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Discussion: Xtrail

in: Adventure Racing; General;

Sep 20, 2016 8:10 PM # 
Starting this thread because it takes me forever to find the links via google search every time.

Race Website

Race Start: 9/25 @ 9:30 AM (it is 12 hours ahead of EDT)

Looks likes temps will be on the colder side High 60F Low 40F

Team List

Mixed teams will be racing for a prize purse of $50,000 USD awarded to the top 5 teams (breakdown is 1st – $20,000 / 2nd – $12,000 / 3rd – $8,000 / 4th – $6,000 and 5th $4,000).

The 2016 Altay Xtrail Expedition will include the following major disciplines:
Trekking-distance total of 91km
Mountain Biking-distance total of 156km
Lake Kayaking-distance total of 23km
*distance will be slightly different for each team depending on their route chosen.

The race promotions mention trackers but I don't see anything on the race website about it.

Promo Video
Sep 23, 2016 6:47 PM # 
Live site is
Sep 23, 2016 6:55 PM # 

1 Ongoing Concern (AUS)
2 MMD Tiger Adventure (AUS)
3 Tiger Adventure Int Renegades (USA)
4 Licorish Tiger Adventure (AUS)
5 Estonian Ace Adventure Team (EST)
6 Omjaken (FIN)
7 Team Suncity Travel (AUS)
8 Tecnu Adventure Racing (CAN)
9 (NZL)
10 NZ Adventure Team (NZL)
11 Next Generation (NZL)
12 Team (BRA)
13 Adventure Medical Kits (USA)
14 hARd days night (AUS)
15 Adventure Russia-Ukraine (RUS)
16 Mont Adventure Racing (AUS)
17 After Work Athletes (GBR)
18 Freemind (IRL)
19 Merrell Denmark (DEN)
20 Mountain Design (AUS)
21 Haglofs Silva (SWE)
22 cocoSAMU (AUS)
23 Team Redbull (NZL)
24 Thule Adventure Team (SWE)
25 Ozark Adventure Team (RUS)
26 Blackhill/Opavanet (CZE)
27 Team Koosa (CHN)
28 Team Xin Jiang (CHN)
29 Team Kolumb (CHN)
Sep 23, 2016 11:29 PM # 
Lambo Shih Tzu:
Prologue starts today. 1-2 hour run/paddle/run on a marked course. Placement doesn't matter for overall standings.

The main course starts tomorrow and winning time is expected to be 36 hours.

I've been sending copies of route book and other details back home and they are getting put up on the Team Adventure Medical Kits FB page. A

These are the top 8 teams in my opinion:
Sep 24, 2016 12:36 PM # 
Lambo Shih Tzu:
Here is my top 8 prediction. Will be a fight for the top 5 money spots.

1) Adventure Medical Kits (USA)
2) Team Redbull (NZL)
3) Thule Adventure Team (SWE)
4) Haglofs Silva (SWE)
5) Estonian Ace Adventure Team (EST)
6) NZ Adventure Team (NZL)
7)Tecnu Adventure Racing (CAN)
8) Team (BRA)
Sep 25, 2016 2:50 AM # 
Broots hijacking abiperk's AP.
So excited to follow this one. Great competition and rivalries here. Would love to see AMK come out on top again. I think Redbull and Thule seem like they will be really tough to beat with their experience in China and their loaded lineups, but I love AMK's fire this year, so I'm optimistic. Regardless, I hope they get some images and video out to us. Dying to see what it's like for the racers.

