think it was fair and deserved to be part of the race, and that other teams should have been able to tough it out. (Revy, you may recognize this point of view from your experience with senior MDs and interns!)
Nathan calls a spade a spade though, and I'm guessing he'll say this was ridiculous. Looking forward to that race report!
As a novice adventure racer who has only recently gotten involved in the sport, I can say unequivocally that new racers are hurt much more by poor race organization. Lack of experience makes it more difficult to stay on the correct route and much more difficult to recover. Poor maps, impossible-to-reach CPs and nasty or unforgiving terrain do not make me (or my teammates) like a race more.
However, I would say the biggest problem the sport faces (at every level, from the looks of this race) is the withholding of information from racers until they are committed. Racers do not get adequate time with the maps or enough information about the terrain to make informed, safe decisions. Many times, at least the U.S., it's impossible for racers to ask important questions about the course because they don't know it until just before the start. In addition, racers often have to pack their gear for TAs without knowing where they will be on the course or what they might need, and then are given limited space in their gear boxes to work with.
As one last anecdote to end on, while my teammates and I have only been racing for two+ years, we were thinking about doing our first expedition race next year. At the beginning of this race, I forwarded my teammates (and my family members - big mistake!) links so they could follow along. With all they've read, I'm going to have a lot of trouble convincing my teammates to commit to an expedition race, and even if they did, my mother-in-law might forcibly stop us from going :) She called me last night and tried to get me to promise that we would never do anything like the Pantanal race. Egads.
That's right Bash. Which is why I think it had to have been Merrells doing that GZ flew first. And if they were withdrawing, then they would have been evacuated last, I think, unless it was with serious injury in which case first. So neither.
Godzone, Merrell and Ekos Pinheiro Selva (who must have flown from TA5) are now all at CP20. Godzone has been there for more than 2 hours and hasn't left. So much for getting an advantage by flying first! It will be dark in 2 hours.
This wasn't intended to be a TA. I wonder if their bikes and gear boxes are there.
Meanwhile, back in the swamp :) The swedes and estonia are headed in the right direction with a looong way to go, while columbia are headed west, probably trying to pick up the path the swedes used. I really hope they find it.
My 2 cents on a few things. I've been stalking the board for a few days and haven't commented because you all are way more on top of things than I am, which is also probably why my fantasy ranking is in the 100's. Anyway, I've been racing for 5 years and RD'ing for 3 year (8-12 hr races). Costa Rica was the first ARWC I paid attention to and also what inspired me to do my first multiday race (Cowboy Tough 2014).
All that to say this: In my mind, there is a difference between expedition "adventures" and "racing". For AR to be a sport, there has to be a reasonable number of teams able to "race" the course. IE use their skills and abilities navigating, biking, trekking, paddling to complete the course in the shortest amount of time. When very few teams can even complete the course, it becomes less of a race and more of an expedition adventure, and I think the sport loses credibility as a sport at that point.
For example, I'm finding myself wondering now if Columbia is even going to make it out of there or if they're going to have to send a helicoptor. They are only 10km from the TA they left almost 30 hours ago... That's not racing anymore...
There will always be teams that don't complete the full course, and RD's need to have plans in place to manage short course alternatives. When noone can complete the course, it just becomes a battle of attrition to see who can last the longest, not a "race", and really loses the appeal for all but a very select few. Seems to me the ARWC should be a race that MORE people want to aspire to competing in, NOT LESS.
Costa Rica got me interested in trying multi-day racing, and Cowboy Tough got me hooked, and I think more ARWS or possibly even an AWRC races are in my future, but this doesn't look like something I would want to sign up for. Could just as well have somebody drop me off in the middle of nowhere with a backpack and see if I make it out alive.
That being said, I do think people will learn from it and hopefully make this great sport better.
For me the perfect balance of a race is one that is tough enough to have me questioning my sanity (my family gave up doing that a long time ago) but enjoyable enough that I can have fun (in a sadistic kinda way) with my team-mates along the way.
I was at the first ARWC in Switzerland, and was caught right behind a near-fatal accident. All but the top 9 teams were "short coursed". No course is perfect, but I hope RDs err on the side of true, point to point "mission impossible" race courses worthy of the ARWC name.
And I think Strong Machine's comments really highlight the problem with why the sport doesn't grow more. It's about perception and sometimes the negatives get highlighted too much. Even in great portrayals like Eco, it's easier to remember the salties in Australia (even though I hear they were nowhere near the racers), the leeches in the eyes, the broken bones and airlifts.
The reality is, though this race is turning out to be a disaster, consider some of the other expeditions that ran this year or have run/will run again:
Godzone, XPD, Africa, Itera all have fantastic reputations. Sounds like Paraguay was a great time, Spain too. Raid in France seemed to have their issues, but overall it sounds like a great event in most regards. I've heard wonderful things about Tierra Viva. Cowboy Tough has its following and is well-liked by those who do it.
We've talked about Expedition Alaska a fair bit in the last week. It had some similar issues in regards to segment length and difficulty and remoteness, but Bash, you're right, we have been glowing about it since due to the adventure of it. I think the difference was we were clearly told before even starting that we would all be doing modified versions and that MAYBE one or two teams would do all of it, and the RD supported teams from start to finish to make sure they got there doing as much as possible and everyone "finished".
Unfortunately, it takes one bad race, one bad moment to mar all the great races and things that happen within them.
So, Strong Machine, do your homework, reach out to people who have done the expedition you might consider and find one that sounds reasonable. I can make a an immediate plug for Itera in Ireland if you are up for traveling that far. Brilliant courses, and some of the most astute and wise course designers I have seen or heard of!
the idea of having teams try long trek/packrafts across flat wetlands that go from almost no features to completely featureless if covered by 2 feet of water - which happens at unpredictable intervals depending on the weather - was perhaps not well thought through. Of course it all gets worse by heaps at night, and they have 11 hours of darkness to contend with.
Clearly they did not factor the relentless heat and humidity into their travel time estimates. Hot humid conditions are like putting a rev limiter on a car: even the fastest can only go at half-speed. With racers it', they slow down not because of fatigue or navigation, but because they will suffer heat stroke if they work any harder.
I have been surprised and hugely impressed with how few teams have got themselves badly lost, although losing touch with the maps in stage 6 is a race-ending, helicopter extraction scenario. Fortunately they were able to send bearings and distances to Columbia and Estonia.
Hear hear, 5 days without seeing your bike, or another team! Seagate are leading but how can they even feel like they are in a race without contact from any other team for so long?
I agree with the points on race vs expedition. I did my first multi day (3 days so not this league) this summer and it was awesome racing. Coming across teams all the time, same team multiple times. Next year my team make the leap to an ARWS race
It has to be a fine balance to strike between making a race really tough for the elite PRO teams and doable for the 10+ contingent home teams. 5 days of paddle, trek, paddle, trek, paddle, trek, paddle, trek, paddle, is not exactly inspiring. Especially if half the teams only get to experience that and nothing else? Adventure racing is supposed to be really tough yes, but varied and fun!
The stage time estimates for this race were way out. Thats a serious flaw. How are teams supposed to plan food? In that heat!
Bash, I think you've really got it right with saying that racers certainly feel more satisfied with their accomplishments when the going gets a little rougher. Some the moments I remember most are the really tough ones where I was cold and tired and hip-deep in a swamp but managed to pull through with the help my teammates. So I completely understand that RDs want to make races super epic and challenging. However; I think that as a racer it's very important to be able to have the confidence that a course has been vetted for a certain safety standard, or to know that there are some standards in place for things like time estimates. It is not okay to have your health and safety seriously threatened by misinformation leading to under-preparedness.
As it was said before, yucky races may lead to poor press for AR. I think the ARWS has a certain responsibility to make sure that RDs are putting out good quality races not only for the safety of the racers, but in order to maintain integrity of the sport. But this is probably a harder job that we can imagine, and I know that Craig Bycroft is a sympathetic guy who would never want anyone to have a poor experience. If XPD is any indication, Craig knows how to run a fantastic race. I think AWRC 2016 will revitalize the sport after a few years of (less-enjoyably) tough jungle races.
With Columbia's sharp correction, I'm wondering if they have also been sent a message to help relocate them via the trackers? All pure speculation at this stage. I'm really pulling for these 5 teams to make it through this leg in one piece and finish the course under their own steam. Certainly they have deserved the satisfaction of crossing that finish line after their massive efforts so far.
Great discussion and points! And yes, there are some well-organized, safe (as much as possible) expedition ARs, and Broots' list is a good starting point.
I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing if only a few teams finish an entire race course as long as other teams have a good experience. Racers have taken time off work, paid money to travel, compromised their family's vacation time, trained for months, purchased a mandatory machete, etc. etc. Short course teams should get to do all the disciplines and they should get to see some of the nicer parts of the race course.
Although Expedition Alaska was "big", it didn't come across as "ridiculous". It still looked appealing - with some tweaks for a future year. In this case, as Los Dobos says, teams have been given a challenge that just doesn't make much sense.
A few people are talking about "balance", which is great. There has often been a kneejerk reaction in AR culture that More Adventure always = Better, and if you don't agree, well then, you're not a real adventure racer. Slice is a real adventure racer with a ton of experience including ARWC and a win in Costa Rica the year before it was the ARWC. This comment of hers above bears repeating:
"However; I think that as a racer it's very important to be able to have the confidence that a course has been vetted for a certain safety standard, or to know that there are some standards in place for things like time estimates. It is not okay to have your health and safety seriously threatened by misinformation leading to under-preparedness. "
Shotgunmcos - Exp Alaska this year had a similar course format with trek, paddle, repeat for 5 days. We didn't see our bikes until day 6. In saying that, the first bike leg was the best bike leg I've ever done in a race. That was at least until the second bike leg, which instantly became my new favourite of all time. The key points though, were that we knew well in advance that biking would only be a small part of the race, and not until late into it. And also, the course and terrain truly justified the logistics of having so little riding. To be fair though, I would have been p*ssed if I had hauled my bike all the way around the world and not to ride it.
I think the fact that the teams have not seen their bikes yet would not be weighing too heavily on their minds. And similarly, they knew they were signing up for a jungle/swamp race. I'd suggest the unachievability of the full course given the RDs predictions may be their biggest gripe. But perhaps teams out there are relishing in the challenge (although that seems unlikely from the few reports we have had). It will definitely be interesting to read the post-race reports.