36 hours. 300+km. From what I can tell, it's hard to imagine the winners covering that distance in 36 hours with what I imagine the terrain to be like. I just don't really see it, but maybe the terrain is so open they can really move on foot?
Sep 25, 2016 4:23 AM # 
Here is a link to a video from the prologue. There is a little delay for 30 seconds for a commercial, but include interview with Kyle Peter from AMK.

be patient, as it is a good video.
Sep 25, 2016 5:00 AM # 
Nice video.
Sep 25, 2016 1:09 PM # 
Anyone know why team 3 (Tiger Adventure Intl renegades) is showing as 'non competitive'?
Sep 25, 2016 5:54 PM # 
Julian got sick and had to drop before the start
Sep 26, 2016 1:00 AM # 
Oh poor Julie@!
Sep 26, 2016 1:38 AM # 
So, based on the leaderboard, AMK looks to have really struggled on CP5, losing about an hour to the rest of the top third of the field. Impressive then that they have climbed back to fourth place. Too bad they aren't at the very top of the pack, and it will be interesting to see how close they can get. They always motor on the bikes. Based on how these teams are pushing and how elite those top three teams are, it seems like a huge task, but AMK might have the wheels to make it interesting.
Sep 26, 2016 1:49 AM # 
Just getting online after following the race on our phones all day. Anyone know how such a close finish might work? If it comes down to a photo finish, is it first teammate across the line or last? Anyone think it will come down to that?
Sep 26, 2016 1:59 AM # 
Good question. My guess is last person on a given team stops the clock. Don't know if they are using dippers. That could get even messier. Sounds like the next stretch is the hardest bit of nav for the bike (between CP20 and 21). Might get really interesting, and who knows, maybe AMK can eat into the lead a bit more.
Epic race!
Sep 26, 2016 2:13 AM # 
I'd expect it to be last man across the line stops the clock. Last time this happened in a World Series race was in Tasmania in 2011, when AdidasTERREX and AXA ended up in an intermingled sprint for the line, which was decided by the last man across. Less than 1 second separated 4th from 5th.
Sep 26, 2016 2:15 AM # 
Wow, crazy. We're also wondering what that last bit of green trekking section is that's indicated after TA6? Doesn't seem like it leads to the finish. Is it an out-and-back or a technological glitch?
Sep 26, 2016 2:27 AM # 
Good question. I'd say it's an overlay glitch in that the entire GPS track is off. You can see that clearly now on the bike route as the red route is next to the tracks mirroring it. I imagine that might be true of the final trek too. But that doesn't account for the fact that the finish isn't near the end of the green line...I'm guessing they maybe adjusted the finish location or something and didn't update the location on the map?
Sep 26, 2016 10:21 AM # 
Things going to hell in a handbag at the moment.

Redbull gone way off course missing the CP and both Swedish team at CP27 now.
Sep 26, 2016 10:27 AM # 
Oh boy. I think there'll be some multi-lingual swearing going on in Team Redbull at the moment. They've just hit a road some 6km south of CP27, and if they didn't know where they were before, they will have worked it out now. That mistake could have cost them $20k. Ouch.
Sep 26, 2016 10:39 AM # 
I'm beginning to think the tracker has to be faulty. They've shot through that junction into the wild with nor roads or trails indicated.
Sep 26, 2016 10:48 AM # 
Sean, have a look at the satellite imagery. There are a whole bunch of tracks around Redbull. Considering that the leaderboard is registering the CPs (using a system like Open Adventure does?) I'm guessing it's accurate. It seems they might have made that turn to the east. do they still think they are in the right place???? There are rivers both up on the correct route and down by Redbull. Could be the classic case of finding a spot that lines up with the map and forcing it to fit.

Unreal. Door open to AMK and maybe more to move up. Redbull could fall out of the money entirely if they don't fix this now.

Also, wonder what happened to Multisport. Huge fade from them. Injury or a victim of the brutal pace these top teams raced at?
Sep 26, 2016 10:59 AM # 
Ah ha! Thank broots, satellite makes sense of it for me now.
Sep 26, 2016 11:44 AM # 
Looks like Redbull finally realised where they were and are now on the way back to the CP. Very strange that they crossed the tarmac road and kept heading south before correcting themselves - surely that must be the only tarmac road within many miles?!
Sep 26, 2016 12:12 PM # 
Middle of the night there?

Redbull are really confused looking now.
Sep 26, 2016 12:15 PM # 
It is 8:15pm there and it has been dark for 2hrs
Sep 26, 2016 12:38 PM # 
The other kiwi team 22 are away off on the same wrong track as Redbull who have not shot way north of the route.
Sep 26, 2016 12:41 PM # 
Crazy fun race to watch! broots, did you get any sleep?

Sep 26, 2016 12:41 PM # 
Um...what is going on? Haglofs seems to be moving at a snails pace south of the track and next CP. Looks like Thule essentially has overtaken them. And it looks like AMK is now a KM or two behind Thule and has shaved another 20-30 minutes off. Maybe only 15-20 minutes back????
Sep 26, 2016 12:44 PM # 
AS for AMK they are flying down the necks of Thule right now while Haglofs are off wandering south west of the CP off the route.

Its getting really interesting at the front!!
Sep 26, 2016 12:46 PM # 
I think AMK could take this one. They've caught up to Thule very rapidly and I can't see Haglofs getting back on course in time to stay in front. I'll back AMK for the win.
Poor Redbull. They're having a nightmare. Navving on 1:100000 maps with 40m contours is tough work in the daytime. In the dark with sleep monsters setting in? Horrible.
Sep 26, 2016 1:03 PM # 
Agree djtom. It looks like AMK is is in control whereas the "big3" seem to all be suffering from poor decisions and slower legs. This would be an epic comeback for AMK. And I wonder if they even know they passed Redbull. Wonder if they can see Thule's lights yet. They may have no idea how well they are doing. Unreal race shaping up!
Sep 26, 2016 1:13 PM # 
And AMK catches Thule. The crowd goes wild!
Sep 26, 2016 1:15 PM # 
Wow GO AMK, great Nav! Real podium battle going on now.
Redbull... oh dear :-(
Sep 26, 2016 1:18 PM # 
Am I seeing this correctly? AMK 5 minutes behind Thule on the tracker, with Haglofs turning back around?
Sep 26, 2016 1:22 PM # 
Yep, Haglofs have turned south again, just when they were nearly back on the right track. Aargh!
Sep 26, 2016 1:41 PM # 
So, Can AMK catch Thule for the win? Can Estonia catch Haglofs for the bronze?
Sep 26, 2016 2:04 PM # 
And can Redbull just let that tarmac go for another few hours? Please?
Sep 26, 2016 2:05 PM # 
Also, no facebook access at work, so maybe this is old news. But just noticed that multisport is now retired. Bummer for them.
Sep 26, 2016 2:07 PM # 
Redbull look to have given up. They're riding along the road towards Altay.
Sep 26, 2016 2:09 PM # 
Picked up in a vehicle by the looks of it, they're moving fast. What a shame.
Sep 26, 2016 2:12 PM # 
Just about to write the same. Shame that they are packing it in so close to the finish line. I'm sure they are beyond frustrated. I'll be interested to hear their explanation for all of this.

AMK really seems to have nailed this section. Estonia too, though I haven't followed their route as closely. Haglofs had some issues and Thule seems to have done alright though it took them longer to sort it all. They seem to have picked it up again now though. I'm thinking AMK made it up due to nav and efficiency rather than from speed since Thule is moving so well again. If that's the case, I'd be surprised if the positions change again...but what do I know!
Sep 26, 2016 2:19 PM # 
Also, with Redbull dropping, it looks like there might be another really good race for the final money spot. the Kiwis and Cocosamu are seemingly the contenders nd on different routes. Will be fun to watch how that goes!
Sep 26, 2016 2:43 PM # 
SleepMonsters is saying on Facebook that Thule finished 1st, with AMK 2nd and Haglofs 3rd. Unofficially.
Sep 26, 2016 3:02 PM # 
Congratulations Mari, Kyle, and AMK. Maybe you'll let us dot watchers know if anything happened when you dropped back a little off the leaders earlier in the race?
Sep 26, 2016 3:03 PM # 
Leaderboard suggests the same. Also seems like they may have bagged that last trek? Would have loved to see AMK climb all the way back, but still, one hell of a performance against a terrific field. Will be excited to see them at Worlds!
Sep 26, 2016 4:52 PM # 
And cocosamu falls victim to night 2 as well. Not only did they fall out of contention for 5th place, it now looks like they might get passed by a couple of teams as well.
Sep 26, 2016 5:00 PM # 
For those without facebook access (ahem, Broots), here's the latest post from AMK:

"We spoke with Team Adventure Medical Kits Captain Kyle Peter briefly after the race and you could hear the excitement from the tight finish. Here is a summary of this thoughts:

It was the most intense race from start to finish that he has participated in the sport. The race was full throttle from start to finish. It was pouring rain and cold during the last MTB leg but they never stopped for extra clothing knowing it could cost you a placing or two. They saw Thule briefly on the last leg, but were not sure which team it was on the course. They made an error early in the race and lost an hour and fought to gain the time back over the remainder of the course. They knew there the top 10 contained excellent teams that were all racing well and they kept the pressure on throughout the race. The entire team was pleased with the result. Kyle was complementary of Bob McLachlan who had an incredible race, extremely strong, great teammate and had agreed to replace a AMK teammate on just two weeks notice prior to the race."
Sep 26, 2016 7:01 PM # 
So bada$$.

Out of curiosity, wasn't this race originally supposed to be longer? I remember seeing something about how it was supposed to be four days long.

I will say that the exciting finish presents a solid case for shortening high-profile races to make them more dramatic.
Sep 26, 2016 9:28 PM # 
Yeah, this felt a bit like older XPDs where the top teams finished in roughly half the time, allowing significantly slower teams a chance to finish the whole course. But this was a bit extreme in that 36 hours is really fast. I'm impressed as I can't think of many locations that would allow for such fast travel. I wouldn't have guessed that.

I hope future editions of this race are longer (especially because I want to go!), but I like allowing more teams a chance to finish the whole course regardless!
Sep 26, 2016 11:27 PM # 
I've always liked a general rule of thumb that 1/4-1/2 the teams clear a course and try to design my races that way. But that also means you probably have teams finishing in half or a little more than the allotted time and teams can get really spread out on the course which can be tough on logistics.
Sep 27, 2016 1:07 AM # 
something really cool about the maps, maybe this is old news to others but NEW to me!!

THE MAP DIAGRAM in the lower left corner, where it shows how the individual race maps overlap. love it.
Sep 27, 2016 2:19 AM # 
Yep, great feature! First saw this in Scotland at Open Adventure's XPD. We loved it so much, we do it when we design 24 hour events. Though I haven't seen it done on each map's key (Open Adventure provided a single sheet overview of the course with the schematic, as do we). THAT is awesome!
Sep 27, 2016 3:33 AM # 
Has anyone seen a copy of the map sheet showing the area in which Redbull had their little navigational issue? I'd be really interested to see what was shown on the map (and what wasn't!).
Sep 27, 2016 1:00 PM # 
Djtom it was posted on the SleepMonsters Facebook yesterday during a conversation about the "gone south" episode.

I'm mobile at moment so likely will make a hash of posting it.
Sep 27, 2016 1:04 PM # 
Try this

Edit - back at desk

Sep 28, 2016 12:18 PM # 
Thanks. The map is better than I suspected, but comparing it to the satellite images there are some differences. The major track running south from CP27 doesn't appear to exist In real life, whereas there are a lot of paths on the satellite that aren't shown on the map. Contours are in the right place though, and some teams got through unscathed!
Sep 30, 2016 10:09 AM # 
On the way back to Aus after competing in X Trail (Mont AR)

Bloody good experience and amazing scenery. Cool race, some logistics issues that were out of the organisers hands but they really tried to make sure they did everything they could for the teams.