Finally a message back out from Team Mountain Designs, reproduced below:
"Hi everyone..... Gary, Leo , Sloshy and Kim are back in Corumba at the event hotel....we are all well and now just reflecting on the race that was. As you would have seen that once we were sure that Gary was going to be ok and in good hands, we did attempt to go out on some of the course...but had to wait for permission....following the Trek we could not paddle straight away as again we had to wait for permission....So by then Gary was keen to paddle so we did....at the end of that leg we had our tracker and bibs taken from us as they did not want us to continue on the course..... So Leo, Sloshy and Kim had to board a navy ship back to Corumba (after waiting 5hrs on a bank)....Gary however got a speed boat back to the luxury boat that he had paid to stay on as otherwise he would have not been able to recover and be guaranteed somewhere to sleep each night.... Reflecting on the event and now what continuing teams are being faced with for our own personal longterm health, it is probably a blessing in disguise. We did manage to get some photos out on the course, so will be sure to produce some race reports soon.... Thanks so much everyone for your support in following us on this adventure, we are disappointed we didn't get a chance to really race.....but sometimes things just don't go your way....."
Hey RogueAdventure, that bike leg probably felt like the best in the world after all that paddling and trekking! Like your first bite of chocolate after lent!
TBH I wouldn't care if there were 20 reps of paddle trek in a race, but I would be miffed if I lost out on the fun stuff and the bike always has fun stuff, like descending!! The point was more towards the short course teams. As Bash said they need to experience all discilines and see the best parts of the course.
You want teams spreading the word about your race afterwards. You want more to come.
P.S fair play staying top of the Fantasy! If it wasn't for that I wouldn't be rooting for basically every teams still out there :-)
Both the Estonians and Columbia are making progress toward the blue-line route to TA7 after (presumably) receiving the race organization's message telling them their coordinates and the right way to go. Both Swedish teams should get to TA7 ahead of them but it's still a long way to go and we don't know if/when TA7 will close now, given the changed circumstances.
At Wilderness Traverse, as some people reading this will know, if you contact me at Race HQ when you're lost, I ask you whether you want to be disqualified, which is what happens if I give you specific navigation advice. If it's not a team contending for the win (and it never is - at least not so far), I will sometimes suggest that your team is doing fine and maybe you should keep trying a little longer.
So what happens in this case? Godzone recognized that the navigation was pretty ridiculous, especially at night, so they came back to TA6. Should they be ranked behind a team that went out there and didn't recognize the problem in time to be able to return to the TA, then required detailed navigation info to get out of their predicament?
As with many things in life, it's all about managing expectations.
I've heard great things about Exp Alaska also, which was a very difficult race in the "uncompleteable" category, but David Adlard advertised it that way. I knew it before the race started and I wasn't racing. And I've also heard since then that they really went out of their way to make the racers experience great.
As has been said, It should be a reasonable expectation that the race organization isn't going to put you in harms way unnecessarily or through misinformation.
I will say that being a race director for this level of competition with increasing expectations of the "epic" factor as well as competitor experience and safety and now more increasingly spectator experience has to be a daunting task with very little reward if you do pull it off.
We all should consider how daunting a task it is to set up a race in the middle of nowhere. Makes me wonder why any sane person would do it...?
I think you're right to do it the way you do it Bash, though I also am fine with allowing them race officially and simply rank them behind all others.
In this case, seems to me, that the RDs might have to rank them ASSUMING they simply sent information. Did they ask that same question you do? Or did they text it over? If they gave the information without being asked for it, I think they have to rank them, though I would say neither should be ranked ahead of the Swedes if they somehow catch up.
Now, if these teams asked for the info, it becomes much more contentious, and I would feel differently. But it's tough to penalize EST and COL if they were simply given the info.
Sorry, i was gone for the past hour, but in response to Bash - yes, my mother-in-law would be a great arbiter of course fairness :)
and to broots: We have already been looking seriously at Itera (we're in Maine, so it's not a bad flight from Boston), but your recommendation (and those of shotgunmcos as well), gives me even more confidence it's a good starter race for us.
And we'll definitely be getting down to PA to race Rootstock's races! When will you have dates available for those races? We're organizing an 8-hour up here in Maine for July and you and Abby are invited :)
Bob and I have been discussing a different way of handling it. We have long discussed a "GPS category" for Wilderness Traverse. The Eco-Endurance Challenge in Nova Scotia offers GPS and non-GPS categories, and the top teams are always in the non-GPS category.
I haven't been keen on the idea but I can appreciate that it might increase participation among teams with less confidence. Bob's thought is that anyone who contacts me at HQ during the race will automatically be moved to the GPS category, whether or not they carry one, and regardless of what I say to them. Since we have pretty good cell phone coverage on our course, we know that some teams (hopefully only the honest ones who told us) have used Google Maps to locate themselves, and they could be switched to the GPS category too. It does depend on the honour system - but it already does anyway.
The other risk is that GPS and non-GPS teams will encounter one another in the woods - but once again, that may already happen with teams who have disqualified themselves by taking out their phones.
What is the current appeal of keeping back maps until the start or practically the start? I always thought some opportunity to plan things out was a fun part of longer ARs, but eg, this AWRC and eg USARAs don't roll this way.
One wonders about a rough ARWC course planning guide like the OUSA classic guidelines. Following that format, you'd recommend something like: one or two quite long hard legs, but not slogs w/out route choice, then some shorter legs to mix it up, etc. And there could be a winning time guideline - perhaps for a normal AWRS, super teams would be in the 3 ish day range, then the AWRC would be a 5 ish day range, etc. Or whatever is appropriate. Deviations would naturally then draw more scrutiny, and if justified approved or else rejected.
Or what's so hard about having optional CPs on each leg? That way, each stage has short, medium and long options and there would be strategy decisions at every level. Also, you wouldn't need a complicated scoring system to figure out how to rank teams and teams would stay bunched together rather than spreading out over a huge course (like the current ARWS).
Mr Wonderful, getting the maps at the start is actually a really nice way to go. That way navigators (and their supportive teammates) actually get a great night of rest before the start instead of staying up all night fretting over possible route choices. Waaaaay more relaxing. However, this only works if racers can trust their RDs in their time predictions!!!!
Strong Machine, did you just move to Maine? I thought you were in the midwest. Would love more info on your race as we will likely be up in NH mid July and might be able to swing that!
Dates are online for the adventure trek. Working on permitting for the Two Rivers (our bigger one for next year) but likely in December give or take. The sylvan is still TBD but only a sprint, so not sure you want to come down for that:)
Oh, and if you want to talk ITERA, let us know! I did Wales last year and we both did the Scotland five day race (not called ITERA but the same thing) in 2012. We already signed up for ITERA Ireland when registration opened this week:)
Any other estimates as to how long it will take from TA8/Bike start to the finish?
Looks like about 200km bike plus the ropes course... IF you assume 24 hours and no sleep to the finish, Seagate is basically there now and that would put them at the finish line around 6pm Friday. Here's where I have the next four teams behind Seagate (taking out their 6 hours of rest)
Silva - 12 hours back SAFAT - 15 hours back Estonia - 17 hours back Columbia - 21 hours back
These are all Seagate's times back to where the teams are now (minus Seagate's 6hr rest)
With NO SLEEP and 24 hours to bike and do the ropes, that puts finish times at: Silva - 6 am Sat SAFAT - 9 am Sat Estonia - 11 am Sat Columbia - 3 pm Sat
Add sleep and the fact that Seagate is pretty fast...
Will be interesting to see how it unfolds as there isn't much left to shorten the course from the bike start.
Agree with Slice. As a navigator, I love hearing that we will only get the maps at the start or handed out along the way. If I have the night to prepare, I will use that night to prepare instead of sleeping. I'll also feel obligated to check satellite images and park maps and old race maps I've brought from home, etc. At some events, support crews have been known to go out driving to check things out that are accessible by road. And racers may phone people familiar with the area to ask for advice.
It is way nicer to know that I will get to sleep, then just do my best with map and compass, the same as everyone else.
Agreed Broots - if the information was supplied unsolicited, then they shouldn't be penalised. Mind you, it would be unfair on the two Swedish teams if they then went on to overtake them, so you may see the top 3 positions of the race stitched up. Keep in mind that we have no word that Columbia have been given directions, we are just making assumptions from the tracker dots.
Given that the bike leg has been shortened and the last paddle has been removed, I'd say the cut off time at TA7 will be extended for the 4 teams still on stage 7. It would be unfair to unrank them now. And even if they need a lift out, there times should be adjusted back to when they arrived at TA6 relative to those that flew out. Energy lost on Stage 7 would be penalty enough.
Back to the conversation about course directing, I think it is a simple concept in principle and extremely difficult in practice. A team entering a race with reasonable fitness and experience should expect to finish that race barring unforeseen catastrophy (injury, broken bike, act of god, etc). A course should be set up so that the best teams can complete in, say, 75% of the allotted time, with short course options to get the second half of the field through while they still get to experience the best bits of the course (eg a whitewater paddle, a caving section, a ropes course, a canyon trek, etc).
The problem for race directors is that the speed difference between fastest and slowest teams on a course is anywhere up to 2.5 times the difference! There are mechanisms you can put in place to account for this. I organise an annual 24hr AR each year, but the whole course is rogaine format (with some linear elements), so all I need to do is make sure the course is big enough for the best teams, but the linear elements can be done by any team. Personally though, I prefer to race a linear race - they are just more "pure" somehow. XPD account for the difference in speed by making a 4.5 day course open for 9.5 days, which gets most teams through. For a sprint race (up to 24hrs) you can just have extra bonus legs at the end of the standard race to keep the quick teams out there longer. Either of these options are not a luxury for most expedition races though.
The best example I've seen of short coursing I've seen is the 2013 GODZone course. The race only had 8 stages, with a cutoff at the end of Stage 5. All short course teams still got to do the last 3 stages, they just did shorter versions of each stage. That way most teams got to do the full "journey". Obviously, it is not always easy to set a course in this manner, which is where race directing can be an art form. I'd suggest that one of the problems with the current race is that the directors have painted themselves into a corner without any real alternate course options without putting teams on planes (!) - a reflection of the remote nature of the area. Hard to complain though if this "remoteness" is what teams were signing up for.
Anyway, time to start thinking about how all this plays out for the real competition: the Fantasy League!
@Strongmachine - it's interesting you say that about optional CP's. The Beast of Ballyhoura race that shotgun and myself did this year had a few mandatory CP's and left the rest entirely up to the teams to figure out based on route cards.
You had to know your speeds and predict what points you could collect, so which to go for and which to leave. There were bonus points tied into orienteering loops or optional kayaking stages so the bigger pro teams could have a proper long course event and those mid or back pack could manage their own races to achieve completion.
I can't remember how many didn't finish, its wasn't memorable (shotgun might know offhand) but it was a great format.
To all - you'll be well welcomed in Ireland if you can make ITERA in 2016. I'm with Mike on this it will be an experience of a lifetime - I just gotta work on the family!
While we're dot watching together, I want to take a moment to thank Ken Walker for this forum where friendly, knowledgeable folks from around the world have been gathering to chat about expedition ARs for the past few years. We've learned a lot (especially how to speak South African) and we've made some friends.
Some of you are new here and may not know that Attackpoint is primarily a tool for logging training - customizable for whatever kind of training you do. It was originally developed for the orienteering community but Ken has created a separate AR community and even made some changes to the functionality of this forum to better handle our long ARWC discussions!
Just as I would buy a coffee if I chatted with friends in a cafe for a few hours, it would be good form if some of us make donations to Attackpoint as a thank you for hosting us. It's been great entertainment! It's not some big corporation - it's just Ken, who is an athlete like many of us with a young family and a day job. He does a great job of managing AP in his "spare time", as you'll know if you've ever contacted him with an issue.
Further to the question of map handouts - and sorry to harken back to GODZone, but they really do have race management dialled - but GZ do it perfectly in my opinion. Teams get a logistic matrix with all the boxes, leg order and predicted times. Note, in the first GZ these times were way off, particularly for the trek legs (first race syndrome perhaps?), but since then they have been pretty reliable. After boxes are packed, teams are sequestered away for approx 4 hours to mark up maps right before race start - either the night before or on the morning of the race. The key point is that no teams can have external help with the maps - no calling up mates, no checking satellite photos, no reading up trip reports, etc. That way it is 100% fair for all competitors as everyone has the same maps and information to work with. This is supposed to give international and visiting teams a fair playing field, but unsurprisingly the Kiwi teams still dominate the race. Again, not the easiest thing to do logistically, but still quite manageable.
Looks like R'ADYS arrived at TA6 at 19:00 just as the sun set. I assume the plane doesn't fly at night so there's going to be a huge slumber party at TA6. I count 12 teams there now. Issy Adventure and Canoar Acampemento Aventura are the last teams on the Stage 6 trek and will hopefully arrive during the night. They'll have a long time to rest before it's their turn to fly.
I see GZ have been moved up on the leaderboard over Merrell. I can't recall who came into TA6 first, but I thought it was Merrell? Obviously their trek into TA7 has impacted this, or perhaps its an automatic tracker thing that updates the leaderboard?
Merrell came into TA6 first. We were told the leaderboard was being updated through geofencing although a human is changing teams to short course, retired and unranked status so who knows? Ranking has been based on when a team leaves the TA so when Godzone got on the plane ahead of Merrell, that moved them up a spot.
the problem with optional CPs in an expedition race is how to rank teams? by total number of optional check points? would all optional CPs be worth the same or would it be more rogaine-like? You'd end up with potentially a dozen race categories as the race progressed. It would make dot-watching all but impossible, which would deprive Bash of all meaning in her life. ;)
@LosDobos - Beast of Ballyhoura was rogaine like with a value on CP's.
From a racing perspective it worked really well. From a dot watching perspective we caught up in the week afterwards with all the tweets and facbook posts about people stressing we'd gone of the course line, were we lost, ahead, behind etc. We were having a ball and tons of fun!
The stress was on the watchers :)
Edit: it did make the final rankings a bit of a mission though as there was a course change due to tides and a storm on the long kayak stage. The awards ceremony was delayed by a few hours.
We didn't mind we'd plenty of beers to keep us company :D
@LosDobos: To respond to the hypothetical, it doesn't matter how much CPs are worth, but for ease of simplicity say they're all worth one point. Count up the total CPs/points after each stage and post them online for the dot-watchers and have the totals available at the TAs so all teams know where they're at. Don't see how you end up with different race categories that way.
I love rogaining as a standalone sport. I don't love it as part of expedition AR. If Grant is out there, he can talk about why Untamed NE doesn't have a rogaine section anymore. And if Leanimal is out there, she did an ARWC (was it Portugal?) that had so many optional CPs, it made no sense to anyone, not even the participants.
Given how hard it is to keep a leaderboard up to date, you can imagine how hard it is to keep points totals up to date. Dot watching, alas, becomes a lot less fun. Although spectators are less important than racers, we are still very important. A race that offers a good spectator experience encourages people to come out and try the sport or that particular event - or maybe they come out to volunteer or give the go-ahead to their spouse (or son-in-law) to attend.
More than that - and this is just an opinion - I like expedition ARs that have the feel of a journey. Ideally, if a racer sees a team ahead, they should know that team is ahead of them, and the first team to cross the finish line should win. Now that may not happen even this time with the plethora of short course options, not to mention any penalties. (And it didn't happen at Wilderness Traverse this year due to a penalty.) But I think that's a great goal to guide race design to make the sport understandable and appealing.
@Bash...Your points make good sense. I wasn't thinking of a ton of extra CPs, just one or two per stage that would encourage a harder or longer route for the faster teams. If done correctly, I think it actually might make dot-watching more fun, as it might make comebacks more possible for teams who implement better strategy throughout the race. (I remember getting bored with last year's world championships because Seagate was so far out ahead).
Well now it's moving. GZ and Merell racing on bikes. Yes bikes! Columb and Estonia are on track thankfully but have a long way to go. How many of these short course teams will Seagate reel back in on the bike? GZ have a 30 min penalty to serve at the end too so best they shake Merell.
Optional CPs can be a headache to track alright. In ITERA Wales each CP had a time value. Up to you which ones you dropped. The race was still linear and had cut offs etc.. The optional short cuts in this race meant most teams missing ropes. Why even bother?
Optional CPs are more popular in the U.S. than in Canada so I'm treading on sensitive ground. I think there are events where they make sense but I personally wouldn't want to see them in ARWC - just one person's opinion. I'd rather see defined advanced and/or short courses, with teams ranked higher if they are on a more difficult/longer course. That is easier to manage as an RD and to follow as a spectator.
There are also other considerations since we sometimes place our wilderness CPs in certain locations for safety reasons or to avoid private property. It's impossible to really test all the combinations of OPs.
Putting on my race organizer hat, I can't imagine how much work it would be to put out intermediate CPs for an expedition-length course. You'll notice there weren't any CPs at all between TA5 and TA6, or between TA6 and TA7.
The last U.S. AR I did with optional CPs (OPs) did not provide all the maps ahead of time. While I like this in a point-to-point AR, it is unfair in a race with OPs. You need to assess the entire race course to figure out what you want to do with the very first OP. And if the maps aren't good or are of different quality around the course, you might be misled and choose the wrong OPs, which isn't fair either. As unimpressed as we might be with the maps of the Stage 7 pack rafting stage, it was the same problem for everyone to solve. (Not that I'm a fan of this stage!)
I'm not sure how exactly Rev3 does their live tracking updates during the Cowboy Tough since I'm on course, but there are lots of optionals with the very clear intention to accomplish the Epic & Amateur combined race while keeping the racers closer together. A part of it has to do with a rigorous process for downloading e-punch data from each team each day and uploading that online.
Before you say "that only work b/c it's in the USA with great wireless / hotspot / data access", please note that more than 50% of Wyoming (where this race happens) has ZERO wireless coverage.
Look at the their site http://www.rev3adventure.com/#!cct/c1y0h and hit up Mark Harris for more info about how he makes it work. It would be great if he'd chime in here about it all, but I'm not sure he's on AP-AR.
Agreed with Slice about getting the map at last moment or at least a few hours before the race. It is so Much nicer to start a race having slept the night before. As for optional cps along the way I am not a fan.. Especially when they are too early in the race. What I think works best is to have some rogaine sections in the race though and I think that's where the optional cps should be. I also think that it's important to keep the race "dot watching friendly" as it is one way to get people interested by the sport. If it gets too complicated people aren't interested in following or in knowing more about the sport... My 2 cents
We had a much less active Cowboy Tough discussion where the RD kindly participated to seek feedback on the live coverage. Although people loved *doing* the race, here was one comment (not mine) in that discussion and there was more to follow.
"Cowboy Tough has gotten routinely positive reviews from racers in terms of competitive experience, and it provides a unique daily hard cutoff, but now that it has hit the big time (ARWS), the spectator experience definitely needs elevated."
aaand Seagate are off on the bikes...watch them chase down a few of the short coursed teams. Yogaslackers first up, then Peak Performance. Will be nice for them to have some other teams to chat to for a change!
Further to the race commentary, a tip of the hat to SAFAT's navigation through the packraft leg. They haven't been moving fast (relative to Seagate, which is probably not a fair comparison for anyone), but they don't seem to have done much wrong.
Prob depends how they are feeling - they stopped for ~5 hours overnight, so they may push on until the wee hours if they are feeling okay, then sleep again in the witching hours. I think if any any point on the bike they get sleepmonsters they will stop immediately and rest - no need to push.
They might well find it quite motivating to have a few teams to chase down though, and I am sure there will be lots of friendly words directed their way if/when they do.
Ditto on not commenting but have been following closely albeit only for the last two days so my fantasy league score ranking is low. :) (FYI, there are over 360 people that signed up in case anyone is curious).
I wonder if any team will take one of the other bike routes? Maybe in the daylight?
Yogaslackers looks like they are still at TA8, but their tracker hasn't updated for over 1:30. I'll venture that they have actually begun moving and are in front of Seagate, which means Seagate has not yet crossed paths with any other teams. If not, I wonder if they paused at TA8 to get some beta on what's up, who's in behind (and in front) of them, etc.
Check out the CP log check-in times: It looks like FRA Raidlight arrived at CP20 just a few minutes before USA Tecnu. Tecnu should've left by plane from TA6 before Raidlight, based on their arrival times at TA6. However, they checked in at CP20 so close in time to one another (8 min), there must have been another plane (copter?) running shuttles. Perhaps the one for Raidlight was faster? Tecnu sure busted butt getting bikes built and moving out (24 min) - nobody else was even close to that mark.
I suspect that food might have been scrounged (maybe only by Columbia) at the PRef farmstead...somebody must be living there, right? Perhaps others farms along the way (esp. after PRef) have also been resources?
DOH! Totally wrong about Yogaslackers. They are still at TA8. So, I guess the photos at the link above were taken while Yoga slept and Seagate moved through. Perhaps Yoga was the team that the post above described with someone who couldn't get out of the plane? Hope they are doing well...they are one of the best at taking care of one another and of other teams in spite of any desire to move faster.
Yogaslackers didn't get much rest at TA6 before they got on the plane like everyone else did. Only 3 hours or so if I'm seeing it right. Kindof surprised they got transported actually as I thought I saw they could only fly in the daylight..?? Hopefully they are just resting and are alright. The front short course teams got up to 20+ hours of down time, so should be rocking for the rest of the race assuming they don't have any injuries.