I think it would have been good to have a prize for the Prologue, there would have been a real dash if so. Could be that they were worried about traffic and the teams running around the tourists at speed.

One thing we only noticed post race which did have an effect an effect on our nav to CP 29 (we lost 2hrs +) was that co tour intervals changed from 40m to 20m on map 4. Around about at the abseil. Robbie first noticed and the we found the spot where it changes. It's definitely a first for me
Oct 1, 2016 2:04 AM # 
Lambo Shih Tzu:
Put some answers to some of the questions together for you all between Chinese massages. Recovery is going good (maybe too good). 2 weeks until nationals and 6 weeks until ARWC!!

CP5 - The top eight teams move together to CP five. Only Estonia was missing from my top eight prediction. We came to a spot where the route wasn't clear. There was a trail starting on the map at this point, but we didn't see one easily. Rob found a bit of an animal track and started down the hill off trail. We then came across a potentialy unmapped marsh and thought it was a marsh near the checkpoint. It threw us on a wild goose chase for 30 minutes. Once we realized the mistake it took us another 30 minutes to get back on track. The others had found the track. The start of the track was very faint but then opened up and was a highway right to the checkpoint. Discouraged at our mistake and loss of time we pushed on determined to make up as much time as possible. We were only a few hours into the race. We essentially maintained the hour in rears to the leaders for most of the race. We would eat away 10 or 15 minutes here and there and give up 10 or 15 minutes at other times. All of the checkpoints were manned so we could see the times the teams ahead of us arrived. We also had electronic punching devices. Each team member had one on their wrist. Lesson learned stay with the lead group when important navigational decisions are being made. We should have learned this lesson in Brazil on night 2. It's very difficult as Rob is one of the worlds best navigators…

The Chase - we ended up in 15 position essentially going from first back to 15. We passed two or three teams on the rest of this first trek another two or three teams on the lake paddle (which is amazingly good feeling to be a strong team on the water). We have Bob to thank for that as he is a super strong paddler. He paddled with Mari for three quarters of the paddle and then Rob came in for a bit of relief at the end. We started trek 2 in about ninth position. the landscape was so open we could see lines of headlamps and they weren't always in the best position. Rob nailed the difficult open moonscape navigation. We even saw what we thought was the lead three teams very close to us we assumed we might have been within 20 or 30 minutes. But a giant unmapped creek caught most of the teams including us and including the top three we all assumed it was the creek that led to the lake with the Checkpoint but in actuality with the 1 to 100,000 scale map and 40 m contour intervals it was just a minor drainage. After sorting this out we grouped up with places 4th through 8th. Multi sport team was struggling and faded quickly. The Estonians started off slow but built momentum and were with us at the end. Tecnu dropped their map and started to feel the effects of the fast starting pace, and we gained one hour on them. NZ Adventure were running well with us, but they thought we over shot the checkpoint and turned back and we put 20 minutes on them. We finished Trek 2 tied for fourth place with Estonia.

8k / hour - The race was slightly less than 300 km most of the biking was on fast fire roads. And most of the treking was on open terrain if we went off the tracks. We also didn't have to carry much gear as no leg was longer than eight hours-ish. The first 24 hours of any race seem to be at the same effort whether it's a one-day race or four day race. So I didn't feel that the starting pace was any different than what we do or see at the world championships. Very pleasing to see that even on our own we were matching the speed of the top three teams working together.