If I interpret this correctly it sounds like Yogaslackers might have an ill team member, and either have pulled out, or just be sleeping at TA (translation is unclear to say the least). He doesn't mention them by name or number, but he says that of the 6 teams transported to CP20, one has not left due to an ill team member. The only team that fits that description is Yoga...
Here's the Facebook translation from Czech of the bit that might indicate Yoga has a suffering teammate:
"Others we transferred the gear on CP 20 and they have gradually be transported here aircraft from cp17. yet today was transported 6 teams, their list can be found in the photo. 5 the first already also this afternoon on MTB section has pulled out, the last of them asleep, one of the racers wasn't even able to walk from the plane to the depot around 400 meters..."
Note that there were seven teams transported by plane to CP20 today, but one of them is on an even shorter course (#9 BRA Ekos) and came over from TA5 after just making the cutoff there, apparently deciding not to proceed on the stage 6 trek. I presume that's the explanation for the "6 teams" stmt.
Also to elaborate on the possible Yogaslakers situation:
"A friend is in pc 20... And she says that now I'm Seagate. But he was the last few days in previous pc. The runners were like zombies. Even one was not able to get off the plane by itself. Diambulaban the teams among a myriad of small paths in the plain..."
Posted in Spanish (Auto translated) on AdvFeel comunicacion's FB page a couple hours ago.
Seagate has biked past Yogaslackers at CP20 - their first sign of other racers in days - and at 2 a.m., they are just 3 km behind Ekos Pinheiros Selva. It's beyond incredible that any team has been able to stay on the full course this long - but Seagate is often beyond incredible. It's too soon to declare them world champions but they have already earned it a few times over in this tough event.
In 2nd place at TA7 is Haglofs Silva. Kudos to them for finding their way through that heinous pack raft section. They probably thought they'd totally blown it, given how long they were out there, so it must have been a shock to arrive at TA7 and learn that almost every other team had been short coursed behind them. Let's wish Silva better luck on the bikes than they've had for the past two ARWCs, i.e. no broken bones this year, please!
In 3rd place, two hours from TA7, is SAFAT. As someone said above, they have truly risen to the occasion. They were only on the "B" list in the Fantasy League. (I picked them, oh yeah!) but they'll be on the "A" list in future!
The Estonians are 6-7 hours away from TA7 on the blue-line route. They must be starved.
Columbia arrived at the Reference Point farm in the middle of Stage 7 at 20:00 and haven't tracked since 22:00. Hopefully, they're getting sleep and food. I wonder if they've been able to get any info about the race. It must have been a little strange when the race organization sent coordinates in the middle of the race, especially since the stage cut-off wasn't until tomorrow morning. I doubt there was an opportunity to provide much context.
6th place (I guess) Merrell is leading on the bike with Godzone close behind. There's a bit of a gap to Tecnu, then Raidlight and Peak Performance. Not too far behind them is Ekos Pinheiros Selva (on a shorter short course), just in front of Seagate.
As mentioned above, the Yogaslackers started riding from CP20 (which is not TA8 but it's where the plane goes) but they turned back after 2-3 km.
Meanwhile, back on Stage 6, Issy Adventure has been napping for a few hours after circling around a little north of the elusive herdsman's trail. Unranked Canoar Acampamento Aventura had been travelling with them but have been stopped since sunset 7 hours ago.
Eleven teams are hanging out at TA6 waiting for a plane including East Wind, Quasarlontra, R'ADYS and many more.
More importantly, RogueAdventure continues to lead the Fantasy League. What a streak!
Phatty has moved into 4th. Broots is 6th and StrongMachine is 7th. I'm in 14th and FB is just one point behind in 15th. We've both left Wilderness and Wokitoki in our dust in 17th, which is the important thing. What went wrong, Abiperk? 22nd! And Stijn is in 28th; I guess the night shift probably sleeps through some of the pertinent race info.
Great recap, @Bash. Good catch regarding the TA8 ref - OOPS!
Peak Performance, not Yogaslackers, was the team that left CP20 going down the southern 'route', went back, then continued on the eastern route everyone else is on.
Yogaslackers have not moved more than 20m since they got off the plane. Hope they are getting a great sleep and will rejoin the race ready to rock a top 10 finish. Their clean navigation on the stage 6 trek bumped them up roughly 5 spots and got them the last spot on the plane today rather than tomorrow, which provided access to their bike boxes and probably more food from the TA8 kit.
I was out of loop most of the day and couldn't make any trades... probably good thing as my trades thus far have all backfired... I'd have been much better off sticking with my original picks :-( ... (except Mountain Designs and Blackhill who were on my original list)
How do they know that any coordinates sent out to teams would have been rec'd/seen? Was it a message on the tracking device that would have been accompanied by an audible alert? I know when I race my mandatory phone is off & "bomb-proofed" and buried in the bottom of a bag and the tracker is just something that you put somewhere 'visible' to the sky but where it won't be annoying when carrying crap on your shoulders as required. I rely on TA staff to tell me if it's working... I don't give it much thought (except that one time when I figured the whole world was watching me (us) do the "Les Nessman" @ EA)
Also, Bash... I don't think Yoga Slackers ever left CP20... I think that was Arthur's Peak Performance team who did the quick out and back.. and out
wow, that was a lot to go through - thanks to the north america crew for all the briliiant analysis for us closer to GMT.
on the race position, most of what I think has already been said - I do really feel for Shubi the race director; mistakes, planned or unplanned it is just a real pity to have your masterpiece not working out the way you wanted. Clearly she erred on the side of making it too tough, and has mentioned that the heat has been unseasonably high. What is really good is that the final outcome will probably not be affected - no one can argue that Seagate do not deserve to be winners should they finish it (a freak wipeout or something now would really throw the cat among the pigeons)
will be interesting to see who comes in first over the line, GZ vs Merrell or can seagate overhaul them(not likely really). Another aspect is how you as a team handle this curveball. Merrell pulled into TA6 at 10am, and then got going on bikes from CP20 the next day at 5pm - 31hours of sitting around. is that maybe too long to now get backi into race mode? godzone had 26hours of this, but 8 hours of packrafting around in the middle. Two totally different starting points for them.
and now finally, since it doesn't seem like we have any kiwi dotwatchers here, been a helluva week for them and i doubt there's many cattle ranches that could have told them the news that a)jonah lomu passed a way, b)richie mccaw retired. (hint, two rugby players)
not sure if someone picked it up, but i see Godzone would have flown pretty much over Seagate at the time. I have visions of a coke bottle flying out the plane - just like in this one - The God's Must be Crazy (1980 film)
so the Leg6 trek was 'supposed' to be the crazy one - with stingrays at your every step, seems like LEG7 packraft is blowing it out the water.
Suggested time 10hours (for 50km...in hindsight that looks optimistic on paper without any free miles down river paddling). so far we've got seagate, haglofs and safat in 39, 37 and 39 hours respectively. Most inspired decision of the race so far (unfortunately) appears to have been GodZone's call to turn back to TA6.
As it stands, Columbia have been on it for 43hours and are at the halfway stage.
Team Estonia for 37hours with about a third remaining, but are now going 180' in the wrong direction.
As a midpack hacker, I should really be taking a bit of pleasure in seeing the best in the world also struggling with a course, but it's gone way beyond that now. Can only hope they have found food at farmsteads (is stingray sushi a thing?). I shake my head in amazement, am very happy to be a dot watcher right now. Going to be some real PG13 language when they come into transition.
What are the bets on Columbia and Estonia being flown out of T7 in time for the prize giving? Not sure what SAFAT are up to.... maybe their compass is properly broken... or maybe the marshal at T7 took an early flight home! I really feel for Estonia, and there are multiple rogaine world champs in that team.
Didn't they say they would adjust the times later on according to who came when at TA6? In that case even if Tecnu catch Godzone and Merrell it doesn't mean they would be 6th...right? Do we know how much ahead were those two teams at TA6?
I really feel for Columbia. It would be heartbreaking to be disqualified after so much efforts :(
looks like Godzone have stopped or slowed to a crawl. Merrill has suddenly gapped them by 10km and Tecnu are catching them rapidly. Bike problems? They must be fairly well rested so can't see them stopping for sleep, especially in the day. Godzone know it's a sprint to get to the ropes first, lets hope they get moving soon (completely unbiased UK supporters here ;)
Columbia and Estonia both on the move again, in the right direction! Hurrah!
Some of us have been housed in a hotel which is experiencing wifi difficulties. There is none. There may be some tomorrow. The hotel, which is the official race hotel, is outside of town, 5km from the race finish venue. It’s normally a long walk in the heat to get to the conference centre and internet connection. Not so today because it’s raining. Big, dark, ominous clouds, gusty winds and bursts of pelting water bullets. Perfect for cycling. Merrell has been traveling through the night on their mountain bikes across a farm. Prediction 12 hours for fastest team. They are the fastest team and have been going for about 16 hours, yet to reach CP21. Will try to reach them on the road between CP21 and CP25 – which is a church. Some might feel compelled to enter and have a chat with the boss.
Many teams still waiting in the swamps for the planes to take them out to CP20.
So, 10 or so teams in the swamp. Fastest teams have been cycling for 16 hours and still have quite a ways to go even if they were to skip the ropes...seems like we should be hearing soon that all the teams in the swamp are being flown back to the finish or somewhere really close. You know, somewhere where the race will predict a 2 hour bike ride which will be more like 12 so that teams can make it to the finish. I just don't see how any of the teams could make it if it's taking the rested leaders this long to bike...
on the massive assumption that there are no more curveballs, one would have to think that Seagate, Haglofs and SAFAT will be able to complete the course in that order. Estonia are leading Columbia in 4/5th...but if they can slog it out to the finish and remain on the long course then 4th goes to whoever gets there first.
here's the way I see the 'RACE for 6th'
Clock was essentially stopped for each team when they came into TA6 Clock is then restarted when they leave CP20 (or when they get dropped off by the plane)
If that is the case, then here is the clock (hh:mm) as at TA6 Arrival Merrell - 93:05 Godzone - 97:50 Tecnu - 99:30 Raidlight - 105:50
now that they are (relatively) flying through the biking, it doesn't look like anyone could close those timegaps, except maybe Tecnu catching the 1:40 they need on Godzone.
I wonder what sort of a footnote Seagate's 30min bib time penalty will become....will they really make them sit out for that time period at the final transition?!...sounds like a good media opportunity to pick Nathan's mind.
Race director must be dreading any appeals that teams might have after these results come out. There are bound to be complications. She'll have to lean on the "race director's decision is final" clause. I can't see Seagate being forced to park off on the side of the road for 30 min. Not with 2nd placed Silva so far back. However, I do foresee Godzone's bib penalty coming into play.
Columbia about to overtake Estonia. Estonia have made less than 1km forward progress in the last 10 hours. Considering that they have 2 former Rogaine World Champions on their team, that appears to speak volumes about just how tough that stage is, and just how good Chris Forne is....
So teams have about 27 hours to finish. A few teams will really have to hammer on the bikes to make that cut-off. Those still in the jungle might need to start rescheduling their flights home. I'm fully in support of tough races, especially for a championship, but when an RD is so out-in-left-field with course design, it takes the fun out of the event.
Regarding nav. in the swamp, I think the element that give Seagate the "win" and made Estonia flounder was the time of day when they departed from TA6. Daylight appears to have been critical to making it through the first half.
Seagate circled a bit just an hour or so out from the TA, probably to relocate precisely, then clearly just took linked bearings across the swamp to get to the PRef and the "good" trail as daylight began to wane. Basically, the daylight helped them to see across the swamp, find clear landmarks (farmsteads), and stay found for those hours. They were also able to follow bearings accurately after taking a good sleep to beat back the sleepmonsters.
Estonia was in exactly the opposite situation, leaving TA6 just at dusk. All of the things that Seagate had going for them were gone and they eventually lost track of their position and, presumably, could not relocate. Now they are back on track, but have sleepmonsters hounding them and are likely very losing weight with every step toward TA7.
Really feel for the effort undertaken and challenges they have endured.
The race organization said yesterday that teams would just be credited for their transfer time from TA6 to CP20, i.e. TA6 would be treated like a dark zone where teams who arrive earlier are simply rewarded with more rest. Then they were going to be flown out in order of arrival.
Given that the rules have been changing on the fly (!!), who knows if this will be the final call? The RD said she'd hoped the mutineers would have tried harder so I doubt there will be many concessions (beyond an expensive flight out).
Speaking of which, the weather was bad this morning, which is why the flights didn't start earlier. With only one team per plane, let's hope everyone gets out today. Sending some love to JayXC!
World Championship in Pantanal is soon entering the 6 day of racing and team Haglöfs Silva is still on 2nd position with Swedish friends SAFAT chasing a few hours behind. Seagate (NZ) still far ahead on front. The gap to 4th placed Columbia (Spain) and 5th placed Estonians has grown during the last hours thanks to successful navigation from the two Swedish teams and less successful navigation from Columbia and the Estonians. Navigation has been a big part of this race and all teams have faced great challenges and according to satellite tracker not only been able to follow the ideal route… As almost all sections of this race have taken way longer than expected, organisers were forced to shorten the route drastically in order to get any team to finish line before they miss their respectively flights back home. Section 9 (MTB) shortened, Section 10 (kayak) taken away and Section 11 shortened (this was the planned short course for teams back in the field). Overall, probably some 24 hour less racing. Our guess is that thanks to this change, three teams from the full course may make it to finish line in time to price giving. Teams in position 6-7 at transition 5 (Merrell (SA) and Godzone (UK) started the 6th leg but turned back after a number of hours, stating it was impossible to continue. After discussions with race organisation, course was closed and all teams who had not started this section was taken by airplane to transition 6, cutting out the long and difficult packraft section that Haglöfs Silva needed 37 hours to complete (Seagate and SAFAT 39 hours). This is the same section which Columbia and the Estonians still has to finish. So, after 5 days of racing, only 5 teams are on the full course. Hopefully all those 5 teams (2nd and 3rd Swedish) will manage to reach the finishline. Following the tracker after this course change can be somewhat confusing as there are some short course teams (including Swedish Peak Peformance, Merrell, Godzone and Tecnu) ahead of Haglöfs Silva and SAFAT. Non of the teams that did not do this 7th leg can beat our Haglöfs Silva team, as long as they make it to the finish line. Fingers crossed they do!! For sure they are suffering from heat, exhaustion and all kinds of blisters, but we are confident that after almost a week facing all kinds of challenges (except freezing) they want to make sure it has not been in vain.
I can't remember who said it above but no matter what we think of the race course, it's hard not to feel for the RD whose dream has been (at least partly) crushed. Most of us have organized or volunteered at races so we know how much work goes on behind the scenes. This region presented some huge challenges for course testing and race management.
Is anyone familiar with the racing experience of the organizers? I think they must have used GPS to navigate their course test - which isn't a real course test. Someone said they used horses to test the pack raft section although that may not have been a course testing photo.
There have been some great things about this event:
- The tracking has been excellent and the coordinated update times have made dot watching easy.
- The few photos we've seen (when there is Internet) have been fascinating and sometimes wildly beautiful. I knew very little about the largest wetland in the world and this has been a great lesson in geography, biology and culture.
- The race organization has used ships and planes to make it possible to operate in inhospitable terrain.
- Um, that's all I've got. What other positives can you think of?
+1 to what you say about the team behind the scenes.
Re the course recce, unless they did it 12 months ago there is no way to predict the effect of the weather and conditions on the teams and course. I was side-baring this with shotgun the other day about the time span that the recce was done over.
None of us know for sure and it's conjecture on our part. It will be interesting to see the outcome over the next few weeks as teams release reports.
Re the perennial debate about the use of GPS: this race illustrates what a negative GPS would be, for top end racing. It would effectively remove all the guesswork, and most of the drama, that we've seen so far.
Although I'm not personally interested in doing races where GPS is allowed, I think it may have been a way to get teams through the pack raft leg only so more teams could reach the back end of the course.
My concern here is just that course testers must use the same tools that are available to the racers - the same map and whatever nav tools are permitted, e.g. compass, altimeter. That's the only way to test whether the map supports what you're asking the racers to do. I'm sure many of us have been asked to find CPs that are just UTMs without any map feature to go by. We used to get a lot of that in Ontario but fortunately not anymore.
Bash: Shubi, who I think was the primary course designer, has a long history of racing expeditions, dating back to the days of Eco (she raced on a Brazilian team with three women, I believe, and got a lot of coverage). I don't know much about her experience as an RD, but I think she may have been involved in eco-motion in a directing/administrative role.
Its going to be very cruel if current teams in positions 2-5 get short-coursed and end up mixing it up with the teams flown in.
Any ideas how the placing and timing will work for those finish positions? Will the TA6 'rest' times be added on to extend the course time for the existing short course teams Godzone and co or what is likely to happen?
P.S. I should add that Bob (former Tecnu navigator) and I do carry GPS when we test Wilderness Traverse because we want to mark points of interest and download our track later. Also, there are only two of us usually, and no one is watching us on a tracker with a team of medics waiting to help if we get in trouble. It's a point of honour not to use GPS during the test though!
@abiperk - you're spot on Shubi was team leader for the Brazilian girl team at eco challenge in New Zealand 2002 (I watched the coverage again recently on a marathon turbo session) they were obliged to have a man on the team to be competitive and spent most of the race bickering and falling out.
It was the year Ian Adamson's team out strategised Pure NZ (Nathan Fa'ave, Kathy Lynch & co went on a no-sleep strategy which caught up with Nathan) video shows him asleep on a rapel!!
Bash -- Broots and I do the same when we're scouting and testing our courses -- we bring GPS with us for plotting, and then then use it again to confirm position when we're testing ourselves or with other people. But we don't use them to find the points, nor do we use other modes of transportation than what the racers will be using.
Silva needs to leave on their bikes now to even get to the finish. SAFAT cannot get to the finish. Columbia and Estonia will be lucky to even see their bikes by race cut-off. And when do they plan on getting 12 teams out of the jungle? I agree with Bash that course testers need to use the same tools as racers. Navigators are good but not magical. There needs to be some logical method to be able to navigate through these sections.
Just to clarify the 8pm Friday "cut-off" at CP21 which will likely affect the remaining full course teams.
As I read it, from CP21 teams will then just carry on directly to the finish - this skips the only real hill on the bike leg plus the ropes. This should mean that at least Silva and SAFAT will cross the finish line unaided - not so sure about EST and Colombia - even the shorter short course might be too much for them.
I feel for the RD. She and her staff have been working on putting together a very unique, remote and difficult race for well over 18 months. We can all reflect on races where the estimates on the time it would take to complete the course where grossly incorrect. Sometimes outside of the RD's span of control, or their scope of planning: unseasonable weather, low water levels, last minute mandated course changes (permitting or a land owner changing their mind), etc. That said, I remember early advertisements for this race stating there were several course plans, specifically identifying water levels as the determinate.
What can we take away from this? Solid course vetting, preferably by an outside party. Close enough to the race to identify short term weather/water issues, yet far enough out to make necessary changes to the size and format of the race and placement of CP's and TA's.
Thanks for everyone for their commentary and input. This has been the most riveting ARWC to follow - probably because of all the drama.
And Seagate pass Peak Performance in teh last tracker update...it will be a real emotional and motivational lift for Seagate getting cheered on by the other teams along the way...although I agree with Bash, I suspect they would be quite happy to ride on and skip the ropes...which have a predicted time of 2-3 hours to watch for it to take 6-8 hours...
It will be interesting whether the ropes can cope with this density of teams, being so late in the course they may have assumed a wide spread...
Also given the rain and wind apparently battering the area now, I wouldn't half be surprised if the RD ended up cancelling the ropes as well...
It's a little over 48 hours since Columbia - the top ranked AR team in the world - started the Stage 7 pack raft that was estimated to take the slowest teams 22 hrs 35 min. (That is incredible precision.)
Granted, Columbia hasn't been moving all that time. They're probably caught on up sleep and last night they stayed at the Reference Point farm where they probably got food. On the other hand, they're ahead of where they *would* have been because the race organization texted to give them directions. It will be another 4-5 hours until they get to TA7.
I would suggest a moment of silence for Columbia if it weren't for the sadder plight of the Estonians. Has anyone seen any sign that they visited a farm where they might have stocked up on food? They haven't been out quite as long - "only" about 44 hours with navigation assistance from the organizers - but they may be much hungrier. They should reach TA7 within 2 hours.
At the back of the pack about 60% of the way through the Stage 6 trek, Issy Adventure and unranked Canoar Acampamento Aventura were travelling together yesterday. The unranked team stopped at what looks like a farm around sunset while Issy continued on a short distance, circled around, then had an 8-hour sleep until first light. Then they got up and returned to the place where Canoar spent the night.
Issy is highlighted in black now so they have retired, which may just mean they missed the TA6 cut-off. Perhaps the race organization contacted them and asked them to stay put. It looks like there might be a short runway at that location.