Photo Finish - yes it is the last person on the team over the line stops the clock for that team, but since everyone had a electronic timing device it would've been the last person to swipe their chip against the reader. Would have been total mayhem. Makes me glad I didn't stop to put on pants and a hat on the final bike leg otherwise I might've been wrestling Silva for that final punch! LOL

Final Trek Leg - it was advertised as a 5K track in the town of multi, but with 1:100,000 scale maps it would've been impossible to navigate and it only looked like 300 m at best. We guessed during the race that it would be a marked route and it was a simple marked route to the finish line hotel. It was great to finish right at the accommodations. All we want when we finish a race like that is food shower and sleep and we got all that right there in a very nice hotel

Redbull Mistake - they made their mistake in the daylight. We needed to make a left turn off a major track and I'm not sure if this left turn was a very faint overgrown track or we never saw it but it was tricky nonetheless. Rob realize we must've passed the junction and we biked off trail straight towards a farmhouse that was on the map that was on a track we needed to get to on the other Side of a valley. We noticed there seem to be less tracks of bike tires. I had a hunch we could've moved into third place. Sure enough we checked into CP 27 in third place. This lifted spirits and we kept the pedal to the metal. night didn't fall until 8:30 or so when we were partway up the drainage that lead to CP 29. This meant that everyone behind us would be finding this difficult narrow overgrown track in the dark. We were beating down bushes pretty good and we couldn't have imagined that two teams are in front of us. we thought we might have passed one more team and moved into second possibly. The trail had a number of rocky, eroded side gullys coming into it and a number of substantial 30 foot drops into the main Gully alongside of us. With darkness came a very cold rain. One of the side gullys we had to cross involved very complex bike portage that took maybe five minutes when Bob and I first arrive to this we could see Thule on the other side of the portage so close I could've thrown a water bottle at Sam. We scared them into moving quickly and we pushed as hard as we could but they maintain their lead from this point on. The final descent into town was a very cool track winding in and out of a creek very wet very rocky very sleepy very cold. I looked over my shoulder a few times and I was pretty sure I saw Silva's lights barreling down on us.

Length of race - Adventure Racing in China is always a big question mark. Information is always leaked out slowly and inconsistently and things change constantly. The best racers will roll with the flow and not get worked up over not having all of the details weeks before hand. The race was originally described as being 300 (or 400) km and a 48 hour winning time with a four day opening. The prerace timesheets had a winning time at 36 hours and they change the course opening to 60 hours. This would be bizarre to see in other world series races but not in China.
Oct 1, 2016 1:46 PM # 
Thanks, Kyle. It was fun to watch the race unfold.
It is interesting to read your statement about staying with the lead group during important nav decisions, like at CP5. Probably, statistically, that's a good idea I guess, but with Rob you could come out ahead every now and then I'd think.
Thanks for the show, you guys did great. Were the winnings substantial?
Oct 2, 2016 2:17 AM # 
Lambo Shih Tzu:
Oct 2, 2016 3:51 PM # 
Oct 3, 2016 7:54 PM # 
Huge congrats KP and AMK! Way to rep the USA!
Oct 3, 2016 10:07 PM # 
Carbon's Offset:
Great work KP and AMK!
Oct 4, 2016 1:56 PM # 
Lambo, any word on next year and dates? Congrats again, awesome charge back to the top!
Oct 4, 2016 2:14 PM # 
Lambo Shih Tzu:
They are talking May for 2017.
Oct 6, 2016 12:56 AM # 
So by my quick count, that would be 4 different ARWS races which have dates in May 2017. And with PQ only a few weeks after 2017 ARWC, it's quite a crammed calendar and only so many racers to go around.
Oct 6, 2016 1:06 AM # 
PQ might pick up a couple of overseas teams looking to maximize the trip over (?)
Oct 6, 2016 1:56 AM # 
Yeah, we have talked about this too. I was really hoping for some races in the early and mid summer. Bummed that so many races are so close together and so early in the season. Seems like potential for significant thinning of the fields. 6 of the 7 qualifiers, including China, will be between the beginning of March and the end of May. I'm glad some races that can't host Worlds in the late fall will get a chance to (Rev3, hopefully someone else like Africa), but I hope that ARWS works to coordinate the other events to better balance the schedule.

As it is, not sure we'll be able to go to any big XPDs the way the schedule is laid out next year. Raid is the only one that might work. We were hoping to look into going to China if it fell in June or July. Sigh...

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