So, as Rogue said some time ago, what about Fantasy?!
Some serious questions (and in all seriousness, this applies to the actual race too). Mathematically, it is starting to seem that at least three of these five super teams who just lived through hell aren’t going to make it to the finish line under their own power…I haven’t looked closely, but can they even be picked up at the end of the packraft? Or do they have to trek out? Will they be shortcoursed and moved forward but still ranked ahead based off of what they have completed? How long will that take? Will it even be feasible to move them with so little time left and still allow them to ride in somehow? Will they be loaded in a truck and driven to the finish and DQed?
Silva looks to arrive at CP 21 around 4 AM based on Seagate’s progression leaving them ten hours to somehow finish. I imagine riding straight in will get them there, and I trust they will be ranked 2nd, BUT…who knows. Merrell could find themselves finishing in 2nd or 3rd depending on how the race deals with all these questions…
Seagate has been on the bikes for almost 20 hours since TA. So if SAFAT were to literally start biking now, which would require a hot-tub time machine (or maybe a packraft...) they would get to Seagate's current position around 10 AM tomorrow, and it still looks like a fair ride in at this rate...so probably not going to happen. Here's hoping the RDs have a plan to move them ahead so they can finish rather than being DQed.
And finally,do I make drastic changes to my fantasy team with these questions percolating? If three of the leaders don’t even finish, there is going to be a rumble in the jungle not to mention my fantasy league will be shot:) And then I will be mad at Shubi...
And how many teams that are being dropped off at CP 20 are going to make it if it's taking the rested leaders this long to ride? I feel like I must have dates or times or something mixed up, because nothing is making sense to me right now. Am I missing some news?
20ish hours for GZ and Merrell to ride from the restart to the fork in the course. I'm going to say that the mid pack teams being flown to the bike right now are probably at least a couple of hours slower. And then they have at least a few more hours to ride in from that point if they bypass the ropes. I'm just assuming it won't be a fast tarmac ride in...So, even if we are generous and say it will take them 25 hours to get to Corumba, they'd have to leave right now, and not sleep. And they still would miss the finish time.
Oh, and 11 teams are still waiting for a ride...They can't fly them to CP 20, just can't. They need to fly them elsewhere much further along the course. Or just call it and bring them back to Corumba....
Excellent questions, not covered by the race booklet since this was never in the plans!
The only clue I have comes from this Sleepmonsters article, referring to the TA6 "mutiny", aka "sensible proposal":
'I asked Shubi how she felt about the decision and she was clearly disappointed. “I had hoped maybe they could have done a little more,” she said, “and when I rang back I felt maybe some did want to go on, but by then it was too late, they were not in the right frame of mind to go into a difficult stage and I couldn’t risk them needing rescue on the pack raft stage. It became much more a matter of security. There is an airstrip there and we can move them forward so that is what we have to do.'
Given that the RD is forced to make up new short course rules on the spot, it sounds to me like she will be biased toward teams who did the pack raft section as she wanted them to, no matter what else they are able to do on the course.
In some ways, that seems reasonable but on the other hand, I have respect for the top teams in the world who said "No way!", using their experience to determine that the pack raft section would prevent anyone from completing the course and catching their flight home. They may also have been too short on food to consider the pack raft leg, given the wonky time estimates, and that's not their fault. (Although we don't think teams had stage-by-stage time estimates, the race was advertised as having a 4 to 4.5 day winning time.)
Yes... agreed. Is the vertical challenge a rappel or ascent? It looks like they will only do one or the other, depending on if they travel the loop clockwise or CCW. Any idea on number of ropes? That could determine finishing places. A mad dash up the hill by three teams after 7 days of racing. Edge of the seat excitement, in sl.o..w m..o...t...i...o....n. . . . . .
It is damned inconsiderate of the organizers not to give us more information about how the standings are going to work, given that we only have one more chance to adjust our Fantasy League picks before the final calculation.
Btw the Fantasy Leaderboard is messed up right now. Don't worry, RogueAdventure, I think you're still leading.
It looks like the Fantasy leader board was updated for today. My change was posted and numbers were added. The daily totals look wrong, but the actual total might be accurate... I have no idea what those numbers mean.
The Fantasy leaderboard has been using the rankings at 20:00 each day but now that I re-read the rules, it just says there will be a calculation "each day". So maybe they did a calculation 24 hours before the race was going to end? Surprise! I can't remember my points total from yesterday but the new total doesn't look right. The only team I've lost in the past 24 hrs is Issy Adventure and they weren't helping much anyway.
At 15:00, I think this is the sequence of teams still to fly out from TA6:
Kailash Brou and Enigma Papaventura
-They arrived together with Terra de Gigantes and Aroeira, who have already flown to CP20. Their trackers haven't updated recently but we usually see the team's tracker while they are flying.
There are three other teams waiting at TA6 - Azimute, Grilos and Summit Adventure - but they were already unranked or short coursed when they got there so they will likely fly behind the other five teams.
It's going to be dark in 4 hours. Last night the Yogaslackers appeared to get the pleasure of landing a Cessna in a random field after dark, then the rides stopped. It was rainy this morning so there have only been a few flights. Let's hope there is plenty of food at TA6 since they are going to be feeding more teams there tonight.
JayXC is an awesome rider who may have brought his bike all the way to Brazil just to give it a warm weather vacation.
The Estonians have arrived at TA7, the end of the pack raft after about 45 hours - and that's with navigation assistance from the race organization. They did not appear to pass through any inhabited areas where food could be purchased. "Shell shocked" is the adjective that comes to mind. What will they do next? Broots is right about the impossible timing.
Fantasy has similarly become fantasy...from what I can tell, places 10-20 are not reflective of actual standings. For example, Selva (31) clearly made it into TA6 before a few teams at least (EW, RADYS, FENIX), BUT they ranked behind all those teams. That said, they were flown out ahead of all of them AND a bunch of other Brazilian teams that seemed to be possibly ahead of them...And yes, they are on my team. I'm glad they are doing well, but I don't think I'm scoring those extra few points that I think they should be scoring;)
The Swedes continue to make independent navigation decisions. Haglofs Silva was the first team to take the middle route choice from CP20 to CP21. It looks shorter and the Google Terrain doesn't show any significant contours so I'm guessing that the other leaders chose the eastern route because it appears to be a major road - fewer twists and turns, possibly drier.
Meanwhile SAFAT is taking the cross-country trekking route to TA8 where they will pick up their bikes near sunset. They must be really pumped to be in 3rd place after being relegated to the "B" group of the Fantasy League. ;)
My memory of past on-the-fly short-coursing ranking procedures is that the teams who made the most progress before being short-coursed will always rank above those who are short-coursed, regardless of what happens after that, including if the higher ranked teams are later short-coursed themselves.
In this race, all teams are short-coursed already (no stage 10), but it appears that only one team (Seagate) will be able to complete that shortened course. All others will be on shorter and shorter versions of the course to the finish.
So, my final leaderboard prediction:
1. Seagate - ShortCourse v1 2. Silva - SCv2 3. SAFAT - SCv3 4. Estonia - SCv4 5. Columbia - SCv4 6. Merrell - SCv5 7. GODZone - SCv5 8. Tecnu - SCv5 9. Raidlight SCv5 10. Peak Performance SCv5 11. Yogaslackers SCv6 12+. Teams from CP6 flying to CP20 today SCv7 ??+. Teams from CP6 flying to CP?? tomorrow SCv8 ??. Issy & Canoar flying somewhere eventually SCv9 (if not retired) ??. (Last Ranked Team) Ekos SC v9 All retired teams
With Fantasy League, my assumption has been that the scores are based on what is happening on the leaderboard, and not what is happening on the ground. Therefore you need to base your decisions on that.
Not sure what is happening with the scores now. From memory, we were averaging scores of around 640, and I think there had been 4 (or 5?) scoring cycles so far, so not sure how they got the totals we are on now.
With the mess of short coursing, etc, it has been to hard to make any informed calls on the league, so I'm just letting my chips ride and see how it all plays out.
Seagate's greatness: Just out of CP20, Raidlight tracked at a position approximately 3.5 hours ahead of when Seagate hit that same point. They now seem to be about 15 minutes behind them. Maybe 2 hours behind Merrell's position. Unreal...
With the 15:30 track, looks like Technu has passed GodZone and may soon catch Merrell as well. An exciting race for 6th, at least, although I am unsure how 3-5 will be getting to the finish line in time.
RogueAdventure, yes, the fantasy rankings are based on the leaderboard but so far, it's been the leaderboard at 20:00 each day. It has been changed again just now. Although I don't really care, I'm not sure how I dropped all the way from 14th to 61st when I have 7 of the top 10 teams plus 12fh and 17th, and have only lost Issy, who weren't helping much anyway.
@Bash, if you received 0 points for Issy then you are about 40 points behind the people currently in 15-20. One team can make a big difference. Only about 7 teams have any chance of making the finish. Will those be the ranked teams? Columbia, Estonia, and SAFAT cannot make it to the finish without the aid of a bus. Will they get ranked or DNF'd? They did sections other teams didn't, but may not make the finish. I'm curious how they will get all these teams to the finish by tomorrow.
@Conman, yes, when there are multiple short courses, teams who have made the most progress on the full course before being short-coursed are almost always ranked ahead.
However... one of the risks of staying on the full course for longer is that you may get tired, sick, injured, out of food or first aid gear, etc. Just because you stayed on the full course for longer doesn't mean you'll make the subsequent cut-offs or the finish line. Sometimes it is a good strategic decision for a team to take a short course, gambling that the teams ahead of them will not finish the "higher ranked" short course. In cases like that, a team that took a "lesser ranked" short course could end up ranked higher and be rewarded for their decision.
What I was speculating about was how much the RD will do to ensure a top 5 finish for the five teams who stayed on the full course the longest. Two of the five received navigation assistance to get out of that stage. The majority of them will not get to the ropes course and some may need to be transported along the course by vehicle in order to make the course closing time in 22 hours.
Is there ever any situation when the RD would say that those teams should be ranked lower than the teams who are biking and climbing now - or even DNF'ed? What if a team stops at TA7 and can't go any farther even though the course remains open? Were the top five rankings finalized simply because those teams left TA6 and didn't return? (Possibly because they couldn't find it again?)
I don't have answers or even suggestions, and we don't know what the teams will choose to do when they emerge from the hell of Stage 7. Just as I respect the teams that got through with or without navigation help, I respect the wise choice of the mutineers, given the known distance to the finish and the quality of the map. They are all worthy of top rankings for different reasons.
But from the RD's quote, I think she will be biased toward teams who did the pack raft leg instead of the ones who organized the mutiny. :)
According to an FB post yesterday, you still get points for an unranked or DNFd team (32 points +1 - although). I was expecting an 8pm updates, and I don't know what has happened to the cumulative totals, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it change at that time.
Looks like Yogis and Terra de Gigantes are heading over to the other route now, while Silva seems to be moving somewhat slower, wonder if the middle route has smaller, tougher roads and Yogis decided to bail over to the better road. And SAFAT has finally made it to their bikes.
Personally I would lean towards awarding placings on who made it through the original full course the furtherest.
But then if you need assistance with navigation to get through, vs a team that wisely cut things short earlier to make it to the pre-advertised short course cut off (another reason why short course cut off times should not be adjusted on the fly and should be adhered to strictly), then I think the teams that didn't do the next leg have a valid argument as well.
The ARWS have a system in place for making these sort of calls though. Having sat on one of these juries before, I can testify that it will be a well reasoned and impartial decision with due justification.
Kailash Brou, Enigma Papaventura and East Wind have all tracked at CP20 after their flight.
Fenix Multisport is next, then R'ADYS. There is 3 hours of daylight. Maybe those teams will get out today although the light will be dim for the last flight. The remaining teams at TA6 - unranked and shorter short course - will probably just be flown to the finish tomorrow or very close, given the 14:00 course closure.
Prizes are handed out at 20:00, presumably with a banquet. Most teams will barely have time to shower and nap!
Seagate left TA8 20 hours ago and even skipping the ropes loop would not be near the finish. So SAFAT would need the ride of their lives if they left right now. But they still need to assemble their bikes, eat, sleep, etc.
Just thinking some more about the ranking question... If Godzone or Merrell had known that they could receive navigation assistance without penalty if they continued on the pack raft leg, would that have changed their feelings about doing the stage? So how will they feel when they find out that the difficult navigation would have been RD-assisted if they ran into trouble?
There is never a perfect solution when you have to make up rules on the fly, especially when it is a sport of planning and strategy based on the rules you thought you knew.
To continue that line of thought...no matter how much messaging occurred between the RD and Columbia and Estonia, it doesn't begin to compare to an airplane ride to a location further along the race course.
Now, if those two teams can't get to the finish under their own power... Of course, that also brings to up, what points should another version of a "short course" keep? More importantly, what route can the racers safely take to get to the finish and still get a commensurate amount of support (TA bins, food, etc)?
It's going to be a push for any team other than the 5 that are nearing the ropes section now to finish in time. Ekos is next, but they are on the short, short, course and moving slowly. Haglof's route choice on the bike seems to be backfiring on them, and there is a group including Yogaslackers and a couple Brazilian teams on the right track that I suspect just won't be fast enough. Do they just start driving the course backwards and rank teams in the order they get picked up...??
The final rankings are going to be very difficult to explain and I already feel bad for whoever has to deliver the news to the teams that inevitably will feel shorted. Tough calls to make and I don't know what was in the rule book, if anything, about some of these issues either, but it looks like the only sure thing is that Seagate is unarguably the best team in the world.
Looks like Columbia Oncosec are about to round out the packrafting leg 54 hours after they started it. I wonder how much they feel like an 8hr+ hike in the dark to the next TA? Surely they will have to be moved forward on the course, but the question is how? I'm sure there are logistic difficulties for the organisers to move teams and their bike boxes forward on the course.
Also a shame that of the 32 teams, only 6 of them are going to get to do the ropes course, which I'm sure is a real highlight, and a real expense for the organisers to put in place.
Haha. Give all the points to Seagate. I like that.
Further back in the race, teams that have been sitting waiting, or had to wait an extra night, for a plane to fly them ahead on the course may have a legitimate gripe about a DNF if another team is able to finish ahead of them.... Although some were unranked to begin with.
And if I was there I would volunteer to drive the pickup back for teams. I have a feeling that guy will be a few team's hero.
...no matter how much messaging occurred between the RD and Columbia and Estonia, it doesn't begin to compare to an airplane ride to a location further along the race course.
That's true but the comparison is more complex than that. Columbia and Estonia bravely went out and tackled a stage that turned out to be impossible for them. If they hadn't received nav assistance, maybe they would have found their way back to TA6 where they would have simply been cut off. Columbia was closer to TA6 than TA7 and maybe that was even their plan since they were heading back to the cattle trail after 27 hours of struggling, probably low on food.
Or maybe the teams would have emerged at TA7 but it would have been later than this, which is still past the cut-off, which was listed in the race booklet as 6 a.m. today. Previous cut-offs had been extended by 4 hours but I'm pretty sure Columbia and Estonia didn't make the cut-off, even with nav help. Based on Estonia's track, they might have found their way to some completely different farm rather than a TA, and called for rescue.
But it didn't happen that way because the race organization gave them nav information, apparently without penalty. This was totally unexpected and maybe unprecedented at ARWC.
On the other hand, you have racers who - also bravely - looked at the map, terrain, cut-offs and the rest of the course - and, not having been told they could get GPS assistance without penalty, said "This is not possible."
So it's not a question of deciding whether navigational assistance helps more than a plane ride. (Although in this case, I'd argue that navigational assistance was a huge help and may have prevented hunger/medical issues that could have finished the race for those teams.)
It's a question of deciding who deserves to be ranked as the better AR team in this race - the one that sets out on such a leg and then needs nav assistance and (eventually) transportation along the course by vehicle? Or the one that stands up to the RD and says, "This won't work in your timeframes", then is able to finish the rest of the course after being transported past the leg in question. These are different types of bravado and both are part of our sport.
I don't have the answer but I don't think it's straightforward at all.
Yes, maximum points to Seagate for sure! But let's not forget the two Swedish teams got through there too, apparently without nav help.
Bash, where did you see that the teams recieved nav assistance? i just saw that "they were in contact with the RD" I was assuming this was to ensure that the teams were still safe and unhurt, not needing rescue.
Good question, Axcxnj - I had to look a long way back to see where we got that.
Fiona posted a link to a Facebook comment by Martin Peat, who seems to be a race volunteer. He photographed the maps of the Stage 7 trek that are linked above in this discussion. He wrote on Facebook: "A bearing and distance to the next TA has been sent to team #11." (Estonia.)
Around the same time he posted that (about 15:30 yesterday if you look at the track), both Estonia and Columbia veered sharply from their respective routes and went the correct direction. Columbia went directly to the Reference Point and Estonia went to the cattle trail.
So I can only find circumstantial evidence regarding Columbia but we were told about Estonia. Check out their tracks and see what you think!
Looking at the course description along with the topo overlay of the ropes section and the reccie photo, I doubt that the abseil itself is 300m. I suspect that the 300m refers to the total elevation including the hike up from the bike transition. Certainly all the other stage descriptions refer to "climbing" as the total elevation gain over the stage. And I've never heard of a single pitch 300m abseil - could you imagine the weight of the rope? I imagine this is just something lost in translation.
How about calling TA6 re end of the race and take the Ranking there as the final ranking? That would be in my opinion the closest to fair ranking.. But then I know that would not work in favour of teams that are better as the race goes...
I like the TA6 ranking idea, but that sort of flies in the face of all the racing still going on. How many teams would have stopped (or would stop right now) if they knew there was no longer a point to racing?
ARWC 2014 in Newfoundland Canada had a 240m rappel (abseil). We were all so excited about this incredible, long, fast rip down our biggest rappel ever, but the weight of the rope acted like a braking hand and fully put the brakes on. You had to lift and feed the rope into the braking device in order to get it to move. The rope was so heavy, you had to use both hands (taking your brake hand out of its brake position) to lift the rope and feed it through. Instead of a fun zip down the rope, it was a slow exercise of lifting and feeding the rope in 25 cm sections at a time!....
Here's to hoping Haglofs track gets a little faster. They're only averaging 4-5km/hr since leaving CP20 about 4 hours ago. Sounds like it's raining there and I'm sure turning the dirt trails to peanut butter.
There was a Raid the North Extreme (97 or 98 ?) With I believe over 1,000 foot rappel/zipline (Rap down about 150-200 ft, to slow you down, and then when the rap line ran out... you were only zippin') ... but that was into a lake. I think I hit the water at about 40 MPH and spent 5 minutes collecting all stuff that exploded out of my pack.
Another tidbit. EC '96 - a race that was largely instrumental in the growth that got a lot of the people reading here into the sport - started with 75 teams and 4 finished the 'full' course. All the best teams were there. I think 12 or 13 finished in total. Fastest team (Howard, Nagle, Adamson, and I think Prince x2) was in the 6-7 day range with far less sleep/rest than Seagate had in this race the last teams were 8 days I think. The sport will survive this, unfortunate as it may seem today. Learn and move forward.
At 18:30, half an hour before sunset, R'ADYS has started to ride and Grilos has landed. There is only one other ranked shorter-short course team left at TA6 - Summit Adventure. There may still be time to fly them down before dark.
Kailash Brou, East Wind, Fenix and Enigma Papaventura are about an hour ahead of R'ADYS.
Yogaslackers have been riding for 4 hours now so they seem to be feeling better.
SAFAT left TA8 shortly after 18:00 after resting for more than 2 hours. It isn't possible for them to get to the finish line on the race route, even if they skip the ropes. (It took Seagate 19 hrs from TA8 to the turn-off to the ropes and the course closes in about 19 hours.)
And as JVD says, Haglofs Silva is crawling on that road. A few kms south, there is a turn-off where they could head over to the western route but I wonder if it is any better.
Rogue maybe stopping it at TA6 doesn't seem fair but making the team that went through this shitty leg DQed or ranked after the ones who had a massive rest and plane ride isn't fair either... They didn't know that the plane ride was an option. Nobody told them so to them turning back to the TA was probably not an option unless they were quitting... And if they had known and turned around they would have been flying first in front of the other teams and who knows maybe the teams racing to be ranked now wouldn't have made it because they would have arrived at the bike transitions hours and hours after the time they got there and some of them the day after... I just can't see any fair scenarios
You don't know that they weren't aware of the plane ride option. Presumably they had to think that there was some route around option for teams stopped at that TA, and apparently a plane ride is the only way in and out other than hike or horse. But I agree, they shouldn't be DQ'd, just given the same chance to be moved forward on the course like the teams behind them were and ranked accordingly with time adjustments made. There is no perfect answer.
I see the course open time has been extended to 6pm. What was the original closing time? Must only be a couple of hours extension at most. How does this play out for the Swedes and SAFAT?
Original closing time was 2pm, so four hour extension, although I don't think that will allow any more teams to get there, even skipping the ropes and going around the NE side of the mountain. Maybe Ekos...
I take that back. Seagate took about 10 hours from where Yogaslackers are now to the turn off to go around the mountain. Add another 7 hours for the last 40km and short paddle at teh end and they would make it. Finish is now about 22 1/2 hrs away. SAFAT would have to really move on the right track and Haglof would have time I think if they could get their speed up somehow.
My guess from looking at the photos of the Bike to Ropes TA, which were taken right on dusk, that Merrell might have a slim lead on Tecnu. They did arrive there 14 minutes before according to the leaderboard. We'll know more when Merrell's tracker updates.
--Teams on the pack raft didn't know about the plane ride short course option.
--Teams who refused to leave TA6 didn't know that if they got into trouble, there would be navigation assistance without penalty (at least we think there's no penalty!)
--I doubt either group of teams knew that the cut-off at the end of TA7 (originally 6 a.m. today) would be ignored, which might have changed the decisions of some teams who stayed at TA6. Earlier cut-offs had been extended by a few hours but Columbia arrived 11 hours after the TA7 cut-off.
No solution will be fair to everyone. It's like the "missing CP" problem. You just don't want to get into these situations.
Right Bash. Comes down to course design and execution. I'd be fine with a nearly impossible section like the packraft, but you have to give teams time to will their way through it. And you have to have the plans in place to short course people. A cutoff time is great, but what happens when a team doesn't make it there in time? Seems a little out of sorts to have to sit at a remote TA for days until clear weather daylight waiting for a bush plane....
The more I think about this packraft section and how hard it must have been, I think maybe it's ok to have a section like that in a World Championship race. Just don't put it 4 days into a race with unrealistic time expectations.
A featureless swamp will seperate the men from the boys on day 1 or day 4 just the same.
Well, that is another positive. At least there are no reports of missing CPs. Mind you, there aren't that many CPs to go missing. Not counting manned TAs, Columbia Oncosec have not punched a CP on the course in 3 days, 10 hours.
Missing Rob Howard's reporting from the field. A shame they couldn't get any media into these TAs as that is always the most informative way to find out what is happening on the course as opposed to a bunch of assumptions from the trackers.
Also, I think you have to factor in the plane as an unfair advantage for the teams that navigated off it into TA6 (if that's what actually happened, which I believe Bash mentioned something about earlier). You can definitely see a bunch of teams moving directly towards the TA as the plane began its rounds.
To follow up on earlier comments, I believe Gold Rush (in California) had a scenario a couple of years ago where they declared a TA to be the finish after the fact after a forest fire forced some teams to stop while other teams were able to continue through.
On other news, Fantasy League has been updated. A shame the latest round scores are not indicated. Doing the maths on it, if the current leaderboard stays identical, then I can/will be hauled in by one point at close of business. How did everyone else fair?
I dropped from a high of 4th place down to 22nd...but I pretty much stopped paying attention after yesterday since I had no idea how scoring would work. Perhaps we can get a FanDuel or DraftKings sponsorship for next year so Rogue and the rest of us can earn some $$$!
To add a little more, I did love the idea of the fantasy game and hope it continues!
I think the keys to my (relative) success this year were nailing all five full course teams, especially Halglofs Silva, SAFAT and ACE Adventure (the Estonians). Switching out BlackHILL/OpavaNet once it was clear they were retiring but before the 6 pm cutoff was also key. As a good fantasy game should do, it rewarded those who did their homework in advance and those who paid attention during the race.
"Well, that is another positive. At least there are no reports of missing CPs."
Per the Merrell FB page post, "It turns out the CP 7 had been put in a random spot - a tent and a hammock and a few hot and thirsty Brazilians around a fire at 500m when the map which we and the competitors have shows it at 350m."
"On our way up the hill we had overheard on our radio that Merrell had called in to HQ. This is bad news. The Yellow Brick, as the gps transmitter is called, can be used by a team to call out only in an emergency and any team doing so is disqualified. Any team missing a CP is also disqualified. Merrell had spent 45minutes looking for CP 6 supposed to be on the shore, marked in a very specific place, and it was nowhere to be found. Then 5 more teams reported in. It has later been discovered that the boat with the guy who was supposed to place that CP was seen some 6km away. "
Moving farther back, Haglofs Silva has been crawling on the middle bike route. Conditions must be awful. There's no sign that they've stopped to nap.
Meanwhile over on the eastern bike route, 8 teams who started from CP20 after Silva have passed them. R'ADYS is next in line and could pass them too if conditions don't improve. How frustrating this ride must be for Silva!
3rd place SAFAT has rested for a couple of hours at each of CP20/TA8 and CP21. If they had been able to just ride, they probably could have moved into 2nd place but of course they have no way of knowing that. And they probably have no way of riding right now either! The pack raft stage may have totally drained them.
Columbia and Estonia are trekking to TA8.
Poor Issy Adventure and Canoar are still stuck way up at the Reference Point in the middle of the Stage 6 Trek, where they arrived around sunset yesterday.
It suggests that - contrary to the race organization's earlier announcement - teams might get credit for time spent at TA6.
Godzone had a major bike mechanical, which caused them to drop behind the leaders of this group.
And here's what Kyle Rob of Tecnu had to say about TA6 - interesting.
'When I asked him about what happened at AT6 he said, “We were all set to go out on the pack raft stage, literally on our way out of the TA, when Godzone came back and spoke with Raidlight and they asked to ring Shubi. So we thought we’d better stay and hear the outcome. I was disappointed not to give it a try – I’ve never missed any part of a race before and it’s what we came to do. We did get a very cool flight, but looking down I wondered what it would have been like.”'
This is somewhat different from the way the story was presented earlier when it was secondhand. It raises more questions. Was it just two teams who didn't want to go on? Why had Merrell been at TA6 all day before this happened? Was someone ill or did they share this concern about the terrain? Did the RD tell Tecnu not to go out, even though they were ready to go? One of Godzone's navigators, Gui Pahl, is Brazilian and likely knows Shubi. I wonder if that gave greater weight to their concerns.
Future Kyle, I know you're reading this. Tell us more!
At 23:30, Silva is about to finish the middle route option on the bike and rejoin the main route. Riders have been talking about wet clay and soft sand even on the more popular route. Unless I've dot-counted wrong, they were passed by 8 teams who were behind them at CP20. R'ADYS will be a few kms behind when the roads merge.
So, wondering who is going to make it on time for the 6PM finish...
Here are some estimates based on what we know: 6+ hours from where Kailash Q is to the short course turn (Based on Raidlight’s time) 3+ hours from where the cut picks up again to the final reference point (based on Tecnu) 2-3 hours more to ride around the NE side of the mountain connecting the two above legs. Who knows how long from there to the finish. Tarmac, mud, flooded road, road lined with jaguars AND stingrays…but let’s say 3 hours total including the canoe….
So Kailish Q would need about 14-15 hours to make it in from where they are now based on times from teams that I am guessing are faster than them. This puts them in at 2-3 PM.
East Wind, Kailash B, and Competition appear to be about an hour behind Kailash Q based on KQ’s time, so finishing more like 3-4 PM. A couple of teams in between KQ and this group.
Radys=2.5 hours behind KQ, so…somewhere around 5PM or later.
Haglofs still plodding through but probably close behind the EW pack now. Maybe faster than the others? Or are they wiped out by now….
Ultimately, there is little room for error. They can’t afford to sleep. If the mud breaks their bikes like Godzone and they slow down…I am betting that a few of them MIGHT make it, but I can’t see them all making it by 6. They all put up a hell of a fight but I just don’t see them all riding through the night at Tecnu/Raidlight pace (in the daylight) to make it in with such little room for error.
Swedish Armed Forces is a few hours behind Radys. Hard to imagine them having any kind of a shot, but who knows.
And it seems like only a matter of time before Columbia and Estonia are declared Unofficial or DQed… Unless there will be more assistance only further clouding the waters…
That's right! :) There is always more discussion when a race includes more Attackpointers like that one did. We love to watch people we know - even if we just know them online.
Great analysis, Broots.
I see that at midnight, Columbia and Estonia have just met at TA8. I think that's the first time they've seen each other since... maybe the entire race? Yet they now share this crazy bond. They must all be a little starved for human contact so they can share some stories while they build their bikes - in some combination of languages.
What will the race organization have them do? Even the shortest short course is out of reach.
Is there any clarification on time credits at ta6, or is it a race to the line for merrell /tecnu? The last paddle in dug out canoes sounds like it could throw up the last bit of drama. If the organisers say they are unstable.... They must be really unstable!
They've been riding really slowly so it probably is a swamp. That's great. They need some variety, right?
There was a race to the ropes but maybe now Merrell and Tecnu are riding together. They may know the time credits but we don't.
The race organization announced on Facebook yesterday that teams would be credited for "transfer time" between TA6 and CP20 and they would fly in the order of arrival. This would work like a traditional dark zone.
Then Sleepmonsters said today: "Their final positions may be different as there are time adjustments to make after their different lengths of stay in TA6 and different restart times. Godzone also have a 30 minute penalty for a lost bib." (And we'd heard the same about Seagate.)
It's possible that Rob Howard is making an assumption since that is another reasonable way to handle the situation. It doesn't sound like the media has been getting the inside scoop from organizers during the event. On the other hand, the organizers haven't been afraid to change the occasional rule during the race so we really don't know. Let's hope the racers do!
Tecnu and Adidas finished together 2 years ago, which is interesting because Adidas is now Godzone, who are a couple hundred meters behind Merrell and Tecnu on the map right now although Merrell and Tecnu's trackers haven't updated for an hour...
Maybe the trackers don't work under a foot of swamp mud. ;)
Ekos is moving again and a whole bunch of teams are streaming down toward CP21, where Quasarlontra is now. Yogaslackers will be the next to arrive.
Haglofs Silva is near the back of this group, riding with two Brazilian teams. R'ADYS is less than a km behind. It must be a totally different sensation for Silva to feel like they're actually racing other teams!
SAFAT is 10-ish hours away from CP21. The race course closes 16 hours from now. There's no chance they'll make it.
At 2:00, Columbia is approaching CP20 by bike. That must feel different! Estonia is a few kms behind. Like SAFAT, both teams will need to be transported to the finish eventually.
I went back and did it anyway. Here's what I have for time credit's if I understand it correctly, which is that it is going to be the time from arrival at TA6 to arrival at CP20. Obviously, this is going off my best estimates from the GPS tracks.
Now Seagate is there too and Raidlight will be there in 45 minutes to pick their tree to lean against. It must be pretty impassable. At least in the dark. None of these teams would stop that close to the finish otherwise.